Bhutan’s official religion is Drukpa Kagyu, a school of tantric Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhism is practised throughout the country, however, in the south, people of Nepali and Indian descent practice Hinduism.
Bhutan's official language is Dzongkha. Given the geographic isolation of many of Bhutan's highland villages, it is not surprising that a number of different dialects have survived.
Area (sq. km):
47,000 square meters
Bhutan is 6 hours ahead of GMT, 15 minutes ahead of Nepal and 30 ahead of India.
Bhutan's climate ranges from tropical in the south, to temperate in the centre of the country, to cold in the north, and like much of your adventure in the Himalayas it will be quite unpredictable. The weather can vary dramatically from place to place, from day to day or within the same day. In the Thimphu and Paro valleys, the winter daytime temperature averages 60 degrees Fahrenheit during clear winter days but drops well below freezing during the night. Mid December to early January can be a beautifully clear and dry time in Western Bhutan. Late December through mid February is the period of heaviest snow fall in the higher elevations Spring in Bhutan is a truly spectacular time. Autumn (late September through November) is usually very mild and clear. The autumn colours surround and the sky is usually at its clearest, affording magnificent views of the Himalaya range.
The internationl dialling code is +975. You can make international calls, and send faxes from Thimphu and Paro.
The electricity supply in Bhutan is rated at 220 volts, and appliances requiring 240 volts will work normally. If you bring electrical appliances you should also bring an international adaptor. Round two-pin plugs are the most common types in the region. Adaptors can be purchased prior to departure to the Himalaya. Please note that electricity supplies are subject to disruption, and that electricity is available in only a few of our lodges.
All meals are included during your stay in Bhutan, however, if you have spare time you may wish to visit the Swiss Cafe in Thimphu which is the best place for snacks, pastries, cakes and freshly brewed coffee. It is located off the main high street, five minutes’ walk from the Druk Hotel. For a night on the town ‘Plums’ in Thimphu is the ‘in place’ to go. Food here is Bhutanese, Chinese and Indian, with a good selection of drinks, both locally-made and imported.
Bhutan is famous for its fine handcrafts like hand-woven woollen or cotton fabrics, gold or silver ornaments, silverwares and woodworks - masks, bowls, traditional tables, bamboo and rattan wares. Thimphu is the best place to find the variety of goods from the different parts of the country. Export of the antiques and other religious objects such as statues, prayer wheels, and bells is strictly forbidden. New thangkas (religious paintings) are a permissible export.
Visa: All nationalities require a visa for Bhutan. Travellers can only enter Bhutan as part of a group visa. Independent visas are not issued. Your Bhutan visa is organised by us and issued on a group basis upon arrival at Paro Airport, Bhutan. The cost of the visa is covered in our tour.
Bhutan-Lonely Planet So Close to Heaven- the Vanishing Bhuddist Kingdoms of the Himalaya-Barbara Crossette The Raven Crown-Michael Aris