Bhutan

What do I need to know about Bhutan?

Bhutan is a very safe country to travel within. Instead of measuring their GDP, they measure their Gross Happiness Quotient. All hotel rooms that we use are fitted with a Safe for you to keep your valuables. Bhutan is a malaria free zone.

As it is a Himalayan Kingdom – guests must ensure that they are comfortable at altitudes between 7000-12000 feet.

Important Information

Smoking in a public place, as well as the sale of tobacco, is banned in Bhutan. Tourists may bring 200 cigarettes per person into the country, but there will be a 200 percent import tax levied upon them. It is unwise to not declare that you are carrying cigarettes, as Customs does check for them and bringing undeclared cigarettes into Bhutan is considered smuggling. If you do take cigarettes into Bhutan, you will be issued a permit that must be carried with you during your time in the country. Although rare, in the event that you are smoking and not in possession of the permit, legal action can be taken.

Currency

Cash and traveler’s checks (American Express, MasterCard, Visa) can be exchanged at the Paro airport (easiest and recommended location), larger hotels (not guaranteed), and at some banks in Paro and Thimphu. Once you leave these cities, however, it will be almost impossible to exchange money.

  • Local shops, outside of Thimpu, do not have credit card facilities. Proof of identity may be requested in some instances and it is therefore useful to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times.
  • There are bank branches in all major towns. A few hotels and shops in Thimphu accept payment by credit card, but with a surcharge added.
  • ATM’s of the Bank of Bhutan are the only ones which allow withdrawal of local currency through MasterCard (both debit and credit) in Thimphu and Paro.
  • The maximum amount per withdrawal is Nu. 18 000. There is no limit on the transactions per day except the maximum limit as stipulated by MasterCard. USD2.5 to 3 may be charged per withdrawal.
  • In larger cities and towns, many stores accept U.S. dollars. But to ensure the best exchange rate, we recommend changing your money into local currency. Indian rupees (Rs), except Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, are also accepted in most towns. Rupee notes (usually Rs10, Rs20, Rs50, and Rs100 only) are often given in change throughout the country.

Safety

The Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s little-known treasures, where quality of life is measured in terms of Gross National Happiness, rather than purely material measures.

Photography

Public computer access may not be available during the adventure. If you are shooting digital and plan to take a large number of photos, be sure to bring enough memory cards or your own computer equipment/image tank onto which you can download your pictures. A flash unit can be helpful for people pictures and for reducing harsh shadows that can often develop during mid-day conditions. Make sure your camera gear is properly protected from any potential rain or humidity. If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, store it in a heavy, zip-top plastic bag whenever not in use to protect it from the elements and to keep it in working order.

Passport & Visa Requirements

Passports must have at least 2 blank pages and be valid for more than 6 months from the date of entry into the country.

&Beyond Bhutan will be responsible for issuing your Visa. This Visa will be emailed to you prior to your arrival into Bhutan.

Luggage allowance

The free baggage allowances on scheduled Druk Air international flights are as follows:
Business Class 30kg (68lbs):
The following articles may be carried free of charge over and above the Free Baggage Allowance

  • A lady’s handbag, pocket book or purse, which is appropriate to normal traveling dress and which is not being used as a container to carry articles which would otherwise be regarded as baggage.
  • An overcoat wrap or blanket
  • An umbrella or walking stick
  • A small camera and/or a pair of binoculars
  • A reasonable amount of reading matter for the flight
  • A fully collapsible wheelchair and/or crutches or other prosthetic device for the passenger’s use provided the passenger is dependent on them.

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