Traveller’s Information for Bhutan

Country Information:

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked state in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by the Republic of India. Further west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim, while further south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.

Facts of Bhutan:

Area : 38,364 sq km (14,812 sq miles)
Capital : Thimphu, largest city in Bhutan
Population : 725,000
People : 101 ethnic group and 92 spoken languages
Language : Dzongkha (official), Nepali, Sharchop, but travel trade people understand and speak English as well.
Religion : Buddhism (official), Hinduism
Currency : 1 ngultrum = 100 chetrum
Political system: Democratic Kingdom

Getting Into Bhutan

There are two ways of getting into Bhutan: By air, and by land. Foreigners can get into Bhutan only through a Tour Company. The best way to enter Bhutan is by Druk Air. Druk Air is the only airline operating in Bhutan. As Druk Air flight can be delayed because of weather, it is advisable to keep a 24-hour gap before any onward international connections. The following cities are connected to Bhutan with Druk Air flights.

India: Delhi (DEL) and Calcutta (CCU)
Nepal: Kathmandu (KTM)
Bangladesh: Dhaka (DAC)
Thailand: Bangkok (BKK)
Burma: Rangoon (RGN

Overland: Entry

There are two overland entry/exit points. One is from the Indian state of West Bengal into Phuntsholing in southwest Bhutan. Four hours drive from Phuntsholing will take you to Bagdogra in the state of West Bengal (India) which is the nearest airport from Phuntsholing. The drive from Phuntsholing to Thimphu takes six hours.

The other point is Samdrup Jongkhar in the southeast, 110 km from Guwahati, India. An Inner Line Permit to enter Assam will also be required to enter/exit through Guwahati. Tashigang is six hours’ drive from Samdrup Jongkhar.

Visa Information:

The visa has to be processed by local tour operators after receiving full payment of tour/trek cost. No foreign mission or embassy abroad grants tourist visa. After your arrival at Paro Airport, a visa stamp will be issued on your passport. In case, if you’re traveling overland, visa stamp will be issued at Phuntsholing. For the visa procedure, you should send us scanned copy of passport. Visas are issued for the duration of the tour you have booked.

Bhutan Climate:

Bhutan has four major seasons:
Winter: December-February
Spring: March-May
Summer: June-August
Autumn: September-November

Best time to visit Bhutan
Autumn: (September, October, and November)
Spring: (March, April and May)

Communication Facilities

Telephone Services:
Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone calls.

Internet Services:
There are several internet cafes and communication centers in the Thimphu Valley and around the country. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.

Forex and Banking
Credit cards are not widely accepted in Bhutan. When credit cards are accepted, usually during bank hours, an extra service fee, usually a percentage of the overall purchase, is charged. ATM facility has recently been opened in Bhutan.

Bhutanese currency is the Ngultrum, divided into Chetrums, which are at a par with the Indian Rupee.

Electricity

Bhutan’s Electricity is 240 Volts and 50 MHZ.

Insurance:
A travel insurance policy that covers trip cancellation, evacuation, theft, loss and medical treatment is recommended.

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