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Things to Know Before Visiting Bhutan

Updated at Oct 11, 2022by Mission Himalaya

Excited to know about the things to know before visiting Bhutan? Keep your eyes on this blog till the end.

Bhutan is a remote but stunning country, encompassed by the mountain panorama. Bhutan is widely known as The Land of Thunder Dragons located in the eastern range of the Himalayas which attracts lots of tourists every year. But, there is a limitation for foreigners to enter Bhutan.

Travelers who are interested in a trip to Bhutan have to make a pre-arrangement with the travel guide. Furthermore, each individual traveler must spend 250 dollars a day in Bhutan. Due to this, many of the visitors find the Bhutan travel costly. Despite all the expenses travelers have to face during Bhutan Tour, there are many travelers who include Bhutan in their travel bucket list.

Due to the high travel cost, while booking a Bhutan tour, most travelers choose to spend a few days, visiting the most highlighted places only.  Regardless of how long you plan to spend there, here are a few things to keep in mind for a stress-free and enjoyable trip to Bhutan.

17 Things to Know Before Visiting Bhutan

Where is Bhutan?

Bhutan is a country that is surrounded by the mountain panorama located on the eastern elevation of the Himalayas. It is also known as the “ Land of the Thunder Dragon”.   

 A country that occupies the southern-central part of Asia,  injected between Tibet and India on the map. Bhutan is the home of Buddhist people and most of the part is covered with mountain slopes.

How can I get to Bhutan from Nepal?

There are two ways to get to Bhutan from Nepal. One is by air and another by overland. However, you will feel good and enjoy the journey if you go by air. Several flights are conducted from Kathmandu to Paro in a day. The flight is direct from only the international airport of Nepal, TIA to the international airport of Bhutan, Paro.

By overland, the drive will head through India across the Phuentsholing into Bhutan. You might feel uneasy and get altitude sickness while traveling Bhutan by overland.

Ask for a left window seat for the perfect view over the mountain.

While traveling to Bhutan from Kathmandu ask for a seat at the left side of the window and while returning on the right side. You can get to see the stunning view of the snow-capped mountain panorama including Mt. Everest.

Seat is not confirmed while booking the flight but you can select the seat by inspecting online. Choose the best seat from where you can view paradise from the air. 

Do I need a visa while traveling to Bhutan?

To enter and exit Bhutan, you need to get a Bhutan Visa which is the requisite travel permit while traveling from Nepal. To explore the last Himalayan monarchy, a visa is compulsory for all countries, except Indians, Bangladeshis, and Maldivians. They can come without a pre-approved visa. Importantly, you have to purchase a visa for every nightfall you disburse in Bhutan.

After the process of the permit making is complete, it will be valid for only 7 days. In addition, you have to spend 250$ a day in peak season and 200$ per individual in the off-season.

Where to visit in Bhutan?

Where to visit in Bhutan? It is the most important things to know before visiting Bhutan. Bhutan is a naturally stunning country where you can get to see the beautiful monasteries, landscapes, and panorama of the Himalayas. Visit the most highlighted beautiful cities Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha.

At Paro, you can visit Tiger’s monastery which is a worldwide famous monastery and one of the attractions of Bhutan. Then to Punakha where you can get to experience the adventure and cultural visit to Buddha Dordenma, Tashichho Dzong, Dechen Phodrang monastery, changlimithary stadium, and archery ground which is the national game of Bhutan. Thimphu will be worth visiting to see the different sights of the city.

The more days you stay the more you will get a chance to visit and view amazing Bhutan cities.

What type of clothes can I wear?

While visiting monasteries, temples and traditional places you have to wear long-sleeved clothes. People of Bhutan wear their traditional dress all the time which covers their legs and arms. In a Dzong, you can’t enter inside if you are not well dressed up. Wearing jeans clothes, unzipped jackets and tied around the waist, short and revealing clothes are not allowed inside  

 Modern but dressy clothes are acceptable. However, wearing revealing and short clothes is not acceptable in Bhutan. They feel like you are disrespecting their culture if you wear short and revealing clothes. In addition, it does not mean you must wear Kira.

Altitude sickness and weather?

Bhutan is located at an average elevation of 8000ft. Altitude sickness while traveling to Bhutan is rare because our tour will be around the elevation of 3000m. Most of the cities of Bhutan are located at an elevation of 1950m so there is nothing to worry about the altitude sickness.

However, if you feel like you are coughed by altitude sickness then stop and take rest for a few hours. If you feel easy then roam around the place where you are but don’t go to the higher elevations you might fall sick. Drink lots of water and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Take medicine if you feel uneasy. But we assure you that you won’t get altitude sickness.

The weather is unpredictable in Bhutan. Thus, prepare yourself to tackle rapid climate change while traveling to Bhutan.

Can I go for a tour independently in Bhutan?

Bhutan is not a country like Nepal, you can’t go for a trek alone. There are different rules and regulations for foreigners. The first rule is you can’t visit Bhutan alone. You must book a package in advance with a trusted travel agency. In addition, you will be accompanied by a Bhutanese travel guide throughout your journey.

If you are a solo traveler then the government will appoint one travel guide for you so that you will be safe and never get lost in Bhutan. They will be helpful, and caring and will be with you on the entire voyage. 

Can I withdraw money from Banks and ATMs?

You can find ATMs within all main towns throughout Bhutan. From these ATMs you can withdraw money easily using a Visa or MasterCard. But sometimes these ATMs might not work well. So carrying sufficient money with you will be the best. Also, if you buy something from a local shop then you have to pay in cash. 

Which currencies are acceptable?

Having the knowledge of the acceptable currency is an important things to know about Bhutan. In Bhutan, the Ngultrum currency is acceptable and used freely. Also, you can buy and get exchange Indian rupees throughout Bhutan. From the professional to the local all levels accept Indian currency.

Dry day on Tuesday

In Bhutan, Tuesday is celebrated as a dry day. ‘Dry Day’ means people don’t consume any type of alcohol. So, while visiting Bhutan you can find alcohol easily in all hotels but keep in mind that you have to escape drinks on Tuesday.

Meat items

In Bhutan, you can find buff and pork meat. Usually, the meat comes from India because the Bhutanese won’t kill animals and there are no butcher shops. Those who like to eat meat will strip on the laundry line in direct sunlight and preserve them to eat later.

Hot taste in every food you order

It is common practice to serve food with chili peppers in Bhutan. Bhutanese people prefer to eat more hot and spicy food than other countries. If you are a chilly lover then you will experience the amazing taste of the different foods with a fully chilly taste.

Ema Datse is Bhutan's most famous dish. This dish consists of nutty red rice, cheese, and a fiery curry of chilies. Local people love to eat hot chilies and they don’t find the meal is worth it without chili flex.

If you don’t like to eat too much burn then you can order a meal with less spice.

SIM and wifi services

If you want to stay connected with your family then ask your guide to help you to purchase a regional SIM. You can use wifi services in every hotel and coffee shop. While roaming you can use data so you can use Facebook, Whatsapp, WeChat, and other social media.

Do not smoke in public places.

Bhutan has forbidden smoking and weed since 2004 and it is the first country to ban the production and sale of cigarettes and weed.  It is totally against the law to smoke weeds in public areas. If you disobey the rules you might get a hard punishment and fines might apply.

It is legal for travelers to bring a maximum of 200 cigarettes, but they cannot light them in public. If you want to smoke you can get into some private places and enjoy the puff. There are different rooms for those who want to smoke in tea houses, bars, and hotels.

Do not try to get inked.

Tattooing is illegal in Bhutan so is the opening of tattoo houses. Some professional tattoo artists are forced to operate illegally in private homes due to the government's ban on tattoo parlors. The government’s strict decision has made the tattoo parlor go underground.

Despite this fact, many youngsters flock to tattoo artists to ink them illegally in a concealed way.

Try bow and arrow

DHA which means archery is the national game of Bhutan. You can get to see archery grounds in every hamlet and local people enjoying the competition. There are many Dha grounds all over Bhutan.

In fact, people hail this sport a male dominant sport. But, both male and female tourists can freely participate and enjoy the game. While watching the local competition you will enjoy the local dances, music, and chirping cheerleaders supporting their team.

Final Say About Things Every Bhutan Traveler Should Know

Going through this blog you might have grabbed an idea of many things to know before visiting Bhutan. Having the concept of these things will make every Bhutan traveler's visit incredible. In addition, with an expert itinerary plan, the tour becomes reminiscing. However, for this prior discussion of the Bhutan trip with a licensed travel company is more advantageous. Thus, if you are planning to visit Bhutan soon then you can plan a trip with Mission Himalaya Treks and Expedition Pvt. Ltd.

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