Travelling Tips to Bhutan
The following information acts as a guide when traveling to Bhutan. This practical advice is not a
comprehensive list but should provide some useful information for you as you plan your travelling.
The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan has initiated a travel and medical plan solely for our visitors.
Travel insurance can be provided through your Bhutanese tour operator or international partner. You may also
visit the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan website at www.ricb.com.bt for more information.
Bhutans currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is accepted as legal tender
in the country.
ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or
MasterCard. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay
by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.
Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that cater
to the needs of the people. Some of the banks that you can avail of while in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan
Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank.
Travellers cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged for local currency. Many of these banks provide
internet banking facilities. ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be
withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard.
Bhutan experiences great variations in its climate. In general summers are warm with average daily temperature
ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, while winter temperatures are usually below 15 degrees Celsius.
The northern regions of the country are colder than the more tropical south and it is recommended you pack
accordingly. Trekkers will need to bring appropriate warm clothes and comfortable hiking boots
(well broken in) preferably with ankle support and weather-proof to complement the weather and rugged
Others suggested items to pack:
- A pair of sunglasses
- Sunscreen lotion
- Spare camera batteries
- Flash light (with spare batteries)
- Travel sickness tablets
- Antiseptic cream
- Anti-histamine cream
- Anti-diarrhoea pills
- Altitude sickness medication it trekking above 3000m
- Insect repellent
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography especially during outdoor sightseeing trips.
However you should check with your guide before taking pictures or filming inside Dzongs, temples,
monasteries and religious institutions as in some area photograph/filming is not permitted. You are free
to capture images of the landscape, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, rural life, flora and fauna,
distinctive Bhutanese architecture and the exterior of Dzongs and Chortens in particular.
Some popular handicraft items available for purchase are hand-woven textiles of raw silk or silk, carved
masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper
products or finely crafted gods of silver. Other items you may be interested in are the exquisite Buddhist
thangkha paintings or Bhutan's wide array of colourful and creative postage stamps. You can come across
these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember
that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
With great altitudinal variations, weather is quite mixed in Bhutan. So be prepared to face the unforeseen
weather conditions. We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a
visit to the monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. Long pants and long sleeved tops should be
worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. as you
enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place that you come across with
the national flag being raised.
Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world however you should still exercise caution when visiting.
Please ensure that your belongings especially your passports, cameras, wallets and purses are properly
secured. Please refrain from leaving such items within sight in locked vehicles while sightseeing.
Avoid drinking tap water which has not been boiled or ice cubes in drinks at all times as most water sources
in Bhutan are untreated. One can easily acquire affordable treated and bottled water.
Also, Bhutan has a duty to protect its citizens from drugs and tobacco products. To do this we need your help
and cooperation. Please co-operate if stopped and asked about your baggage. Please do not carry tobacco goods
in excess of the set limit.
All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and
three-pin power outlets.
It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters for your electronics if necessary, however,
most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green
generated by hydro power.
The following articles are exempt from duty:
Personal effects and articles for day to day use by the visitor.
- 1 litre of alcohol (spirits or wine).
- 200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%.
- Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use.
- Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use.
You have to complete the passenger declaration form at your port of entry. Visitors are advised to be
cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items
may not be exported without a clearance certificate.
If importing any items to Bhutan which are for sale or gift, they may be liable for customs duty. On
departure, visitors are required to fill out a departure form, which will be asked for by Customs authorities.
Import/export of the following goods is strictly prohibited:
- Arms, ammunitions and explosives.
- All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs.
- Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species.
Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival.