+44 (0) 1608 676821
Land of the Thunder Dragon
With Panoramic Journeys

Bhutan

The Land of the Thunder Dragon is an extraordinary place. Vast and impressive fortresses, known as Dzongs, dominate Bhutan's landscape - from the wide subtropical valleys in the south to the Himalayan mountain ranges of the north. One of the world's biodiversity hotspots, Bhutan's national animal is the Takin - legend says it is half goat, half cow. This is a country where selling cigarettes or plastic bags is illegal, where giant protective penises are painted on the walls, where chillies and cheese with red rice is the national dish, and where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product.

Tucked away from the modern world for centuries, Bhutan, the last remaining Himalayan Kingdom, is managing to retain its Buddhist culture and traditions of the past whilst taking a cautious approach to modernisation. The juxtaposition of old and new is one of Bhutan's most appealing qualities: its ancient history is one of legends and miracles performed by saints, whom the majority of the population still worship daily. Most of that population now have electricity produced by hydropower and 2008 saw a new king crowned and the election of a new democratic parliament - Bhutan really is an extraordinary country in transition.

As our name suggests, we like big panoramic vistas and encounters that give one a new perspective on life - Bhutan boasts a few of these of Himalyan proportions. We have made a name designing extraordinary journeys that allow our guests to get under the surface of a country - to meet the people and get off the tourist trail. We create 'hand-made' journeys, designed from scratch for each individual, that allow time to meet local people, to walk in rural valleys, and really to get to know this beautiful country, as well as taking in the most important historical and religious sights that define Bhutan.

Itineraries to Inspire

See More

Essential Information

Getting there

There are only two airlines that fly into Bhutan, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. Flights get full, especially in the spring and autumn and should be booked as soon as possible - however the schedule is only published a few months in advance and is subject to change without notice - so it is a balancing act with your international flights. You can fly into Bhutan from Nepal, India, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh. The airlines recommend at least 24 hours transit time for connecting flights on your outward and (especially) return journey to factor in time for changes to schedule or delays.  The flight into Bhutan is spectacular, with fantastic views of the high Himalaya especially from Delhi or Kathmandu.

 

Health

You should talk to your doctor about vaccinations at least 6 weeks before departure. No innoculations are compulsory for Bhutan but you should discuss Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis (A and B) Polio & Typhoid and also Malaria prevention if you are entering by road or visiting any southern districts - especially rural areas.

Bhutan is a high altitude country with roads as high as 3800m but the majority of guests do not have too much trouble.  The most common problem is a mild headache or insomnia on the first couple of days. Keeping hydrated and resting, but not sleeping too much can help with this.

Visas

We will apply for your Bhutanese visa for you after you have paid for your holiday in full. You will receive a visa authorisation letter and then a stamp in your passport on arrival. All nationalities require a full passport, valid for six months beyond the length of stay. We will need to have a scan or a good colour photocopy of the photo page of your passport when you book, as we need to send this in advance. 

Travelling responsibly

One of the projects that we support in Bhutan is the Help Shoe Bhutan initiative.  It's mission is simple; to make sure that every Bhutanese person has shoes on their feet.  They also aim to promote a culture of reuse and recycle so they collect unwanted shoes, repair them if neccesary and distribute them around the country.  We use some of our Sustainable Projects Fund to support this fantastic venture. How can you help? Bring a pair of old shoes with you to Bhutan and you can pass them on to the charity.

Bhutan has an incredibly varied climate depending on the elevation. The chart shows values for Paro, but other parts of Bhutan will vary enourmously. The low-lying southern border has subtropical temperatures with high amounts of rainfall, the central areas of Bhutan are temperate highlands and the Himalayan regions have a polar climate with heavy snow. Western Bhutan can have heavy monsoons in the summer but the east is drier. You should be prepared for diverse weather conditions on a journey as you traverse high mountain passes and spend time in the lush valleys. Conditions can change very quickly so for your comfort and safety, your guide may suggest an alternative to the itinerary if the weather turns.

In general, days are warm and nights are cold and the sun can be very strong.

Read more about When to visit Bhutan

Currency

The currency in Bhutan is the Ngultrum. The Bhutanese Ngultrum is equivalent in value to the Indian Rupee and you can use Indian Rupees interchangeably with Ngultrum in Bhutan.  Credit and debit cards are not readily accepted in Bhutan and there can be 5% transaction charges.  US Dollars, Pound Sterling or Euros can be exchanged in banks or hotels.

Tipping

Tipping is of course voluntary and our pre-departure Practicalities document will give so some guide regarding how much.  Despite guidebooks advising otherwise, tipping is now normal in hotels.

Electrical Plug Sockets

Bhutan operates on a 230V /50hz system. It is generally reliable, but  short power cuts are not uncommon. The standard socket is the Indian style round pin socket, but sizes vary, so your adaptor may not fit.  Most European round pin plugs work, or you can buy a local adaptor when you get to Bhutan.

The 'High Value, Low Impact' tourism policy

All tourists to Bhutan must travel on a pre-planned, pre-paid, guided package which should cost a minimum of US $250 a day. However, you do not have to travel as part of a group. We can design a bespoke journey with you, you can travel independently with a guide and enjoy flexibility within your itinerary when you reach Bhutan. There are surcharges imposed by the Government of $40 per day if you are travelling on your own or $60 a day if you are travelling as a couple.

"Bhutan is one of the few, if not the only place I've been where the culture is still truly intact. And what a beautiful culture it is. Add the extraordinary landscape, memorable hikes, breathtaking photo opportunities and fascinating home-stays and you'll have yourself a trip like you've never experienced. "

Brandi Bailey
Jade

Speak to Jade our Travel Designer

Whether it's to ask a quick question or to start planning the journey of a lifetime, we'd love to hear from you.

Call us on +44 (0) 1608 676821

Or Drop Us A Line

Speak to Jade our Travel Designer

Security code