Before Planning Your Bhutan Trip: Important Considerations
Visa and Entry Requirements:
Every tourist, excluding citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives, requires a visa to enter Bhutan. Booking through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator or an international partner is necessary, as they assist in the visa application process. Visas are granted upon payment of a daily tariff covering accommodation, transportation, meals, and the services of an experienced guide.
A mandatory daily tariff, applicable to most international tourists (excluding India, Bangladesh, and Maldives passport holders), varies from $350 to $500 per person per day. This fee, covering accommodation, meals, transportation, guide services, and entrance fees, may seem high but contributes to sustainable tourism and supports local services.
Best Time to Visit:
Bhutan experiences four seasons, and the optimal time to visit depends on individual preferences. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are favored for pleasant weather and festivals. Summer (June to August) is the monsoon season, while winter (December to February) can be chilly, especially at higher elevations.
Getting to Bhutan:
Paro International Airport is the primary entry point, with flights from cities like Bangkok, Kathmandu, Singapore, and Delhi operated by Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. Overland travel from India is possible through border towns such as Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar.
Obtaining travel insurance covering medical expenses, emergency evacuation, and trip interruption is highly recommended. Ensure the policy includes activities like trekking if you plan to engage in such activities.
Currency and Money:
Bhutan's currency is the Ngultrum (BTN), pegged to the Indian Rupee (INR). Indian Rupees are widely accepted, excluding INR 500 and 2,000 notes. Credit cards are accepted at some establishments, but carrying sufficient cash is advisable due to limited and occasionally unreliable ATMs.
Culture and Etiquette:
Bhutan is culturally rich and conservative. Respect local customs, dress modestly at religious sites, remove shoes before entering temples, and refrain from taking photos in restricted areas.
Bhutan utilizes a 230V, 50Hz electrical supply with type D and F power sockets. Carrying a universal adapter ensures compatibility with electronic devices.
Internet and mobile coverage are available in urban areas but may be slow and intermittent in rural regions. For a reliable connection, consider purchasing a local SIM card upon arrival.
By considering these factors and planning accordingly, you'll be well-prepared for a memorable and enjoyable journey to Bhutan.
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