Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is also accepted as legal tender in the country.
Note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan.
Some of the banks in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank. Traveller’s cheque can be easily exchanged for local currency. Many of these banks also provide internet banking facilities.
Automatic Teller Machines are to be found in main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard..
In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at many hotels and handicraft stores.
All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets.
It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converter. However, most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography especially during outdoor sightseeing trips.
However you should check with your guide before taking pictures or filming inside dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions as in some areas photography is not permitted.
You are free to capture images of the landscape, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, rural life, flora and fauna, distinctive Bhutanese architecture and the exterior of dzongs and chortens.
Some popular handicraft items available for purchase are hand-woven textiles made of silk, carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted goods of silver. Other items you may be interested in are the exquisite Buddhist thangkha paintings or Bhutan’s wide array of colourful and creative postage stamps. You can come across these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Tipping is a purely personal matter. We leave it up to you as to whether you want to give a gratuity to your guides and drivers. However, if doing so, we recommend that you place the gratuity in an envelope.
The following articles are exempt from duty:
- Personal effects and articles for day to day use by the visitor
- 1 litre of alcohol (spirits or wine)
- 200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%
- Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use
- Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use
You will have to complete a passenger declaration form at your port of entry.
Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may not be exported without a clearance certificate.
If importing any items to Bhutan which are for sale or gift, they may be liable for customs duty. On departure, visitors are required to fill out a departure form, which will be asked for by Customs authorities.
Import/export of the following goods is strictly prohibited:
- Arms, ammunitions and explosives
- All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs
- Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival.
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Most hotels and cafes offer Wi-Fi internet access. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming also assessable.
Bhutanese speak a variety of languages with Dzongkha being the national language and one of the most widely spoken. English is also spoken by the majority of Bhutanese, making communication very easy. You are encouraged to speak with Bhutanese, especially in the urban areas and towns because it will enhance your knowledge and understanding of life in Bhutan.
CLOTHES AND OTHER PARAPHERNALIA
With great altitudinal variations, Bhutan’s weather is quite changeable. So be prepared for unforeseen weather changes.
We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, dzongs and other religious institutions. Long pants and long sleeved tops should be worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. when you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised.
MEASURES, WEIGHTS & TIMES
Bhutan ascribes to the metric system. The standard time is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, please seek advice from your doctor with regard to vaccinations and appropriate medication.. Typically tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations are recommended.
Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world. However you should still exercise caution when visiting. Please ensure that your belongings especially your passports, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. Please refrain from leaving such items within sight in locked vehicles while sightseeing.
Avoid drinking tap water which has not been boiled or ice cubes in drinks at all times as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated. One can easily acquire affordable treated and bottled water.
Also, Bhutan has a duty to protect its citizens from drugs and tobacco products. To do this we need your help and cooperation. Please co-operate if stopped and asked about your baggage. Please do not carry tobacco goods in excess of the set limit.
Public holidays are observed throughout the nation. However, each Dzongkhag has its own separate list of regional holidays which include annual tshechus or religious festivals.