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Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked nation in South Asia. It is located amid the eastern end of the Himalaya Mountains and is bordered to the south, east and west by India and to the north by Tibet. Bhutan used to be one of the most isolated nations in the world, but developments including direct international flights, internet, mobile phone networks, have increasingly opened the doors. Yet, the government takes great measures to preserve the nation’s traditional culture, identity and the environment. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 23,000 feet. The population is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism being the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu.
PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS FOR BHUTAN TOURS
A passport that is valid for at least six months after the end of your trip is required for both U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter and depart the country. Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR BHUTAN TOURS
We will apply for your Bhutan visa once final tour payment is received and we will require the following: Scanned, color passport copy (both picture page and details page) sent via email. The picture must be clear. This must also be the passport you intend to travel with.
A visa clearance document will be emailed to you roughly 2 weeks prior to your arrival date. This visa document is required for checking in at the airport, for boarding Druk Air flights, and at the immigration check point in Samdrup Jongkhar and Phuntsholing for those entering/exiting by surface. Actual visas will be stamped into your passport on arrival at the the Paro airport or at your immigration check point.
INSURANCE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BHUTAN TOURS
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR BHUTAN TOURS
No vaccinations are required to enter Bhutan. It is recommended to be up to date with your routine vaccinations.
Other recommended (but not necessary) vaccines include:
Some vaccines require more than one dose or a major length of time to be effective. For that reason, it is recommended to see your doctor or health provider at least 6 to 8 weeks before your trip. For all vaccinations and health requirements, you can also refer to the recommendations from:
World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
MEDICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR BHUTAN TOURS
If there are any medical items essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
Other recommended Items:
WEATHER, SEASONS AND CLIMATE IN BHUTAN
Weather in Bhutan varies widely depending on altitude and season. In the southern regions the average annual temperature ranges from 15°C in winter to 30°C in summer. The higher mountain regions however, see 0°C in winter and 10°C in summer. The mountains receive perpetual snow while the rest of Bhutan receives more rainfall than any other Himalayan region.
For up-to-date forecasts check: weather.com
CLOTHING AND ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR BHUTAN TRAVEL
Comfortable clothing and sturdy, soft-soled shoes are essential for travel in Bhutan. Warm clothing is recommended; and except for summer months, down jackets and woolen sweaters are suggested. In summer, heavy cottons and lightweight woolens will be acceptable. Differences in altitude account for a wide range of temperatures from day to night the year round. It is, therefore, suggested that clothing be layered so that you can adapt to the changing conditions.
While visiting temples and other religious institutions, dress modestly and respectfully. Slacks are more appropriate for men; and longer – length skirts are more appropriate for women. Shoulders must also be covered when inside religious buildings. Also refrain from smoking while on the premises. Please keep in mind that shoes must be removed when entering temples. It is, therefore, suggested that you carry a pair of socks to wear inside religious buildings.
The following is fairly exhaustive list of what you should pack for the trip ; clothes as per season, sunglasses / spare glasses, pair of casual shoes, knife, hat, umbrella, camera, films and accessories, insect repellent, hand cream, small sewing kit & safety pins, torch or flash light with spare batteries, mirror, scissor, sun cream, lip salve, soluble aspirin, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-diarrhea pills, a preparation for the relief of sunburn and any medication you take regularly.
Bhutan’s landscape, buildings and people are some of the most photogenic in the world. While photographic local people, it is always better to take permission first. Don’t take your destination as a living museum. There are certain places such as monasteries and temples, where photography is prohibited however there is no restriction on photographing Dzongs and Goembas from outside. If you are uncertain about whether or not photography is permitted, please check with your local guide. You should refrain from taking pictures of military installations.
ELECTRICITY, PHONE AND INTERNET IN BHUTAN
Electricity: 220V is used throughout the country with either a type C or D plug socket.
Phone: Roaming charges vary between carriers, but tend to be quite costly. Consult your phone provider prior to departure to discuss overseas rates and international package options.
Internet: Most hotels also provide internet services. If you are out in the wilderness however, it will probably not be possible to find a connection.
CURRENCY IN BHUTAN
Bhutan uses both the Indian Rupee and Bhutanese Ngultrum. It is suggested to bring USD as it is widely accepted, and can be exchanged into Rupee locally. . Your bankcard may work using ATM’s in the larger cities, but will not be an option in the more rural parts of the country. Visa or MasterCard are accepted again in larger cities, but should not be relied on, as processing fees can be high. You will need a 4-digit PIN to be able to use your cards. For current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com
QUICK FACTS FOR A BHUTAN TOUR
Currency: Ngultrum (BTN)
Religion: Vajrayana Buddhist
Time Zone: GMT +6
Electricity: 220 Volt, 50 Hz
Telephone: Country code for calling is 975
Calling North America: Dial 001 plus area code and your 7-digit number
Emergency numbers in Bhutan: Police: 113, Fire: 110, Ambulance: 112.