Dochula, Bhutan
Dochula, Bhutan

Dochula

Masked dace at Dochula in Thimphu
Photo by Pema Gyamtsho

BHUTAN

Asia

Bhutan Travel Information

Temp icon
Overview icon

Key facts

Capital:

Thimphu

Location:

Southern Asia, between China and India

Currency:

ngultrum (BTN)

Area:

38,394 sq km

Population:

857,423 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Sharchopkha 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26% (includes foreign languages) (2005 est.)

Religion:

Lamaistic Buddhist 75.3%, Indian- and Nepali-influenced Hinduism 22.1%, other 2.6% (2005 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+6

Tel Code:

+975

Weather

Climate

Bhutan has a varied climate, due to its diverse topography, with the northern region of the country being colder than the south. The country experiences four main seasons: the cool winter season from December to February, the pre-monsoon season from March to May, the monsoon season from June to September, and the post-monsoon season from October to November.

The monsoon season is characterized by heavy rainfall, which can cause landslides and flooding in some areas. The best time to visit Bhutan depends on the regions you plan to visit and what you prefer in terms of weather.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Bhutan is from October to December, during the post-monsoon season, when the skies are clear, the air is crisp, and the weather is mild. During this time, visitors can enjoy the country's natural beauty and explore its historical sites without the heat and humidity of the summer months.

If you want to experience the traditional Bhutanese festivals and events, then the months of September to December are the best time to visit. On the other hand, if you want to explore the country's natural beauty and go on treks, then the months of March to May would be the best time to visit, as the weather is mild and the landscape is lush green.

Keep in mind that the monsoon season of June to September can be unpredictable, and many of the country's outdoor attractions may be closed or have limited hours during this time. Visitors are advised to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly, as well as to take necessary precautions when travelling during the monsoon season.

Transportation

Air

The main international airport in Bhutan is Paro International Airport, located in the Paro Valley. There are several airlines that operate flights to and from Bhutan, including Bhutan Airlines, DrukAir and Bhutan Airline. Visitors can also fly to neighboring countries and then take a domestic flight to Bhutan.

Bus

Buses are a popular and affordable way to travel around Bhutan. The bus system connects major cities and towns throughout the country, and there are also long-distance buses that connect Bhutan with neighboring countries such as India.

Taxi

Taxis are widely available in Bhutan and can be found at airports, bus stations, and major cities. Visitors can also use ride-hailing apps such as Tashi Cell to book a taxi. Visitors are advised to agree on the fare before getting in the taxi, and to have the destination address written in the local language.

Car rentals

Car rentals are also available in Bhutan and can be found in major cities such as Thimphu and Paro. Visitors can rent a car with or without a driver, and also hire a car with a driver for sightseeing tours.

Bicycle

Bicycles can be rented in Bhutan and are a popular way to explore the country, particularly in the less-developed regions. Visitors can cycle through the countryside, visit local villages, and experience the local culture.

Accommodation

Hotels

Bhutan offers a wide range of hotel options for visitors, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Visitors can find hotels in most major cities and towns, and many of the historical sites also have on-site accommodation. Some of the larger cities such as Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha have several international hotel chains as well as smaller, locally-owned hotels.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are a popular and budget-friendly accommodation option in Bhutan. They are often family-run and offer a more authentic experience of local life. Guesthouses can be found in most cities and towns and offer simple, clean rooms with private bathrooms. Some guesthouses also offer meals and other amenities such as laundry service.

Homestays

Homestays are a great way to experience local culture and hospitality in Bhutan. Visitors can stay with a local family and learn about their customs, culture and way of life. Homestays can be found throughout the country and offer visitors a unique and authentic experience.

Camping

Camping is a popular accommodation option in Bhutan, particularly for trekkers. Camping gear and equipment can be rented from tour operators, and designated camping sites can be found in many of the country's national parks and protected areas.

Dzongkha

Dzongkha are traditional Bhutanese fortress-like buildings that have been converted into hotels and resorts. They offer a unique and authentic experience of Bhutan's culture and history, and are often located in beautiful and scenic locations.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Bhutan Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Bhutan is a small, landlocked country in the Himalayas, known for its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and commitment to preserving its traditional way of life. From exploring its ancient temples and monasteries to trekking in the mountains and experiencing its vibrant festivals, there is something for everyone in Bhutan. Here are the top 10 things to do in Bhutan:

      1. Visit the Paro Taktsang

      Paro Taktsang, also known as the Tiger's Nest Monastery, is one of Bhutan's most iconic and sacred sites. The temple is built into a cliff and can only be reached by a strenuous hike, but the views and the history of the temple is worth the effort.

      2. Explore the Punakha Dzong

      The Punakha Dzong is one of Bhutan's most beautiful and historically important temples. The Dzong is located at the confluence of two rivers and features traditional Bhutanese architecture. Visitors can also explore the temple's beautiful gardens and courtyards.

      3. Trek in the Himalayas

      Bhutan is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoiled trekking routes in the Himalayas. Visitors can trek to remote villages, explore high mountain passes, and take in stunning views of the Himalayas.

      4. Visit the Bumthang Valley

      The Bumthang Valley is a picturesque area known for its beautiful temples and traditional villages. Visitors can explore the valley's temples, monasteries and the local culture, and also trek to the nearby mountains.

      5. Visit the Punakha Dzong

      The Punakha Dzong is one of Bhutan's most beautiful and historically important temples. The Dzong is located at the confluence of two rivers and features traditional Bhutanese architecture. Visitors can also explore the temple's beautiful gardens and courtyards.

      6. Attend a Tsechu Festival

      Tsechu are Bhutan's colorful and vibrant religious festivals, featuring traditional dances and costumes. Visitors can attend a Tsechu festival and experience Bhutan's rich culture and traditions.

      7. Visit the Dochula Pass

      The Dochula Pass is a high mountain pass that offers stunning views of the Himalayas. Visitors can hike to the pass and take in the beautiful scenery, and also visit the 108 stupas that are located on the pass.

      8. Explore the Thimphu

      Thimphu is Bhutan's capital and largest city. Visitors can explore the city's temples and monasteries, experience its bustling markets, and also take a hike to the nearby mountains.

      9. Visit the Gangteng Monastery

      The Gangteng Monastery is one of Bhutan's most important and historic monasteries. The monastery is located in the beautiful Punakha valley and features traditional Bhutanese architecture. Visitors can also learn about the monastery's history and culture.

      10. Visit the Jigme Dorji National Park

      Jigme Dorji National Park is Bhutan's largest and most important national park. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and blue sheep. Visitors can also explore the park's beautiful forests and take a hike to the nearby mountains.

      Join logo

      Join our newsletter to stay up to date. No spam, ever!