Clothing for the Seasons
Your clothing should be lightweight, breathable, hand-washable, and quick-drying. Altitudinal differences account for a wide range of temperatures from day to night the year round. It is, therefore, suggested that clothing be layered so that you can adapt to the changing conditions.
Spring: In the month of March, April and May, you will find a variation of weather, so be prepared for an occasional rain, as well as sunny and dry weather. It can start to get cooler in the evenings and mornings in March.
Summer: The month of June, July and August is the warmest month of the year in Bhutan. Rainfall is at its heaviest from late-June onwards, as frequent monsoons drench parts of the country, especially in the south.
Fall: In the month of September and October, you will find a variation of weather, so be prepared for an occasional rain, as well as sunny and dry weather. It can start to get cooler in the evenings and mornings in October.
Winter: In the month of November and December, you will find a variation of weather, so be prepared for an occasional rain shower, as well as sunny and dry weather. It will get cold in the evening and morning in this month.
- Sweater, fleece jacket and a good jacket against wind and rain is essential especially for higher altitudes.
- Long pants (zip-off pants are very useful)
- For Temples, Dzong (Fortress) and Monasteries, you should wear long pants or long skirts. If you are wearing a t-shirt, it will have to be a long sleeve, and for short sleeve shirts, a collar is required.
- Sun hat
- Umbrella/Rain Jacket
- A well equipped pack of travel medicines
- Insect repellent
- Walking sticks for the Tiger’s Nest hike
- Bring comfortable sports shoes/New Tennis shoes with good soles for the Tiger’s Nest hike because it can be slippery if it rains.
- Light-medium sandals such as Tevas, Merrill, Chacos are good for daily tours, but flip flops are not recommended. Flip flops are convenient for hotel use only.
- When entering temples shoes must be removed so it is, therefore, suggested that you bring 1 slip-on shoe and that you carry an extra pair of socks to wear inside religious buildings/temple socks.
Medication to bring
- Bhutan’s roads are very windy and motion sickness medication is recommended as a precaution. In my experience most people who believe they have altitude sickness actually suffer from motion sickness.
- An anti-diarrhea medicine (an oral rehydration solution is also very helpful in case of diarrhea), aspirin or painkiller, muscle soother, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-nausea tablets (in case of mountain sickness), bandages, sore throat lozenges, lip salve and insect repellent.
Lunch and dinners consist of freshly cooked vegetables, a meat dish and either Bhutanese red rice or white rice. Sometimes a meal will be influenced by the cuisine of India, Nepal and my incorporate bread, spices and traditional dishes of Bhutan. “None of the main dishes are spicy”. Ema Datshi the national dish made of Chili and Cheese; it’s served as a side dish.
Local SIM cards
SIM cards are now available from a SIM counter located in the post office (to the right of the terminal exit door) at Paro Airport. Here you can purchase and gain assistance for activating local SIM cards in your devices. The cost for the SIM is approx US$2.00.
Smart phones, I pads, Notepads etc. generally work well in WIFI zones albeit slowly as signal strength is often weak. WIFI is offered for free in most tourist hotels.
Smoking is basically forbidden in Bhutan, and it’s a crime to sell or purchase cigarettes or tobacco products in Bhutan. It is however NOT forbidden to smoke in appropriate areas and you may carry a small supply for personal use. Please note a 200% duty applies to all imported tobacco products and you must show a valid receipt of purchase to avoid confiscation.
Voltage and Adapters
All hotels have standard voltage (110-120) outlets for you to charge your Iphones and Samsung phones.
Note: Hair dryers are provided by the hotels.
If you want to bring an adapter for any other reason, Bhutan follows the Indian outlet plug usage, pictured below. You can also use your European plug as well (pictured below).
Type C – The standard European plug
Type D – Mostly used in India
Type G – Mainly used in the United Kingdom
Type C plug
Type D plug
Type G plug
Credit Cards & ATM
- Visa & MasterCard are accepted in Bhutan
- ATM: In Thimphu, Paro and Punakha there are ATM machines where you can withdraw money. Bank of Bhutan (BOB) and Druk Punjab National Bank (DPNB) ATMs accept some foreign credit cards, but ATMs in Bhutan use the magnetic strip rather than digital chips, and some foreign banks do not permit withdrawals via this method. The government also periodically blocks international ATM transactions for short periods to combat fraud. It always pays to carry cash in case you have problems.
- Cash: Banks in Bhutan exchange US, Canadian and Australian dollars, UK pounds, Euros, Japanese yen and some other Asian and Scandinavian currencies. Note that the exchange rate for US dollar bills of lower denominations than US$100 is much lower than for large bills.
- Dollars must be newer than the year 2002.
- Credit Card: Cards are accepted in most of the souvenir/handicraft sores and hotels in Thimphu and other towns, but you will often be charged a surcharge of up to 5% to cover the fees levied by the credit-card companies. PINs have to be four digits.
Baggage Allowance for Bhutan Airlines / Druk Air
- The baggage allowance for Bhutan airlines and Druk air is 30 kg (66 pounds) for all the sectors.
- Hand Baggage: Please ensure the carry-on bags in the cabin do not exceed the dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and a maximum weight of 7 kg (17 pound) for Bhutan airline and for Druk air the dimensions of 45cm+35cm+20cm and a maximum weight of 5 Kg (11 pound).
Here are a few basic phrases to help you along the way. Most Bhutanese up to around 40 years of age will speak good English.
Kuzu-zangpo – La – Respected Greetings.
Tashi Delek – May all good things come to you. (Use this as a farewell)
Kadrin-che-La – Thank you.
Jo gay – Lets go.
Lok jay gay – See you again.
Goempa – Meditation Centre.
Lhakhang – Temple.
Chapsa – Toilet.
Chuu – Water.