The following information acts as a guide when traveling to Bhutan. This practical advice is not a comprehensive list but should provide some useful information for you as you plan your travelling.
It is highly recommended that you have your travel and medical insurance for your tour to Bhutan.
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee, which is also accepted in the country. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available in many businesses, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most shops and handicrafts stores.
Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that cater to the needs of the people. There are around 5 different banks in the country. Traveller’s cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged for local currency. Many of these banks provide internet banking facilities.
ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard.
Almost all of the places are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters for your electronics if necessary, however, most hotels offer multi plug sockets. We also recommend you to bring your portable charges since you would spend most of the time on the move while in Bhutan. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.
Please note that the consumption of tobacco products in public places are illegal, however you can smoke in designated areas and you are allowed to bring in 200 sticks of cigarettes OR 30 pieces of cigars for personal use and you need to declare it at the customs when you land at the airport. *Do note that all tobacco products shall be subjected to 100 percent customs duty and 100 percent sales tax.
Also note that if you bring in any religious items from other countries to Bhutan you shall have to declare the products at the Customs check point in the Airport and maybe subject to tax/custom duty.
If you buy any religious items/souvenirs from Bhutan, please inform your guide and ask them to get the necessary documents ready.
Please make sure you wear a full pant and carry/wear a long-sleeved shirt/jacket whenever you visit a temple as you need to wear it when you visit temples/Fortress/monasteries across Bhutan.
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography especially during outdoor sightseeing trips. However, you should check with your guide before taking pictures or filming inside Dzongs/Fortresses, temples, monasteries and religious institutions as in some area photograph/filming is not permitted. You are free to capture images of the landscape, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, rural life, flora and fauna, distinctive Bhutanese architecture and the exterior of Fortresses and monasteries/stupas.
Some popular handicraft items available for purchase are hand-woven textiles of raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted gods of silver. Other items you may be interested in are the exquisite Buddhist thangkha (scroll) paintings or Bhutan’s wide array of colorful and creative postage stamps. You can come across these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Tipping is a purely personal matter. We leave it up to you as to whether you want to give a gratuity to your guides and drivers. However, if doing so, we recommend that you place the gratuity in an envelope.
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Most hotels and cafe’s offer Wi-Fi Internet access. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming also assessable.
With great altitudinal variations, weather is quite mixed in Bhutan. So be prepared to face the unforeseen weather conditions. We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, Fortresses and other religious institutions. Long pants and long-sleeved tops should be worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised.
Bhutan ascribes to the metric system and most weights are measured in gram (g) and kilogram (kg). The standard time is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, please seek advice from your doctor with regard to vaccinations and appropriate medication you should have prior to your travels.
Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world however you should still exercise caution when visiting. Please ensure that your belongings especially your passports, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. Please refrain from leaving such items within sight or in locked vehicles while sightseeing. Avoid drinking tap water which has not been boiled or ice cubes in drinks at all times as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated. One can easily acquire affordable treated and bottled water.
Also, Bhutan has a duty to protect its citizens from drugs and tobacco products. To do this we need your help and cooperation. Please co-operate if stopped and asked about your baggage. Please do not carry tobacco goods in excess of the set limit.
– The roads tend to be windy so if you are prone to motion sickness, bring Dramamine or other medication to prevent nausea as you will be spending a lot of time in the car travelling around Bhutan.
– Bring along a multi-purpose electrical plug and a universal travel adapter. Most hotel rooms have limited electrical plugs, so it’ll be wise to take along if you have many devices.