Situated in the east side of the enormous and gorgeous Himalayas, Bhutan is visualized as the land of monasteries, temples and of course, mesmerizing natural beauty and one of the most eye-catching wilderness. The country is unlike any other. There are unprecedented travel experiences, hiking, trekking, adventure, and spiritual that entice every visitor. PErtinently, Bhutan opened it’s borders for tourists after 1974, but more and more number of visitors are now visiting the country that contributes in making revenue for the country. The “High value, low impact” slogan which fits with its sustainable methodology, has been in the tourism policy of Bhutan ever since that implies exclusivity and high production for the kingdom.
If you fancy a trip to this wonderful Himalayan country, here are a few things to consider before you start packing your bags.
1)Best time to visit Bhutan?
The ideal time to tour Bhutan is during the spring season, i.e from March to May. It’s the time when flowers are blossoming, skies are clear and clearly visible Himalayan peaks. From June to August, the tourist season is all time low because of the incessant rains that significantly restrict the tourist activities, such as trekking and sightseeing. But of course, travelling in this season would be least expensive than in peak seasons when the rush of visitors is quite high.
Since the country is also known for it’s buoyant and vigorous religious festivals, many people from all over the world like to witness the enthralling gala. These religious festivals and events are known as Tshechus, which means “10th day” and every temple and monastery hosts their Tshechu on the 10th of their selected month. These festivals are regarded with high respect and people gather together for masked dances and receive blessings from their deities. These special events and festivals particularly attract visitors, creating a unique and remarkable aura. It also familiarises foreign people with the traditions,culture and history of Bhutan.
2) Choosing a tour operator
Travelling to Bhutan cannot be decided in a jiffy. The government of Bhutan requires tourists to plan their journey in advance and book their tour, artrange their visas, etc through government approved tour operators. It’s all pre-paid. The tourist fee per person per day is $200-250, including accommodation, food and travel within the country and an assigned travel guide. However citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives do not require a visa to visit Bhutan.
3) Food in Bhutan
The food in Bhutan is mostly quite spicy and almost every meal includes chillies. If you are not used to eating spicy food, you can ask for anything with no chillies. They will politely oblige. Rice and meat dishes are the staples. However veggies, momos and dumplings are also also available widely.
4) Dress Code
The traditional dress of Bhutan is a “gho” for men and “kira” for women. Gho is a long, knee-length robe like garment, wrapped around and held with a belt, while kira is an ankle-length dress accompanied by a jacket called “Tego”, with an inner layer known as a “Wonju”. The local people wear them on all occasions, in temples monasteries and Dzongs, etc. But visitors are not necessarily required to wear them. However while visiting their temples and other religious places, it’s important to ensure that you are covered. You must also remove your hat or cap if you are near their national flag, and remove your footwear as well when entering a holy place, such as a temple or a monastery.
The language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. However, taxi drivers, shopkeepers, hotel and restaurant staff can speak and understand English quite well.
People of Bhutan are quite friendly. However they are shy too. If you want to take a picture of the local people there, seek permission first. However, avoid clicking pictures of any member from the Royal family. This could land you in trouble otherwise.
Photographing their temples and Dzongs is permitted but not where their deities are placed. Also keep in mind that wherever you require to take off your shoes, clicking pictures is prohibited. However you can always take help from you local tour guide.
7) Smoking is prohibited in Bhutan
Just like any other country, Bhutan also has it’s rules and regulations. It is imperative upon visitors to strictly adhere to them. The country has a stern and uncompromising policy for tobacco consumption. Smoking is totally banned at public places in Bhutan. However foreign tourists are allowed to carry a maximum of 200 cigarettes and you can find a hotel, restaurant or a bar to smoke. If you are caught smoking at a public place or their religious place, a high amount of fine can be imposed on you and you could even be sentenced jail.
8) Do not disrespect the tradition or the Royals
The Royals are considered the incarnation of their Gods and deities. So any indecent and rude remark towards the royals will not be appreciated. Make sure you do not mock them.
9) ATMs in Bhutan
ATMs are easily available in most parts of Bhutan. However the transaction charges might be variable. Foreign currency can be exchanged for the local currency when you land in Bhutan.
10) Get a local SIM card.
There is no guarantee that your SIM card would work in Bhutan, as there is a handful of mobile service providers in the country. However you can get a local SIM quite easily to stay connected. You will need your passport You tour guide would help you getting one.
After having read about the kingdom, you must be certainly be excited for a Bhutan tour. If you desire a smooth, cheerful and hassle free tour experience, you can always count on bookmytour.bt for a trip to cherish, as we offer a wide range of packages that suit you best.
This article is a contribution of Ram Narayan Mandal.
About the Author:
Ram Narayan Mandal, is a content manager at the BookMyTour.
He basically used to write about the topic that helps people to understand better about Bhutan.