Bhutan is a small landlocked country situated in the southern part of Asia. The Kingdom of Bhutan is known for the rich Buddhist culture and peace-loving nature of the people residing in the country. It is famous among travelers for its rich natural diversity and priceless cultural monuments. Bhutan is also a part of the Great Himalayan Range and offers a distinct blend of nature and culture.
It is located in Southeast Asiaand borders China to the north and India to the south.
Being located in the southern slopes of eastern Himalayas has made Bhutan rich in steep and high mountains with a network of rivers and gorges which meet the lower ground at Indian plains.
The capital city of Bhutan is Thimpu. It is also the largest city in the country and is situated in the western part of Bhutan.
Bhutan covers the total area of 38,394 sq. km which makes it the 133rd largest country in the world.
It is the second least populous country in South Asia with a total population of 727,145 according to the 2017 census.
- Political System
Bhutan is a democratic constitutional monarchy and the King of Bhutan is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.
- Major religion
Vajrayana Buddhism is the official religion of Bhutan with an estimate of about two-thirds of Bhutanese people following the religion. The remaining population follows Hinduism and other religions.
- Time Zone
The universal time zone of Bhutan is UTC+6 also known as BTT.
- Official Language
Dzongkha is the official national language of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
- Working Hours
There are two office hour timing divided as the summer timing and the winter timing. The summer timing is from 9 am till 5 pm from March till October and the winter timing is from 9 am till 4 pm from November till February.
Hydroelectricity is well distributed across Bhutan. The standard voltage in Bhutan is 230V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
It is required for visitors to book the travel; from air or land, through licensed Bhutanese or foreign tour operator. Payment should be done before the issuance of the Visa. The Visa is approved in less than 72 hours once the payment is made. If the tourists travel via air Visa can be issued at Paro airport, orif the tourists travel via land at the visas can be issued at Phuntsholing, Gelup orSamdrup Gangkhar,
Also, if you are traveling through the air, international flights are available from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand. Hence, you will also require the Visa of corresponding countries before your transit to Bhutan.
How to Reach
Your commute to Bhutan can be through air or land. Paro airport is the only international airport in Bhutan for air travelers. You can take the flight from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand, where regular flights to Bhutan are operated. The commute from land leaves you with the option to travel fromPhuntsholing, Gelephu, or Samdrup Jongkhar. These are the three land entry points to enter Bhutan.
Popular Destinations to Visit
The most popular places to visit in Bhutan are the cultural heritages as the ancient monasteries and their architecture are major tourist attractions. These include places like Rinpung Dzong, Punakha Dzong, Budhha Dordenma statue, Dochula Pass, and the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery among others. People seeking adventure may also visit Manas National Park, Jigme Dorji National Park, Laya, Chomolhari, Chela Pass, etc. which are popular among trekkers.
Internet and Communication
Modern telephone systems in the country provide fax and international calling facilities in most of the accommodation and hotels. Internet and Wi-Fi are also common in big cities like Paro and Thimpu. However, the internet is not easily available in rural areas so, local Sim cards are the reliable means of accessing the internet and communication.
Besides these, newspapers, TV channels, and radio stations are also effective means of communication.
Local Currency and Foreign Exchange
The official currency in use in Bhutan is Ngultrum (BTN) which is used all over the country. The exchange of currency can be carried out either upon arrival at the airport or in any of the banks in the cities. There are money exchange counters as well; however, we advise you to be updated on the exchange rates before choosing these counters. For information regarding the exchange rates, we refer you to take a look at the information at the official website of Bank of Bhutan. Also, you can use Indian currency in most parts of the country.
Weather and Climate
The climate in Bhutan varies according to altitude. You can find subtropical, temperate, and polar-type climates, with places on the north-facing snow all year round. The temperature decreases as you ascend and head to the higher altitude. Similarly, the weather depends on the season i.e. summer/monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring. The summer/monsoon sees hot weather with massive rainfall. Autumn offers a moderate climate and is the ideal time for trekking. Similarly, winter is very cold with chances of snowfall as well. Finally, spring has moderate weather and is also one of the best times for trekking and traveling in Bhutan.
People, Culture and Festivals
The people of Bhutan are divided into Ngalop and Sharchop, also known as Western Bhutanese and Eastern Bhutanese. Ngalop follows Tibetan-style culture whereas Drukpa Sharchop follows Kagyu which is a branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The culture of Bhutan is highly dominated by Buddhism, followed by Hinduism and other religions. Similarly, there are several Buddhist festivals that Bhutan celebrates. Paro Tshechu, Thimpu Tshechu, Jambey Lhakhang Drup, and Wangduephodrang Tshechu are some of the popular festivals in Bhutan.