Bhutan Travel Information

All travel in Bhutan is organized on a pre-planned and pre-paid basis and must be arranged through a local travel company.

Asian Hiking Team, handles the whole booking process on behalf of our guests, including flights, Bhutan Visa, Accommodation, Transport, Guide, Sightseeing etc but it is advisable to book well in advance to secure accommodation and seats on Druk Air.

We are here to make your trip to our country, one of the most enjoyable once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We will work with you to customize your trip to meet your specific and unique needs and arrange the necessary paper work and flight details.

We need at least 4 weeks to organize your trip although this is extended to 12 weeks in high season where flights and accommodation are under great demand.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

Safety
Bhutan is safe place as crime rate is almost negligible. The towns and cities are safe to enable you to roam without any danger

Local Time
Local time is 6 hours ahead of Greenwich Meantime (GTM), 30 minutes ahead of India and 1 hour behind Thailand and there is only one time zone across the country.

Currency
The currency of Bhutan is called Ngultrum (Nu.) For economic reasons, the Bhutanese ngultrum is equivalent to the Indian Rupees (Rs.) which is also accepted in the country as legal tender. Major currencies and travelers cheques can be exchanged in the banks and some hotels.

Exchange rate
1 US $ = NU 44.90 1 UK= Nu 73.18 1 Euro = Nu 62.05
1 Sing $ = Nu 35.05 100 Japnese Yen = Nu 55.03

Credit Card
ATM facilities are very new in Bhutan and its located only in Thimphu and phuntsholing, as you travel away from Thimphu ATM and internet facilities are almost non-existent and we suggest you to do your banking facilities while in Thimphu, however Traveler's Cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged into local currency.

Language
Dzongkha is Bhutan’s official language and there are countless dialects. English is widely spoken in shops and hotels.

Accommodations
Hotels and lodges built in the traditional Bhutanese style are found in all of Bhutan’s major towns. Accommodation will always include rooms with private baths (toilet and shower), heating appliances, daily linen service, and food. In eastern and central Bhutan, accommodations are simple with access to basic facilities. At Journey to Discover Bhutan we will select the best available hotels with ambience and excellent services.

Food
Bhutanese dishes are rich with spicy chili and cheese flavors. Bhutan’s hotels have a choice of Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese and Japanese dishes, as well as some other continental foods. Other foods are also available to accommodate your preferences and needs if we have advanced notice.

Beverages and Drinks
Bhutan is known across the world for its excellent production of beverages and drinks. Alcohol is widely available at reasonable prices. In rural areas you can get home brew Ara, which is similar to Japanese Saki. Other imported beverages are also served at the hotels. Bottled mineral water is available throughout the country.

Power and Electricity
Electricity is available in all of the towns frequently visited by tourists. The voltage supply is 220/240. Tourists intending to carry electrical appliances are advised to bring a converter with an adapter kit.

Clothing
Between late May and early October it is summer with temperatures ranging from 5 to 27 Celsius (40–80 F) and monsoon season, with heavy rainfall, is from June to August. Light layers of natural or synthetic fabrics are recommended, with heavier outer layers for the evening, such as sweaters or fleece jackets. A light raincoat or umbrella is useful for the rainy moments and waterproof gear is recommended for longer treks

Health Information
Good health facilities are available in the major towns. However, it is always advisable to take caution while traveling to rural areas by drinking only bottled water. For trekkers, it is most important to acclimatize to higher altitudes.

Communication Facilities
Telecommunication facilities are available across the country although overseas mobile phones will not operate. If constant communication is required we recommend use of a satellite telephone. With the introduction of internet to Bhutan in 1999, visitors can also access internet facilities in all major towns and cities.

Photography
To capture the beauty of Bhutan, you are advised to carry disks with enough memory and batteries. You cannot count on being able to purchase the most current photographic supplies: e.g., batteries and digital disks. Only a few things are available in some places.

Insurance
In order to protect against unforeseen accidents and mishaps, it is advisable to have travel insurance policy from your country. The policy coverage should include helicopter evacuation and medical assistance, among others, since such policies are not available in Bhutan.

Shopping
Shopping malls in Bhutan are filled with traditional handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, baskets, masks, paintings and woodcarvings, all of which make excellent souvenirs.

Transportation
In order to ensure your conformable travel, Journey to Discover Bhutan has a fleet of Japanese imported vehicles like Toyota Land Cruiser, Prado, Coaster, Hiace Buses, Hilux and Hyundia H1, Sanfa fee and Tucson

Equipment and Clothing
In addition to your normal daily clothes, you will need to bring the following items with you:
backpack, warm jacket, good leather or waterproof fabric boots or shoes with good soles, waterproof jacket, sunglasses, warm hat, sunhat, sunscreen.

Essential for Treks:

4 season sleeping bag, torch, backpack, towel, thermal underwear.

Walking Conditions

Our walks and treks are mostly on established trails, and there are no particularly difficult sections,

although some of the trails are steep and rocky and can be muddy and slippery after rain. Boots with

ankle support and a trekking pole are recommended.

Things to Buy
The choice is quite limited but improving and includes textiles, wooden handicrafts, paintings, prayer flags, prayer wheels, prayer beads and very colorful stamps. Paro Market day is every Sunday and Thimphu Market (with its extensive handicraft and artifact section) opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Business Hours
Saturday is the weekly day off for all Government Offices and some shops are closed however in the private sector the day off is Sunday. Please note that the National Museum is closed on Mondays.

Climate:
Bhutan’s climatic conditions can be described in three broad zones: subtropical in the south, temperate in the central and alpine in the north. The seasons in the temperate zone of Bhutan are similar to the seasons in Western Europe. It is difficult to accurately generalize about the weather in Bhutan due to the variation in the elevation, rising from 200 m (650ft) in the south to 7000m (23,000ft) in the north, in a distance of only 161km (100ml).

The rainy season is from June to mid September, during which, we have less tourist and it provides a different prospective to tour Bhutan offering far more access to experience the unique cultural of this country.

Season:
In terms of weather, the kingdom is a year round destination which in general experiences warm days and cool nights with temperatures only getting below freezing on winter nights.

Spring:
March, April, May – warm days and cold nights ( max 24°C vs min 2°C) with some chance of rain. Camping Trek Season (temperatures can drop below freezing at high camps).

Summer:
June, July, August - warm days and balmy nights (max 26° C vs. min 14°C) with the chance of rain. Best time for flowers and birdlife.

Autumn:
September, October, November – warm days and cold nights (max 23° C vs min 2° C ) with some chance of rain. Camping Trek Season (temperatures can drop below freezing at high camps).

Winter:
December, January, February – crisp sunny and cold dry nights (max 20° C v. min -4°C ) best time for mountain View – snow may fall but won’t settle for long.

In the Himalaya, conditions can be unpredictable. While we endeavor to run all activities as they are described below, and at all times of the year, our guides may suggest an alternative if the weather turns. This is for your comfort and safety.

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