Before coming to Bhutan, make sure that you have Travel/Medical Insurance.
The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Limited (RICBL) has initiated a travel and medial scheme solely for our visitors, so it is important that you get detailed information about the insurance scheme from your travel agents here in Bhutan. You may also visit the web site at www.ricb.com.bt
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.), which equates to the Indian rupee. It is, however, recommended that you carry travelers’ cheque or cash, preferably American Express and US dollars as the ATM facilities for foreign currency are limited to just a few towns. Visa and American Express credit cards are widely accepted.
Financial institutions in Bhutan have improved greatly and today we have a number of banks to cater to your needs. These include the Bank of Bhutan Limited (BoB), the Bhutan National Bank (BNB), the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank. Most of these banks now provide SMS and Internet banking services. ATM facilities are located in a number of places including Thimphu and the border town of Phuentsholing. Travelers’ cheques can be easily withdrawn and exchanged for local currency. However, as you travel into the interior, ATM and internet facilities are almost non-existent and we suggest that you do any financial transactions 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 outlets. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Almost every town has an internet cafe and IDD calling booths from where you can log on. Most hotels in Thimphu and Paro have internet access.
Bhutan experiences a great variation in its climate. Summers are warm with average daily temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 Celsius, while winters are harsh and cold. In winter temperatures can drop below 15 Celsius so warm clothes are essential. Other things that could come in handy are sunglasses, sun screen lotion and a hat, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-diarrhea pills, altitude & car sickness medicine; insect repellent, flash light (w/spare batteries) umbrella, camera, films and accessories (including spare camera batteries) etc.
Bhutan is an ideal place for photography. Trekking and sightseeing will provide you with a host of photographic opportunities. However, you may need to check with your guide before taking photographs inside Dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions, as you may need special permission from the Department of Culture.
For people who love shopping and taking home gifts, Bhutan offers a variety of goods particularly textiles. You can find hand-woven textiles either in raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven cane and bamboo baskets, and wooden bowls (known as Dapas), handmade paper products or finely crafted silver ware. You can also shop for thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamp. You will find these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Clothes and other paraphernalia
with great attitudinal variations, the weather can be quite erratic in Bhutan. So be prepared. We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if they are planning a visit to the monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. As a mark of respect, please remove your hats, caps etc. When you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place
Bhutan Standard Time (BST) is 6 hours ahead of GMT. The whole country has the same time zone.
Over the years, many good quality hotels have been developed in Bhutan. Hotels can be found not only in Thimpu and Paro but also Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. The hotels are warm, comfortable, well maintained and known for their hospitality and welcoming ambience. 5 Star hotels are mostly located in Thimphu, and Paro. Away from town, you may want to camp outside in the forest or make a night halt at the purpose-built in cabins dotted along the main trekking routes.
Most Bhutanese dishes are rich and spicy with a lot of cheese and chilli. It is advisable that visitors stick to the Chinese, Continental or Indian cuisine that is served in most restaurants. You may want to try out momos, which are Tibetan dumplings and if you dare the famous Ema Datshi served with cheese and chili, which is the national dish of Bhutan.
Weights and measures
Bhutan has a standard system of weights and measurements in place with most items being measured in grams (g) and kilograms (kg). Most of the shop keepers in the capital city make use of electronic weighing scales however, as you travel further east, you will find the ordinary weighing scale in place.