Bhutan, the Buddhist Kingdom nested away in the Himalayas, the perfect place to plan a vacation to encounter thrilling adventures and make wonderful lasting memories. With one of the most offbeat and immersive cultures to explore, Bhutan should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Like any other part of the world, its best to know a few things before you go off on an adventure in the Land of the Thundering Dragon.
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1.Peak Season vs. Non-Peak Season
Bhutan gets really touristy and crowded during the months of October and November. However it is a great time to witness festivals and cultural events there. If your not one for mainstream, touristy attractions, then book you tour in the off-season. You might save some money in doing so as well.
2.Larger Groups Can Save You Money
Bhutan requires tourists to pay an average of $200-$250 per day. However, groups of two people or less may have to pay a surcharge of $40 on top of that. So travel in groups to avoid the extra hit on your wallet.
Check out our exciting group trip to the Mushroom Festival in Bhutan.
3.Best Time To Visit
The country is host to some breathtaking festivals, or Tsechus as they call them. The Paro Tsechu and Thimpu Tsechu are some of the most festive and colorful times of the year. Make sure to check the dates of these festivals so your stay in the cities coincides with them. For a really pleasant trip, consider traveling between October and December. You’ll find pleasant weather from April to June as well.
To read more about the festivals, visit Thimpu Tsechu, or Paro Tsechu
4.What Kinds Of Clothes To Pack
Pack layers and warm socks. Bhutan is a cold country and no matter what time of the year you plan to visit, it wouldn’t hurt to pack a sweater and something to protect you from the rain.
Don’t forget to bring a pair of hiking boots along; there are plenty of trails and treks to indulge in.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you cannot enter religious sites without fully covered legs. (So no shorts to monasteries or temples).
5.Homestay Or Hotel?
DO NOT BOOK A HOTEL. I cannot stress this enough. The people of Bhutan and their remarkable hospitality are somethings you simply cannot miss. The Homestay tradition in Bhutan will leave your heart warm and content, and your body relaxed beyond measurement.
Check out these incredible homestays in Bhutan.
6.Get A Bhutanese Sim Card
This should be one of the first things on your checklist. Even before you get to immigration. Get yourself a sim card. None of the network providers you’re used to have any service in Bhutan.
7.Get Yourself A Guide
It is of course possible to explore Bhutan by yourself. The people are friendly and welcoming and can help you around through your day. But a Guide comes with so many added benefits. The obvious language barrier won’t bother you anymore, and neither will the queues at the immigration office.
8.Carry Your Documents
Remember to carry all your documentation, including your passport, voter ID (Indian), etc. Just like traveling in any foreign country, Bhutan requires all your IDs and permits to be in order. Ask your guide for any assistance.
9.What Kind Of Food To Expect
Bhutanese food is absolutely delicious, and its something you simply have to try when you’re there. While there are restaurants that serve other cuisines, Bhutanese food, with all its cheeses and spices, is something to die for.
For a delicious Bhutanese cullinary experience, visit Offbeat Tracks.
10.Smoking Laws In Bhutan
Sorry smokers, but Bhutan is the only country in the world to entirely ban the sale of tobacco. Smoking isn’t entirely banned though. You can carry your own tobacco into the country and smoke in most non-public places. You could however use this as an opportunity to detox and breathe in some refreshing mountain air.
Aside from your regular cuts and scrapes kit, plan ahead for injuries and illness. Bhutan is a land where you could expect plenty of trekking and hiking, so pack some bandages and pain sprays.
Also keep in mind that the high altitude of the place makes it difficult to breathe for some people. If you have asthma, bronchitis, or any other respiratory disorder, consult a doctor before planning a trip to Bhutan.
12.Weather in Bhutan
It rains in Bhutan. It rains pretty often and pretty heavy in the months of June and July. Pack a raincoat (an umbrella will barely help), and maybe move your itinerary around to account for the rainfall.
13.How To Get There
You could fly in to Bhutan. There’s only one airport here though, so if you weren’t planning on visiting Paro, well too bad, you’re going to.
Flights aren’t the only way in though, there are highways connecting India to Bhutan. An entry point into Bhutan is at Phuentsholing, which shares a border with West Bengal.
The roads on the way in are bad; they’re hilly and damaged from the rain. While Thimphu and Paro have great roads, the roads across the rest of Bhutan are rather questionable. The difficult mountainous terrain make for some pretty bad drives, so if you’re on of those people that get car sick easy, you’re better off walking. Many monasteries and temples aren’t accessible by car anyway, so you’ll have your fair share of exercise getting around Bhutan.
I hope these tips come in handy while exploring Bhutan.
For more offbeat Bhutan travel packages, click here.