Food: Bhutanese delicacies are limited to spicy chilies and cheese. However, you will be served a buffet of Continental & Chinese food with local dishes too. Even on trek, dishes are served suitable to your taste ranging from Continental to Chinese, Indian and Bhutanese.
Clothing: Due to wide range of temperature and climatic conditions, it is advisable to bring appropriate clothing. For protection against cold, layered clothing is better than a few thick ones. Clothes should be preferably of natural material, which allows the body to breathe better. It is also not advisable for you to walk around in skinny or tight fitting clothes. It is advisable for the women to wear shirts or loose trousers. Please avoid wearing shorts and hats while visiting Dzongs, Monasteries and other religious institution.
Postal Service & Communications: Bhutan Post is the national postal organization in Bhutan and has a reliable service. You can send your cards, mails, letters, etc. from the post offices available at each place that you visit. No extra formalities are required to avail the facilities for a foreign national. International Courier Services like DHL International, First Flight, EMS (Express Mail Service) and Blue Dart Courier are available in Thimphu.
All major towns in the country have both domestic and international direct dialing facilities. Most of the hotels and PCOs have STD/IDD facilities and fax transmission facility. Bhutan, since mid of 1999, has its own Internet and email service. Country dialing code of the kingdom is +975. Area code of Thimphu is 2.
Time Zone: Bhutan has only one time zone. It is exactly six hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
Currency: Ngultrum (Nu) is the official currency of Bhutan and has equivalent value to the Indian Rupee, which is also accepted in Bhutan. International ATMs are not available in Bhutan, and thus credit cards are accepted only at certain places. US dollar and Euro is widely accepted all over the country. Changing of money is possible in the Banks as well as in the hotels.
Restricted Area: not all places of religious establishments are open to tourists. This is to ensure that monastic life can continue unhindered and for environmental and safety concerns. Details can be provided with a full list of places and festivals that are open to tourists.
Customs: Visitors are required to complete the Customs formalities by submitting the Declaration Form to customs authorities on arrival. The following articles are exempted from customs duty.
Personal effects and articles for day to day use by the visitor
2 liters of alcohol; 400 cigarettes; 150 gms of pipe tobacco
Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use
Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use
Articles described in sl.no.3 & 4 must be declared on the Customs Form. If such items are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift they become liable for customs duty.
Import and export of the following goods are strictly prohibited
Arms, ammunition, explosives and military stores
All narcotics and drugs (medically prescribed drugs are exempted)
Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items. Customs authorities will not allow any old/used items to be taken out of the country if they have not been certified as non-antique.
Import of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be declared on arrival.
Filming: Commercial filming in Bhutan is permissible upon grant of approval from the Department of Information & Media and payment of royalty (details on request will be available).
Applications for filming permit needs to be submitted to the Department of Information & Media at least 4 weeks in advance, with the Synopsis of the film, specific locations of filming, objects & activities, composition of team, list of equipment, accessories, consumables and a letter of recommendation from the sponsoring agency.
As per Government regulation, all members of the filming team are to pay full daily tariff. Security Deposit of specified amount must have to be deposited with the Department, which will be refunded upon completion of the film to the satisfaction of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Photography: Photographic opportunities are immense on all trips. In general, people do not mind if you take their photograph. However, you are advised to follow the guide’s instructions carefully, while visiting Dzongs, Monasteries and other religious institutions.
Vaccinations: Ministry of Health, Bhutan has not felt the necessity to take vaccination of any kind to enter the Kingdom. However, you may at your own concern, wish to take immunization against certain preventable diseases. We suggest that you go through US Centers for Disease Control for updated information on this issue.
Altitude Sickness is one important concern that a traveler needs to be aware of. Even though most visitors do not encounter any problem, some face problem especially trekking at high altitude, which at some routes goes as high as 5000 Meters. International Society for Mountain Medicine will provide you good information on prevention and management of this sickness. International Society for Mountain Medicine too would provide you with information on altitude sickness.