Travel Tips to Bhutan

Difference with UsIf you are travelling to Bhutan, fell free to email us at inquiry@ravenbhutan.com for any travelling tips. General tips are given below:

MONEY and BANKS in Bhutan

The currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is pegged at par to the Indian Rupee, which is also accepted as legal tender in Bhutan.

International ATM cards like the MasterCard, Visa, Maestro Card and the POS (point of sale) and the US dollar and the Euro is also accepted in high-end hotels and select tourist catering shops like restaurants and souvenir and handicraft shops.

You can also use the international cards in local ATMs to withdraw money in local currency. ATM machines exist in main towns around the country. Nonetheless, you are advised to bring in hard cash in US dollars or Euros and not depend on ATM services.

Bhutan has five commercial banks all of which provide Internet banking services. The commercial banks are Bank of Bhutan Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Bhutan Development Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank.

TRAVEL/MEDICAL INSURANCE

You are recommended to take travel insurance when you travel internationally. If you come to Bhutan, you are also recommended to take travel insurance on you own, as we do not provide you the service.

If you wish to take the service from Bhutan, you visit the insurance provider in Bhutan at their website www.ricb.com.bt for more information.

HEALTH SERVICES IN BHUTAN

There are hospitals in all major towns in Bhutan. In case of emergencies, tourists can avail free medical services. In fact, medical services are also free for all Bhutanese citizens.

In remote places, there are small health outlets called the Basic Health Units (BHU).

CUSTOM RESTRICTIONS

Articles exempted of duty include:

(a) Personal effects and articles for day to day use by the tourist
(b) 1 liter of alcohol (spirits or wine)
(c) 200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%
(d) Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use
(e) Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use.

All visitors have to complete the passenger declaration form at your port of entry.

If you are bringing any items into Bhutan as sale of gift, it may be liable for customs duty.

When you are in Bhutan, please be cautious to buy old and used items particularly if they have religious or cultural value because you would have to produce a clearance certificate to take it out of the country. When you exit the country, you would have to fill out a departure form for the Customs department.

Import/export of the following goods is strictly prohibited:
(a) Arms, ammunitions and explosives
(b) All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs
(c) Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
(d) Antiques

Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival.

SMOKING RESTRICTION

Bhutan was the first country in the world to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in the country and has a stringent Tobacco Act in place. You can bring in a maximum of 200 cigarette sticks subject to a custom duty of 200 percent.

There are smoking places in most hotels and restaurants and you are advised to be mindful of smoking in public places.

BEST VIEW FROM FLIGHTS

The scenery of the mighty Himalayas from the flights to Bhutan is a treat. To get the best scenery of the Himalayas you are recommended to ask for seats on the left side of the plane while getting your boarding tickets while flying into Bhutan. You can ask for seats on the right side of the place while flying out of Bhutan.

CLOTHES

Bhutan is a mountainous country and altitudes change within short distances and the weather changes accordingly. As such, be prepared to experience drastic weather variations. If you are visiting Bhutan in winter (November to January), bring in warm cloths, as it may be very cold with the temperature hitting below zero at night.

All tourists are expected to dress decently when you visit formal institutions in Bhutan like monasteries, Dzongs (fortresses) and government offices. In such places, you can dress up in long trousers and full-sleeved tops. You would also be expected to remove your caps or hats as a mark of respect.

COMMUNICATIONS

All literate native Bhutanese speaks good English. If you wish to get specialized guides in Bhutan who speak other languages like Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, or any other language, Raven Tours provides the service upon request and it may be subject to a fee.

Bhutan also has good telecommunication facilities. Most of the hotels and restaurants provide Wi-Fi Internet services. Bhutan also has good cellular phone network with global roaming services.

TIME

The Standard time in Bhutan is 6 hours ahead of GMT.

PRECAUTIONS

In capital Thimphu and other towns, tourists often complain about stray dogs because of which they have problems to sleep at night. As such, you are recommended to bring in earplugs, which would be handy.