Bhutan is nicknamed the land of happiness. It might seem easy to travel to Bhutan if you live in a country like India since Indians do not require a passport for entering the country. However, for the rest of the world, traveling to this hidden gem can be quite different. Hence, it is vital that you do not take things lightly and read up on essential information. The good news is that this post covers 13 important Bhutan travel tips that will ensure you are prepared for an adventure of a lifetime. Reading this post will help you understand the taboos, local laws, and how you can best explore this gorgeous country. The following Bhutan travel tips will help reduce the stress that comes with traveling to a new place.
- Visit during Festival Celebration
The best time to visit Bhutan is during the festival season. It is when the beautiful culture of the country comes to life. Join in on the festivities and learn more about the local culture. Some of the most popular festivals include the Paro Tshechu Festival, Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival and Thimphi Tshechu Festival. Each of these festivals is filled with color. Thus, plan your travels during festival celebration and try to attend more than just one festival.
- Consider a Home Stay
A home stay in Bhutan is one of the best ways to explore the culture. It allows you to learn more about the way of Bhutanese life. You will not regret it. During your stay, you will get to connect with the locals and sample local cuisine. The Bhutanese are simple people and they will open your mind to completely different way of life. So, if you are trying to escape your stressful and monotonous life, then, you should opt for a home stay and ditch the hotel.
- Learn Some Dzongkha
Dzongkha is the mother tongue of the majority of Bhutanese. It is spoken in the country of Bhutan. Hence, you should learn some Dzongkha if you plan on visiting. It will allow the locals to open up to you and you could even get massive discounts just for learning a few phrases in Dzongkha. Although the language can be difficult for English speakers, there is no harm in learning some phrases.
- Pack Your Shrugs and Woolens
According to Bhutan Tourism, the weather can be quite unpredictable. It is common for the temperature to drop all of a sudden. Therefore, you should always pack your shrugs and woolens when you plan a visit to Bhutan. It will help keep you warm during your stay. Otherwise you would need to rush and buy some.
- Dress Conservatively
If you want to respect the local Bhutanese culture, you will need to dress conservatively. Besides, the weather does not permit you wearing shorts. In Bhutanese culture, everyone is expected to dress conservatively as not doing so is considered rude. Thus, if you want to respect the culture, you have to dress accordingly. It is especially important if you plan on going to the countryside.
- Buy Handicrafts
Bhutanese handicrafts are world-renowned. This is why you should buy some handicrafts when you visit Bhutan. However, keep in mind that antiques cannot be exported out of the country. You should not buy any antiques if you want to follow the law and not get punished. The Bhutanese government strictly monitors exports. Moreover, local handicrafts can be bought at a cheap price and will help local businesses.
- Buying and Selling Tobacco Products Is Illegal
If you are a smoker, then, you should keep in mind that buying and selling tobacco products is illegal in the country. Generally, you will not find any shop that sells tobacco products as it is illegal. However, do not bring any tobacco products into the country as the import duty on tobacco products can be quite hefty and never ask any local for tobacco products if you want to avoid getting in trouble.
- Meet the Minimum Daily Spend Package
It might sound bizarre for there to be a minimum daily spend. But, since the Bhutanese government relies on tourism, there is a minimum daily spend package which needs to be followed by tourists. The government monitors it and it is a requirement to visit the country. Tourists are expected to spend anywhere between $200 and $250.
- Both US Dollars and Indian Rupees Are Accepted
Although you can use the local currency in Bhutan, it is also possible to pay in USD or Indian Rupees. Hence, you have nothing to worry about even if you run out of local currency.
- Do Not Disrespect the Royal Family
Just like Thailand, Bhutanese people look upon the royal family as an incarnation of gods. It will not be appreciated if you disrespect any royal figures, religious members, or temples. It would also be best if you did not discuss the 1990s Nepali issue.
- Try DHA (Archery)
If there is one sport the Bhutanese are good at, it is DHA (Archery). It is the national sport of the country. You will find locals trying out archery wherever you go and you should definitely give it a try. Even if you have never tried archery, you can always ask a local to teach you.
- Go Trekking
Bhutan is a very diverse country. It is home to beautiful mountain peaks and valleys. This is why you should go trekking during your stay. You will not regret it. Besides, it will help keep you fit after all that eating.
- Avoid Swimming in Lakes
The Bhutanese government is very strict when it comes to protecting the environment. Tourists are not allowed to swim in lakes. The same applies to washing or throwing objects. Just take in the natural beauty.
From visiting during festival celebrations to avoiding swimming in lakes, the 13 amazing Bhutan travel tips as mentioned in this post will help ensure that you have the time of your life when you visit Bhutan.