OVERVIEW OF BHUTAN
Bhutan is a small Himalayan Kingdom with a population of just over 817,054 located between north in China and south in India. It is a small but magical country full of wonders and surprises. The spectacular landscapes, Himalayas, traditional architecture and unique Buddhist culture makes this land so sacred and majestic. The country’s nascent economy is offset by its rich cultural heritage in strengthening its sovereignty. The subsequent rise in the significance of Buddhism in the society shaped its culture to a great extent.
Paro Airport is the only international airport in the country with two Airlines operating flights to and from few destinations like India, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Singapore. The national Carrier Druk Air and the privately owned by Tashi Group of Companies, Bhutan Airline are the only two airlines in Bhutan.We can get direct international flights to Bhutan from Singapore,Bangkok,Dhaka,Mumbai,Kolkata and Kathmandu. But the flight between Kathmandu and Paro is one of the greatest flight with best views of highest mountains of the world. Since Bhutan is a mountainous country, the districts are only connected by roads. Bhutan is also connected to India by road through the Phuntsholing town which is linked to Jaigoan, West Bengal of India.Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar are the only land border areas open to tourists. The town of Phuentsholing in south-west Bhutan is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport at Bagdogra. Most tourists wishing to travel to Thimphu via Nepal by air.
Some of the nationalities as Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can get a visa at the port of entry with valid passport with a minimum of 6 month validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card VIC).For other nationalities , we have to process the visa in advance and should process through our licensed Bhutanese tour operator in online permit system.After sending photos of passport and payment cost for the visa via wire transfer, Tourism council of Bhutan will proceed the visa process and send us the visa clearance letter, when we enter in produce of clearance letter,visa then be stamped into our passport.For other tourists, you will need to acquire visa clearance in advance. Visas are processed through an online system by licensed Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Tourists are also required to book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners. The tour operator will take care of Visa arrangements for visitors.
MONEY OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is widely accepted in the country.In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores. Please take note that USD 50 and USD100 notes are given a better exchange rate than USD 20 notes or lesser. The smaller USD notes fetch about 5% less. Tourists can exchange cash at the foreign exchange desk at Paro Airport and Bank of Bhutan branches in major townships such as Paro and Thimphu.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Kingdom of Bhutan usually supply electricity between 220 and 240 volts AC. All major towns 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. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Bhutan's energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.
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.
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.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BHUTAN
The northern part of the country with the Himalayas gets snowfall almost all throughout the year. The southern Bhutan has a tropical temperature as eastern which is much more warmer than western part of the country. Hence the best time to travel Bhutan depends upon the part of the nation will be travelling in .For clear skies and photo opportunities, the best time to visit Bhutan is October through December. December is cold but the valleys are sunny with clear skies. A period between January and February is the coldest time of the year with occasional road closures, but Losar celebrations will warm you up. March and April are relatively dry and warm with an abundance of mesmerizing flowers in the valleys. From May on, temperatures start to rise, leading to the monsoon season from June to September.
CAPITAL CITY OF BHUTAN
Thimphu is the capital of the Country with most of the population inhabiting the city. It is home to almost 100,000 of the country’s population. It may be the only capital city in the world without traffic lights and an airport of its own. It is an hour drive from the Paro International Airport. It is also the trade hub of the country.
Bhutan local time is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
The climatic weather of Bhutan is varied from region to region depending on the difference in the altitude and the air pressure from North Indian Monsoons.
SEASONS OF BHUTAN
Bhutan experiences 4 different Seasons in a year; spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The months of March, April and May are considered spring and during this period, the entire country is in full riot of the beautiful spring blossoms. The months of June, July and August are considered as summer and the monsoon season also falls during the summer. The months September, October, and November is considered as autumn and also the fall season. And lastly the months of December, January and February are considered winter. The central and the northern part of Bhutan experience snowfall.
CONSERVATION AND NATIONAL PARK
Bhutan has over 800 million trees and over 71% of the total land area is under forest coverage and the constitution mandates that at least 60% of the land be under forest coverage for all times to come. The protected areas of Bhutan consist of national parks, nature preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. The protected areas cover more than 42% of the kingdom consisting of five national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and one nature reserve and an additional of 3307 sq km is designated as a set of connections of biological corridors linking all nine protected areas, hence placing 52% of the country’s area under some form of protection.
Bhutan opened its doors for tourism only a few decades ago after remaining in isolation for many years fearing exploitation of cultural and environmental values. Bhutan still seeks to preserve its unique culture and conserve it's natural environment by mandating a tourism policy of high value and low impact so it imposes a daily fee of US$250 on tourists that covers tours, accommodation, transportation, and food. The industry accounts for 1.8% of GDP.
PERSONAL EQUIPMENT FOR TREKKING
- Warm Hat
- Face Mask / Muffler
- Wind stopper/Waterproof JacketDown Jacket
- Fleece Jacket/ trousers
- Woolen gloves/Water/wind proof gloves
- Trekking Trousers(light weight long Paint)
- wind stopper/waterproof Paint
- Fleece or woolen pants
- Thin Lightwear/heavy poly or wool Socks
- Trekking Boot
- Spare Shoes
- Medium Rucksack (50-70 Ltr)
- Small Day Pack
- Personal Medical Kit
- Water bottle
- Large Duffel bag
- Trekking Pole
- Spare batteries for Camera and Flash Light
- Hand Towel
- Head lamp with extra Batteries
- Sun Glasses with UV protection
- Suitcase (For stored in Kathmandu hotel for not needed items for trek)