Reiseinformationen zu Bhutan

Passports

      Passports are required of foreign nationals to enter
      Must be valid for at least 6 months after your trip if not, apply or renew immediately
      Keep a copy of the picture page of your passport in a separate place while travelling
      Carry an extra passport photo in case you need to apply for a quick replacement

Visas

      Visa is necessary for entry into Bhutan and it is NOT possible to obtain one in Bhutanese Consulates or Embassies abroad. These are done by us in Bhutan, and send you a copy of visa clearance letter. Actual visa is stamped on your passport on arrival.

      You must submit your passport details prior to departure - please inform us the following: 
1.      Name as it appears in passport & Gender
2.      Permanent Address
3.      Occupation/Profession
4.      Nationality
5.      Passport Number
6.      Date of Issue & Expiration of passport
7.     
Date & place of birth

 Health, Immunizations

      Some immunizations are highly recommended, but none are required for entry
      Recommended immunizations include: polio, tetanus, typhoid, MMR, hepatitis A & B
      SEEK INDEPENDENT MEDICAL ADVICE from your physician or local travellers health service
      For the latest recommendations for immunizations or malaria prevention contact the Center for Disease Control in your country

Druk Air - Getting In & Out of Bhutan

      Your flights from Bangkok or Delhi to Paro, Bhutan, will be booked by us. Your e-tickets will be e-mailed them to you.
      Druk Air is restricted to flying during the day, is totally dependent on weather, and flights can sometimes be delayed or cancelled during the summer months (Jun, Jul & Aug). Plan at least 24 hours between connecting flights and/or travel on non-restricted tickets.
      Flights into Paro can at times be disrupted due to unfavourable weather conditions. Under such circumstances, the flight will stop for the night at a transit station. It is not possible to remove checked luggage at the transit stations.
      You are advised to carry essential items such as medicines, toiletries, change of underclothes, etc. in your carry-on
      Druk Air allows two suitcases that are restricted to 20 kg/44 lb (30 kg/66 lb business class) total at check-in
      Carry-on is strictly limited to one piece, the size not exceeding 17.5 x 13.5 x 8 inches and the weight not exceeding 11 lbs. A small purse will also be allowed. Any overweight items or bulky bags should be checked. If your carry on is deemed too large or heavy it may be seized during boarding - be sure to remove any valuables and travel documents and lock the bag before handing it over.

Electricity

      230 volts, 50 Hz
      Electricity is unreliable and cannot be guaranteed, even in major cities. There is no power in small villages.
      Most appliance converter kits will have adaptors for C, D, F & G type plugs, shown below:

          C. D. F.  G.    

 

 

Time Difference

      Bhutan is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +6)
      Bhutan does not follow Daylights Savings Time
      It is 13 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time and 10 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time
      When it is 10 PM in Bhutan, it is 12 Noon in New York and 9 AM in L.A. on the same day

ARRIVAL

Entry

      You will be met upon arrival by our representatives and transferred to your hotel.

      Your guide who will have a sign with YANA Expeditions, Inc. and your name on it will meet you.

Customs

      All visitors are required to complete the Customs Declaration Form and an emigration form before your plane lands in Bhutan. The emigration form must remain with your passport until you leave the country.
      Anything you are bringing into the country for personal use - camera gear, video cameras, binoculars, etc. will be allowed.
      Electronic items should be registered with the customs authorities on arrival and will be checked on departure.
      Import and export of the following goods are strictly prohibited: arms, explosives, ammunition, etc., narcotics and drugs (medically prescribed drugs are exempt), antiques, and wildlife products, especially those of endangered species.
      Cigarettes and any other tobacco related products are forbidden in the kingdom. For personal consumption passengers are permitted to bring in 200 cigarettes (10 packets - 1 ctn) on payment of 200 per cent duty.
      Alcoholic beverages up to 1 litre for personal consumption.

 

GETTING ALONG AS A VISITOR

Food & Restaurants

      All meals are included in trip cost
      Drink only bottled drinks, and avoid tap water
      Eat only foods that are thoroughly cooked, and raw fruits and vegetables
      Most restaurants/hotel buffets are clean and trustworthy
      Food in Bhutan can be bland and does not offer a broad range of food choices
      Hot chilli peppers are a staple ingredient found in many traditional dishes, but usually well defined in a hotel buffet setting

Money and Currency Exchange

      The basic monetary unit in Bhutan is the Ngultrum (Nu.)
      Indian Rupees can be used in Bhutan, but Ngultrum cannot be used in India
      Check the current exchange rate at http://www.xe.net/ucc/
      Credit cards are generally not accepted in Bhutan. VISA is accepted in major stores in Bhutan. Most stores add surcharge of 5% on the total amount
      There are no ATM machines in Bhutan
      All major currencies can be exchanged at banks in Paro and Thimphu
      You may need to show your passport when you exchange money or travellers checks, so keep it handy
      We suggest bringing $30-50 per person/per day for items not included in the cost of the trip and emergency money (if you enjoy shopping, we suggest bringing more)
      It is a good idea to bring newer dated currency that has no rips, marks, folds, or holes
      Take local currency with you to the countryside

Tipping

      Tipping is becoming more common in Bhutan, especially at tourist hotels and restaurants
      In restaurants an additional 5-10% of the bill would be appropriate as a tip
      Tip your guide and staff at the end of the journey
      We suggest tipping your guide $8-9 per person/per day, $4-5 per person/per day to your driver(s), $2-3 per person/per day to your cook and his staff, and $2-3 per person/per day to your porter & his staff
      Tips when travelling with a group of 6 or more may be slightly lower than listed above
      Anytime you especially appreciate someone particularly informative or helpful, an extra tip is gratefully accepted
      Visitors are advised not to give candy, gum, pens, pencils, balloons etc., to children, who soon learn to demand gifts; or not to hand out medicines to local people which may be inappropriate for their medical problems and delay their seeking professional help.
      If you want to give children pen, pencils etc., it is better to give them to local schools. Instead of gifts, you can show them books and pictures of your country, your home, your children etc or teach them a song or a game

Altitude Sickness

      PLEASE NOTE: The information below is provided to increase awareness of symptoms that some travellers experience, and is not meant to be alarming. Most people experience few, if any, symptoms.
      Altitude sickness is caused by abrupt change from low elevations to high altitudes. Mild symptoms include: headache, shortness of breath, light-headedness, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, mild nausea or vomiting, and fatigue.
      Take it easy the first day or two upon arrival at high altitude. Be sure to drink fluids, avoid alcohol, eat regularly and get plenty of rest. Your body will soon acclimatize and you will feel fine.
      Trekkers hiking up to high elevations may feel the continuing effects of altitude as they make their ascent. Our itineraries are planned to allow for a slow pace and plenty of time for acclimatization to minimize these effects. Our guides will not allow you go too high too fast and are prepared to adjust the pace if necessary, so the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is extremely low. On rare occasions, extreme symptoms may manifest themselves. If this occurs in yourself or if you notice symptoms in a fellow trekker, please tell your guide immediately.
      The first response to severe symptoms should be a quick descent to a lower altitude. Most cases, if they occur, are mild, and symptoms improve promptly with a return to lower altitude.
      Some travellers ask us about Acetazolamide (Diamox), which can help to speed acclimatization and reduce minor symptoms. Be aware that some people have a severe reaction to Diamox. Consult your physician for further information about this drug.

Emergency Services

      Medical treatment is available in Thimphu and other major cities/towns throughout the country
      Medical facilities and services in the countryside are severely restricted
      Emergency evacuation by helicopter is usually not an option
      Prevention of injury is always the best polic

      Your guide will advise you in the case of urgent medical need

Language

      Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan and is similar to Tibetan. The alphabets are exactly the same, but we use a different style of script.
      Most of the consonants in Dzongkha are pronounced the same way they are in English.

Some key words and phrases

      Hello               Kuzo Zangpo la
      Good-bye        Legshembe Joen (if youre the person staying)

Legshembe Shug (if youre the person leaving)
      Yes                 In
      No                  Men
      Thank you       Kadinchey
      No thank you   Mishu
      Ok                  Tup

Climate

      Bhutans climate varies greatly depending on elevation from the warm, subtropics of the south to the cool, permanent snow-covered Himalayas
      The monsoon season lasts from mid-June until late September
      October-November brings clear skies, warm days and cool evenings
      Autumn is a great season for the best mountain views
      In Paro, the temperatures can reach below freezing in the winter, though the day time temperatures are usually mild, reaching the low 8+ (C), and snowfall is minimal
      The summers are generally mild, averaging the upper 20s

SPECIAL REMARKS

People

      You will find the Bhutanese people to be very open and friendly.

      It is best to ask permission before entering houses or taking portrait photos. If in doubt, ask your guide.

Time

      Relax and enjoy the easy-going rhythm of Bhutan

      Do not expect everything to happen on time; remember that in some places time is not as important as it is back home, and there is often little concern for punctuality

      At times it is often hard to predict times and distances in Bhutan, though your staff will make the best effort to get to your next destination in a timely manner. Please keep this in mind while travelling 

Restroom Facilities

      It is a very good idea to carry your own small supply of toilet paper. In cities where there are flush toilets you will usually find a wastebasket next to the toilet - most sewage systems cant handle paper.

      Most bathrooms will neither look nor smell as sanitary as those you are used to

Safety

      Crime is very rare in Bhutan, but you will still need to observe the same precautions taken at home

      Carefully conceal your wallet and passport in a pouch worn around the neck inside of the shirt or in a money belt around the waist, and do not leave baggage unattended in public

      Make use of security facilities provided for valuables in your accommodation

      It is highly recommended that you buy travel insurance that covers your baggage before you leave home

      Dont bring anything you cant afford to lose or cant replace

Shopping

      Popular souvenirs are: Thangka paintings, Wooden masks, Silver & metal crafts, Textiles and Stamps

      Bargaining is not as common in Bhutan as in other Asian countries. In the outdoor markets and some shops it's possible, but many prices are fixed. Ask your guide when it may be appropriate.

 

Driving Times & Distances (Estimate)

      From                           To                               Distance                     Driving Time

      Thimphu                      Paro                            54 km                          1 hour 15 minutes

      Thimphu                      Phuentsholing               171 km                        6 hours

      Phuentsholing               Bagdogra (India)          170 km                        4 hours

      Thimphu                      Punakha                       71 km                         3 hours

      Punakha                      Wangduephodrang       23 km                          45 minutes

      Wangduephodrang      Trongsa                       129 km                        4 hours 30 minutes

      Trongsa                       Bumthang                     68 km                         2 hours 30 minutes

      Bumthang                    Mongar                       193 km                        7 hours

      Mongar                       Lhuentse                      75 km                          3 hours

      Mongar                       Trashigang                   91 km                          3 hours 30 minutes

      Trashigang                   Chorten Kora              51 km                          2 hours

      Trashigang                   Samdrupjongkar          180 km                        6 hours 30 minutes

      Samdrupjongkhar        Guwahati (India)          101 km                        3 hours

Important Notes

      Foreign tourists are not allowed inside many monasteries/temples

      For those where entry is allowed, photography is prohibited inside the temple where sacred statues & scriptures are housed

      You will be required to remove your shoes and head gear upon entry into monasteries/temples

      While attending festival events within dzong walls, strict dress codes are enforced long pants, long sleeve shirts and shoes (not sandals) are required. Head coverings (hats, scarves, etc.) are not allowed, so be sure to cover bald spots with sun screen on hot sunny days. Ask your guide.

      DONT use your finger to point, especially at deities or religious objects - instead, use an open hand with the palm up. Do not point your feet at anyone

      DO remove your shoes before entering a monastery/temple or a local home, use your right hand or both hands to give or receive an object, bring small gifts for your guide and for those whose homes you visit

Trekking Conditions

      Trekking trails can become very muddy and wet at the end of the rainy season and can get very cold in the spring and fall

      Gaiters, walking poles, waterproof boots, and winter wear are all helpful

Equipment & Packing

      A good goal is to fit everything into a single piece of checked luggage and one carry-on daypack
      We recommend a durable, water-resistant, soft duffel bag (for treks) or lightweight soft-sided suitcase as your checked luggage. Hard suitcases are not practical due to space limitations.
      A small backpack or hip-pack is ideal for carrying bottled water, camera, rain gear, etc, while on excursions where the terrain requires your hands to be free
      Choose a distinctive, easily identified bag, and use a YANA luggage tag for bag identification by staff, and your name and address should be also indelibly affixed inside the luggage
      Casual clothing is appropriate at all times
      Lightweight & light coloured clothes will help keep you cooler. Also keep in mind that synthetic fabrics dry faster than natural fibbers like cotton, especially in humid areas, so you can pack less if you are able to wash and dry your clothes easily.
      Some hotels may have laundry services, but you will probably need to wash out some clothes en route
      Druk Air allows two pieces of checked luggage that are restricted to 20 kg/44 lb total, and one carry-on (& purse)
      You may want to bring an extra smaller, collapsible (lockable) duffel, to leave items in a city hotel while you are on an excursion or to use on your return for souvenirs

 

CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT SUGGESTIONS CHECKLIST

Pre-Departure Tasks

      Obtain or renew passport
      Bring US cash in smaller & various denominations. The Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum. The exchange rate is about Ngultrum 48 to 1 US Dollar.
      Evaluate and obtain trip cancellation, baggage and medical insurance
      Consult with physician for immunizations and prescription medicine recommendations
      Break-in primary footwear
      Make final payment to YANA at least 60 days before trip departure

Clothing

      Lightweight hiking boots or comfortable athletic or walking shoes
      Extra pair of shoes or sandals
      Long shorts
      Comfortable, lightweight pants
      Nicer pants or skirt (optional)
      Lightweight long-sleeve shirt
      T-shirts, short sleeve shirts and/or tank tops
      Heavy sweater or sweatshirt
      Lightweight jacket or windbreaker
      Warm fleece/Polar Tec type jacket (for summer)
      Rain gear - poncho or jacket (pants optional)
      Sun hat or cap with wide brim
      Bandana
      Swim suit (optional)
      Socks
      Sleepwear
      Under clothes

Personal Items

      Sun block (waterproof, high SPF)
      Lip balm with SPF
      Insect repellent with DEET content
      2 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
      Wrist watch and/or travel clock
      Sunglasses (with strap, case)
      Extra eyeglasses/contacts
      Money belt or pouch for valuables
      Small flashlight with extra batteries
      Copies of all important documents
      Day pack (can also serve as an airline carry-on bag)
      Camera, memory cards, film, batteries, charger
      Lead bag/containers to protect film in X-rays
      Lightweight binoculars
      Plug adapter (if needed)
      Soft duffel with shoulder strap or durable suitcase
      Luggage tags
      Ziploc-type bags for packing shampoo or other liquids
      Stuff sacks or plastic bags for organizing inside luggage (also useful for dirty laundry)
      Thread, needles, safety pins for minor repairs
      Small packable umbrella

Personal First Aid Kit

      Aspirin or other pain killer
      Cold relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops
      Band-Aids, gauze pads
      Antibiotics
      Prescription medicines
      Aloe gel or lotion in case of sunburn
      Anti-diarrhoea medicine
      Antibiotic cream/ointment
      Supply of feminine hygiene items
      Motion sickness tablets
      Earplugs


Essential Items For Your Carry-On Bag

      Passport
      Air tickets
      Travellers checks, money and credit cards
      Insurance certificates
      Address and phone number of emergency contact
      Prescription medicines
      Extra set of underclothes
      Toiletries in small leak-proof bottles
      Camera gear, film and other valuables

Trekking/High Altitude Items

      Sleeping bag, down or synthetic, rated to at least -20C /winter, or -5C /fall & spring
     Sleeping bag liner
      Hiking poles
      Down coat with hood
      Down, windproof or insulated pants
      Heavy long-sleeve shirt and/or sweater
      Gloves or mittens
      Hooded top or warm/wool hat
      Insulating polypropylene or down socks
      Biodegradable bar soap

Optional Items

      Binoculars

TRAVEL PROCEDURES BHUTAN

PARO ARRIVAL

You will receive a three page form on the airplane. This form should be completed prior to landing. First page will be retained by the Department of Immigration and the second page will be retained by the Department of Revenue and Customs. The third page (yellow) is your copy. Do not lose this card. You will need it upon your departure from Paro. Upon arrival, you must present your passport and immigration/customs declaration forms at the immigration desk. After clearing immigration, you may retrieve your luggage.  Luggage carts are available in the area. Once you have your luggage, you must clear customs. Have your luggage keys readily accessible since you may be requested to open your luggage for inspection. The customs declaration counter is to the right of the baggage claim area. You will be required to remit the form and keep a copy for yourself as you clear customs. Do not lose your yellow copy of your immigration and custom declaration form because you will need them to depart the country. After completing the customs procedures, you will exit the airport, where your guide who will have a sign with YANA Expeditions, Inc. and your name on it will meet you.

DRUKAIR  - Royal Bhutan Airlines

You will be charged for luggage weight in excess of 20kg per person in economy class or 30kg per person in business class. 

Hand Baggage:

To comply with the security regulations, passengers may carry only one hand baggage which may comprise:

            A ladys handbag

            An overcoat or a wrap

            An umbrella or a walking stick

            A small camera and pair of binoculars

            A reasonable amount of reading material for the flight

IMPORT REGUALTIONS

            Cigarettes and any other tobacco related products are forbidden in the kingdom. For personal consumption passengers are permitted to bring in 200 cigarettes (10 packets - 1 ctn) on payment of 200 per cent duty.

            Alcoholic beverages up to 1 litre for personal consumption

DEPARTURE FROM PARO AIRPORT

You must remit your immigration and custom declaration forms upon your departure from Paro. Departure tax is included in your airfare. 

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