When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
Bhutan as a destination can be visited anytime of the year– you will not be disappointed. However, March to May is considered peak season due the popular Paro Tshechu (Festival) which falls during the month of March/April (according to Bhutanese Lunar calendar) and also due to blooming season of Rhododendron flowers. And September to November months have lots of festivals due to which the tourist arrival is very high. So, if you want to visit during these months, you need to book your trip way in advance as Bhutan has limited flights and hotels. There are fewer tourist/visitors during the rest of the months, so you will enjoy a more rewarding experience and also price is lower. We especially recommend June – July (Summer) and December-March (Winter/Spring). But if you are trekking you will need to generally travel in the peak season months for suitable conditions.
Why is it so expensive to visit Bhutan?
Let’s put this myth to sleep straight away! Because the Bhutanese Government has imposed an ‘all inclusive’ daily tariff structure, a Bhutan tour can ‘appear’ to be expensive. In our experience, most visitors once they are in Bhutan appreciate this policy and comment how great the ‘value for money’ genuinely is and that we should never change it. Considering every visitor has access to a private guide, driver, private vehicle and a land package including all meals, accommodation, sightseeing, entry fees, transfers, taxes & Govt. Royalties it is indeed excellent value for money.
What currency do I take?
With the introduction of ATM’s in Bhutan it is now possible to withdraw local currency via Visa & MasterCard credit & debit cards & Cirrus endorsed bank debit cards. The local currency called Ngultrum (Nu for short) is pegged to the Indian Rupee, which is also accepted throughout the Kingdom (except for 500 & 1000 rupee notes which are not accepted). As a more convenient alternative to taking in Indian Rupees we strongly encourage visitors to take in USD cash and/or travelers cheques which we recommend as a back-up in case ATM’s are not working. Take low denomination USD to cover any small daily purchases and use higher denomination USD for exchanging into Nu at local banks and also for guide/driver tips at the end of the journey. As at DEC 2012 , and due to the strength of the Australian dollar, major banks in Paro & Thimphu will also now exchange Australian cash (no coins) for Bhutanese Nu.
What do we tip?
Tipping is solely at your discretion.
Is internet available?
Most of the standard tourist class hotels now have WiFi….plus have a business centre where you can use the hotel. Generally speaking WiFi is free. All of the luxury resorts & lodges offer a wireless internet facility however not necessarily in guest rooms.
What will the weather be like?
Bhutan, like many countries in the world, is experiencing some climate change. Broadly speaking Summers (June-mid-September) are warm, humid and wetter and Winters (Dec-early March) cooler and dry. Winter nights are cold however, the days are clear, sunny and surprisingly mild in the valleys and only averaging 2 snow falls per annum. The wettest month is August.
What gifts can we take for the local children?
The Bhutanese wish to discourage gifts of any kind be given to individual children to avoid promoting a culture of begging. A gift of coloured pens/pencils etc given to a local schoolteacher is appropriate. Even better is a gift such as an oral hygiene kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash) or donate some warm clothing/shoes when you leave. By visiting Bhutan, you are already contributing to its development as $65 is paid to the Government as Royalty.