Tips for Planning Bhutan Trip

Tips for Planning Bhutan Trip

Useful tips for planning your Bhutan Trips.

Watch out for peak periods

March, April, October and November are usually the peak period in Bhutan. If you are thinking of visiting Bhutan during these particular months, you should book your air tickets and hotels three months in advance. In 2010, we experienced Druk Air tickets being sold out for three consecutive weeks.

Know the seasons

April, May, September and October will be the best months for a trek. Though it is slightly colder, the sky will be blue, and it will not be muddy. Monsoon seasons will start in July until August. From our experience, monsoon season consists of 1 to 2-hour light rain in the morning or evening. The heavy downpour has been rare and occurred a few times a year.

Time your arrival with a festival

There are numerous festivals taking place across Bhutan over the year. Festivals in Bhutan are usually a display of colourful dances and Bhutanese in their best traditional dress. Certain festivals such as Paro Tsechu attract a large number of tourists. For a more intimate experience, you can consider attending the less well-known festivals. The smaller festivals also give better photo taking opportunities.

Consider a home stay

This is probably the tip with the most mixed response. Some travellers love the experience of having a stay with a Bhutanese family while others would prefer the comfort of hotels given the amount of money that they have splurged. Having a home stay will give you a first experience in the daily life of Bhutanese family. However, be prepared that certain families may not have a hot shower and may have to boil the water using firewood while others may not have electricity. Of course, there are more established families with modern facilities.

End it in luxury

After the drive through the beautiful country and a stay with the local family, you may want to end your trip with a stay in luxurious 5-star hotel such as Uma Paro. Uma Paro was also the hotel where the actor Tony Leung and actress Carina Lau married.

What to Pack

When packing for Bhutan it is important to remember that temperature there is very dependent on altitude, therefore a layered wardrobe is advisable as clothes can be added to or taken off as necessary. When visiting in the summer months, cotton clothing can be worn during the day with light woolen clothing for the evenings as well as a light jacket. Winter can be quite cold in Bhutan so heavier woolen clothing is recommended. People tend to walk a lot in Bhutan so comfortable walking shoes are also recommended.

Bhutanese people are required by law to wear traditional clothing from the 14th century and so as a sign of respect, shorts should not be worn in public buildings or monasteries (a pair of pants or a long skirt should be packed for such occasions). At least one formal outfit should be packed if visitors plan to venture inside Dzongs (religious, military, administrative and social centres) or any other sacred sites. (Jeans should also not be worn in Dzongs).

Bonus Tips for our Readers

- Pack warm clothes especially between November and March. You will experience huge changes in elevation when travelling in Bhutan, with certain valleys that might be colder than others. It's best to be prepared!

- Bring some books to read and save movies to watch on your laptop or tablet. You might need to entertain yourself with books and movies since most hotels are far away from the main town and nightlife is non-existent aside from Thimphu and Paro.

- Want to listen to music? The best radio stations for Western songs are 92, 965 and 99.9 FM. You can also enjoy the local music on other local stations on the radio.

- You can haggle in most shops but don't expect more than 10% discount. Generally speaking, prices between shops don't differ substantially.

- You don't have to tip in restaurants and hotels, unlike Western countries. The guide will take care of tipping on your behalf. However, do take note that you have to tip your guide.

- If you are prone to motion sickness, bring Dramamine or other medications to prevent nausea. Remember that you will be spending a lot of time in a car when travelling around Bhutan.

- Bring a multi-purpose electrical plug. Most hotel rooms have limited electrical plugs so you will need a multi-purpose plug if you are using many devices such as laptops, tablets and mp3 players. It's also wise to bring a universal travel adapter.

Associated With:

  • Government of Nepal
  • Nepal Tourism Board (NTB)
  • Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN)
  • Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP)
  • Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO)
  • Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)

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