Dzongkha, the Language of Dzong belongs to the Tibetan Linguistic family originally spoken in western Bhutan. It is now the National Language. English is widely spoken in the main towns and it is the principle medium of instruction in schools throughout the kingdom.
Bhutan being tiny country has only one time zone. Bhutan Standard time is 6 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), one hour behind Bangkok time, 30 minutes ahead of the Indian time and 11 hours ahead of the standard New York time. Bhutan’s time matches with Bangladesh time.
Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum. Ngultrum (Nu. in short) is as par with the Indian currency, Rupees. Ngultrum is accepted only in some bordering Indian towns, whereas Rupee is accepted throughout Bhutan. One US $ is roughly equal to Nu. 70.
Most travelers’ cheques are accepted but shops generally charge a commission on credit cards payments. Payments can be made with American express, MasterCard, VISA and the JCB cards. Cash is always more convenient, particularly in the districts outside Thimphu, Paro and Phuentsholing towns.
Postal & Communication Services
The Bhutanese postal system is reliable, you can send mails from hotels and post offices and no special procedures are necessary. If you mail cards or letters from the Thimphu post office, you can buy exotic Bhutan postage stamps from the philatelic bureau and use them on your letters and postcards. Bhutan Post offers outgoing EMS [expedited mail service], which is a reliable and fast international mail delivery facility that is cheaper than courier services. It also has a LUM [local urgent mail] service for delivery within Bhutan. DHL is the only international courier to operate from Bhutan. Most of the kingdom’s major towns have both domestic and international direct dial facilities. Nearly all hotels and some PCOs have facilities to send and receive faxes. Bhutan has has WiFi Internet services and mobile facilities almost everywhere.
Exports of antiques, plants or animal products are strictly prohibited. Visitors are required to fill up the Custom Form on their arrival. Cameras, video cameras, computers and other electronic equipment for personal use must be declared on the Custom forms. Some articles, which are exempted from duty are 2 liters of wine/any other alcohol.
The custom authorities will not allow you to take any old items if they have not been certified as non-antique. Therefore all tourists should be cautious in purchasing any old items.
On 17th December 2004, Bhutan became the world’s first nation to introduce a complete ban on tobacco sales, following a resolution taken by the National Assembly. Smoking is also now restricted to private areas. However, tourists are allowed to bring 200 sticks of cigarettes subject to payment of 100% customs duty and 100% sales tax.
There are comfortable hotel and lodges that are certified by Department of Tourism, at all tourist destinations. Western Bhutan has better hotels while in central and eastern parts of the country, accommodation establishments are simple and offer minimum facilities. Luxury accommodations are now available in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. Generally we provide 3-4 Star Hotels accommodation for our guests.
Bhutanese delicacies are rich with spicy chilies and cheese. All hotels and guest houses on Bhutan Travel Adventures’ selected list of accommodations offers delicious Chinese, Continental, Bhutanese and Indian cuisines. We provide suitable dishes to western taste in the above range and every effort will be made to accommodate the individual dietary preferences of your own to trekking groups.
To protect against unforeseen accidents and mishaps, we advise you to have Travel Insurance policy from your country. It should adequately cover helicopter evacuation and medical assistance. Country Travels will not be liable for any kind of injury, illness or death during the tour/trek in Bhutan.
All guides are licensed by the Tourism Authority of Bhutan. All guides speak good English. French, Japanese or German speaking guides can also be arranged. We always provide selective and knowledgeable guides to company our tour groups.
The estate has recently installed a full range of telecommunications and computing facilities for use by its guests. Internet Service in Bhutan was introduced recently in 1999 and making international phone calls from most towns are available while touring Bhutan and Bhutan is also connected with the mobile services throughout the country with internet services. WIFI hotspots are available in all tourist lodge/hotel as well as in cyber cafes.