We strongly recommend that before your commence on your holiday, take out your holiday insurance policy. Suggest with your travel agency for available, or speak to your own insurance broker.
Bhutan currency is Ngultrum (Nu) that is at par with the Indian Rupee. It is however, recommended that you carry traveler’s cheque or cash, preferably American Express or US dollar instead, as the ATM facilities for foreign currency is limited to just few towns including the capital city, Thimphu. Visa and American Express credit cards are widely accepted along with PNB ATM card only in Thimphu.
Financial Institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that caters to the needs of the people. Some of the banks that you can avail of services and facilities while in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan Ltd, the Bhutan National Bank Ltd, the Druk PNB Ltd, Bhutan Development Bank Ltd, and the Tashi Bank. Many of these bank provides you with SMS and internet banking facilities. There are also ATM facilities. ATM are located in the number of places where you can withdraw your money especially in Thimphu and in the bordering town of Phuntsholing. Traveler’s Cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged into local currency. However, as you travel into the interior, ATM and internet facilities are almost non-existent and we suggest that you do your banking facilities while in Thimphu.
All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outputs. Our energy is clean and green energy generating by hydropower.
Today the country has a good network of telecommunication facilitates. Almost every town has an internet café and IDD calling booths form where you can log on to any send message home and to your loved ones. In addition, most hotels have internet access. Mobile (cell) phone is also widely used with international roaming facilities.
Bhutan experiences a great variation in the climate. Summer is warm with average daily temperature ranging from 20 to 25 Celsius, while winters are cold. In winter temperature are usually below 15 Celsius. So bring with you a couple of warm cloths and comfortable shoes to go with the weather, the terrain and the program. You might want to consider ‘what to wear’ for hike, trekking and sightseeing, as well as for dinner, appointments and functions that we have for you. Others that you could consider bringing with you would be a pair of sunglasses, sun screen lotion and a hat, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-diarrhea pills, altitude & car sickness medicines; insect repellent, flash light (w/spare batteries), umbrella, camera, films and accessories (including spare camera batteries) etc.
For people who love shopping and taking gifts, Bhutan offers a variety of goods that revolve mainly round textiles. You may shop for items like hand-woven textiles that is either in 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. You can also shop for thangka paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. One can come across these items in the many handicrafts shops in, around Thimphu, and in major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Tipping is purely personal matter. We do not have any tradition of giving tips and we clearly leave it up to you as to whether you want to give tips to your guides and drivers.
Bhutanese speak a variety of languages but Dzongkha is the national language and one of the most widely spoken languages. English is also a medium of communication and most Bhutanese speak English. Communicating in English especially with the people in the urban areas and the towns will enhance your knowledge on Bhutan.
Our standard time is 6 hours ahead of GMT and there is only one time zone throughout the country.
Office hours in Bhutan are divided into two timings – the summer timing and the winter timing. The summer timing begins at 9 AM Bhutan standard time and goes on till 5 PM in the evening. The summer timing is followed from March till the end of October. The winter timing that lasts for the months of November till the end of February begins at 9 AM in the morning till 4 PM in the evening. However, these timing are followed only in Thimphu and few other districts. Only the civil servants follow this timing. For those people employed in corporations and private organizations, the timings are usually from 9 AM till 5 PM irrespective of the season.
Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, it is advisable to have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations.
Avoiding drinking un-boiled water or taking ice cubes at all times as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated though they have their sources in the mountains. One can come across treated and bottled water readily in any town and are affordable.
Today, because of vast number of incoming tourist to Bhutan, the hotel infrastructure has been outnumbered and accommodation facilities have been improved to a higher level because of competitive business outflow. Hotels with accommodation with bath and / or shower, air-conditioning rooms, with continental, Indian, Local and western food are available in Bhutan according to their category and standard. On other side, we do provide Farm-Stay and Home-Stay accommodation to our travelers wishing to experience the typical Bhutanese lifestyle.
Usually your accommodation is in shared twin-bedrooms, with a supplementary charge for single occupancy. Children sharing the same rooms will be provided with rollaway bed with extra charges. Remember Wild Mountain Adventure cannot guarantee a particular hotel as you required until an unless you give us a prior conformation of your tour, but will help providing a similar standard hotel in substitute. In major cities and town like Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue, Bumthang, the quality of the hotel and resorts are up to the highest International standards, but in more remotes and adventurous destinations around Bhutan, the accommodation do not always exist with full furnished facilities.
Generally, most restaurant and hotels will provide a selection of Bhutanese, Indian and Continental cuisine.
Additionally, visitors embarking on adventurous trekking and camping will be provided with twin-sharing Dome-tent and A-Framed tents regardless of their stay along with toilet tents.
Most Bhutanese dishes are rich and spicy with a lot of cheese and chili. It is advisable that visitors stick to the Chinese, Continental or Indian cuisine that served in most restaurants. Visitors can also choose among the various vegetarian and non-veg food. You can also try our momos, the Tibetan dumplings and for those daring, you may try out the ema datshi dish served with cheese and chili and other typical Bhutanese dishes. Traditional Bhutanese cuisine will be generally includes red rice, dried and fresh chilies, pork, beef - common in every Bhutanese household. Ema Datsi (Chili-Cheese) – is one of the national dish.
Weights & Measures
Bhutan has a standard system of weights and measurements in place and most weights are measured in gram (g) and kilogram (kg). With better and efficient measurement systems readily available, most of the shopkeepers in the capital city make use of electronic and weighing scale. However, as you travel further east, you will find the ordinary weighing scale in place.
While safety is not so much of a concern, however it is good to come prepared for any mishap. One need to avoid walking along or roaming the streets after 9 PM as you may never know of any mishap that may occur. The capital city has begun to see burglaries, street fights and an increasing number of drugs abusers. It is advisable that you keep a safe distance and be in your rooms. Or else you may visit the town in groups or with your guides.
Also, please ensure that your belongings especially your passports, route permits, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. There have been incidents where visitors found their important documents missing.
Guides & Interpreters
Bhutan has a good team of interpreters and guides who are well versed in history and possess good communication skills. They are all certified who undergo training conducted by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. There are also guides who speak fluent Japanese, Thai, Chinese and other European languages.
The government declares public holidays. However, each district has its own lists of holidays that are observed especially while conducting annual tshechu (religious festival).
Adventure tour featuring trekking is not recommended for children, elder and to those unfit for trekking. Indeed trekking in Bhutan presents characteristics different from those encountered in other regions of the Himalayas. The climate is much windier, damper and colder than Nepal and when bad weather moves in it remains for several days. Moreover, the trekking routes are more narrow and unfit for children and elderly persons. Travelers wishing to make their culture tour into more adventurous program may sometime use simple forest lodge without private facilities? River rafting in the rivers like Paro, Thimphu, Haa and Bumthang are not operated during the winter and dry months of January, February, November and December.
Once you commence on your Bhutan tour, beginning from the arrival date (pick-up - drop) to the departure date, we used different transportation depending on number of participation travelling. We have private cars depending upon the group size like - Santa Fee, Tucson, Toyota Hi-roof Bus, H1 and Toyota Coaster Bus. Depending upon the number of participants traveling on the same date and duration we used the above-mentioned motor coaches.
Your Bhutan sightseeing tour from the arrival to the end departure you will be escorted and accompanied by our local tour executives. Depending upon certain nationalities, we do provide language speaking tour guides. Participant traveling on the same date and same destination are considered as a group. Transfer and tours are all conducted as jointly.
The following items are exempted from duty:
- Personal effects and articles for day-to-day use by the visitor
- 1 liter of alcohol (spirit or wine)
- 200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%
- Instrument, apparatus or appliances for personal use
- Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use
You have to complete the passenger declaration form on your arrival before checking out. The articles mentioned under (d) & (e) must be declared on the declaration form. If any such items are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift, they are liable for customs duty.
On departure, visitors are required to surrender their forms to the customs authorities.
Import/export restrictions of the following goods is strictly forbidden:
- Arms, ammunitions and explosives
- All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs
- Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival. Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and use items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may not be exported without a clearance certificate.
Cloths and other Paraphernalia
With great altitudinal variations, weather is quite erratic in Bhutan. So be prepared to brace the erratic weather as you step outdoor. We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, Dzongs, and other religious institutions. 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 is an idle place and a frequent haunt for photographers offers immense opportunities for photography especially during our outdoor sightseeing trips. However, you may need to check with your guide for indoor photography as taking photographs inside Dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions are restricted unless you have a special permission for the Department of Culture. One can however capture images of the landscapes, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, the rural folk life, flora & fauna, the Bhutanese architecture and the Dzongs and Chortens in particular.
We have a duty to protect Bhutan from Drugs and Tobacco Products. To do this we need your help and corporation. If we stop you and ask you about your baggage, please cooperate. Please do not carry tobacco goods that are over the limits.
Travelers must possess a valid passport and must have the validity of minimum 6 month from the day of expiry.
A deposit of full payment in US$ or its equivalent of your currency per person tour cost is payable at the time when your tour reservation is made. Your full tour payment is refundable if the arrangement in written is made before 45 days prior to your date of travel. If such cancellation is made after 45 days of your date of travel, your deposit or full tour payment is fortified.