Bhutan

Capital City: Thimphu
Timezone: BTT (UTC+6
Country Calling Code: +975
Currency: USD

1 CNY = 0.16 USD

1 USD = 1.00 USD

1 EUR = 1.23 USD

1 GBP = 1.45 USD

1 AUD = 1.00 USD

These rates were valid at time of writing.
Please check www.xe.com for exact exchange rates.

Weather & When to Visit

 

Bhutan is at the same latitude as Miami and Cairo. The climate varies widely depending on the elevation. In the southern border areas it is tropical; at the other extreme, in the high Himalayan regions, there is perpetual snow. Temperatures in the far south range from 15°C in winter (December to February) to 30°C in summer (June to August). In Paro the range is from -5°C in January to 30°C in July, with 800mm of rain. In the high mountain regions the average temperature is 0°C in winter and may reach 10°C in summer, with an average of 350mm of rain.

Rain occurs primarily during the southwest monsoon season from June to September. Bhutan bears the brunt of the monsoon, receiving more rainfall than other Himalayan regions – up to 5.5m a year. During the monsoon, heavy rain falls almost every night; in the day there may be long periods without rain. Low clouds hang on the hills, obscuring views and, if they are too low, forcing the cancellation of flights at Paro airport.

Precipitation varies significantly with the elevation. The average rainfall varies from region to region.


Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bhutan/weather#ixzz2bMjwuJd4

Events & Festivals

 

Festivals in Bhutan (known locally as Tsechu’s) are rather unique. Don’t delay if you plan to visit Bhutan at festival time; hotels and flights into and out of the country get booked very quickly.

Locals come from miles around to attend these festivals of dance, feasting and socializing in their best clothes. These itineraries have been designed to show you Bhutan at its finest; focusing on the Festival whilst not ignoring the other parts of Bhutan that you will not want to miss such as the Tigers Nest Monastery.

These very colorful events take place in the huge Dzongs (Monastery/Fortress) and often take the form of stories, played out by the masked dancers who have rehearsed for many weeks; it is a wonderful social occasion. You will be escorted in and out of the event by your Guide to make best use of your time.

The Festivals themselves are to commemorate the birth of the great Saint who introduced Buddhism to the Kingdom.

More information can be found here: http://www.travelandtrek.com/bhutan-festivals/

Visas

 

Tourist visas can only be requested through licensed tour operators in Bhutan. Once approved, a copy of the visa should be sent to the applicant to use for travel. On arrival in Bhutan, the traveler must present their passport, 2 photographs, and the fee of USD $20.00 to receive the original visa sticker

Airports

 

Paro Airport (PBH or VQPR) is the only international airport of Bhutan. The airport is located 6 km (3.7 mi) from Paro in a deep valley on the bank of the river Paro Chhu at an elevation of 7,300 ft (2,200 m).

With surrounding peaks as high as 18,000 ft (5,500 m) it is considered one of the world's most challenging airports, and as of October 2009, only eight pilots in the world are certified to land at the airport. Flights at Paro are allowed under visual meteorological conditions only and are restricted to daylight hours from sunrise to sunset.

Bathpalathang Airport in Bumthang district and Yongphulla Airport in Trashigang District are two other airports in the country.

Things to Consider

 

Tourism in Bhutan is unique and the Bhutanese pride themselves on a sustainable, eco friendly approach in line with the country's popular philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Firstly, to bust a myth: there is no limit to the number of tourists. Visitors famously have to pay a minimum tariff of US$200 per day, making it appear as one of the world's most expensive countries to visit. However, this fee is all-inclusive – accommodation, food, transport and an official guide are all provided. Not only that, but your local guide will reveal the country's amazing landscape and Buddhist heritage, and will also introduce you to the everyday charms of the Bhutanese. You don't have to travel in a large group and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won't find in Bhutan is crowded backpacker-style independent travel. This is Nepal for the jet set.

A guide, and likely a separate driver, come as standard in Bhutan: independent travel is forbidden.

If there’s something you particularly want to experience – a certain tsechu (festival) or maybe an archery lesson (the national sport) – you can tailor-make a trip with the help of a specialist tour operator. But all itineraries must be approved by Bhutanʼs Tourism Council, and accompanied by a local guide.

Your tour operator will also arrange your transport to Bhutan – you cannot book flights independently. Bhutan has just one international airport, at Paro (a scenic, if white-knuckle, landing amid the mountains); flights on national carrier Druk Air fly in from Nepal, India and Thailand. It is also possible to enter overland, but you will still need your travel plans – itinerary, visa etc – arranged in advance by a tour operator.

 

Important Note:
Whilst Classic Travel does our best to keep information updated, it is always advisable for you to double-check details for your specific trip as information can change without notice, particularly in regards to arrival & departure airport terminals, visa requirements and airport/port fees.