I have but to check out Bhutan, that mysterious nation landlocked among Tibet and India. So when fellow travel blogger and solo female traveler Melissa Douglas of Higher Heels and a Backpack presented this guest post, I couldn’t say no! Bhutan travel is not in my plans but so in the meantime, let Melissa guide you on what you will need to know when traveling in Bhutan.
Nestled deep inside the higher Himalayas, Bhutan is a land exactly where magic and excellent creatures are component of reality and not just a story. It is a land exactly where dragons are stated to have when soared above the skies and exactly where the national hero flew about the nation on the back of a flying tigress.
Intrigued? Of course, you are! As a single of the least visited nations in the planet, there is a cloud of mystery that surrounds the Dragon Kingdom. Let this Bhutan travel guide inform you what you ought to know just before you go.
1. The Expenses of Traveling in Bhutan
Traveling in Bhutan will price you a quite penny. The Bhutanese government imposes a minimum every day charge of $200 ($250 in the peak season) per individual for absolutely everyone who visits Bhutan.
Nonetheless, just before you determine that it is just as well pricey and trot off in search of a much better deal, make certain you are informed about the fees and what they cover.
The aim of this is to reduce the adverse impacts of tourism. It ain’t inexpensive, certain. Nonetheless, it involves quite substantially every thing — your hotel, 3 meals per day, a private tour guide and driver, admission charges, and even bottled water.
When you have paid this charge, you will will need practically no additional revenue through your trip aside from shopping for souvenirs or any additional meals, so when you assume about it, Bhutan may perhaps not finish up that pricey, following all.
two. You Can not Travel by Oneself in Bhutan, You Should Have a Guide
Yup. It may perhaps not be what a badass skilled planet traveler desires to hear but component of the terms of traveling to Bhutan is that you be accompanied by a tour guide and driver at all occasions.
Luckily, that does not imply becoming lumbered with a busload of vacationers trailing about following a guide. In truth, most Bhutan tours are just you and your travel buddies with a private guide.
This can outcome in becoming a seriously optimistic expertise. Most likely, your guide can take you to areas that the locals enjoy, enriching your Bhutan expertise. Verify here for a list of authorized Bhutanese tour corporations.
three. The Visa Approach is Fairly Simple
Whilst it is correct that you will need a visa to travel to Bhutan, getting this could not be additional simple. In reality, you do not seriously will need to do something considering the fact that your tour operator will organize this for you.
Just send your tour operator particulars of your passport and they will take care of the rest. A handful of days prior to departure they will send you a visa confirmation which you will need to print and take with you. On arrival in Bhutan, this will be replaced with a printed visa in your passport.
four. Acquiring to Bhutan Can Be Difficult
There is only a single airline that flies to Bhutan and that is the national carrier Druk Air. As you can picture, there are only a handful of flight routes to Bhutan. Flights leave quite a few occasions a week from the following destinations only:
- Bangladesh — Dhaka
- India – Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, and Guwahati
- Nepal — Kathmandu
- Thailand — Bangkok
five. You Should really Do Your Bhutan Travel For the duration of a Masked Dance Festival
Tshechus, or masked dance festivals, are a enormous component of Bhutanese culture. These festivals date back all the way to the 16th century.
The dances had been initially performed to subdue evil spirits, prepare for battles, or celebrate particular occasions, but they are extremely lovely to watch. For the duration of these events, the Bhutanese dress up in their ideal gho and kira and get pleasure from picnics and loved ones time when watching the performances.
It is not uncommon to spot Bhutanese royalty in the crowd either! These events come about often — just about month-to-month in truth, and it does not price you additional to contain this in your Bhutan travel itinerary.
six. You Should really Prepare Oneself for Higher Altitudes
Due to the fact Bhutan is situated in the Himalayas, amid mountainous terrain, the altitudes are substantially greater than these which you are commonly employed to. In truth, they can variety anyplace from 3000 to 5000 meters above sea level.
Altitude impacts absolutely everyone in unique strategies. Some individuals may perhaps expertise headaches and lightheadedness, other folks are entirely unfazed. It is worth choosing up some altitude sickness tablets (like Sorojchi which is employed in Peru and Bolivia) from your nearby pharmacy prior to departure just in case.
Ginger tea, served everywhere in Bhutan, is also fantastic for nausea.
Take it uncomplicated on your initially handful of days in the nation and enable oneself time to acclimatize to the altitude. When hiking the Tiger’s Nest or other trails, take it slow and rest often. The thin air will have even the most skilled hiker wheezing and panting like an 85-year-old chain smoker.
7. Happiness is Measured. You will Want This Was Your Government.
Bhutan is the only nation in the planet exactly where happiness is measured. As a matter of truth, the government values GNH (Gross National Happiness) additional than they worth GDP!
As component of satisfying national happiness ratings, education and healthcare in Bhutan are entirely cost-free, and the government invests revenue in creating attractions and entertainment facilities that locals will enjoy.
eight. When to Go Traveling in Bhutan
In between October and December, or from March to Could, are the ideal occasions to program your Bhutan itinerary as the temperatures are warm and pleasant with clear blue skies and minimal rainfall.
In between the months of June and September, monsoons make for a humid and sticky atmosphere that can impede your travel plans. January and February are quite cold, and snowfall can make some hiking trails inaccessible.
9. The Language of Bhutan
The official language of Bhutan is Dzong (aka Bhutanese) nonetheless, most individuals in the nation speak English.
You may perhaps be shocked by the extent of this. Due to the fact most Bhutanese individuals should study English at college, even these in the most remote and isolated locations will be in a position to communicate with you.
10. The Availability of WiFi
However, the WiFi circumstance in Bhutan leaves a lot to be preferred. Basically, you ought to appear at your time in Bhutan as an chance to switch off and get pleasure from what is taking place about you rather than by means of the digital planet.
The world-wide-web in most hotels is patchy at ideal and its connectivity is typically restricted to the reception locations.
11. You Should really Get a Bhutanese SIM Card
If you want to use information so you can keep somewhat connected, choose up a Bhutanese SIM card when you arrive in the nation. You can get a Tashi cell prepaid SIM with 400 MB information for 350 ngultrums (about $four.50).
The connection is fantastic sufficient to verify emails and social media. There are lots of areas to choose up SIM cards in Thimphu. Ask your guide to point you to a shop.
12. Be Confident to Carry Adequate Money!
ATMs are not extensively out there in Bhutan and you will seldom ever encounter shops or restaurants that accept credit card payments. There are a handful of ATMs in Thimphu, but all through the rest of the nation, you may perhaps discover that the ATMs are broken or out of order.
For a week in Bhutan, about $100 of extra funds ought to be sufficient to cover any souvenirs or additional costs.
13. Realize the Currency of Bhutan
The official currency of Bhutan is ngultrum and is at present pegged to the Indian rupee. There is a currency exchange at Paro airport and yet another in Thimphu.
To be truthful, the price seriously didn’t differ quite substantially at all among the two. US dollars are also accepted at a lot of hotels and tourist shops. Click here for the present exchange price.
14. Bhutanese Meals is Spicy
Traditionally, Bhutanese meals is ready with lots of fresh chilies and as such, it is extremely spicy.
Several restaurants and hotels automatically prepare a milder version of dishes for foreign travelers nonetheless, if you are intrigued to attempt items the genuine Bhutanese way, you can request it. Be certain to order up a plate of ema datshi — melted yaks cheese served with chopped chilies (additional scrumptious than it sounds!).
Have you been to Bhutan? How was your expertise?
About the Author
Melissa Douglas is a complete time travel writer and blogger from the UK who left the corporate planet in search of a additional adventurous existence. She aims to push the boundaries of solo female travel and spends most of her time exploring unconventional and off the beaten path destinations – from the Middle East, to the Silk Road, and everywhere in among. Adhere to her on Higher Heels and a Backpack, and by means of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.