Bhutan at a glance
Location: China (Tibet) in the north and India in the east, west and south
Area: 38,394 sq.km.
Altitude: 300 metres in the south to 7000 metres in the north
Local time: 6 hours ahead of GMT
Currency: Ngultrum (same value as the Indian Rupee)
Religion: Mahayana Buddhism
National language: Dzongkha
National Day: 17 December
National sport: Archery
National Tree: Cyprus (Cupresses Corneyana)
National Flower: Blue Poppy (Mecanopsis Grandis)
National Animal: Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor)
National Bird: Raven (Corvus Corax Tibetanus)
Electricity: 220/240 volts
Local Time of Bhutan: Bhutan Standard Time (BST) is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Language of Bhutan: The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. English is the medium of instruction in all the schools in Bhutan and is widely spoken in the main towns of the country
Money of Bhutan: The currency of Bhutan is Ngultrum (Nu.), with 1 Ngultrum = 100 Chetrums. It has the same value as the Indian rupee. Tourists are advised to carry travelers’ cheques (preferably American Express) and a small amount of cash (US Dollars). Some of the hotels and a few stores in Thimphu accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards. The exchange rate is, 1 USD $ is equivalent to about Nu. 44.5
Internet service of Bhutan: There are abundant internet access facilities in Thimphu but once you proceed further to central and eastern Bhutan, you will have limited access to them. The rates are very reasonable. However, international telephone and fax services are excellent and available in all the towns.
Climate & Temperatures of Bhutan:
The climate varies widely, depending upon the elevation. The southern plains experience a humid tropical climate; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys while the northern Himalayan region have severe winters and cool summers. The climate in the northern Himalayan regions and parts of central Bhutan are harsh, with monsoon rains in summer and heavy snowfalls in winter, which frequently block the passes leading into central valleys.
Winter in Bhutan is from mid-November until mid-March and summer from June until August with monsoon rains.
Clothing of Bhutan:
Cotton clothes are sufficient from May until September but warm clothes are very much necessary from November to the end of April. However, visitors are advised to carry clothes consisting of layers (or preferably woolen sweater and jacket) throughout the season, as weather may change at anytime. Formal dress is also required for visitors attending festivals or if you are in the company of high government official members.
Other recommended items are: comfortable shoes, sun glasses, sun hats, mountain boots for trekkers, down jacket (required in winter only), sun block cream, lip balm, flash light, insect repellant, ear plugs, pair of casual shoes, umbrella, antiseptic cream, anti diarrhea medicine, camera and accessories.
Photography in Bhutan:
Always follow the guide’s instruction carefully while taking the photographs and recording with a video camera, especially in Dzongs and monasteries where photography in some of its places are strictly prohibited. However, there is an immense opportunity to take photographs on your entire trip, but always be polite and seek permission before taking photographs of the local people and their houses.
Carry enough batteries as some may not be readily available and slide films are more difficult to obtain.
Electricity in Bhutan:
The electricity power supply of Bhutan is 220/240 volts. Make sure you have international converter kit, charger and adapter plugs, if you are carrying electrical appliances.
Food of Bhutan:
Bhutanese food is usually hot with spicy chilies and cheese. However, the Department of Tourism (DOT) approved hotels and lodges also serve Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisine for the visitors. For trekkers, our cooks will prepare and serve the best dishes from Continental to Chinese, Indian and Bhutanese cuisine.
Accommodation in Bhutan:
All the hotels, guest houses and lodges are selected and approved by the government. There is no star categorization of hotels. However, all the lodges provide fairly comfortable rooms. Hotels in western Bhutan have better accommodation facilities than in central and eastern Bhutan.
Guides: You will be accompanied by our English speaking guides throughout the trips. All the guides are well trained and certified by the government of Bhutan. French, German and Japanese speaking guides can also be arranged for a group of three or more persons upon the additional fees.
Transportation of Bhutan:
We use 4WD Japanese Toyota vehicles such as Hilux and Land-cruisers for a group 1-2 persons, Hiace bus for a group of 3- 7 persons and Deluxe Coaster bus for group 8 – 20 persons. All these vehicles are periodically checked and maintained, and will be at your disposal at all times, with the drivers.