Bhutan is not very well known as a country and until recently there was a limit on tourism there. Nowadays there are no set numbers allowed to visit, however, there are some fairly strict rules for tourists. Here are some tips I found for our recent trip (not all of these are relevant to SAARC country citizens).
- It is not cheap to visit, the visa requires you to pay at least US$250 a day high season (US$200 low season). This price includes transport, guide, food and standard level accommodation though.
- To get around you have to be on a guided tour, either in a group or privately, but you are not allowed to backpack or self-guide. Some book through a third party or some book direct with a local Bhutanese company, either is acceptable.
- Flights in are on Bhutan’s airlines only to the International airport in Paro. These only depart from limited destinations. Calcutta and Kathmandu are two of airports with the easiest access.
- Bhutan is good to visit in the spring or autumn but for the perfect blue skies I can recommend November as a great time to go.
- If you tend to get travel sick then take precautions as the roads are not in great condition except perhaps the main highway between Paro and Thimpu. Even the pass from Thimpu to Punakha, which is extremely popular as it goes across the Dochula Pass is still under construction.
- Take extra food in your luggage (snack bars etc.) because as amazing as Bhutan is, the food is not good at all; that is unless you love chicken that mostly consists of bones, rice and broccoli for every meal.
- Take in cash that you can exchange for local currency as there are not many ATMs around and you’ll need small cash for making everyday purchases.
- If you plan on visiting any Dzongs then make sure you have something long sleeved to throw on whether you are male or female as arms need to be covered.
- If you only have time for three things on your itinerary make them: Punakha Dzong, the hike up to the Tiger’s Nest and the Dochula Pass. We saw so many incredible things in Bhutan and these are possibly considered very touristy but they were undoubtedly the highlights.
Is there anything else you would like to know about visiting Bhutan? Is it somewhere you would be interested in exploring? Have you been and feel you could add anything extra to this list?