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Bhutan Tourist Information


 

Getting to Bhutan :


By Air :
The only airport is at Paro. Bhutan's national airline, Druk Air, is the only airline servicing Paro. It has connections with Delhi via Kathmandu on Mondays and Thursdays. You can enter Bhutan from Delhi and Kathmandu on Mondays and Thursdays; Bangkok and Calcutta on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flights leave Paro for Delhi and Kathmandu on Mondays and Thursdays; Bangkok and Calcutta on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

NOTE: During monsoons, unpredictable weather forces can delay flights and travelers are advised to include an extra day in their itinerary.


By Road :
The road from Bagdogra (the nearest Indian airport) enters Bhutan at Phuentsholing, the border town. It is a 4-5 hour drive from Bagdogra airport, which can be reached by plane from Calcutta and Delhi. From Darjeeling or Gangtok (Sikkim), it can take 7 hour to Phuentsholing. It takes approximately 6 hour from Phuentsholing to Thimphu or Paro.

NOTE: Entry / Exit one way has to be by air.


Visas & Passports :

Valid passports and an entry visa are essential. Travellers to Bhutan are permitted only as a member of a commercially organised tour group. This can be done directly or through a travel agent abroad. The price for any holiday is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan and it covers all accommodation costs, all meals, transport, services of licensed guides etc., There are surcharges on individuals and groups of less than three people. There are also discounts available for young students and children.

Visa clearances are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu and must be obtained before departing for Bhutan. At your port of entry your visa will be stamped in your passport, you will also require two passport photos. Extension of visas, for up to 6 months, can be obtained in Thimphu at a cost of Nu. 510.

NOTE: Visas cannot be obtained at Bhutanese embassies.


Customs :

Export of antiques, plants or animal products are strictly prohibited. Cameras, video cameras, computers and personal electronic equipment must be declared on arrival and will be checked upon departure.


Climate :

It is difficult to accurately generalize the climate of Bhutan because of the variations in elevations and seasons. Southern Bhutan has a tropical climate with hot humid monsoons. Spring in the higher valleys (mid-March to May) has warm days (22°C) and cool nights. June marks the beginning of summer when day temperatures warm up to 27 – 29°C. By July, the rainy season starts and continues till mid-September. The autumn months of September to November are ideal for trekking with clear skies and mild weather.

In December temperatures fall, but the days are warm and the clear, azure winter skies serve a striking background to the snow-capped peaks. On a sunny day, temperatures reach about 16-18° C. The nights, however, are cold with temperatures falling below freezing.


Clothing :

Cottons and light woolens in Summer (June-Sep). Heavy woolens and jackets the rest of the year. Rain gear for the monsoons and comfortable shoes.


Electricity :

230 – 240 volts, 50 cycles A.C. The current is variable.


Currency :

The national currency is the Ngultrum (Nu). 100 Chetrum = 1 Nu. Exchange rate is approximately US$ 1 = Nu. 45. Indian Rupees circulate at par.


Credit Cards :

The American Express credit card, and Visa are accepted in a few shops. Travelers cheques are also accepted everywhere.


Time Difference :

Bhutan standard time is 6 hours ahead of GMT.


Accomodation :

Comfortable hotels and lodges built in traditional architectural style are available in the major towns.


Cuisine :

Tourist hotels have a choice of Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese and Continental food.


Communication Facilities :

Reliable telephone, facsimile and E-mail services are available in all towns in Bhutan. International connections are excellent.


Media :

Kuensel, the only national newspaper, is published weekly. International magazines are available. Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) is the national radio broadcasting service. BBC and VOA reception is good.


Photography :

Carry plenty of film and batteries. Photo shops in Bhutan do not sell equipment or accessories.


Language :

Dzongkha, the language of the western region, is the national language. English is the medium of instruction and is spoken by all government officials and businessmen. Nepali is prevalent in the south while Bumthangkha, Khyengkha and Sharchopkha are common dialects.


Insurance :

To protect against unforeseen accidents and mishaps, we advise you to have a Travel Insurance policy from your country. It should adequately cover helicopter evacuation and medical assistance. We regret the unavailability of such policies in Bhutan.


Safety :

The crime rate in Bhutan is very low.


Shopping :

Traditional handicrafts such as, textiles, jewelry, bamboo baskets, and masks are the most commonly bought items. Paintings and woodcarving make good buys.


Transport :

We use Japanese & India mainly imported vehicles.

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