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Essential Guide
Language (Dzongha)
Currency / Money
Ngultrum (Nu)
The unit of currency is the ngultrum (Nu), which is pegged to the Indian rupee. The ngultrum is further divided into 100 chetrum. There are coins to the value of 25 and 50 chetrum and Nu 1, and notes of Nu 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. The Nu 1 coin depicts the eight auspicious symbols called Tashi Tagye, while each note depicts a different dzong.
Indian rupees may be used freely anywhere in Bhutan (don't be surprised if you get change in rupees). Officially 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes are not accepted due to large amounts of counterfeit notes; however, in practice 500s are usually accepted. Ngultrums cannot be used in India.
It is OK with the Bhutanese if you bring a reasonable amount of Indian currency into Bhutan, though Indian regulations prohibit currency export.

Electricity in Bhutan is 230V, with a frequency of 50hz, the following plugs are used:



When to go to Bhutan and Weather


Should (Dec – Feb)

Along with fewer tourists, there are good saving to be made by travelling outside the high season. The weather is still pleasant, though it can be cold in December and January.


High Season (Mar-May, Sep-Nov)

The weather is ideal in spring and autumn. Himalayan views are best in October, while rhodendron blooms peak in March and April.


Low Season (Jun-Aug)

Monsoon rain and leeches put an end to most treks, although high-altitude flowers are at their peak.


Getting to Bhutan


The majority of travellers to Bhutan arrive by one of our Bhutan Airline's flight from Thailand, India or Nepal at Bhutan's only international airport in Paro. Some travellers enter Bhutan by road at Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar on the southern border with India.


Getting around Bhutan


There is one main road: the National Highway, a 3.5m-wide stretch of tarmac that winds its way up and down mountains, across clattering bridges, along the side of cliffs and over high mountain passes. Rivers, mudflows and rockfalls present continual hazards, especially when it rains. The road can easily become blocked due to snow or landslides and can take anywhere from an hour to several days to clear. Take plenty of reading material.


Tour operators use modern buses, minivans and SUVs, depending on the size of the group. These vehicles can take you almost anywhere in the country, but for trips to central and eastern Bhutan during winter (December to February) or the monsoon (June to September) a 4WD vehicle is an advantage, and often a necessity.


If you are travelling on a tourist visa, the cost of all transport is included in the price of your trip and you'll have a vehicle available for both short- as well as long-distance travel.





It's unlikely you will have any problems with altitude unless you are trekking. Most of the places tourists visit lie below 3000m and the maximum elevation you can reach by road is around 3800m.




Those cute dogs that wag their tails for you during the day turn into barking monsters at night. Bring earplugs. There is little danger of dog bites, but occasional rabies outbreaks occur in rural Bhutan, so be wary of big dogs guarding properties, especially if trekking.




If you venture east of Thimphu, you will spend hours driving on rough, winding roads and carsickness is common. Anti-motion medication such as Dramamine can help, but bring the anti-drowsy versions or you'll spend most of the spectacular drives snoring in the back seat.




Bhutan is a remarkably safe destination, almost completely devoid of the scams, begging. Theft is still minimal in Bhutan, but as elsewhere it is growing along with the population.


Legal matters


Although you will probably notice cannabis growing in any bit of spare dirt, even in the towns, there is not a tradition of use and possession is illegal.


Smoking in public places is prohibited. Bring all the cigarettes you think you'll need but be prepared to be taxed 200% at customs. Don't sell any cigarettes brought into the country as this is illegal.