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About Bhutan

Bhutan Travel Guides

The Land of Thunder Dragon: Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is no ordinary place. This is a country where buying cigarettes is illegal, where the rice is red and where chillies aren’t just a seasoning but the entire dish. It’s also a deeply Buddhist land, where men wear a tunic to work, where giant protective penises are painted on the walls of most houses, and where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product. Tourism in Bhutan is also unique.
Bhutan Travel Information
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Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is no ordinary place. This is a country where buying cigarettes is illegal, where the rice is red and where chillies aren't just a seasoning but the entire dish. It's also a deeply Buddhist land, where men wear a tunic to work, where giant protective penises are painted on the walls of most houses, and where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product. Tourism in Bhutan is also unique. Visitors famously have to pay a minimum of US$200 per day, making it one of the world's most expensive countries to visit, but this fee is all-inclusive, you don't have to travel in a group and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won't find in Bhutan is backpacker-style independent travel.

This is Nepal for the jet set.First off there are the early Buddhist sites in the cultural heartland of Bumthang Dzongkhag and the undisturbed traditional Tibetan-style culture that sets Bhutan aside as the last remaining great Himalayan kingdom. Then there are the textiles, outrageous trekking as well as the stunning flora and fauna of Phobjika Valley. Trashigang is an interesting town and also useful for launching into a trip in Eastern Bhutan.It is also a country of surprises. This is not just a nation of saintly, other-worldly hermits.

Bhutan is straddling the ancient and modern world and these days you'll find monks transcribing ancient Buddhist texts into computers as traditionally dressed noblemen chat on their mobile phones.If you do visit Bhutan, you will become one of the few who have experienced the charm and magic of one of the world's most enigmatic countries – the ‘last Shangri La' and you'll be playing your part in this medieval kingdom's efforts to join the modern world, while steadfastly maintaining its distinct and amazing cultural identity. So why spend all your money to come here? Because most of all, Bhutan offers an opportunity to glimpse another way of living, an alternative vision of what is truly important in life.

Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is no ordinary place. This is a country where buying cigarettes is illegal, where the rice is red and where chillies aren't just a seasoning but the entire dish. It's also a deeply Buddhist land, where men wear a tunic to work, where giant protective penises are painted on the walls of most houses, and where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product. Tourism in Bhutan is also unique. Visitors famously have to pay a minimum of US$200 per day, making it one of the world's most expensive countries to visit, but this fee is all-inclusive, you don't have to travel in a group and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won't find in Bhutan is backpacker-style independent travel.

This is Nepal for the jet set.First off there are the early Buddhist sites in the cultural heartland of Bumthang Dzongkhag and the undisturbed traditional Tibetan-style culture that sets Bhutan aside as the last remaining great Himalayan kingdom. Then there are the textiles, outrageous trekking as well as the stunning flora and fauna of Phobjika Valley. Trashigang is an interesting town and also useful for launching into a trip in Eastern Bhutan.It is also a country of surprises. This is not just a nation of saintly, other-worldly hermits.

Bhutan is straddling the ancient and modern world and these days you'll find monks transcribing ancient Buddhist texts into computers as traditionally dressed noblemen chat on their mobile phones.If you do visit Bhutan, you will become one of the few who have experienced the charm and magic of one of the world's most enigmatic countries – the ‘last Shangri La' – and you'll be playing your part in this medieval kingdom's efforts to join the modern world, while steadfastly maintaining its distinct and amazing cultural identity. So why spend all your money to come here? Because most of all, Bhutan offers an opportunity to glimpse another way of living, an alternative vision of what is truly important in life.

Physical Map of Bhutan
Bhutan is made up of three major land regions: in the north by the Great Himalayan region; in central Bhutan by the Middle Himalayan region; and the Duars, a plain along the southern border with India. The Great Himalayas radiate southward into central Bhutan, creating the Middle Himalayan zone. The Middle Himalayas consists of fertile valleys lying. The main rivers of Bhutan, from west to east, are the Torsa, Raidak, Sankosh, and Manas. Rising in the Great Himalayas, these rivers flow south through Bhutan to India. Flooding is a rare occurrence in the upper courses but can be a serious problem in the low-lying areas of the Duars. None of the rivers is navigable.

Flora And Fauna of Bhutan

Around 64 percent of Bhutan is made up of forests, which are located in the Middle Himalayan ranges and foothills of central and eastern Bhutan.

Vegetation is mainly governed by the altitude, slope, moisture, and drainage and gives rise to deciduous woodlands in the south, mixed forests in central Bhutan, and coniferous forests in the north. As far as fauna is concerned, the northern part of the Duars, including the foothills is home to deer, tigers, and other wild animals.

Location of Bhutan
Bhutan is situated in the eastern Himalayas, on the Indian subcontinent and is bound on the north by the Tibet region of China, and to the south, east, and west by India

Climate of Bhutan

Various natural differences like varying altitudes, rain-bearing winds, etc cause variations in climate. The northern interior experiences severe winters and cool, temperate summers while the southern foothills and the Duars have a humid, tropical climate all year round. The capital, Thimphu, in west central Bhutan has average temperatures ranging from about -4?C (25?F) to about 16?C (61?F) in January and from about 15?C (59?F) to about 26?C.

Custom Regulations
The Bhutanese authorities strictly prohibit the export of any religious antiquity or antiques of any type. Cameras, video camera, computers and personal electronic equipment may be brought into the country but they must be listed on the customs form provided on arrival at Paro and will be checked at departure. Two liters of alcohol, 400 cigarettes and 150 grams of pipe tobacco may be brought into the country without any duty.

Currency

Bhutan's unit of currency is the Ngultrum (Nu), which is at par to the Indian Rupee (100 Chetrums = 1 Ngultrum). One US dollar is equivalent to approximately 45.50 Ngultrums*. Most major foreign currencies are accepted. Travellers cheques, American Express cards and Visa cards are also accepted in certain establishments.
* Exchange rate pertains to May, 2006

Accommodation

Hotels vary in style and quality. All government approved hotels are clean and well maintained with hot and cold water facilities. All hotels are equipped with telephones, fax machines and international dialing.

Food
Bhutanese food is a tantalizing blend of hot Himalayan flavors. The Bhutanese diet is rich in meat, diary, grain (particularly red rice) and vegetables. Emadatse (chilli and cheese stew) is a very popular dish. Most dishes whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian is lavishly spiced with chilli. Salted butter tea (suja) is served on all occasions. Chang, a local beer and Ara, a spirit distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley is widely favored. Doma or betel nut is offered as a customary gesture of greeting. Besides hotels also offer Continental, Chinese & Indian cuisine. The food prepared for tourists is tempered according to individual tastes.

Clothing & Temperature

Bhutan's climate ranges from subtropical in the south to temperate in the central highlands to cold and even sub freezing in the north. The climate can be unpredictable and the temperature can vary dramatically. In Thimphu and Paro, the winter daytime temperature averages 12 degrees Celsius but drops well below freezing at night. Warm woolens are recommended in the winter and it is advisable to bring light sweaters or jackets even in the summer. Comfortable walking shoes are indispensable to all while trekkers should be equipped with strong boots and medium to heavy sleeping bags.

Photography & Filming
Photography is permitted nearly everywhere in Bhutan. However it is not permitted in the Dzongs (Fortresses) and monasteries. Any commercial filming in Bhutan requires prior permission to be sought from the Royal Government and the payment of a royalty. We will assist you with all the formalities.

Time
Bhutanese time is 6 hours ahead of GMT and half and hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time.


Details

Area:
38,394 Sq. Kms
Capital:
Thimphu
Latitude:
27° 30’ N
Longitude:
90° 30’ E
Paro
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Thimpu
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Festival Schedule
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Punaka
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Discover Bhutan
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