Landlocked between China, Tibet, and India and surrounded by the Himalaya’s is Bhutan. A country rich in culture and traditions is a must-visit country for any traveler wanting to explore some of the worlds lesser-traveled destinations. Bhutan is under 15,000 square miles of land.
With a tourism industry only dating back to the 1970s, Bhutan is fiercely protective of its traditions making it the perfect place to visit for those wishing to experience new cultures, or simply to trek. And with Bhutan only receiving around 70, 000 visitors per year, you won’t feel overwhelmed by other tourists as you explore this small Asian country.
Whatever your reasons to visit Bhutan, there are a few things you should know before you visit.
Use a Tour Operator.
Bhutan charges $250USD per foreign visitor per day with a surcharge of $30/40USD for groups of one to two people. So if you are planning to visit the country, make sure you are in a large group to avoid extra charges and let the tour operator take care of all of that for you.
This is also true if you are planning on trekking or visiting more remote parts of the country. Booking ahead before you visit with a reputable company who knows the law and can arrange all the correct visas and take care of any expenses you need you may be facing for your trip.
Respect The Culture.
If your trip included visiting cultural sites and/or monasteries make sure you are dressed appropriately. Arms and legs need to be covered regardless of the weather so make sure you bring long-sleeved tops and trousers/skirts with you to observe local customs.
This also goes for shoes too. Some places require you to remove your shoes before entering so make sure you are respectful of this when you arrive.
Another good thing to remember is that not all places are a photo opportunity. Make sure to check with your tour guide when you can and can’t take pictures of your trip.
Bhutan is at a High Altitude.
The airport at Para, where all flights come into Bhutan is at over 7,000 feet. If you aren’t acclimatised, this could cause altitude sickness. This is something to bear in mind as you may wish to consult your doctor before travelling to see if you will need any medication to help ease the effects of being at a higher altitude than you are used. This is especially important if you are planning a trek as some take you over 13,000 feet.
Most places in Bhutan will accept your currency however you will most likely receive local currency as change. There is no currency exchange at Paro airport so if you are needing to exchange your money, you will need to do so in duty-free at the airport or change your money before you go.
Whilst credit cards are now widely accepted you may find some places charge a high fee. ATM’s only allow you to withdraw smaller amounts of cash too so it is worth having local currency on you in case you can’t access your money. Something to consider when looking at how you will be spending your money in Bhutan.
Bonnie is always on the road with some amazing adventures ahead. Her favorite continent is South America and she’s passionate about culture-focused traveling and ethical and sustainable tourism. During her time in university as a research assistant for a sociology professor, she realized she can’t fully understand cultures from a safe distance. She quit her job to become a full-time “voluntourist,” which brings her to places where she can immerse in local communities and support their causes. On top of writing, one of Bonnie’s priorities is offering women advice on how to stay safe while solo backpacking.