Breathtaking view of Mt. jomolhari in Bhutan
Bhutan opened its tourism in the early 1970s. Since then, the number of tourists kept rising. Bhutan, due to its rich culture and biodiversity, is recognized as one of the popular tourist destinations in the world. With an increasing number of tourists, many are found searching information about the country. To help these aspiring and prospective tourists, here are some of the travel tips for your trip to Bhutan..
- Seasonal tariff differences
Tourist visits during peak seasons
The tourism season in Bhutan is categorised into two; Peak season and off-season. Spring (March- May) and fall (September-November) are the peak season for tourists while Summer(June-August) and Winter (December-February) are the off-seasons. If you are travelling during peak season, you have to pay the tariff amount $250 per day per person, and the amount of $200 during off-season.
If you are a low budget traveller, better choose to visit the country during off-season. This will not only save a lot of money but you will also be able to absorb yourself into the authentic and everyday bhutanese lifestyles as there won’t be many tourists visiting the country. This would be a luxury travel in Bhutan.
- Choose to travel during festivals
Mask dance performed during Tshechu
Most of the festivals are celebrated during Peak seasons. The season is packed with festivals and celebrations especially Tshechu.It is always a wise decision to book your flight ticket at least 3 months ahead of your traveling plan. Festivals such Paro Tshechu, Punakha Dromchoe, Thimphu Tshechu and almost all other Tshechu are celebrated within this season. If you are traveling during this season, you will get to explore indeginous culture of Bhutan.
- Know the weather of different seasons
Majestic Punakha Dzong- welcoming Spring
If you choose to travel during peak seasons, you have the advantage to explore the natural beauty of the country. Spring peak season is best for birdwatching and also for hiking. You will get to see varieties of flora and fauna because the country has more than 70% of its area under forest coverage.
Similarly, fall peak season is popular for sightseeing as Bhutan experiences clear sky most of the time. You will get to see beautiful golden paddy fields as fall is a harvesting season for farmers. However, if you travel during summer, you will witness most of the days with heavy rainfall. Mostly, the sky will be cloudy and foggy. . This will give you a bad travel experience. During winter, most passes will be blocked by heavy snowfall. Your travelling, hiking, sightseeing and bird watching experiences won’t be as expected. Therefore, it is better to learn about the weather before planning your trip to Bhutan.
- Choose Home stay
Guest enjoying time with her host with home brewed Ara (wine made from fermented grains)
If you wish to connect with the bhutanese lifestyle, opt for home stay. This will not only save money but also will help you experience real bhutanese life. Unlike hotels, you will be provided with a typical bhutanese scrumptious meal. All the family members and the guests will gather around the hot meal, then usually the head woman of the family will offer food to their guests. You will get to experience a moment of laughter while eating a meal, as bhutanese families usually spend time together talking during meal time. Home stay will provide other farm experiences such as working in the field, taking part in local games and festivals, mingling with shy village kids. These are actually the real Bhutanese experiences and should you consider it as a luxury travel in Bhutan.
- Learn a few basic dzongkha or local dialect phrases.
Are you interested in learning Dzongkha? Let’s get started with easy one first
Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan and almost all the people can speak this language. Picking a few of these lines can help you deal better with the people and interact with them especially in villages. The following phrases are few of the basic and important lines that can prove to be useful during your travel to Bhutan;
- Kuzu zangpo- Greetings(equivalent to Good Morning/afternoon/evening)
- Zakhang gatey yoe ga- Where is the hotel?
- Chhabsang gatey yoe ga- where can I find the toilet?
- Ani lu teru gadem chi mo- what is the price for this?
- Nga lu chhu chi nang may- please can I have water?
- Ani ga tokto dhu/ sem gayi- I love this/ I like this
- Kadrin che la- Thank you so much
However, if you travel towards eastern part of the country, sharchop language (Tshangla kha) is a dominant one. So, learn their basic phrases too. Knowing these important lines will make your journey handy.
- Carry warm clothes even during sunny days
Interesting fact- It is a bright sunny, yet cold in Bhutan
Bhutan is a mountainous country. The temperature decreases with increase in elevation, even if the distance travelled is short. Particularly if you are going for a hike or trip on a sunny day, carrying your own warm clothes such as a jacket or coat will beat the cold. For instance, if you are visiting Paro Taktshang, the temperature falls drastically as you ascend.
- Get familiar with basic norms of the country.
Tourists visiting temples in proper attire
Being a buddhist country, people are expected to follow certain basic norms. When you visit temples and dzongs, ask your guide about things you can do and cannot do. Observing other people and following what they can even prove good. Here are some of the common things you should be mindful about.
- Removing shoes and hats while entering temples and monasteries
- Wearing proper dress such as long trousers and full sleeve shirts while entering temples
- Enquiring your guide about whether you can take photos
- Avoid climbing on religious structure such as stupas and statues
- Carry both local SIM cards (Tcell and Bmobile)
The only two Network providers in Bhutan- Bhutan Telecom and Tashi cell
For now, Bhutan has only two SIM card providers. To have a better connection with, it is better to use both. You will experience poor network connectivity as you travel from one place to another. However if you have both the SIM, you have the choice to use that works better.
- Bring extra money for personal use
Typical Bhutanese alter in temples
Your travel package does not include the tips for your guide and driver, drinks and other things you spend for personal use. Carrying a little money for yourself would make your travel to Bhutan more satisfactory. When you visit temples and other sacred places, people usually offer money. This money is collected and used for buying essential items. If you also offer money (the amount depends on your will), it will be a great contribution.
- Don’t drink on Tuesday
Remain sober every Tuesday- Drink coffee and tea instead
Tuesday is considered a dry day. You are not supposed to be drinking any form of liquor or wine. If the person on duty catches you drinking, they will charge fines or seize the leiscence of the bar owners and you have to bear the liabilities.
As Bhutan’s popularity spreads over the globe, many wish to visit the country. To help these people, we came up with top 10 tips that you should know during your travel to Bhutan. The peak season, home stay, variable weather, and festival season are few important things that you should take note of. Hope the mentioned tips will help you during your stay in Bhutan.
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Looking for other interesting facts about Bhutan? Read other blogs onhttps://karmabhutan.com/journals/