Bhutan, Druk Yul, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon is the most isolated and exotic land in the Himalayas. Roughly the size of Switzerland, it is almost entirely mountainous, ranging in altitudes from as low as 350 feet in the southern foothills to as high as 24,000 feet in the mighty Himalayas. This helps to explain Bhutan’s long‐term isolation from the rest of the world until the 1960’s. In Bhutan, standards of dress, architecture, food, and education are ruled by ancient tradition. You can travel for days through Bhutan’s uninhabited pine forests or follows the paths of ancient warrior monks who have repelled invaders from the north. You May visit an ancient Bhutanese monastery where helmets, shields, bows, and spears still hang ready for action.
You will be met upon arrival at the front entrance of Paro airport by our local representatives.
All visitors are required to complete the Customs Declaration Form and an emigration form before your plane lands in Bhutan. The emigration form must remain with your passport until you leave the country.
Anything you are bringing into the country for personal use ‐ camera gear, video cameras, binoculars, etc.– will be allowed.
Electronic items should be registered with the customs authorities on arrival and will be checked on departure.
Import and export of the following goods are strictly prohibited: arms, explosives, ammunition, etc. narcotics and drugs (medically prescribed drugs exempt), antiques, and wildlife products, especially those of endangered species.
Personal First Aid Kit
Essential Items for Your Carry-On Bag
The more adventurous can try hot Bhutanese dishes. Meals are normally served buffet style in the hotels.
Money and Currency Exchange
Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan and is similar to Tibetan. The alphabets are exactly the same, but they use a different style of script.
Some key words and phrases
Passports are required of foreign Citizens to enter.
Must be valid for at least 6 months after your trip – if not, apply or renew immediately.
Keep a copy of the picture page of your passport in a separate place while traveling.
Carry an extra passport photo in case you need to apply for a quick replacement.
A Visa is necessary for entry into Bhutan. Your travel & Tour Agent can have your Visa processed for you prior to your departure. Your Visa will be endorsed on arrival.
Your visa clearance letter will be issued to you along with your Druk Air ticket prior to your departure.
Some immunizations are highly recommended, but none are compulsory for entry.
Recommended immunizations include: polio, tetanus, typhoid, MMR, hepatitis A & B.
A vaccination certificate for yellow fever is required for entry if arriving from other infected countries.
SEEK INDEPENDENT MEDICAL ADVICE from your physician or local traveler’s health service.
Druk Air – Getting In & Out of Bhutan
Your travel & Tour Agent can assist in booking your flight to Paro, Bhutan with Druk Air.
Druk Air is restricted to flying during the day, is totally dependent on weather, and flights can sometimes be delayed or cancelled. Plan at least 24 hours between connecting flights and/or travel on non‐restricted tickets.
Flights into Paro can at times be disrupted due to unfavorable weather conditions. Under such circumstances, the flight will stop for the night at a transit station. It is not possible to remove checked luggage at the transit stations.
You are advised to carry essential items such as medicines, toiletries, change of underclothes, etc. in your carry-on.
Please remember to take note of restrictions to carry on liquids.
Druk Air allows two suitcases that are restricted to 20 kg/44 lb (30 kg/66 lb business class) total at check-in. Luggage in excess of this limit will be subject to excess baggage charges.
Carry-ons are strictly limited to one piece, the size not exceeding 17.5 x 13.5 x 8 inches and the weight not exceeding 11 lbs. A small purse will also be allowed. Any overweight items or bulky bags should be checked. If your carry on is deemed too large or heavy it may be seized during boarding ‐ be sure to remove any valuables and travel documents and lock the bag before handing it over.
230 volts, 50 Hz.
Electricity is unreliable and cannot be guaranteed, even in major cities. There is no power in most small villages.
Most appliance converter kits will have adaptors for C, D, F & G type plugs.
Bhutan is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +6).
Bhutan does not follow Daylights Savings Time.
It is 13 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time and 10 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Obtain or renew passport.
Buy travelers cheques in low denominations.
Evaluate and obtain trip cancellation, baggage and medical insurance.
Consult with physician for immunizations and prescription medicine recommendations
Make final payment to Bhutan Travel Bureau at least 60 days before trip departure.
The Department of Revenue & Customs, Ministry of Finance via their Notification Number DRC/C/ENF/NOT/09/2003‐04/1962 dated 8th December 2004 states: “This is to inform all concerned that in keeping with the decision of the 82nd Session of National Assembly to ban sale of tobacco products, imports of tobacco and tobacco products for commercial purpose will be prohibited with effect from 17th December 2004”. “Further, Department of Revenue & Customs, Ministry of Finance would like to clarify that the import of tobacco and tobacco products for personal consumption shall attract 100% Sales Tax and 100% Customs Duty. The maximum allowable ceiling for personal consumption prescribed in the Rules on Sales Tax, Customs and Excise Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2000 is reproduced as follows:
Any import in excess of the permissible quantity shall be confiscated by the duty personnel of the Department of Revenue & Customs at the Paro International Airport, Paro”.
Trekking trails can become very muddy and wet at the end of the rainy season and can get very cold in the spring and fall.
Equipment & Packing
A good goal is to fit everything into a single piece of checked luggage and one carry on daypack.
We recommend a durable, water‐resistant, soft duffel bag (for treks) or lightweight soft‐sided suitcase as your checked luggage. Hard suitcases are not practical due to space limitations.
A small backpack or hip‐pack is ideal for carrying bottled water, camera, rain gear, etc, while on excursions where the terrain requires your hands to be free.
Choose a distinctive, easily identified bag, and use a luggage tag for bag identification by staff, ‐ Casual clothing is appropriate at all times.
Lightweight & light colored clothes will help keep you cooler. Keep in mind that synthetic fabrics dry faster than natural fibers like cotton, especially in humid areas, so you can pack less if you are able to wash and dry clothes easily.
Some hotels may have laundry services, but you will probably need to wash some clothes en route.
Druk Air allows two pieces of checked luggage that are restricted to 20 kg/44 lb total, and one carry-on bag & purse.
You may want to bring an extra smaller, collapsible (lockable) duffel, to leave items in a city hotel while you are on an excursion or to use on your return for souvenirs.
You will find the Bhutanese people to be very open and friendly.
It is best to ask permission before entering houses or taking portrait photos. If in doubt, ask your guide.
Relax and enjoy the easy‐going rhythm of Bhutan.
Do not expect everything to happen on time; remember that in some places time is not as important as it is back home, and there is often little concern for punctuality.
At times it is often hard to predict times and distances in Bhutan, though your staff will make the best effort to get to your next destination in a timely manner. Please keep this in mind while traveling.
The photography opportunities on a trip to Bhutan are immense.
Carry plenty of films, memory cards and batteries. Photo shops in Bhutan do not sell equipment or accessories, and even locally available batteries from major brands are unreliable.
It is a very good idea to carry your own small supply of toilet paper. In cities where there are flush toilets you will usually find a wastebasket next to the toilet.
most sewage systems can’t handle paper.
Most bathrooms will neither look nor smell as sanitary as those you are used to.
Crime is very rare in Bhutan, but you will still need to observe the same precautions taken at home.
Carefully conceal your wallet and passport in a pouch worn around the neck inside of the shirt or in a money belt around the waist, and do not leave baggage unattended in public.
Make use of security facilities provided for valuables in your accommodation.
It is highly recommended that you buy travel insurance that covers your baggage before you leave.
Don’t take anything you can’t afford to lose or can’t replace.
Popular souvenirs are: Thangkha paintings, Wooden masks, Silver & metal crafts, Textiles and Stamps.
Bartering is not as common in Bhutan as in other Asian countries. In the outdoor markets and some shops it’s possible, but many prices are fixed. Ask your guide when it may be appropriate.
Driving Times & Distances (estimated)
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