Health checkup before trip to Bhutan.
Any traveler travelling Bhutan should notify Bhutan Tenpa Travel through email regarding individual health condition. Sometimes we find difficulty in leading the group. Bhutan being in Himalayan ranges we advice guest coming to Bhutan should be habituated with altitude sickness. For your kind information in Bhutan you don’t require vaccinations currently required for traveling to Bhutan. However, visitors coming from an area infected with yellow fever are required to have had a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days before their arrival. Cholera vaccinations are strongly recommended for visitors coming from a cholera infected area. Anti-malarial medication is also recommended for all travelers who will be visiting rural areas of districts bordering India. Before visiting Bhutan, you may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination: To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria, if you need it.
Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum or Nu. A sub-currency is known as Chhertum. 1 Nu is equal to 100 Chhertum (Ch). Coins are used in Bhutan but they are not very popular in the market. Ngultrum is officially pegged to Indian Rupee (INR) and trades at par with it. Thus, 1 Nu is equal to 1 INR. Indian Rupee is as readily accepted all over Bhutan as the Ngultrum. Visa card/Master card is acceptable in the country; it can be used in very limited service establishmentsService charge of 5% is deducted from Credit card. Western Union Wire service and Money Gram is available at the post office of most towns in Bhutan but the process can be very slow and stretched out. Only the cities of Paro, Phuentsholing and Thimphu seem to have quick access to the Western Union computer system.
You may exchange US dollars and traveller’s cheques at Paro international Airport on arrival. Please ask guide to help you. You can exchange in Paro and Thimphu (during the banking hours of 10:00 am to 1:00 pm from Monday to Friday). Now we have Druk Punjab National Bank where you can use ATM Card of and the reception in the larger hotels. Even luxury hotels in Bhutan use credit/debit card for any payment to service rendered from them. The best way is to bring a mixture of cash and travelers cheques in major currencies. Carry a mixture of large and small denominations in cash so you do not have to loose money because you couldn’t get the change. Since, all meals are already included in the paid-for itineraries; the only expenses the tourists need to make are the personal expenses that can include drinks, laundry and shopping. While every guest travelling to Bhutan may have a different thinking of how much he or she spend shopping but sometimes he or she might land up buying more than expected budget.
Electricity in Bhutan
Electricity in Bhutan runs at 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If your device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you should have a device to convert into 230 volts. In Bhutan you have three main types of voltage converter. Resistor-network converters will usually be advertised as supporting something like 50-1600 Watts. They can only be used for short periods of time and are not good for digital devices. Transformers will have a much lower maximum Watt rating, usually 50 or 100. Transformers can often be used continuously and provide better electricity for low wattage appliances like battery chargers, radios, laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players and camcorders. However, they are heavy because they contain large iron rods and lots of copper wire. If you bring electrical appliances, also pack appropriate adapter plugs. Thimphu electrical appliance shops (Hardware shop) stock up adapter plugs and they are available in other places also.
Now our valued guest can check their email through high speed broadband connections from all most places in Bhutan.You can carry your mobile and can use roaming facility but you need to confirm before you bring your mobile in Bhutan. We need to confirm from Bhutan Telecom to know the service provider with our provider in Bhutan. You can make international telephone calls from most towns while touring Bhutan. While internet cafes are more widespread in the western region and most parts of Bhutan and even hotels which you are staying will be accessible with internet.
When our valued guest are on high altitude treks i.e. Laya and Lunana treks where mobile is not reachable, Bhutan Tenpa Travel provide to our guest with satellite phones for communication.
What to pack before you come to Bhutan
Clothing & Footwear
While you make trip to Bhutan-The Last Shangri-La the right clothing and layering is very important due to different range of temperature and climatic conditions. It is based on your Tour/Trek activity and the weather climatic conditions. So we are categorizing depending upon your tour/trek and climatic conditions.
On all Cultural Tour or Low Altitude Treks
- Warm with Possible Cooling/Rain
- Sleepwear and long warm underwear (Mid Nov-March)
- Pairs quick drying underwear Footwear
- Pairs natural fiber and wool socks
- Lightweight hiking boots/shoes (don’t buy heavy leather boots)
- Each short sleeve and long sleeve shirts
- Few T-shirts
- Pairs lightweight Hiking and walking pants
- Pair of long hiking shorts
- Pair of comfortable shoes and/or sport sandals for relaxing in the evening.
- Pairs nicer pants or skirts for hotel stays
- Polar Fleece Jacket and warm Sweater or Sweatshirt
- Synthetic or down parka which is large enough to accommodate all the layers underneath (Mid Nov-March)
- Waterproof Rainwear for protection against rain and a wide range of weather conditions and activities are required when you go Bhutan tour/Trek during rainy season. Rainwear you should carry
- Wax earplugs-to prevent noise of barking dogs, which are common in Bhutan
- A Swiss Army knife- it will be good while on trek.
- Umbrella (optional)-Some hotels in Bhutan provide to our valued guest.
- Sunglasses – to safeguard from harmful sun exposure/ultra violet rays.
- Binocular (optional)- if you coming for birding
- Alarm clock-Few Hotels in Bhutan provide wakeup call but on trek you don’t need.
- A good flashlight (torch) with spare batteries..it’s important during trek
- Washing & Shaving kits
- Camera & accessories.
- Books & maps
- Water bottle
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Hiking Pole
- Hat for sun protection
- Insect repellent
- Hand & face cream
- Pocket mirror
- Nail clippers
- For Trekking
- Season Sleeping bag Sleeping pad & Pillow (inflated or foam)
- On a Mid to High Altitude Trek: Chilly to Snowy and Cold
- Shirts, Shorts, Jackets and Pants
- 2 each short sleeve and long sleeve shirts
- Few T-shirts
- Thermal Base layer shirts
- 2 pairs lightweight Hiking and trekking pants.
- 1 pair of long hiking shorts
- 2 pairs nicer pants or skirts for hotel stays
- A synthetic or down parka which is large enough to accommodate all the layers underneath
- A waterproof / breathable shell mountain parka and shell pants with side-zip entry (for extreme weather)
- Normal to heavy wool sweater and fleece pants to stay warm
- Sleepwear and long warm underwear
- An insulated hat, either wool or synthetic and insulated gloves or mittens
- 5 pairs quick drying underwear
Comfortable Mountain trekking boots & Camp shoes or flip-flops with Synthetic and/or wool socks
Guest should have option of wearing pants and shirts in outdoor and formal place like a Dzong(Fortress) or a monastery.
Pack lightly with a list and leave all Valuable items at home.
Choosing and Using Baggage
We recommend a duffle bag for the trip. We also suggest a small bag that will fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment.
Label each bag with your name and secure each bag with a Strong lock.
Airlines banned any knives and other sharp objects in carry-on luggage. Small knives such as Swiss Army knives may include with checked luggage not in carry-on bags.
Most places in Bhutan are 7000ft above sea level and have strong sunlight. At high altitudes you will have burning ultraviolet rays. Moreover sun reflection from snow, sand and water could be very strong. So we advice our valued guest to apply or use sunscreen of SPF 15/wear a wide cap/sunglasses.
In Bhutan photography is very important. The natural scenery is beautiful and awesome and you will also wish to record the beautiful faces of Bhutan with tradition beautiful architecture and shops etc. If you want to take photograph of any Bhutanese, please ask permission by a gesture if it is ok to do so. In Bhutan photography in shrine rooms of dzongs, monasteries and religious institutions is generally not permitted. Outdoor photography is usually permitted, but when visiting such places, please check with our guide before taking any photographs.
Shopping in Bhutan
Throughout Bhutan we don’t recommended to do shopping in all places you like. We have limited places to do any kind hand-woven textiles, carved masks, woven baskets, wooden bowls, handmade paper products, finely crafted metal objects, thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. Our guides will help our valued guest to find out the outlets. When you get time in evening you can stroll in market to do shopping. Most of renowned handicrafts shops in Paro and Thimphu have facility of shopping with visa and master cards. For your kind information buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden.
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)
- 300 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 have to complete the passenger declaration form on your arrival before checking out. The articles mentioned under (d) & (e) must be declared on the declaration form. Please remember that, if any such items are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift, they are liable for customs duty. On departure, you are required to surrender the forms to the Customs authorities.
Import/export restrictions of the following goods is strictly prohibited:
- Arms, ammunition 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. 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 from authorized agencies of the Government.
On Tour and trek it is customary to tip. You should tip your driver and guide who are with you for the whole trip. Sometimes it is by tradition that the tip recipient will shy away from receiving the tip given but as a Bhutanese tradition offer it the second time and it will be accepted.