Traditional hotels, cottages and guest houses approved by the Department of Tourism are usually comfortable with hot and cold running water, electricity and sometimes room telephones though international calls may be via reception. There are a few luxury hotels but these do not come cheap. Accommodation is booked by Tour Operators. Expect a surcharge on the basic rate for up-market resorts and be aware that at festival time, hotels are booked long in advance so you may need to be flexible. All the treks in Bhutan are based on full board camping.
The national currency in Bhutan is the Ngultrum (Nu) and cash is the preferred medium of exchange. Prices are usually quoted in Ngultrum although US dollars are widely accepted and changed. Our clients are recommended to carry USD cash, as there is limited ATM access. Existing ATMs are for credit cards only. However, most of the antique/textile shops around Thimphu and Paro accept VISA credit cards and a few accept American Express.
Shopping in Bhutan
Markets are held regularly, generally on Saturday and Sunday, and are a rich source of local clothing and jewellery, as well as food. The Handicraft Emporium on the main street in the capital is open daily and offers a magnificent assortment of hand-woven and handcrafted goods. Some hotels have a souvenir shop. Silversmiths and goldsmiths in the Thimphu Valley are able to make handcrafted articles to order. Bhutanese stamps are collectors' items. Shopping is otherwise limited and bargaining is not customary. Phuentsholing has a small department store, the only one of its kind in Bhutan.
Food and Drinks
Bhutanese food is generally good. Set meals for travelers tend to be on the bland side, because local food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite hot. Most hotels provide meals buffet-style. There are usually continental, Indian, Chinese and Bhutanese dishes. The food in hotels is often the best in town, but in main towns now there are few restaurants increasingly becoming popular. All tourist hotels have good selection of international and Bhutanese beverages.
Transportation in Bhutan
Comfortable surface transport is available in Bhutan, making journey in this mountainous Kingdom really enjoyable. Latest model Japanese Toyota Cars, Land Cruisers, Hiace Buses and Coaster Buses are provided to our tourists depending upon the group size. Our experienced, friendly drivers are well trained and licensed by Department of Tourism and the Department of Motor Vehicles in safety and driving on mountainous terrain. Tourists are at ease riding in Bhutan Mountains. The transport and guide accompany the tourist right from arrival until departure.
Tourist Guides in Bhutan
Licensed Bhutanese travel guides will introduce you to the many facets of this wonderful country. Our tour guides are trained and certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and refreshers course are given frequently to update their knowledge and standards. They all speak fluent English and are well versed in country's history and traditions. We also have specialized guides for bird watching, ethno-botany or other special interest tours in Bhutan.
In spring and summer light clothing is appropriate with a sweater or jacket in the evenings. From autumn through winter, down jackets, fleeces, hats and gloves are necessary. Sports shoes are suitable for light touring, while hiking boots are recommended for treks. Legs, shoulders and upper arms need to be covered when visiting Dzongs, Monasteries and Lhakhangs. Sun block cream, lip balm, and sunglasses are recommended for higher elevations.
Bhutan Time Zone
Bhutan time is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. There is only one time zone throughout the country.