Bhutan General Information

The Kingdom of Bhutan lies in the South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas. Climate and weather also vary according to altitude and season of the year. The season of autumn, from September to late November, is considered to be the best time to visit the kingdom for trekking. The skies are generally clear and the high mountain peaks rise to a vivid blue sky. Autumn is also the time of the popular Thimphu Tsechu festival. However, you can enjoy travelling in Bhutan any time of the year.

The country is divided into three distinct tracts, between the southern foothills and the Himalayan crest, running from south to north. The three climatic zones according to the altitude are:

Tropical: The southern border areas on the foothills Sub-tropical: From the jungles in the southern Bhutan to lower mountains with altitudes of 2000 a 2500 metres Alpine: towards northern high land of the Himalayas

The summer months of April to July are particularly hot in the south. But, the central and western Bhutan remain relatively cool and pleasant. The winter months from December to February are the most suitable time for bird watching and rafting. In the March April months of spring the trekking routes are open at the moderate altitudes.

Average Rainfall According to the Region:
Himalayan region Less than 500mm
Inner central valleys 500mm to 1000mm
Southern foothills 2000mm to 3500mm
Southern border area 3000mm to 5000mm

No matter what season you are travelling, you will meet on the way people quietly chanting and spinning their prayer wheels.
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. In the summer time, Days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woolens for winter are necessary. Also note that Druk Air allows a baggage weight up to a maximum limit of 30 kg only. Trekking shoes, rain gear, windbreakers, sun caps and sunglasses are important for trekking and outdoor activities. Sun block cream and lip protection will be of help. On a sunny day, the sun can be scorching. As for clothing etiquette, refrain from wearing revealing clothes in public places and religious sites. Remove shoes and head gear when visiting temples and monasteries

Some of the most essential items that you may need for a normal tour in Bhutan:
  • Cultural Tours
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Headgear for sunny
  • Compact umbrella or light rain jacket
  • Trekking/hiking boots
  • Medium to heavy sleeping
  • Torch (Flashlight)
  • Any prescription medications with you

If you wish to leave better impression of yourself on the Bhutanese, better if you visit the Bhutanese temple (Tsechu) wearing their national dress gho & kira.
Trekking requires a good level of physical and mental fitness. Prepare at home at least a month before your trek date. The best preparation for trekking would be strenuous and sustained exercises such as cycling, swimming, jogging, squash, tennis and long walks involving up and down hill.
Moreover, since Bhutan is a high mountains country, you should also allow for acclimatization and be watchful of high altitude symptoms. Keep your elevation gain between 300 meters to 500 meters maximum in one day above 3000 meters.
Also be watchful of your diet and general wellbeing while traveling abroad. Although the chances of becoming seriously unwell while trekking in Bhutan are no worse than in any other part of the developing world, taking a few simple precautionary measures would prevent spoiling the overall enjoyment of your trek.
  • Drink only bottled, boiled/filtered water or water
  • Avoid very spicy food and uncooked vegetables or fruits.
  • Look after your feet, Wear well broken-in footwear.

Altitude Sickness: When trekking in the Himalaya there is always a real danger of mild to serious problems related to altitude. The complaints are collectively known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). The most commonly reported complaints are:
  • Headache that may respond to pain killers but then returns
  • Loss of appetite -Swelling of the limbs
  • Dizziness/light-headedness
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Irregular breathing -Nausea -Unusual weariness
  • Descend to a lower altitude

The best way to treat AMS is to descend immediately. When mild symptoms develop, stay at that altitude until the symptoms have gone away. Usually within one or two days you will feel well and can continue your trek. Never ascend if the symptoms of AMS persist.
Bhutan's currency is called the ngultrum (Nu). The Indian Rupee is also accepted in Bhutan. The Bhutanese Ngultrum and Indian Rupee are exchanged equivalently.
The Ngultrum (BTN) (Nu.) is subdivided into 100 Chetrums (Ch.). Bank notes are issued in the denominations of Nu.5, Nu.10, Nu.20, Nu.50, Nu.100 and Nu.500. Coins are available in denominations of Ch.5, Ch10, Ch.25, Ch.50 and Nu.1.
US dollars and traveler's cheques can be exchanged at banks and the larger hotels Ngultrum or Indian Rupees. The Bank hours are from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from Mon to Fri. Usually, tipping is not expected in restaurants and shops. But it's usual to tip the trek staffs and the driver if you hire after completion of your trek trip.