Bhutan Travel Information
The mysterious land of the Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked country blessed with immense beauty and distinctive spirituality. The country opened its door to the outer world only in 1974 AD. Ever since, the peaceful monasteries and Dzongs, the picturesque hiking trails, and the unique cultural valleys of Bhutan have been captivating increasing numbers of tourists every year.
The Bhutanese heartily welcome other people into their land. However, they are reserved and respect their culture and nature immensely. The government of Bhutan makes sure that western influence remains at the minimum.The government makes sure to preserve culture and nature through strictly controlled tourism.
Entry Permit and Visa Fee of Bhutan
Visitors except for Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldivian nationalswill require an entry permit to travel to Bhutan. This entry permit can be arranged before the journey,through agentswho are registered at the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
The visa fee is USD40. Along with it, all the expenses of the holiday needs to be paid in advance. The holiday charge costs USD200 per day during off-seasons (December-February and June- August), which increases up to USD250 in other months.
How to enter Bhutan?
There are two ways of reaching Bhutan, through India or Nepal. Through India, one can reach Bhutan by flight or by road. There is a daily direct flight from Kolkata to Paro airport, the only international airport in Bhutan. Other than that, there are other connecting flights from Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. To reach Bhutan by road, one will have to catch a bus from Kolkata and cross the border town of Phuntsholing in Bhutan.
From Nepal, there aredaily direct flights by Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. If one intends to go by road from Nepal, the only way is through Kakarbhitta, crossing Siliguri in India, and then entering Phuntsholing in Bhutan.
Best places of Bhutan to visit
The popular destinations in Bhutan are either natural or religious, i.e., mountains and lakesor Dzongs and monasteries. Among them, Trongsa Dzong is the most famous and the largest religious site situated at the center of the country, followed by Punakha fortress, and Tashichho Dzong. These Dzongs are not only religious sites.In most cases, they also act as the administrative office for the district they are located in.
Bhutan is also famous for trekking and enthralling sceneries. The Thousand Lake Trek is famous for the view of Everest, Jomolhari, and Tiger Mountain peaks. Likewise, Jomolhari Trek enables trekkers to gaze at Mt. Jomolhari closely. Another trek known as the Druk Path Trek holds stunning views of the tallest peak in Bhutan, Mt. Gangkhar Puensum.
Internet and Communication in Bhutan
The Internet was introduced in Bhutan only in 1999. However, almost all areas have 3G network coverage today. Tourists can buy a special tourist SIM card from authorized centers. The SIM card costs 200 Ngultrum and is valid for 90 days. In bigger cities, like Paro, Thimpu, and Phuntsholing, hotels, cafes, and bars provide free Wi-Fi, and there are plenty of cybercafés as well.
Buying a tourist SIM card is easy in Bhutan.One only requires a photocopy of their passport to obtain the SIM. The network is good in cities but might be bad while traveling on the road and some valleys.
Currency or Money of Bhutan
While traveling to Bhutan, it is better to carry American Dollars, because it is easier to exchange, or Indian currency, as it is easily accepted (except 500, 1000 and 2000 denominations). However, other major currencies like Pound Sterling, Euro, Yen, Franc, and Canadian and Australian dollars are easily exchanged in Paro International Airport.
Climate and Temperature of Bhutan
The kingdom of Bhutan has a humid subtropical climate. During winters (November to February), the temperature decreases to 15 degrees. In regions above 3000 meters, there will be snowfall in wintertime. The spring season(March to May) is dry with an average temperature between 15 degrees to 25 degrees. During the rest of the months, the temperature remains between 25 to 30 degrees. From late June to late September, the monsoon lasts with an average rainfall of 1000 cm.
Culture and Festivals of Bhutan
All Bhutanese follow Buddhism. One of their most important festivalsis Tshechu. Tshechu means “day 10”. This is an annual religious festival celebrated in different districts at different times.
During Tshechu, monks wear a colorful robe, put on a mask and performsacred dances. The most famous Tshechu are Paro Tsechu, Thimpu Tsechu, Wangduephodrang Tsechu, and Jambay Lakhang Drip. There are other seasonal festivals as well like the Haa summer festival celebrated during the summer season. Also, theBlack-necked crane festival is celebrated on the arrival of black-necked cranes.
The people of Bhutan are the happiest people on Earth as per the World Happiness Index. The Bhutanese value spirituality more than any materialistic need. They are kind, helpful, and friendly.