Before the trip to Bhutan

Passport, visa and customs
The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the return journey and contain 2 unstamped pages. Your passport must not be cracked or otherwise broken. Visas must be granted before departure and can therefore not be applied for on the spot. Granted visas are stamped in your passport upon arrival in Bhutan. Before departure, we need a copy of your passport and a passport photo before the visa application. Upon arrival, each individual traveler must also submit 2 additional passport photos to the authorities. Visa is valid for 15 days. Cameras, telephones, computers and other electronics must be declared on arrival and also shown on departure. There are some restrictions on the importation of tobacco products as it is not allowed to sell or buy such in Bhutan. Importation of spirits is limited to 2 liters. It is not allowed to bring in or bring in antiques, plants or animal products. In case of doubt, ask your local guide for more information on arrival.

Before the trip to Bhutan 3

Vaccinations and health
No vaccinations are mandatory for entry into Bhutan. However, we recommend our travelers to review their basic protection and contact a doctor, vaccination clinic or health center for possible. vaccinations well in advance of departure. The authorities in Bhutan require a certificate showing that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever if you have recently visited certain countries in Africa and South America where there is a risk of the disease. Do not drink tap water. There is bottled mineral water to buy. Also use mineral water when brushing your teeth. Avoid raw vegetables, ice cream and ice cubes. In Bhutan, there are simpler hospitals and pharmacies available in the cities, but in the event of more serious illnesses or accidents, ambulance transport to other countries may be necessary. Therefore, check your insurance (s) carefully before departure.

Weather and clothing
You can go to Bhutan all year round, but many travelers avoid the rainy season (mid-June-September). Some believe that the best time to visit Bhutan is late autumn (September, November) as it is then usually clear and mild weather. Others prefer the spring months (March, April, May) because you can then enjoy the splendor of flowers along the mountainside. The winter months (December, January, February) are also fantastically beautiful, but it can get very cold and roads can be closed in case of heavy snowfall. When visiting sacred places, remember to dress appropriately (ie avoid too short shorts and dresses).

Before the trip to Bhutan 2

Climate table for Thimphu

Thimphu Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Christmas Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max ° C 12 14 16 20 23 24 19 25 23 22 18 15
Min ° C -3 1 4 7 13 15 13 16 15 10 5 -1
Precipitation etc. 7 15 25 32 30 54 100 106 61 24 7 2

Currency and exchange
rate Bhutan’s currency is Ngultrum (BTN) and is divided into 100 Chetrums. Indian Rupees (INR) are also widely used in many parts of the country. Switch to BTN from USD, Euro or INR at the airport, bank branch or major city hotels. Some more expensive craft products can be paid for in USD. There are still no ATMs in the country that accept foreign cards. Credit cards such as American Express and Visa are only accepted in a few stores. In rural areas, only cash applies.

Transport and communications
Our excursion buses are equipped with air conditioning. Taxis are available in larger communities. Taking a taxi in Bhutan is cheap but the cars are not always equipped with taximeters. Your mobile phone is not supposed to work in Bhutan. If you need to call home, you can do so at the hotel or at special telephone offices. Check the price before you call. Some hotels and restaurants now provide internet service at reasonable prices. There are also internet cafes in larger communities.

Public security is high in Bhutan, but as in all other countries, thefts can occur. Keep a copy of your valuables such as passports and visas in a safe place.

Food and drinks
Bhutan’s national dish is called Emadatse, red chili in a kind of cheese sauce. The dish is available in a variety of local varieties. Chili is very popular in the country, but the Bhutanese also like to use other spices such as cardamom, cumin and turmeric in their cooking. Feel free to try Bhutan’s red rice, which is only grown in the Himalayas. It has a nutty taste and gets a pink hue after cooking. Tea from Darjeeling and Assam is common and is drunk with butter or milk. Locally brewed beer or rice wine can be enjoyed every day of the week except Tuesdays. On that day, no alcohol is served in the country. Most Bhutanese like spicy dishes but the versions served in hotels are usually a little milder. In addition, the hotel restaurants usually serve Chinese, Indian and continental dishes and usually plenty of vegetarian options.

Shopping – gifts
In Bhutan, it is unusual to bargain. Popular souvenirs are, for example, traditional crafts such as hand-woven textiles in unique designs, well-made jewelery and masks. The products are in most cases handicrafts in the true sense of the word and not mass-produced. However, one should be aware that some goods, such as Buddha images, silver bowls and ritual objects, may nevertheless be made in Nepal.

Other information
Local time: Bhutan is 5 hours before Swedish time (winter time).
Electricity: 230-240 volts, 50 Hz. Adapter recommended.
Tips: Officially, the authorities do not want to encourage the practice of giving tips, but it has become more common.
Language: The national language of Bhutan is dzongkha which is the dialect spoken mainly in the western region. The language is related to Tibetan and the Tibetan alphabet serves as a written language. Other dialects are bumthangkha, khyengkha and sharchopkha. In the southern parts of the country, many Nepalis speak. Government officials and business people with higher education can usually speak English.
Baggage: It sometimes happens that the checked baggage gets lost. Therefore, pack important medicines with a certificate from your doctor in your hand luggage. The same goes for valuables. Label all your luggage carefully with the luggage tags you receive with the tickets. This is important as these notes are our identification at the airport and at our hotels. It is good to have a proper, lockable suitcase because the bags are not always handled carefully.
Photography: Photography or filming is not always allowed in temples or other holy places. Therefore, ask the local guide if you are unsure.

Before the trip to Bhutan