Visiting Bhutan

Introduction

Map of Bhutan

Map of Bhutan

Bhutan a prevailing and an primeval land. Proceedings of history takes us back to the sixth century A.D. and the modern history hardly spans three decades. Located in the heart of the mighty Himalayas, the country of not more than 650,000 people constitutes one of the most rugged surfaces of the earth. This gift of geography combined with the determination of the inhabitants allowed the Bhutanese race to be itself regardless of the world and its changing ways beyond its mountains and gorges.

Location
Wedged between Tibet(China) to the north and India to the south is a country far cry from the modern world. A country still intact with its age old living culture and tradition that play an important part role in their daily lives. Bhutanese or locally call themselves as the drukpas’ are mongoloid by race.

Language
The official language of Bhutan is ‘Dzongkha’. It is widely spoken in the kingdom. Lhoshamkha is also a major language widely spoken by the people of southern Bhutan who are of Nepalese origin. Tsangla or Sharchopkha is another major dialect spoken by the people from eastern Bhutan. There are also many local dialects used in many regions of Bhutan.
Drukpas are composed of three main ethnic groups, that is: Ngalops, Sharshops and Lhotsampas. Ngalops the first group originally from Tibet who are the followers of Buddhism and settled mostly in the western & central Bhutan. Sharshops, the second group who immigrated from northern Burma & northeast India and settled in eastern Bhutan. Lhotsampas are the third group migrated to Bhutan from Nepal in the early 20th century for agricultural land and work. They live predominantly in the southern plains.

Currency
Bhutanese currency is Ngultrum(Nu.) which is pegged t the Indian rupee (1US$ is equivalent to about Nu. 60 which fluctuates a bit more or less).

Environment
Bhutan still holds about 65 % of intact forest coverage that is home to Bhutan’s diverse flora and fauna comprising of an estimated 700 bird species and at least 5000 species of vascular plants.

Climate
The climate varies widely depending on the elevation. In the south, it is tropical; at the northern extreme, there is perpetual snow. Very little rain falls in the autumn from October through December making it ideal for trekking. Bhutan’s climate is changeable and unpredictable, not only varying among the various regions, but also varying enormously from day to day or even on the same day.

PLACES
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
PARO
17
12.6
13.9
15.1
20.9
23
23.5
28.7
23.4
20.4
14.2
11
7.7
3
1.6
3.5
12.9
13.1
14.6
14.9
10.7
8.6
3
4.3
THIMPHU
12
16.9
14
19.4
19.2
23.7
28.7
24.7
21.4
19.4
16.9
14.7
3
0.5
4.6
9.2
14.5
15.8
17.8
16.7
15.8
11.4
5.8
4.3
PUNAKHA
18
19.4
23.6
24.9
24
21
25.8
25.4
26.1
24.6
22.3
23
6.9
6.9
7.8
10.2
10
11.1
16.7
11
11.5
11.3
12.2
8.9
WANGDI
14.9
20.6
22.6
24.9
28
29
29.4
28.7
27.5
26.2
23.1
19.4
6.7
7.3
8.8
12.8
18
19.2
20.2
19.9
18.8
16
11.5
2.9
TRONGSA
10.6
14.1
15
17.4
20
20
20.9
20
13.2
20
18.5
13.9
0.3
1
0.5
4.4
5
13
14.6
15
13.1
13.1
11.5
1.6
BUMTHANG
8.5
13
16
16.1
9.1
20
21.3
21.8
21.4
18.7
15
14.2
0.7
0.5
4.5
6
8.4
12
13.2
14.3
12.7
9.6
2.5
5
MONGAR
19.9
24.8
27.1
27.5
29.4
30.2
31
38.9
30.3
29.2
26.3
24
9.7
10.2
9.5
15.9
20.3
20.9
21.9
34.5
20.4
18
12.9
5.7
TASHIGANG
15.11
17.4
17.7
20.8
20.2
19.1
21.6
22.2
21.3
19.6
16.8
15.7
3.6
5
5.4
8.9
12.4
15.1
6
16.4
15.9
11.1
12.9
14.9

In degree centigrade(‘C)

Time Zone
Bhutan has only one time zone, Bhutan Standard Time (BST). It is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 30 minutes ahead of India.

VISITORS INFORMATION

Visiting Bhutan:
It is mandatory for visitors to procure Bhutan visa clearance before-hand. Bhutan visa fee is USD40 per person. Visa processing will be taken cared of by Bhutan Mountain Holiday, your Bhutan tour organizer.

Necessities from you for  Bhutan visa processing:
1. Scanned copy of your passport(must be clear and in color),
2. Your home-address and
3. Your profession.

By tourism policy in Bhutan, tour payment has to be wire transferred in advance, without which the Govt. do not approve visitor visa(s). This  is one of the steps initiated by the Govt. in closely keeping the tourism activities regulated. As all such payments has to be routed through the Govt. Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB).  Once your tour payment is received at our bank, it is with-held in Bhutan  Govt. Tourism office bank account until your departure from Bhutan. Payment is reimbursed to us only after your Bhutan trip. This way you need not worry about your money disappearing into thin air<grin>.

Payments must be wire-transferred to anyone of the following bank details:

Through:
Bank of America, New York USA
SWIFT Code: BOFAUS3N

Payment receiving Bank in Bhutan:
Bhutan National Bank, P.O Box 439, GPO Building, Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Account number: 6550691700 (USD A/C)
SWIFT Code: BNBTBTBT

Beneficiary:
Bhutan Mountain Holiday, Post Box 1013, Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Our account # maintained with Bhutan National Bank, Thimphu: 43767012

____________________________________________________________________

Through:
Standard Chartered Bank Ltd., One Madison Avenue, New York,  NY 10010-3603
SWIFT Code: SCBLUS33
CHIPS ABA: 0256
FED ABA: 026002561

Payment receiving Bank in Bhutan:
Bhutan National Bank, P.O Box 439, GPO Building, Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Account number: 358-202-171-9001 (USD A/C)
SWIFT Code: BNBTBTBT

Beneficiary:
Bhutan Mountain Holiday, Post Box 1013, Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Our account # maintained with Bhutan National Bank, Thimphu: 43767012

Tours in Bhutan:
Places of visit include cultural and heritage sites where Bhutan has many ancient sites of such holdings such as ancient dzongs (ancient castle fortresses) and monasteries. Visit to such place can be blended with hikes, trekking or drive by car. Such visit can also be a combination of witnessing a grant mask dance festival. There is a good variety to choose from, for your intended type of tour viz. trekking, hiking, festivals, cultural heritage, mountain-biking, bird-watching, botanical, rafting, religious etc.

Entry /Exit Bhutan:
One can visit Bhutan overland via Phuentsholing (Bhutan south-west border town to India), Samdrupjonkhar (Bhutan south-east border town to India) or can fly into Paro (Bhutan) by Druk Air (Bhutan National Airline). Druk Air is the only airline operating flights to and fro Bhutan and  have flight connections with Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu and Dhaka. Bhutan Mountain Holiday will make your flight arrangement as well.

Bhutan Land Tour Cancellation Policy:
Bhutan Tour booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
Before 60 days of the start of the tour program: No charge.
Within 60 days: 35% of the rate.
Within 40 days: 45% of the rate.
Within 30 days: 55% of the rate.
Less than 25 days or cancellation without notice: 100% of the rate.