Bhutan is a small yet fascinating country. A lot of travellers all over the globe visit Bhutan every year. Even though the pandemic has dampened the travelling plans of several people, do not worry! As the travelling restrictions are being loosened up, people are planning to travel to Bhutan again. However, just like any other country, Bhutan has a list of travel requirements. In order to enjoy the serene scenery and the fresh air of the mountains of Bhutan, it is important to know about these travel requirements in this country:
- Visa issues
Only a few selected countries’ citizens do not require a visa to travel to Bhutan. The rest of the world needs to apply for a visa to travel to this country. According to the Bhutan travel requirements, Bangladeshis, Indians as well as Maldivians do not need to apply for one. All they need is a valid passport, which can be used for at least 6 months.
- Means to travel
There are two ways by which one can travel to Bhutan. You can choose to travel by land to Bhutan. However, it is only a feasible option for people who are travelling from India. Currently, only three land borders are open for tourists’ entry – Samdrup, Gelephu, and Phuentsholing. Apart from land, you can also take a flight to travel to Bhutan. This is a more relaxing way to reach Bhutan. There is only one international airport in Bhutan – Paro. It is an hour-long drive from the town of Thimpu.
- Bhutanese Currency
It is important to know about the currency of the country that you want to visit. It will help you to establish a budget for yourself when you visit Bhutan. Hundred Bhutanese Ngultrum is equal to $ 1.5. One might consider Bhutan as a developing country, but there are several amenities that you can avail yourself of once you travel there. There are several banks as well as ATMs available all over the country. The local banks’ withdrawal limit is around $600 everyday.
- Bhutan’s Accommodation
A lot of travellers in Bhutan prefer to stay in camps as well as home-stays. When one hears about home-stays, it doesn’t sound c attractive. Homestays work differently in Bhutan. Most of the homestays are designed like a five-star hotel with a lot of amenities. You can even choose to get a tent for you and your companions. Several people opt for camping. The tents that are provided in Bhutan are extremely luxurious.
- Best time to visit Bhutan
Every country has a suitable time when you can enjoy travelling during a particular period of time. The tourist season in Bhutan lasts all around the year. You can observe four beautiful seasons in Bhutan. These seasons have their characteristics, and it depends on your choice when you want to visit. The summer season lasts from June to August. The country is filled with greenery ad the weather is not extremely warm line tropical countries. The autumn season lasts from October to November. The scenery gradually improves in autumn as the crops are ready to be harvested, and the leaves turn a bright golden colour before they fall off. The winter season lasts from December to February. It is extremely cold in Bhutan during the winters. A lot of people visit the country at this time to catch a glimpse of the snow-covered Himalayas. The final season is spring, which lasts from March to May. There are a lot of flowers that bloom all over the country. Most of the tourists like to visit Bhutan during this season.
- Food availability
The Bhutanese food is extremely spicy. This is mainly due to increasing the body temperature during extremely cold weather. Whether it is breakfast or dinner – chili pepper is a staple. You can always ask for a non-spicy s dish. However, most of the local food joints serve food in buffet style. Some of the popular food items include Ema Datshi (cheese along with chillies), Jasha Maru or Maaro (extremely spicy chicken), phaksha pa (pork with lots of red chillies), momos as well red rice.
- Don’t get freaked out by phallic statues
A lot of travellers are unaware of the phallic nature of the statues in Bhutan. However, it is an important part of the Bhutanese culture. There are images of the penis that is expressed through drama, art as well as statues. All of this is influenced by the teachings of world-famous Buddhist Ki Drukpa Kunley. The rituals are extremely strange in Nepal, such as touching a two-foot-long penis statue to get blessed with a child.
- No mountaineering
Ever been to a country that is filled with mountains, but mountaineering is banned? It is in Bhutan. Mountains are considered extremely sacred in the country; hence, mountaineering is seen as a sign of disrespect. Some folktales suggest that mountaineering may damage the crops, and hence, the Bhutanese do not want to take any chances.
- Smoking is banned
Bhutan is one of the few countries where selling tobacco is banned. However, you can carry upto 200 cigarettes and smoke them privately. You might see that a few bars and pubs might allow you to smoke. But it is against the law, and you can fall into trouble if you get caught. Smuggling tobacco in Bhutan can get you imprisoned for around 3 years.
- Hiring a touring company
Unfortunately, not everyone can travel to Bhutan independently. You need to hire a touring company to travel to Bhutan. Independent travel is allowed for Bangladeshis, Maldivian, and Indians. But the government prefers that you arrive as a guest of the government, through these companies. It helps them to boost their economy. Travelling between two cities in Bhutan without a tourist guide is discouraged. If you are from the West, you need to hire a company in order to get your visa approved by the Government.
These are a few Bhutan travel advice that you need to know. Understanding the country that you plan on visiting will help you with your stay. You will be comfortable and less shocked when you hear about strange customs. What are you waiting for? Book your tickets now to roam around in the beautiful country of Bhutan!