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Burma Tour > Bhutan Guide > Bhutan Travel Tips

BHUTAN INFORMATION AND TRAVEL GUIDE


Bhutan Travel tipsBhutan Weather I Bhutan Travel Distance  I Bhutan Festival 2008

Bhutan Travel Tips
If ever there be a place that can take the cliché out of Shangrila, then that place is Bhutan. Druk Yul or the Land of the Thunder Dragon does justice to the legend of that wonderland, hidden far and away from the prying eyes and humdrum ways of the modern world. It is still as much about magic and mystery, simplicity and tranquility, and about a way of life that has escaped the clutches of time.
Shrouded in the mists of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is a 47,000 sq Kilometer Kingdom (about the size of Switzerland) tightly wedged between Chinese Tibet and northern India.
Today it is the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism. The religion, which influences every aspect of life here, was also the main impetus behind its birth.
It is similar in size to Switzerland and has a population of about 700,000.
Geographically, Bhutan is divided into five main regions: the northern, the central, the western, the eastern and the southern. The majority of the population lives in the western part of Bhutan, where the capital city of Bhutan is located. There are three climate zones: Southern Bhutan, subtropical, pleasant in winter. Eastern, Western and Central Bhutan, moderate alpine climate, pleasant throughout the year. Northern Bhutan, great Himalayas snow covered during winter.

Bhutan is today lauded as one of the few nations with its environment and a unique culture and tradition still intact. Recently declared one of the 10 global hot spots for environment conservation. Bhutan boasts an unsurpassed wealth of biodiversity and forest cover. More than 60 percent of the endemic species found in the Eastern Himalayas thrive in the subtropical, temperate and alpine regions of the nation.

HIS MAJESTY THE KING and the people of Bhutan received the Champion Of The Earth award in New York on April, 2005 from the United Nations Environment Division. 

It was recognition of Bhutan’s commitment in placing the environment at the center of its development plan and giving high priority to its preservation and sustainable use.

The successful preservation of lifestyle and environment does not mean that Bhutan has forsworn off progress. Since the 1960’s Bhutan has followed a policy of planned development, prudently utilizing her resources and achieving a high level of development.

CLIMATE / SEASONS

Bhutan enjoys all the four seasons:

Spring     March – May

Summer  June – August

Autumn   September – November

Winter    December – February

The southern region is tropical, and in general the east of Bhutan is warmer than the west of the country. The central valleys of Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Mongar, Trashigang and Luntshi enjoy a semi tropical climate with very cool winters, whilst Thimphu, Trongsa and Bumthang have a much harsher climate, with heavy monsoon rains in the summer and heavy snow fall in the winter, which often blocks the passes leading into the central valleys.

PASSPORTS & VISAS

Passport, Visas and Route Permit are required for traveling to Bhutan. For travelers entering Bhutan by Druk Air, visa clearance is required for the issuing of Druk Air tickets. The visa clearance number is forwarded to the Druk Air station at which the flight originates. Travelers without a visa clearance number on record will not be permitted to board their flights.

Passport:

Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry.
Must have at least TWO, clean, unused pages.
Do NOT count amendment pages when determining if you have two, clean unused pages.
A blank passport page must not show ink or stains from other pages, or it is unusable.

Visa Information:

Visas are not issued by any of Bhutan’s mission abroad. We need passport details at least one month prior to the date of entry into Bhutan to apply for the visa. Details needed for the completing visa formalities are:

1. Full name spelt as in Passport
2. Nationality
3. Passport number
4. Date of birth
5. Date of issue & date of expiry of passport
6. Home address
7. Occupation

We will apply and clear visa for you. When the visas are approved, the visa clearance number will be sent to the outstations of Druk Air, visas will be delivered upon arrival at Paro Airport. All tourists must carry three passport photographs each and hand over to visa officials on arrival at Paro Airport attached to a copy of the visa application form.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS

The following articles are exempt from duty: Personal affects and articles for day to day use by the visitor, 2 litres of alcohol (spirits or wine), Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use, Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use.

Import/exports of the following goods is strictly prohibited: Arms, ammunitions and explosives, All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs, wildlife products, especially those of endangered species, antiques. Tobacco products are charged a duty of 200% on its cost price.

HEALTH REQUIREMENT

No vaccinations are currently required for traveling to Bhutan. However, visitors coming from an area infected with yellow fever are required to have had a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days before their arrival. Cholera vaccinations are strongly recommended for visitors coming from a cholera-infected area. Anti-malaria medication is also recommended for all travelers who will be visiting rural areas of districts bordering India.

MONEY

CURRENCY:
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.), with 100 Chetrum = 1 Ngultrum. The Ngultrum is fixed to the value of Indian rupee.
US $1 = Nu. 45 (10 June,2007)
Tourists are advised to carry their money in the form of traveler’s check (preferably American Express) with some cash (US dollars would be best), which might be used for incidental purchases/expenses.

MONEY EXCHANGE: Money and travelers cheques of all major currencies can be exchanged at hotels, and banks.

CREDIT CARDS: You should not count on using a credit card in Bhutan. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are accepted at some handicraft shops and some of the larger hoteliers, but these transactions take extra time. The credit card companies charge high fees and the verification office is only open from 9 am to 5 pm. 

ELECTRICITY

In Bhutan, electricity runs on 220/240 volts, with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. If you bring electrical appliances, also pack appropriate adapter plugs.

SAFETY & SECURITY

Bhutan is one of the safest countries to travel to. Few Bhutanese hotels have safes for guests’ valuables. You can use a money belt or a pouch that hangs around your neck to carry money and important documents. Theft is rare, although not unheard of in Bhutan, but such protection is essential in adjoining countries.

AIRPORT TAX

Airport tax or departure tax is required to be paid by all international and domestic passengers departing from Paro Airport. The passenger security fee as well as the airport tax are both added to the ticket fare automatically.

TIME ZONE

Bhutan time is 6 hours ahead of GMT and there is only one time zone throughout the country.

TENTATIVE FESTIVAL DATES FOR 2008

PUBLIC  HOLIDAYS 2007

28th Feb (Tuesday)                

Fire Dog New year

1st March (Wednesday)         

Fire Dog New year

2nd May (Tuesday)                

Birth Anniversary of the 3rd King

7th May (Sunday)                 

Zhabdrung Kuchoe

2nd June (Friday)               

Coronation day of H.M TheKing

11th June ( Sunday)            

Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana

6th July  (Thursday)       

Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche

29th July (Saturday)       

The First sermon of Lord Buddha

4th August ( Friday)           

Death Anniversary of the 3rd King

24th Sept (Sunday)                    

Blessed Rainy Day

28th Sept ( Thursday)               

Thimphu Drubchen

2nd, 3rd & 4th Oct ( MON, TUE, THU)    

Thimphu Tshechu

11, 12, & 13 Nov (SAT, SUN, MON)

Birth Anniversary of H.M The King

12th Nov (Sunday)     

Descending Day of Lord Buddha

17th Dec (Sunday)                     

National Day

27th Dec (Wed)                          

Meeting of Nine Evils

2nd Jan (Tuesday)                     

Winter Solstice

20th Feb (Saturday)              

Losar New Year for the Eastern People

Bhutan Travel tipsBhutan Weather I Bhutan Travel Distance  I Bhutan Festival 2008
 

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