Laya Bhutan is a remote village in Gasa District in far north Bhutan

Laya Bhutan is a remote village in Gasa District in far north Bhutan

LAYA BHUTAN 3850 m

Laya Bhutan is a remote village in Gasa District in far north Bhutan

Coordinates : 28.06362 North: 89.6828 East

4 h 11 min (97.5 km)  Punakha to Gasa, and a two day hard trek from Gasa to Laya.

Laya, Bhutan is a remote village in Gasa District in  far north Bhutan, very close to the Tibetan border. It is inhabited by the indigenous Layap people,  and is the highest inhabited settlement in the Bhutan. The hike from Gasa may be arduous, but its worth the effort.

Inhabited by the Layap tribe, who are akin to Tibetans.. They actually settled from Tibet several centuries ago. Population about 3000, approx 140 households. They call their village the “BEYUL”, or the hidden land. The distinct attire of Layap women wearing conical pointed bamboo hats is so unique, though the men have stopped wearing their original traditional dress. Yaks are herded, which is the main way of sustenance.

Some facts about Laya.

  1. Theres a Lakhang in the village, one another above.. In 2002, a school was started with 110 students. Above the school is an old temple,..where the Zhabdrung stayed when he first came to Bhutan . Some of his belongings are still there, a precious stone and a big brass jar full of water.
  2. In 1944, there was a major flood in Laya, glacial of course.
  3. In 1959-60, Tibetan refugees arrived with the livestock and Layaps bought yaks from them for only Nu 3 or 4 per head!
  4. Around 700 sheep were given by the government but they all died within 2 months, probably from eating poisonous grass.
  5. The first tourists arrived in 1987.
  6. In 1996, solar lighting was installed.
  7. In 1998, mountains bears attacked yak calves, killing 20-30. In 1999 wild dogs killed several yaks. There are several stories of cats of all sizes attacking their cattle.
  8. Above Laya are the HOLY Lakes, @ 4450m, Kharkhil Tsho, Paro Tsho, Onemo Tsho.
  9. Prosperous Layaps own more than 300 yaks.
  10. The conical hats of women are associated with fertility, and the fact that the women are actual yak herders. The same clothes are worn by the powerful local deity, Aum Chomo Nosey Gayem. The belief is to ensure that the yaks always remain healthy.
  11. In a traditional gesture of respect for visitors, Layap women, at the end of an evening entertainment, will remove their conical hats and throw them in a heap.

Advent of Buddhism in Bhutan

Advent of Buddhism in Bhutan

The advent of Buddhism in Bhutan began after the arrival of Guru Rinpoche in Bhutan in the 8th century, the Bon religion and the protector deities played a very vital role for different places, communities and clans across the entire spread of Bhutan. The thoughts and beliefs differed from place to place, from one valley to another, they were never the same at all. The differences were omnipresent, everywhere. But the guiding force, the pivot, the consolidator, the leader, the Guru wasn’t around.

Advent of Buddhism in Bhutan

And the Padmashambhava, the great lotus born saint was the Guru-in-waiting. The Guru knew exactly about the fate of Buddhism in India that it would be more than erased by the Mughal emperors. Even after the great flourishment of the Buddha Dharma in Tibet, it would actually, finally fall on a decline because of the Chinese. Nepal didn’t offer much scope, it was a predominantly Hindu nation and that didn’t actually connect to his likeliness. So Bhutan was his natural choice. Mountainous and remote, hidden in the inner Himalayas, the Mughals or the Chinese Hans had no chance to come to Bhutan and plunder the Buddha Dharma. So Bhutan was where the Buddha Dharma would prosper and flourish forever. That was his belief, his vision. And it came out true in so many ways as we see and analyze it now, wonder saint and philosopher, a gem and like they say diamonds are forever. It was also in Bhutan where he later hid several Buddhist holy scripts, religious documents, texts and relics, to be discovered and found by his chosen entity, Pema Lingpa of Bumthang, several centuries later in the 17th century.

bumthang-membar-tsho

Membar Tsho in Bumthang

Guru Rinpoche is actually credited with the founding of the Nyingma lineage, also known as the Red Hat sect of Mahayana Buddhism which became the dominant religion of Bhutan at that time.

He himself was found lying on top of a lotus flower floating on a pond. There are no records to prove where he was born or who his actual parents were. He just materialized on top of the flower one fine day! This was in the Swat valley, the historians say, in present day Pakistan. Quite big, handsome and impressive in size for a small child, the king took him as his own, adopted him as his son, made him the crown prince. So he grew up as a prince in his initial years, quite like prince Siddhartha, the eventual Buddha. So there is actually quite a similarity here if we can relate the two in the same context. As he grew up, he found it more arduous with his meaning of life in the garb of a prince. He could see, foresee several things that were to come and happen in the world. More like a Nostradamus with a very interesting religious twist. One fine day he decided to undergo such an act that could lead to his banishment from the kingdom. His father, the king had no choice but to banish him forever. Having set himself free, he traveled to several places, to Tibet and to Nepal which had so many similarities and parallels. Some historians say he must have been in Nepal when he got this invitation from the ailing Sindhu Raja of Bumthang.

Jakar-dzong-at-bumthang

Jakar Dzong – Bumthang

Sindhu Raja was a powerful Indian king of Bumthang, who ruled from an iron fortress. Although a powerful monarch, Sindhu Raja lost his son and sixteen chieftains when feuding with another strong rival Indian king of the south named Nachhoe or “the big nose”. This incident so deeply disturbed Sindhu Raja that he ordered the desecration of all the temples dedicated to the chief deity and protector of Bumthang, Shelging Karpo. Shelging Karpo quickly retaliated to take revenge and performed a ritual that severed the life force of Sindhu, bringing him very close to death. Unable to find an antidote to his sickness, one of his close counsels sent an urgent appeal to Guru Rinpoche requesting for his supernatural powers to save the Raja. The great yogi agreed to the request, which he probably already knew, and after his arrival in Bumthang, meditated leaving a “jey” (imprint) of his “kur” (body) on a rock, now surrounded by the Kurjey Lhakhang. Hence the name Kurjey.

Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang

Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang

Guru Rinpoche was offered Sindhu Raja’s daughter, Tashi Kheudon. But he instead sent her to fetch water in a golden ewer. While she was away, the Guru transformed into eight manifestations and together, they started to dance in the field by the temple. The dances were so spectacular that  every deity of the entire area appeared to watch them, all except the stony faced Shelging Karpo, who stayed away in his rocky hideout. But this was not to dishearten the Guru. When the princess returned, the Guru transformed her into five beautiful princesses each with a golden ewer. The golden sunlight emanating out of those ewers finally attracted Shelging Karpo, who appeared as a snow lion, which in turn was immediately recognized by the Guru. He himself transformed into a giant eagle, a Garuda, flew high up and subjugated the lion. The defeated Shelging Karpo thus gave back the life force to Sindhu Raja and was made to pledge to be a protector deity of Buddhism. Both the rival kings converted to Buddhism and Guru Rinpoche was allowed to preach Buddhism in their respective kingdoms. To seal the agreement, the Guru planted his staff in the ground at the temple in Bumthang. Its cypress tree descendants, the national tree of Bhutan, continue to grow and tower over the area at Kurjey Lhakhang till this date.

This event marked the beginning of the Dharma taking root in Bhutan, and a body imprint of Guru Rinpoche meditating in a nearby cave serves as a tribute to this occasion. So this was how Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan by Guru Rinpoche, which later went on to become the state religion of the nation. But this divine connection between Guru Rinpoche and Sindhu Raja is something that we sometimes forget to remember and recognize.

The eight sacred dances also marked the beginning of the introduction of Tshechu(s) in Bhutan featuring the famous mask dances which have then been repeated year after year for centuries till today. So the first ever Tshechu in Bhutan was conducted by Guru Rinpoche in Bumthang! Tshechu, which literally means “Day 10” of any particular Buddhist lunar month, featuring the mask dances and religious festivals are now conducted in all the districts of Bhutan. On the final day of a Tshechu, a massive thangka painting, called the Thongdrel is displayed for public early in the morning and rolled up again before sunrise, which features Guru Rinpoche and his two principal cohorts and his eight manifestations, to be displayed again the following year on the same exact date.

Travel to Bhutan from Malaysia, Taiwan, Hongkong, New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia.

Travel to Bhutan from Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia.

 Understanding Bhutan

Kuzuzangpo – Greetings from Bhutan !!

If you wish to Travel to Bhutan from Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia, the underlining basic things you need to know about Bhutan is: Bhutan is a small, mountainous Buddhist kingdom perched up in the Eastern Himalayas , a bit bigger in size than Taiwan (Taiwan – 36,193 km²; Bhutan – 38,394 km² ), landlocked and sandwiched between the two Asian giants – China on the north and India in the west, east and south. Very thinly populated, it has a population all of 750,000 with a population density of just 19.3/km². Taiwan has a population of 23.55 million, so you can imagine and sort out the difference for yourself! Thimphu, the capital city with about 100,000 plus denizens is the nerve centre of the country from every prospective. Other major cities are Paro, which houses the international airport, Phuentsholing, Punakha, Haa, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Bumthang. The national language is Dzongkha, though English is very widely spoken throughout the country. English is actually the medium of instruction in all schools. Bhutan is one of the last ten remaining ecological hotspots in the entire world, where more than 70 percent of the land is under green vegetation with about 600 species of various plants and animals. So the abundance of unique Himalayan flora and fauna is undeterred, compact and preserved along with its history, tradition and Buddhist culture. Bhutan is also the first country which initiated the belief of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which was  coined by the fourth king of Bhutan, whereby the concept of GNH precedes GDP. This mystical country hidden right up in the Himalayas where Buddhism, Buddhist culture and tradition has been preserved in its true essence and finery is also known as the “Last Shangri – La on Earth”. There is actually a lot to experience and discover in this unique quaint small little nation. So travel to Bhutan from Southeast Asia, East Asia and Australasia and see and experience it for yourself!!

We, at Yak Holidays International, Travel to Bhutan , are more than happy to help you.

BHUTAN-AUSTRALIA FRIENDSHIP OFFER

What is the Bhutan – Australia Friendship Offer?

It is a one-time special package that is being offered to all “Australian citizens” visiting Bhutan in June, July and August, 2018. The offer includes :

  • The all-inclusive mandatory minimum daily package rate of US$ 200 per person per night is waived. Instead, only the government Sustainable Development Fee of US$ 65 per person per night needs to be paid.
  • Discounted fare on Bhutanese Airlines.
  • Up to 50 % discounts in partnering Hotels
  • Flexibility / choice of services.
  • No surcharge of US$ 40 per person per night and US$ 30 each for two persons.
  • Special airport reception on arrival of the 1st Group

Yak Holidays International recently hosted Spanish Actress Pilar de la Macarena Cano in Bhutan for 2 weeks  (28 Oct – 10 Nov 2017).

Travel to Bhutan from Malaysia, Taiwan, Hongkong, New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia.

Spanish actress, Pilar de la Macarena Cano, at the foot of Mount Jhomolhari, near the Tibetan border.

Hi Mr. Sitar,

I did have a wonderful time in your beautiful country with Yak Holidays International. The Yak team was fantastic! I did feel really comfortable with them. They were very professional and really cared for my needs. Keep doing what you do, the way you do.

See you in the future

 

Xoxo,

Pilar. 

How to Organize a Bhutan Tour

  1. Visa Formalities and Procedures

Visa Formalities and Procedures for bhutan tourBhutanese Government laws mandate that all foreign visitors on Travel to Bhutan must always use a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator (Yak Holidays Int’l) or one of their international partners to book their  Travel to Bhutan.

All visitors require a passport, valid for at least 6 months longer than their journey, and a visa clearance for Bhutan which must be pre-approved prior to your arrival in Bhutan. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by your tour operator here in Bhutan and takes at least a week to process. Air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. Your Bhutan Visa will be arranged by Yak Holidays Int’l (www.traveltobhutan.travel), your tour operator, and all we usually need is a quality scan or photo of your passport photo page. Please be sure you carry the same passport that you submitted for your Bhutan visa or you will be denied entry. Bhutan visas generally cost $40 USD but are sometimes built into your travel package. A visa authority letter is issued after prepayment for your travel arrangements and the actual visa is entered into your passport on arrival at Paro International Airport. Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are the two airlines that fly into Bhutan, please make sure you check with the Druk Air office at Madrid for availability of flights to Bhutan. Or more importantly call and consult with Yak Holidays International, your Bhutanese Tour Operator, and we will do the needful. When you check in at the airport starting in Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi, Kolkata or Kathmandu, you must show your approved visa authority letter for Bhutan (that has been sent to you via email by the tour operator). All visitors are now required to provide fingerprints and a facial image – biometrics, which is a smooth process and you’ll get through quickly.

Druk Air provides its standard baggage allowance of 20 kg for economy class travelers and 30 kg in business class. The allowance for carry-on bags is 5 kg. Just prior to landing at Paro International Airport @2280m, as the Druk Air plane makes the descend from amongst the clouds, you will get wonderful views of the beautiful, serene Himalayan mountain ranges. This special occasion to view these mountains from above them would more than justify your Druk Air fares. For the best views and pictures/videos of the landscape, please check-in early for your Druk Air flight and reserve your seats on the left side of the plane if you are flying in from Bangkok. Likewise on your return flight, pl request for a seat on the right side of the plane to get the best views. Seats on Druk Air are allocated on a “first come first served” basis. Yes, we promise, fulfillment of sublime satisfaction will be at hand when you travel o Bhutan. Simple as that.

  1. What is the Cost Structure of the Daily Tariff when you Travel to Bhutan?

During the low season months (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec), it costs $200 USD per person per night and on the high season months (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov),

It costs $225 USD per person per night for groups of three or more.

For groups of two, it costs $255 USD per night, per person.

For a solo traveler, its $265 USD per night per person.

So on the surface, Bhutan may seem like an expensive destination than nearby Nepal, India or elsewhere, but from a broader perspective it’s actually not such a bad deal, considering all that is included and packaged within that fee. This fee actually includes a 3 star accommodation, all meals, a licensed Bhutanese tour guide and a driver for transportation, entrance fees to sites, camping equipment & haulage for trekking tours during the entire course of your stay within the country. Also included within the fee is a $65 per day royalty that goes to the government towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. Healthcare is free even for tourists. The philosophy behind the mandatory minimum fee being that it creates a high-value/low-impact tourist environment, as envisioned by the government of Bhutan. The government executes and regulates this minimum fee  in order to manage tourism in a more sustainable way, to grow and blend sensibly with the world, without taxing the local environment and more importantly, highlight and conserve the unique “culture and tradition” of the country.

  1. Getting into Bhutan

Getting into BhutanThe easiest option is to travel either to Bangkok or Singapore, whichever city is closer to wherever you are in either in Southeast Asia, East Asia or Australasia. Prioritize yourself to getting to Bangkok, or to Singapore and then get the connecting Druk Air flight to Paro, Bhutan. Once you land in Paro International Airport in Bhutan, Yak Holidays Int’l will be with you 24×7.

5 flights per week from Bangkok, 3h 0m duration

Bangkok,Thailand (BKK) to Paro, Bhutan (PBH)

12:00 pm 2:00 pm Druk Air 151 S BKK-PBH
12:55 pm 2:55 pm Druk Air 151 T BKK-PBH
1:25 pm 3:25 pm Druk Air 151 T F BKK-PBH
2:20 pm 4:20 pm Druk Air 151 S BKK-PBH

3 flights per week from Singapore, 6h 35m duration

Singapore (SIN) to Paro, Bhutan (PBH)

07:20 am 15:30 pm Druk Air 500 M SIN-PBH
07:20 am 15:35 pm Druk Air 500 W SIN-PBH
07:20 am 15:35 pm Druk Air 500 S SIN-PBH

(includes a 35min layover at Kolkata, passengers don’t need to disembark)

  1. Climate and Weather in Bhutan

Climate and Weather in Bhutan

December – February

These are Bhutan’s coldest months, especially in the mountains, but the clear skies can really reward those who are really up for low temperatures. The valleys are warmer and sunny during the day with clear views of the incredible Himalayas. There are fewer tourists around, so sometimes you can have all the place for just yourself!

March – April

Paro TshechuMarch and April are popular times to travel to Bhutan as the climate is pleasant and the valleys are abundant in flowers of different varieties. The blooming will have started by then. Paro Tshechu usually is on early April, so book your trip ahead to get the best accommodation and flights.

May

Thermometers start to shoot up in May, bringing humidity as well as clouds all. However, fewer visitors and lower prices can make it a perfectly viable time to visit. The rhododendrons would also still be in bloom which can be ideal for photographers and nature lovers.

June – August

June to August , and sometimes till September is monsoon time in Bhutan. Although showers can occur at night without killing your daytime experiences, conditions aren’t ideal for trekking. Sightseeing can still be done, but have a raincoat handy! You can go to a spa or take a hot stone water bath. But morning views are at their very best after night-time downpours, the smell of the air and the earth, you will have it all.

Girls from remote Laya village

September

September, October and November are excellent times for hiking, watching festivals, particularly the popular Thimphu Tshechu and enjoying the stunning views of mountains, valleys and the flora and fauna. Expect it to be around 20-25°C in the sun during the day, but its gonna be a lot cooler in the evenings/mornings and at higher altitudes. So don’t forget your woolens.

October

About 80% of all international visitors want to visit Bhutan in October, there is a dead rush, a rat race, so plan well in advance to ensure you get your preferred accommodation and Druk Air flights. Pl also note that Druk Air planes have a capacity of 114 pax.

November

Black-necked cranesBlack-necked cranes migrate from the cold Tibetan Highlands to the protected Phobjikha Valley each year and also to Bumdeling in eastern Bhutan. They remain in the region from late October to early February. In Gangtey Monastery in Phobjikha, a special Black Necked Festival is held every November to celebrate the arrival of the birds. Pl note and plan in advance if you want to be part of it.

So Travel to Bhutan checking your month wise priorities.

  1. Food and Cuisine in Bhutan

BhutanFood and Cuisine in Bhutanese food includes rice as the main dish with several side dishes of pork, beef, chicken and lamb. The typical Bhutanese will eat rice (the indigenous red variety or Indian white rice), which is the main dish, chillies and vegetables three times a day. Along with that, they often serve different side dishes of beef, pork, chicken and yak meat, of course with Bhutanese chillies and veggies.

When you travel to Bhutan you sure might miss out on your staple local food from back home, but you can try Bhutanese red rice for a change. You can also try pork sikaam, which is a Bhutanese version of bacon or spicy beef jerky dishes and an assortment of various dishes unique to Bhutan. Or momo dumplings and various versions of noodles with meat , veggies or eggs. But if you happen to be a jalapeno lover, then you are in the right place on the right time.

5 reasons why Chef Vikas Khanna loves Thimphu

(Award-winning chef, Vikas Khanna is the owner of New York’s Michelin star restaurant, Junoon).

The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of almost every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy enough! Chillies are used as a vegetable, not as a condiment.

Ema Datshi, which is chillies and cottage cheese, is the national dish and prepared differently wherever you go. It’s spicy and is typically eaten every single day. Veterans say you haven’t really visited Bhutan unless you’ve tried Ema Datshi. Have your guide ask for it at your hotel or restaurant as it may not be served with your meals because it may be  too spicy for many visitors. An yet another hot fiery rough chilli paste is  Ezzay which the Bhutanese people just love to have.

Check Recipe for Ema Datsi 

Salted Butter tea or Suja served on all social occasions, as is prevalent among all Buddhist communities of the Himalayas (from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh). In traditional homes in the Bhutanese hinterland, the serving host will sit beside you with a jar full of hot butter tea and will almost instantly fill your cup up to the brim  after you have had a sip! That’s part of the Bhutanese tradition, of course.

Chang is a local beer and Aara is a clear alcohol distilled from various grains cultivated in the mountains.

The diet in the mountains also includes chicken, fish, yak meat, dried beef, pork, pork fat, and lamb. Soups and stews of meat, rice, fiddle-head ferns, mushroom, lentils, and dried vegetables, spiced with chilli peppers and cheese, are a favorite meal during the cold seasons. Dairy foods, particularly butter and cheese from yaks and cows are also popular and indeed almost all milk is turned into butter and cheese. Popular spices include curry, cardamom, ginger, thin-gay or Sichuan pepper, garlic, turmeric and caraway.

The typical tourist class hotel serves a western style breakfast and quasi-Bhutanese style lunches and dinners which are adjusted for the western palette. Some hotels and restaurants, however, forego Bhutanese cuisine entirely for a more international fare which is quite a shame as Bhutanese food is quite good!

Bhutanese Food: 25 Best Dishes To Eat When You’re In Bhutan!

(Mark Wiens, based in Bangkok is a world known Travel and Food Blogger)

While you are eating it will be rare that your guide or driver will eat with you. If you ask them to join you (sometimes you have to press them), then they reluctantly join. Otherwise they’ll eat in a back room with the other drivers and guides at the hotel or restaurant.

  1. Things to do in Bhutan

You can do several things in Bhutan..

  • Take a Cultural Tour, Festival Tour, Special Interest Tour
  • Hike as you like, Flexibility and Customization are guaranteed
  • Go for Magnificent Himalayan Treks
  • Participate the world famous ” Snow Man Trek”
  • Rejoice Buddhist Mask Dances and Tshechu Festivals
  • See and Experience century old fortresses called Dzongs.
  • Stay in Typical Bhutanese Homestays
  • Enjoy local Bhutanese Food
  • Get an extra Experience of Rarified Bhutanese Atmosphere at over 2000m asl
  • Experience pure Buddhist tradition and preserved Bhutanese culture.
  • Get to see the last Shangri-la on Earth

Brokpa's waterproof cap

  1. Places of Interest
  • Taktshang Monastery, 900 m above Paro valley.

Taktshang-Monastery

  • Chele La Pass, the highest motorable road at 3988m.

Chele La Pass

  • Dochula Pass, on a clear day almost all mountain peaks of Northern Bhutan
  • Punakha Dzong, Chhmi Lhakhang, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal
  • Tashichhoe Dzong, Thimphu, Motithang Takin Preserve, Handicrafts Museum
  • Thimphu Valley
  • Paro Valley, Drugyal Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong
  • Phobjikha Glacial Valley
  • Trongsa Dzong
  • Bumthang Valley, the famous 4 valleys of Tang, Chumey, Chokor and Ura. plus “Membar Tsho” or the burning lake and Kurjey Lhakhang.

SO COME, VISIT AND TRAVEL TO BHUTAN. WE, AT YAK HOLIDAYS WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ENTERTAIN YOU AND MAKE YOU EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF BHUTAN WITH US.

TRAVEL TO BHUTAN WITH YAK HOLIDAYS.. Travel to Bhutan

7 Things to remember when you travel to Bhutan/ Buthan From Spain

If you are Spanish and intend to travel to Bhutan/Buthan from Spain, the simple basic things you may need to know about Bhutan/Buthan is: Bhutan/Buthan is a small, mountainous Buddhist kingdom in the eastern Himalayas, a bit bigger in size than the Spanish province of Catalonia (Catalonia – 32,108 sq km; Bhutan/Buthan – 38,394 sq km), landlocked and sandwiched between the two Asian giants – China on the north and India in the west, east and south. Very thinly populated, it has a population all of 750,000 with population density of just 19.3/sq km. Catalonia alone has a population of 7.5 million, so you can imagine and sort out the difference for yourself. Thimphu is the capital city with about 100,000 plus citizens and the nerve centre of the country. Other major cities are Paro, which houses the international airport, Phuentsholing, Punakha, Haa, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Bumthang. The national language is Dzongkha, though English is very widely spoken throughout the country. English is actually the medium of instruction in all schools. Bhutan/Buthan is one of the last remaining ecological hotspots in the entire world, where more than 70 percent of the land is under green vegetation with about 600 species of various plants and animals. So the abundance of unique Himalayan flora and fauna is undeterred, compact and preserved along with its history, tradition and Buddhist culture. Bhutan/Buthan is also the only country which believes in the concept of Gross National Happiness, which was coined by the fourth king of Bhutan/Buthan. This mystical country hidden up in the Himalayas has also earned itself the epitaph as the “Last Shangri – La on Earth”. There is actually a lot to experience and discover in this unique small little nation. So travel to Bhutan/Buthan from Spain and see and experience it for yourself!!

We, at Yak Holidays International, travel to Bhutan/Buthan, are more than happy to help you.

Yak Holidays International recently hosted Spanish Actress Pilar Macarena Cano in Bhutan/Buthan for 2 weeks (28 Oct – 10 Nov 2017).

  Spanish Actress, Pilar Macarena Cano, at the foot of Mount Jhomolhari in Bhutan/Buthan near the Tibetan border.

 Hi Mr. Sitar,

I did have a wonderful time in your beautiful country with Yak Holidays International. The Yak team was fantastic! I did feel really comfortable with them. They were very professional and really cared for my needs. Keep doing what you do, the way you do.

See you in the future!

Xoxo

Pilar

 Spanish Actress, Pilar Macarena Cano on Travel to Bhutan/Buthan @ Thimphu

How to Organize a Bhutan/Buthan Tour from Spain

 1. Visa Formalities and Procedures

It’s a government regulation that all foreign visitors on travel to Bhutan/Buthan must use a licensed Bhutanese/Buthanese Tour Operator (Yak Holidays Int’l) or one of their international partners to book your travel to Bhutan/Buthan.

All visitors require a passport, valid for at least 6 months longer than their journey, and a visa clearance for Bhutan/Buthan which must be pre-approved prior to your arrival in Bhutan/Buthan. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by your tour operator here in Bhutan/Buthan and take at least a week to process. Air tickets to Bhutan/Buthan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. Your Bhutan/Buthan visa will be arranged by Yak Holidays Int’l (www.traveltoBhutan/Buthan.travel), your tour operator, and all we usually need is a quality scan or photo of your passport photo page. Please be sure you carry the same passport that you submitted for your Bhutan/Buthan visa or you will be denied entry. Bhutan/Buthan visas generally cost $40 USD but are sometimes built into your travel package. A visa authority letter is issued after prepayment for your travel arrangements and the actual visa is entered into your passport on arrival at Paro International Airport. Druk Air and Bhutan/Buthan Airlines are the two airlines that fly into Bhutan/Buthan, please make sure you check with the Druk Air office at Madrid for availability of flights to Bhutan/Buthan. Or more importantly call and consult with Yak Holidays International, your Bhutanese/Buthanese Tour Operator, and we will do the needful. When you check in at the airport starting in Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi, Kolkata or Kathmandu, you must show your approved visa authority letter for Bhutan/Buthan (that has been sent to you via email by the tour operator). All visitors are now required to provide fingerprints and a facial image – biometrics, which is a smooth process and you’ll get through quickly.

Druk Air provides it is standard baggage allowance of 20 kg for economy class travelers and 30 kg in business class. The allowance for carry-on bags is 5 kg. Just prior to landing at Paro International Airport @2280m, as the Druk Air plane makes the descend from amongst the clouds, you will get wonderful views of the beautiful, serene Himalayan mountain ranges. This special occasion to view these mountains from above them would more than justify your Druk Air fares. This particular experience is “priceless” and won’t just happen every other day. For the best views and pictures/videos of the landscape, please check-in early for your Druk Air flight and reserve your seats on the left side of the plane if you are flying in from Bangkok. Likewise on your return flight, please request for a seat on the right side of the plane to get the best views. The seats on Druk Air are allocated on a “first come first served” basis. Yes, we promise, fulfillment of sublime satisfaction will be at hand when you travel to Bhutan/Buthan. It is as simple as that.

2. What is the Daily Tourist Tariff when you Travel to Bhutan/Buthan from Spain?

During the low season months (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec), it costs USD $200 per person per night stay in Bhutan/Buthan.

On the high season months (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov), it costs USD $225 per person per night for groups of three or more.

For group of two people, it costs USD $255 per person per night stay in Bhutan/Buthan.

For a single traveler, its USD $265 per person per night stay in Bhutan/Buthan.

So on the face of it, Bhutan/Buthan may seem like an expensive destination than nearby Nepal, India or elsewhere, but on a broader perspective it’s actually not such a bad deal, considering all that is included and packaged within that fee. This fee actually includes a 3 star accommodation, all meals, a licensed Bhutanese/Buthanese tour guide and a driver for transportation, entrance fees to sites, camping equipment & haulage for trekking tours during the entire course of your stay within the country. Also included within the fee is a $65 per day royalty that goes to the government towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. Healthcare is free even for tourists. The philosophy behind the mandatory minimum fee being that it creates a high-value/low-impact tourist environment, as envisioned by the government of Bhutan/Buthan. The government executes and regulates this minimum fee  in order to manage tourism in a more sustainable way, to grow and blend sensibly with the world, without taxing the local environment and more importantly, highlight and conserve the unique “culture and tradition” of the country.

3. Getting into Bhutan/Buthan from Spain.

The easiest option is to travel eastwards from wherever you are in Spain. You have to travel east, prioritize to getting to New Delhi, India, or to Kathmandu, Nepal and then get the connecting Druk Air flight to Paro, Bhutan/Buthan. Once you land in Paro International Airport in Bhutan/Buthan, Yak Holidays Int’l will be your guiding star.

4. Climate and Weather

The climate in Bhutan/Buthan varies with elevation, from a subtropical one in the south to temperate in the highlands and an alpine climate with round the year snowfall in the north. Bhutan/Buthan experiences four distinct seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Western Bhutan/Buthan has the heavier monsoon rains. Southern Bhutan/Buthan close to the Indian border has hot humid summers and cool winters, while the alpine north is cold throughout the year. Central and Eastern Bhutan/Buthan is temperate and drier than the west with warm summers and cold winters. Depending on the climatic conditions in the Indian subcontinent, monsoon rains usually start from June until the end of August and winter usually setting from November to February can be cold with frequent bouts of snowfall in the north.

  Weather

December – February: Are the coldest months, especially in the mountains, but the clear skies can really reward those who can brave low temperatures. The valleys are warmer and sunny during the day with clear views of the incredible Himalayas. There are fewer tourists around, so sometimes you can have the entire place for just yourself!

March – April: March and April are popular times to travel to Bhutan/Buthan as the climate is pleasant and the valleys are abundant in flowers of different varieties. The blooming will have started by then. Paro Tshechu usually is on early April, so book your trip ahead to get the best accommodation and flights.

May: Thermometers start to shoot up in May, bringing humidity as well as cloud all. However, fewer visitors and lower prices can make it a perfectly viable time to visit. The rhododendrons would also still be in bloom which can be ideal for photographers and nature lovers.

June – August: June to August and sometimes till September is monsoon time in Bhutan/Buthan. Although showers can occur at night without killing your daytime experiences, conditions are ideal for day hikes. Sightseeing can still be done, but have a raincoat handy! You can go to a spa or take a hot stone water bath. But morning views are at their very best after night-time downpours, the smell of the air and the earth, you will have it all.

September: September, October and November are excellent times for hiking, watching festivals, particularly the popular Thimphu Tshechu and enjoying the stunning views of mountains, valleys and the flora and fauna. Expect it to be around 20-25°C in the sun during the day, but it is going be a lot cooler in the evenings/mornings and at higher altitudes. So don’t forget your woolens.

October: About 80% of all international visitors want to visit Bhutan/Buthan in October, theres a dead rush, a rat race, so plan well in advance to ensure you get your preferred accommodation and Druk Air flights. Pl also note that Druk Air planes have a capacity of 114 pax.

November:

Black-necked cranes migrate from the cold Tibetan Highlands to the protected Phobjikha Valley each year and also to Bumdeling in eastern Bhutan/Buthan. They remain in the region from late October to early February. In Gangtey Monastery in Phobjikha, a special Black Necked Festival is held every November to celebrate the arrival of the birds. Pl note and plan in advance if you want to be part of it.

So travel to Bhutan/Buthan checking your month wise priorities.

 

5. Food and Cuisine in Bhutan/Buthan

Bhutanese/Buthanese food includes rice as the main dish with several side dishes of pork, beef, chicken and lamb. The typical Bhutanese/Buthanese will eat rice (the indigenous red variety or Indian white rice), which is the main dish, chillies and vegetables three times a day. Along with that, they often serve different side dishes of beef, pork, chicken and yak meat, of course with Bhutanese/Buthanese chillies and veggies.

When you travel to Bhutan/Buthan you sure might miss out the seafood, paella and the extra virgin olive oil of your native Spain, but you can try Bhutanese/Buthanese red rice for a change rather than the “arros negre”, the black rice from the Catalonian region. You can also try pork sikaam, which is a Bhutanese/Buthanese version of bacon or spicy beef jerk dishes. The“Momo”dumplings and various versions of noodles with meat or with veggies. If you happen to be a jalapeno lover, then you are in the right place on the right time.

The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese/Buthanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of almost every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese/Buthanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy enough!

Ema Datshi, which is chillies and cottage cheese, is the national dish and prepared differently wherever you go. It’s spicy and is typically eaten every single day. Veterans say you haven’t really visited Bhutan/Buthan unless you’ve tried Ema Datshi. Have your guide ask for it at your hotel or restaurant as it may not be served with your meals because it may be too spicy for many visitors. And yet another hot fiery rough chili paste is “Ezzay” which the Bhutanese/Buthanese people just love to have.

Salted Butter tea or Suja served on all social occasions, as is prevalent among all Buddhist communities of the Himalayas (from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh). In traditional homes in the Bhutanese/Buthanese hinterland, the serving host will sit beside you with a jar full of the butter tea and will almost instantly fill your cup up to the brim after you have had a sip! That’s part of the Bhutanese/Buthanese tradition, of course.

Chang is a local beer and “Aara” is a clear alcohol distilled from various grains.

The diet in the mountains also includes chicken, yak meat, dried beef, pork, pork fat, and lamb. Soups and stews of meat, rice, ferns, mushroom, lentils, and dried vegetables, spiced with chilli peppers and cheese, are a favourite meal during the cold seasons. Dairy foods, particularly butter and cheese from yaks and cows are also popular and indeed almost all milk is turned into butter and cheese. Popular spices include curry, cardamom, ginger, thingay or Sichuan pepper, garlic, turmeric and caraway.

The typical tourist class hotel serves a western style breakfast and quasi-Bhutan/Buthanese style lunches and dinners which are adjusted for the western palette. Some hotels and restaurants, however, forego Bhutanese/Buthanese cuisine entirely for a more international fare which is quite a shame as Bhutanese/Buthanese food is quite good!

While you are eating it will be rare that your guide or driver will eat with you. If you ask them to join you (sometimes you have to press them), then they reluctantly join. Otherwise they’ll eat in a back room with the other drivers and guides at the hotel or restaurant.

6. Things to do in Bhutan/Buthan

You can do several things in Bhutan/Buthan:

    • Take a Cultural Tour
    • Hike as you like
    • Go for Magnificent Himalayan Treks
    • Participate the world famous ” Snow Man Trek”
    • Rejoice Buddhist Mask Dances
    • See and Experience century old fortresses called Dzongs.
    • Stay in Typical Bhutanese/Buthanese Homestays
    • Enjoy local Bhutanese/Buthanese Food
    • Get an extra Experience of Rarified Bhutanese/Buthanese Atmosphere at over 2000m asl
    • Experience pure Buddhist tradition and preserved Bhutanese/Buthanese culture.
    • Get to see the last Shangri-la on Earth

7. Places of Interest

  • Taktshang Monastery, 900 m above Paro valley.
  • Chele La Pass, highest motorable road at 3980m.
  • Dochula Pass
  • Punakha Dzong, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal chorten, Chimi Lhakhang
  • Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu
  • Thimphu Valley
  • Paro Valley, Drugyal Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong
  • Phobjikha Glacial Valley
  • Trongsa Dzong
  • Bumthang Valley, the famous 4 valleys of Tang, Chumey, Chokor and Ura. plus “membar tsho” or the burning lake.

ADIOS AMIGOS, YOU ALL ARE WELCOME TO TRAVEL TO BHUTAN/BUTHAN. PLEASE COME TO BHUTAN/BUTHAN AND WE AT YAK HOLIDAYS ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ENTERTAIN YOU.

SO TRAVEL TO BHUTAN/BUTHAN… ONCE A YEAR GO SOMEPLACE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO..

THE CHOICE IS FOR YOU TO MAKE…

Helpful Tips to have before Planning a Trip to Bhutan

1. Debunking the myth that surrounds your visit to Bhutan

Debunking the myth that surrounds your visit to Bhutan

Its highly likely that the first time “would be visitor” somehow has this notion that its very expensive to visit Bhutan. “Bhutan?? way too expensive!!” or ” What’s so special about it anyway?” without necessarily understanding the intricacies surrounding the hearsay myth of this last Shangri-la on earth.
Yes, on the face of it, Bhutan may seem like an expensive destination than nearby Nepal, India or elsewhere, but it’s actually not a bad deal, if you consider all that is included and packaged within that fee. This fee actually includes a 3 star accommodation, a private guide and a driver for transportation, entrance fees to sites and all meals and Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours, during the entire course of your stay within the country. Also included in the fee is a $65 per day royalty that goes to the government towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation.
So when you are actually touring Bhutan, you will pleasantly realize that you really don’t need to dig your purse often as most of the things involving the visit has already been organized and paid through by your Tour Operator! And that you are actually a hassle free tourist on tour with your guide and driver as guardian deities 24×7.

2. Erasing the understanding that only limited tourists are allowed into Bhutan.

Erasing the understanding that only limited tourists are allowed into Bhutan

There are no limitations on the number of tourists visiting Bhutan. Till 1999, the limit was 5000 visitors but that has long ceased to exist. According to the Bhutan Tourism Monitor Annual Report (2016), a total of 209,570 foreign individuals visited Bhutan in 2016 which is an increase of 35% over 2015.

3. Ask yourself about “The Best Times to Visit and Travel to Bhutan”

Ask yourself about The Best Times to Visit and Travel to Bhutan

The Tourism Council of Bhutan categorizes the tourist season into the “high season”” and the “low season” depending upon several factors like climate etc. and there are different daily tariffs for both the seasons. The high season months are March – May and Sept – Nov. March, April, Oct and Nov are the busiest months and most visitors try to come during these months. These are also the best months for trekking and festivals.
If you plan to visit Bhutan during these months, please book your tour packages at least three months prior to your visit. The two airlines that fly to Bhutan are Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines, so at most times the flights are packed in advance. Please check the flight schedules well in advance from their websites or your Tour Operator.
But if you want to travel in peace and avoid over crowdedness, you can try the low season months as well.

4. Getting into Bhutan

Getting into Bhutan

If you are from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia or thereabouts, take the thrice a week Druk Air flights from Singapore’s Changi Airport to Paro. Singapore – Kolkata – Paro with a brief stopover at Kolkata. Bangkok has direct Druk Air flights to Paro.
Likewise, if you are coming from USA or Europe, travel east through Europe, then West Asia and then to Delhi or Kathmandu and get the connecting Druk Air flights to Paro.
Note : Paro, about an hour drive from Thimphu, is the only international airport.

5. Daily Tariff

Daily Tariff

During the low season months (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec), it costs $200 USD per person, per day and on the high season months (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov), it costs $250 USD per person per day, for groups of three or more. For groups of two, it costs $280 USD per day, per person and for a solo traveler, its $290 USD per day, per person.
Note that it costs $30 more if you are in a group of two and $40 more if you are solo. So you can indeed save costs if you are in a group of three or more. So why not go for this option?

6. Factor in the difference in the Daily Tariff in the low season.

Factor in the difference in the Daily Tariff in the low season

Bhutan can be visited all the year round! Even in the busy seasons it is not terribly crowded, so there are even fewer tourists in the off-peak seasons. The reason we recommend travel to Bhutan during the summer/monsoon season is for cost reasons, Since it’s the low season, you can save as much as 20% of your daily tariff!
Furthermore, most of the time, you will have the whole place to yourself e.g. restaurants, hotels, sight seeings, so no waitings at long queues. For example, during your visits to most places, you may be the only guests in the entire hotel and can land yourself the best rooms with the best views they have on offer. So you can definitely give it a thought.

7. Tour Operator

Tour Operator

It is mandatory by law that you can only book your tour package to Bhutan through a registered Bhutanese Tour Operator. All visa processes will be managed by Tour Operator.

8. Rainy Season (Monsoon)

Rainy Season

Rainfall or Monsoon generally starts from June till August but it’s not like the continuous daily rains in India. Yes once in a while they are heavy but not always.

9. Places/Things of Interest

Places Things of Interest

It really depends on what you hope to see and experience during your tour to Bhutan. Following is a list of options that you may consider.
Magnificent Dzongs (Fortresses);
Buddhist Monasteries and Monuments;
Stunning, pristine Valleys, Mountains & Passes;
Ancient Bhutanese Art and Artifacts;
Unique Bhutanese Architecture;
Colorful Mask Dances; the Festivals of different valleys, Paro and Thimphu Tshechus;
Various Mountain Treks on offer (Druk Path Trek was the most popular in 2016);
The Bhutanese culture and tradition that is still intact and cocooned even today.
Preservation efforts by the government have ensured that Bhutan is still a living museum. Bhutan’s landscape and culture is so diverse across different regions that it offers distinctive charms and environs for exploration and experience to the enthusiastic traveler.

10. Other Miscellaneous Tips

Food & Cuisine

National Language : Dzongkha, but English is widely spoken. Your guide will speak fluent English.

Currency & Money : Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum (Nu). Its value is pegged to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. However Indian Rupee notes in 500 and 2000 denominations are not acceptable. US Dollars are widely accepted.

It is best to obtain some Bhutanese Nu from the Paro airport ATM (right of exit door).
ATMs are available for use by visitors in western & central Bhutan.

Food & Cuisine : Rice (white Indian rice or the indigenous red variety), is the main dish, accompanied by several side dishes of pork, beef, chicken and veggies and “Emma Datshi”, the national dish with lots of chilies n cheese. You can also try “Momos”, the Tibetan dumplings. But most hotels, restaurants and eateries do modify the cuisine to make it more palatable for visitors and also do a variety of Chinese, Continental and Indian dishes.

Climate & Weather : Bhutan has four distinct seasons : Spring, Monsoon/Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit and travel to Bhutan (end of Feb till May) and (Sep till Nov). Summers are usually warm (avg. temperature ranging from 20-25 degrees Celsius), while winters are cold (usually below 15 degrees).

Tobacco & Smoking : It is against the law to sell or purchase cigarettes or tobacco products while travelling in Bhutan. It is, however, not forbidden to smoke in appropriate areas. You may carry a small supply for personal use. Please note a 200% duty applies to all imported tobacco products and you must show a valid receipt of purchase to avoid confiscation.

Communications & Internet : The country has a good network of communications facilities. Almost every town has an internet café and IDD calling booths from where you can log and connected with the world. Bhutanese SIM cards are available at a SIM counter located in the post office (to the right of the terminal exit door) at Paro Airport.

Electricity : 230 volts, 50 cycles AC system. The standard socket is the Indian-style round pin socket. We always suggest bringing a universal plug adaptor.

Photography : Bhutan is an ideal place and frequent haunt of photographers and offers immense opportunities for photography, especially during outdoor sightseeing trips. However on the other hand you may need to check with your guide for indoor photography as it’s not allowed inside Dzongs, temples and monasteries or religious institutions.

Health Innoculations : Before embarking on a tour to Bhutan it’s advisable to have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations.

Safety Precautions : Bhutan still remains an extremely safe destination with an exceptionally low risk of theft or harassment. Foreign tourists are usually held in high esteem. However we recommend you to keep all cash & valuables either on your person or in your vehicle where they will be safely managed by your driver whom you can trust implicitly. Please do not leave cash or valuables on display in hotel rooms. Your guide and driver can be your best safety advisors.

Some useful words in Dzongkha, the national language
Kuzuzangpo La – Respected Greetings.
Tashi Delek – May all good things come to you. (use this as a farewell)
Kardenche La – Thank you.
Goempa – Meditation Centre.
Lhakhang – Temple.
Chhapsa – Toilet.
Chhu – Water.
Bang Chhang – Rice Wine.
Toh – Rice.

Travel to Bhutan from Australia

A brief introduction of Bhutan

A brief introduction of Bhutan

If you are Australian and intend to travel to Bhutan from Australia, Bhutan is a small, mountainous Buddhist kingdom, about the size of Taiwan, landlocked and sandwiched between China on the north and India in the west, south and east in the Himalayas. The standard time is 6hrs ahead of GMT. Bhutan is called “The Land of the Thunder Dragon” and also known as the last Shangri-la on earth! The landscape ranges from sub tropical foothills (150m) the south to alpine forests and snowcapped mountains (7000m) in the north. It’s about 300km from west to east and 150km from north to south. With a population of just about 700000, about 70% of the land is still under forest cover, so it naturally has a well maintained and rich biodiversity with more than 700 species of birds, 50 species of rhododendron and an estimated 300 species of medicinal plants and orchids. The national language is Dzongkha, but English is widely spoken throughout the country. Your guide will speak fluent English as most young Bhutanese do.

Bhutan – Lonely Planet

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/bhutan

Bhutan – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhutan

Kingdom of Bhutan | Bhutan Travel | History | Culture | Government …

www.kingdomofbhutan.com/

Visa Formalities / Bhutan Visa

Visa Formalities Bhutan Visa

All visitors require a passport, and an visa authority letter/visa clearance for Bhutan which must be pre-approved prior to your arrival in Bhutan. All visas are issued at Thimphu (a Bhutan visa costs $40 USD) and are only issued to tourists booked with a local tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by your tour operator and takes at least 7 days to process. Air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. Please remember, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are the only airlines that fly into Bhutan. A visa authority letter is issued after prepayment for your travel arrangements and the actual visa is entered into your passport on arrival at Paro Int’l Airport. Please carry the same passport that you submitted for your Bhutan Visa or you will be denied entry. When you arrive at Paro Int’l airport, all visitors are required to provide fingerprints and a facial image along with 2 passport photos.

Visa policy of Bhutan – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Bhutan

Visa | Tourism Council of Bhutan (Official Website)

www.tourism.gov.bt › Trip Planner

Visas and customs in Bhutan – Lonely Planet

www.lonelyplanet.com/bhutan/visas

Drukair

https://drukair.com.bt/images/Include/OurOffices.htm

Sydney Australia Bhutan Flights | Bhutan Travel | Druk Asia

https://www.drukasia.com › Bhutan Tour

Flighs to Bhutan and Roads in – Bhutan and Beyond

https://www.bhutan.com.au/getting-to-bhutan/

Daily Tariff

Daily Tariff

During the low season months (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec), it costs $200 USD per person, per day and on the high season months (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov), it costs $250 USD per person per day, for groups of three or more. For groups of two, it costs $280 USD per day, per person and for a solo traveler, its $290 USD per day, per person.

The minimum price includes :

All internal taxes and charges (including the royalty of $65 USD)
3 star Accommodation
All meals
All travel with a licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide
All internal Transport
Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours
There shall be no charge for children up to the age of 5 years. However, for those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by elders/guardians 50% discount on daily rates and 100% on royalty.
Full time students below the age of 25 years holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions shall be given a 25% discount on daily rates.
A discount of 50% on daily rates shall be given to one person in a group of 11-15 people. 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
50% discount on royalty shall be provided after the 8th night and 100% discount on royalty after the 14th night.
Visitors availing discounts under sections 1,2and 3 shall not be eligible under section 4.
Very confused about the Daily Tariff & Visa requirements! – Bhutan …

https://www.tripadvisor.com › Asia › Bhutan › Bhutan Travel Forum

Bhutan Visa & Visiting Fees – Is It Worth it? – Jessie on a Journey

jessieonajourney.com/bhutan-visa-travel-fees/

Addresses and website URLs of Embassy of Bhutan in Australia for Possible and Helpful tips to get Bhutan visa from Australia

Embassy of Bhutan in Australia – Bhutan visa – VisaHQ.com.au

https://bhutan.visahq.in/embassy/australia/

Embassy Of Bhutan In Canberra | EmbassyCanberra.com

www.embassycanberra.com/bhutanese/

Travelling Tips to Bhutan from Australia

Travelling Tips to Bhutan from Australia

The most convenient way to travel to Bhutan from Australia is to first fly to Singapore, then to Bangkok, Kolkata and finally to Paro Int’l Airport in Bhutan. Paro is about an hour’s drive from Thimphu, the capital.

Detailed info on flights, tour and trekking programmes, festivals, places of interest, hotels, etc. can be obtained from the tour operator.

Travel Requirements | Tourism Council of Bhutan (Official Website)

www.tourism.gov.bt › Trip Planner

Bhutan travel guide :: Lonely Planet India

www.lonelyplanet.in/travel-guides/201/bhutan-travel-guide

Money and costs in Bhutan – Lonely Planet

www.lonelyplanet.com/bhutan/money-costs

Places of tourists’ interest in Bhutan

Places of tourists' interest in Bhutan

It really depends on what you hope to see and experience during your tour to Bhutan from Australia. The magnificent Dzongs (Fortresses), Buddhist Monasteries and monuments; the stunning, pristine valleys and mountains; the ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts; the unique architecture; colorful Mask Dances; the Tshechu festivals of different valleys ; the various mountain treks on offer; and the Bhutanese culture and tradition that is still intact and cocooned even today. Preservation efforts by the government have ensured that Bhutan is a living museum even today. Bhutan’s landscape and culture is so diverse across different regions that it offers distinctive charms and environs for exploration and experience to the spirited traveler.

Dzong architecture – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzong_architecture

Tshechu – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tshechu

Festivals | Tourism Council of Bhutan (Official Website)

www.tourism.gov.bt › Discover › Activities

Bhutan’s magical mask dances – BBC News

www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-24642016

Western Bhutan

Western Bhutan

Considered the gateway to Bhutan and the circuit comprises Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue and Haa districts. Paro is home to the spectacular Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) at 900m above the Paro valley and the famous Drugyel Dzong or the “Fortress of Victorious Drukpa People”. Paro valley is also the rice bowl of Bhutan. Thimphu, the capital city, is a vibrant cultural centre of all aspects that emanates Bhutan as a nation. Punakha, the ancient capital till 1950, enchants tourists with the magnificent Punakha Dzong at the confluence of the Pho-Chu and Mo-Chu (Male and Female rivers). And the Gangte Monastery overlooking the bowl shaped alpine wetland valley of Phobjika (3000m), where the black necked cranes migrate every winter from the Tibetan highlands at Wangdue district. The west, especially, Thimphu, Paro and Punakha, is also the starting point for many of Bhutan’s famous treks which traverse to the north of the country. Laya, Gasa, Lingtshi and the northern reaches of Bumthang and Trongsa complete this circuit.

Paro Tourism (2017): Best of Paro, Bhutan – TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.in/Tourism-g321541-Paro_Paro_District-Vacations.html

5 Best Places to Visit in Punakha (2017) – TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.in › Asia › Bhutan › Punakha District › Punakha

Thimphu 2017: Best of Thimphu, Bhutan Tourism – TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com › Asia › Bhutan › Thimphu District

Central Bhutan

Central Bhutan

Central Bhutan is the spiritual heartland of the nation and comprises the four valleys of Bumthang and the district of Trongsa. The temples and festivals of Bumthang and the historical grandeur and significance of Trongsa, showcase a rich and lively cultural heritage. With the initial experience of having travelled Western Bhutan under the belt, a sense of real insight begins to set in on the traveler’s imagination and analysis of Bhutan – as a mystical, historical place and a very interesting country for you to discover.

Bumthang Tourism (2017): Best of Bumthang, Bhutan – TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.in › Asia › Bhutan › Bumthang District

Trongsa – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trongsa

Eastern Bhutan

Eastern Bhutan

Eastern Bhutan, a congregation of six eastern districts, is a world away from the world, be it the distinct and characteristic way of life of Merak Sakteng or the fabric, art & craft and woodwork in Trashigang and TrashiYangtse. This region of Bhutan has ethnically the most diverse people resulting therefore, in a large mix of local customs and traditions. The Drametse Monastery at Mongar where the famous “Drametse Ngacham” Mask Dance is performed is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Drametse Ngacham – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drametse_Ngacham

Merak Sakteng Trek | Tour Operator Directory

www.tourism.gov.bt › Trek

Our destination specialists at Yak Holidays Int’l will offer the best recommendations as per your travel preferences, and you can in fact choose the exact Bhutan Tour Packages for Australia from our website www.traveltobhutan.travel/. Many travelers incorporate Paro (2280m), Thimphu (2320m), Punakha (1310m), Wangduephodrang (1320m), Gangte (2800m), Trongsa and Bumthang (2800m), though some travel solely for the pleasure of trekking in the High Himalayas.

The choice is for you to make..

Welcome to Bhutan!!

Travel to Bhutan from USA

Bhutan Travel and Travel to Bhutan from USA (US) and Canada

A brief description of Bhutan

A brief description of Bhutan

If you are American (US Citizens) or Canadian citizens and intend to travel to Bhutan from USA (US) or Canada, the standard time is 6 hrs ahead of GMT. For those traveling from East coast, you have to fly to New Delhi, India or Kathmandu and those of you who live in west cost and wish to travel to Bhutan, you have to fly to Bangkok or Singapore to catch the onward fight to Paro Bhutan.

Bhutan is a small, mountainous Buddhist kingdom, about the size of Switzerland, landlocked and sandwiched between the two Asian giants – China on the north and India in the west, east and south in the eastern Himalayas. The standard time is 6hrs ahead of GMT. Bhutan is also called “Druk-Yul” or “The Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Bhutan’s landscape ranges from sub tropical foothills (150m)in the south to alpine forests and snowy mountains (7000m) in the north. It’s about 300km from west to east and 150km from north to south. With a population of just about 700000, about 70% of the land is still under forest cover, so it naturally has a well maintained and rich biodiversity with more than 700 species of birds, 50 species of rhododendron and an estimated 300 species of medicinal plants and orchids. The national language is Dzongkha, but English is widely spoken throughout the country. Your guide will speak fluent English as most young Bhutanese do.

Places of tourists’ interest and things to do in Bhutan

Places of tourists' interest and things to do in Bhutan

It really depends on what you hope to see and experience during your tour to Bhutan from USA. The magnificent Dzongs, Buddhist Monasteries and monuments; the stunning, pristine valleys and mountains; the ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts; the unique architecture; colorful Mask Dances; the Tshechu festivals of different valleys; the various mountain treks on offer; and the Bhutanese culture and tradition that is still intact and cocooned even today. Thanks to preservation efforts by the government, Bhutan is a living museum. Bhutan’s landscape and culture is so diverse across different regions that it offers distinctive charms and environs for exploration and experience to the spirited traveler.

Western Bhutan

Western Bhutan

Western Bhutan, considered the gateway to Bhutan and the circuit comprises Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue and Haa districts. Paro is home to the spectacular Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) at 900m above the Paro valley and the famous Drugyel Dzong or the “Fortress of Victorious Drukpa People”. Paro valley is also the rice bowl of Bhutan. Thimphu, the capital city, is a vibrant cultural centre of all aspects that emanates Bhutan as a nation. Punakha, the ancient capital till 1950, enchants tourists with the magnificent Punakha Dzong at the confluence of the Pho-Chu and Mo-Chu (Male and Female rivers). And the Gangte Monastery overlooking the bowl shaped alpine wetland valley of Phobjika (3000m), where the black necked cranes migrate in winter down from the Tibetan highlands at Wangdue district. The west, especially, Thimphu, Paro and Punakha, is also the starting point for many of Bhutan’s famous treks which traverse to the north of the country. Laya, Gasa, Lingtshi and the northern reaches of Bumthang and Trongsa complete this circuit.

Central Bhutan

Central Bhutan

Central Bhutan is the spiritual heartland of the nation and comprises the four valleys of Bumthang and the district of Trongsa. The temples and festivals of Bumthang and the historical grandeur and significance of Trongsa, showcase a rich and lively cultural heritage. With the initial experience of having travelled Western Bhutan under the belt, a sense of real insight begins to set in onto the traveler’s imagination and analysis of Bhutan, as a mystical, historical place and a very interesting country for you to discover.

Eastern Bhutan

Eastern Bhutan

Eastern Bhutan, a congregation of six eastern districts, is a world away from the world, be it the distinct way of life of Merak Sakteng or the fabric, art & craft and woodwork in Trashigang and TrashiYangtse. The Drametse Monastery at Mongar where the famous “Drametse Ngacham” Mask Dance is performed is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Our destination specialists will make the best recommendations as per your travel preferences, and you can in fact choose the exact Bhutan tour packages for USA from our website (www.traveltobhutan.travel). Many travelers incorporate Paro (2280m), Thimphu (2320m), Punakha (1310m), Wangduephodrang (1320m), Gangte (2800m), Trongsa and Bumthang (2800m), though some travel solely for the pleasure of trekking in the Himalayas.

Detailed Visa Policy of Bhutan

Visa Formalities

Visa Formalities

All visitors require a passport, valid for at least 6 months longer than their journey, and an visa authority letter/visa clearance for Bhutan which must be pre-approved prior to your arrival in Bhutan. All visas are issued at Thimphu (a Bhutan visa costs $40 USD) and are only issued to tourists booked with a local tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by your tour operator and takes at least 7 days to process. Air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. Please remember, Druk Air is the only airline that flies into Bhutan. A visa authority letter is issued after prepayment for your travel arrangements and the actual visa is entered into your passport on arrival at Paro Int’l Airport. Please be sure you carry the same passport that you submitted for your Bhutan visa or you will be denied entry. When you arrive at Paro Int’l airport, all visitors are now required to provide fingerprints and a facial image along with 2 passport photos.

Cancellations

Tour programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

  • within 30 days of start of programme : no charges
  • within 21 days : 10% of rate
  • within 14 days : 15% of rate
  • within 7 days : 30% of rate
  • less than 7 days or without notice : 50% of rate
  • after arrival to Bhutan : 100%

Delayed Arrivals

There is no charge for delays in arrival and departure because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must however bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation and other services required.

Daily Tariff

daily Tariff

During the low season months (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec), it costs $200 USD per person, per day and on the high season months (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov), it costs $250 USD per person per day, for groups of three or more. For groups of two, it costs $280 USD per day, per person and for a single traveler, its $290 USD per day, per person.

The minimum price includes :

  • All internal taxes and charges (including the royalty of $65 USD)
  • 3 star Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All travel with a licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide
  • All internal Transport
  • Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours
  1. There shall be no charge for children up to the age of 5 years. However, for those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by elders/guardians 50% discount on daily rates and 100% on royalty.
  2. Full time students below the age of 25 years holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions shall be given a 25% discount on daily rates.
  3. A discount of 50% on daily rates shall be given to one person in a group of 11-15 people. 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
  4. 50% discount on royalty shall be provided after the 8th night and 100% discount on royalty after the 14th night.
  5. Visitors availing discounts under sections 1, 2 and 3 shall not be eligible under section 4.

Detailed info on flights, tour and trekking programmes, festivals, places of interest, hotels, etc. can be obtained from the tour operator.

Addresses and website URLs of Embassy of Bhutan in USA for Possible and Helpful tips to get Bhutan visa from USA

Embassy of Bhutan in United States of America – Bhutan Visa – VisaHQ

https://bhutan.visahq.in/embassy/united-states/

Bhutan Washington DC Embassy Official Visa – Passport Visas Express

www.passportvisasexpress.com/…/bhutan/bhutan_washington_dc_embassy/official_vi…

Bhutan Embassy in Washington D.C. | EmbassyWashingtonDC.com

embassywashingtondc.com/bhutanese/

Bhutan – US Department of State

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/bhutan.html

Consulate of Bhutan in Washington, D.C., United States

https://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy22221/

Consulate General of Bhutan in New York, United States

https://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy719/

Consulate General | Bhutan – Permanent Missions to the United Nations

https://www.un.int/bhutan/bhutan/consulate-general

Visa policy of Bhutan – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Bhutan

Do US citizens need a visa for Bhutan?

visa formalities for US Citizens

You will need a passport valid for at least six months following the date of your arrival to Bhutan and a visa to enter and exit Bhutan. All visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must obtain visa clearance from Thimphu before travelling to Bhutan.

Travelling Tips

bhutan travel tips

If you happen to be on the west coast, it would be easier and more feasible to travel to Bhutan thru Japan, Singapore, Bangkok and to Paro in Bhutan. Likewise, it you are on the east coast, the better option would be to travel thru Europe, Delhi/Kathmandu and then to Paro.

The opportunity to travel to Bhutan, considered a “special destination” by even the most privileged travelers, can be the experience of a lifetime. Bhutan is often described as the last Shangri-la on earth, and this holds true in many ways than one.  It’s a secluded location, so secure and pristine in her own domain and is still a magical kingdom of the past in many ways. Preservation efforts have shielded many from visiting this jewel of the Himalayas. Bhutan opened its doors to tourism in 1974, with the number for tourists kept to an alarmingly low and at an environmentally sustainable level through government structured tourist regulations. We @ Yak Holidays Int’l (www.traveltobhutan.travel), have always made our best efforts to raise the bar every single time to see that  your tour to Bhutan from USA translates and manifests itself into a very successful and memorable one!

The choice is for you to make..

Welcome to Bhutan!!

11 Things you need to know when on travel to Bhutan

A brief description of Bhutan

If you are Singaporean and intend to travel to Bhutan from Singapore, the simple basic understanding that you need to know is: Bhutan is a small, mountainous Buddhist kingdom, about the size of Taiwan, landlocked and sandwiched between the Asian giants – China on the north and India in the west, east and south in the eastern Himalayas. The standard time is 6hrs ahead of GMT. Bhutan is also called “Druk-Yul” or “The Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Bhutan’s landscape ranges from sub tropical foothills (150m)in the south to alpine forests and snowy mountains (7000m) in the north. It’s about 300km from west to east and 150km from north to south. About 70% of the land is still under forest cover, so it naturally has a well maintained and rich biodiversity with more than 700 species of birds, 50 species of rhododendron and an estimated 300 species of medicinal plants and orchids. The national language is Dzongkha, but English is widely spoken throughout the country. Your guide will speak fluent English as most young Bhutanese do.

Places of tourists’ interest and things to do in Bhutan

It really depends on what you hope to see and experience during your tour to Bhutan from Singapore. The magnificent Dzongs and Buddhist Monasteries, the stunning, pristine and virgin valleys and mountains, the ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, the unique architecture, and the Bhutanese culture and tradition that is still intact even to this day. Thanks to preservation efforts by the government, Bhutan is a living museum today. Bhutan’s landscape and culture are so diverse across different regions and present their distinctive charm and facets for exploration and experience to the visitor.

  • Western Bhutan

Western Bhutan

Western Bhutan is considered the gateway to Bhutan and the circuit comprises Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue and Haa districts. Paro is home to the spectacular Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) at 900m above the Paro valley and the famous Drugyel Dzong. Thimphu, the capital city, is a vibrant cultural centre. Punakha, the ancient capital, enchants tourists with the magnificent Punakha Dzong at the confluence of the Pho-Chu and Mo-Chu (Male and Female rivers). And the Gangte Monastery overlooking the bowl shaped alpine wetland valley of Phobjika (3000m), where the black necked cranes migrate in winter from the Tibetan highlands at Wangdue district. The west is also the starting point for many of Bhutan’s famous treks which traverse to the north of the country. Laya, Gasa, the northern reaches of Bumthang and Trongsa complete this circuit.

  • Central Bhutan

Central Bhutan

Central Bhutan is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan and comprises the four valleys of Bumthang and the district of Trongsa. The temples and festivals of Bumthang and the historical grandeur and significance of Trongsa showcase a rich and lively cultural heritage.

  • Eastern Bhutan

Eastern Bhutan

Eastern Bhutan, a congregation of six eastern districts, is a world away from the world, be it the distinct way of life of Merak Sakteng or the fabric, art & craft and woodwork in Trashigang and TrashiYangtse. The Drametse Monastery at Mongar is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Our destination specialists will make the best recommendations as per your travel preferences, and you can in fact choose the exact Bhutan tour packages for Singapore from our website (www.traveltobhutan.travel). Many travelers incorporate Paro (2280m), Thimphu (2320m), Punakha (1310m), Wangduephodrang (1320m), Gangte (2800m), Trongsa and Bumthang (2800m), though some travel solely for trekking in the Himalayas.

How to Organize a Bhutan Tour from Singapore

Visa Formalities and Procedure

Bhutan Visa

It’s a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator (Yak Holidays Int’l) or one of their international partners to book your travel to Bhutan.

All visitors require a passport, valid for at least 6 months longer than their journey, and an entry visa/visa clearance for Bhutan which must be pre-approved prior to your arrival in Bhutan. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by your tour operator and takes at least 10 days to process. Air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. Your Bhutan visa will be arranged by Yak Holidays Int’l (www.traveltobhutan.travel), your tour operator, and all we usually need is a quality scan or photo of your passport photo page. Please be sure you carry the same passport that you submitted for your Bhutan visa or you will be denied entry. Bhutan visas generally cost $40USD but are sometimes built into your travel package. A visa authority letter is issued after prepayment for your travel arrangements and the actual visa is entered into your passport on arrival at Paro Int’l Airport. Druk Air is the only airline that flies into Bhutan, please make sure you check with the Druk Air office at Singapore for availability of flights to Bhutan. When you check in at the airport starting in Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi, or Kathmandu, you must show your approved visa authority letter for Bhutan (that has been sent to you via email by the tour operator). When you arrive at Paro Int’l airport, all visitors are now required to provide fingerprints and a facial image which is a smooth process and you’ll get through quickly.

Druk Air provides it’s standard baggage allowance of 20 kg for economy class travelers and 30 kg in business class. The allowance for carry-on bags is 5 kg. Just prior to landing at Paro airport @2280m, as the Druk Air plane makes the descend from amongst the clouds, you will get wonderful views of the beautiful, serene Himalayan mountain ranges. This special occasion/chance to view these mountains from above them would more than justify your Druk Air fares. This particular experience is “priceless” and it won’t happen to you every other day. For the best views and pictures/videos of the landscape, please check-in early for your Druk Air flight and reserve your seats on the left side of the plane if you are flying in from Bangkok. Likewise on your return flight, pl request for a seat on the right side of the plane to get the best views. Seats on Druk Air are allocated on a “first come first serve” basis. Yes, we promise, fulfillment of sublime satisfaction will be at hand. Simple as that.

What is the cost structure of the daily tariff when you travel to Bhutan from Singapore?

During the low season months (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec), it costs $200 USD per person, per day and on the high season months (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov), it costs $250 USD per person per day, for groups of three or more. For groups of two, it costs $280 USD per day, per person and for a single traveler, its $290 USD per day, per person.

So on the face of it, Bhutan may seem like an expensive destination than nearby Nepal, India or elsewhere, but on a broader perspective it’s actually not such a bad deal, considering all that is included and packaged within that fee. This fee actually includes a 3 star accommodation, all meals, a licensed Bhutanese tour guide and a driver for transportation, entrance fees to sites, camping equipment & haulage for trekking tours during the entire course of your stay within the country. Also included within the fee is a $65 per day royalty that goes to the government towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. Healthcare is free even for tourists. The philosophy behind the mandatory minimum fee being that it creates a high-value/low-impact tourist environment, as envisioned by the government of Bhutan. The government executes and regulates this minimum fee  in order to manage tourism in a more sustainable way, to grow and blend sensibly with the world, without taxing the local environment and more importantly, highlight and conserve the unique ‘culture and tradition” of the country.

1. Currency/Money

Currency Money

Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum (Nu). Its value is pegged to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. However Indian Rupee notes in 500 and 2000 denominations are not acceptable. US Dollars are widely accepted.

Here are some useful tips on currency & credit cards.

  • Consider a budget of US$30 per person per day to cover tips, drinks & handicrafts.
  • US$100 bills do receive a better exchange rate at local banks.
  • US dollar bills issued before 2000 will often NOT be accepted!
  • ATMs are available for use by visitors in western & central Bhutan.
  • ATMs generally only offer small sums (around $100-200USD)
  • You may need to try different bank ATMs to accept your card.
  • It is best to obtain some Bhutanese Nu from the Paro airport ATM (right of exit door).
  • ATMs accept Visa & MasterCard (debit & credit).
  • Traveler’s Cheques (Amex) are accepted, but we don’t recommend bringing them as the exchange rate isn’t very good.
  • Visa, MasterCard & American Express are now frequently accepted in the larger handicraft shops and in most hotels. When using your credit card please ask the merchant if there is a fee surcharge (usually 3-7%).

2. Food and Cuisine

Food and Cuisine

There are 2 things you need not worry about when travelling in Bhutan. This is particularly true if you are used to Singaporean food which is highly likely. One, You will “Never get Hungry”, the courses are quite a handful to negotiate and Two, Bhutanese food tastes pretty much like Chinese/Southeast Asian food, except that it’s a bit more chili and cheese on top of it. If you happen to be a jalapeno lover, you can consider yourself lucky, because typical Bhutanese cuisine revolves around chili and cheese. Rice (white Indian rice or the indigenous red variety), is the main dish, accompanied by several side dishes of pork, beef, chicken and veggies and “Emma Datshi”, the national dish with lots of chilies n cheese. You can also try “Momos”, the Tibetan dumplings. But most hotels, restaurants and eateries do modify the cuisine to make it more palatable for visitors and also do Chinese, Continental and Indian dishes.

Pl avoid drinking unboiled  water as most water sources are not treated. Bottled mineral water is available at all shops.

3. Climate and Weather

Climate and Weather

Bhutan has four distinct seasons : Spring, Monsoon/Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit and travel to Bhutan (end of Feb till Mar) and (Sep till Nov). Summers are usually warm (avg. temperature ranging from 20-25 degrees Celsius), while winters are cold (usually below 15 degrees).  Bhutan can be visited all the year round! Even in the busy seasons it is not terribly crowded with tourists, and naturally there are even fewer tourists in the off-peak seasons. One reason we recommend travel to Bhutan during the summer/monsoon season is for cost reasons, Since it’s considered the low season, you can save as much as 20% of your daily tariff! Furthermore, most of the time, you will have the whole place to yourself e.g. restaurants, hotels, sight seeings, so no sundry waitings at long queues. For example, during your visits to most places, you will be surprised that you may be the only guests in the entire hotel and can land yourself the best rooms with the best views they have on offer.

4. Clothes, Travelling Kits and other Paraphernalia

clothes & travelling kits

As a Singaporean on travel to Bhutan for the first time, you may want to bring a couple of warm clothes and comfortable shoes to go with the variable cold weather and the mountainous terrain. With big altitudinal variations weather can be quite erratic in Bhutan, So pl be prepared to brace the erratic weather as you step outdoors. You might even consider what to wear when hiking, trekking and sightseeing, as well as for dinners, appointments and functions. A pair of sunglasses, sunscreen lotion and a hat; antiseptic cream, anti diarrhoea pills, altitude & car sickness medicines (induced by the winding roads); insect repellants, flash light, umbrella, camera and accessories etc. Visitors are expected to dress modestly and respectfully especially when visiting monasteries, Dzongs and religious institutions. As a mark of respect, pl remove hats, caps etc. as you enter religious and administrative premises and institutions or in any other place where the national flag is raised.

 5. Tobacco/Smoking

Tobacco Smoking

It is against the law to sell or purchase cigarettes or tobacco products while travelling in Bhutan.  It is, however, not forbidden to smoke in appropriate areas. You may carry a small supply for personal use. Please note a 200% duty applies to all imported tobacco products and you must show a valid receipt of purchase to avoid confiscation.

The following are the allowances per person when entering Bhutan:

  • 1 liter bottle of spirits or wine (rigidly enforced)
  • 250 mls of perfume
  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250grams tobacco  ** A 200% duty fee will apply to bring cigarettes and tobacco products into Bhutan. If you do not have your receipt, you will not be able to bring it into Bhutan.
  • Currency – no restriction
  • Gifts/Souvenirs – no restriction

6. Communications

Communications

The country has a good network of communications facilities. Almost every town has an internet café and IDD calling booths from where you can log and connected with the world. You can also purchase a local SIM card that would give you connectivity outside the hotels or when you are travelling, if you want to. Bhutanese SIM cards are available at a SIM counter located in the post office (to the right of the terminal exit door) at Paro Airport. Here you can purchase and get assistance for activating your new SIM cards in your devices. The cost for the SIM is approximately US$2.00 plus call credits.

7. Electricity

Electricity

Bhutan operates at 230 volts, 50 cycles AC system, which is generally reliable, although power outages can occur. The standard socket is the Indian-style round pin socket. We always suggest bringing a universal plug adaptor.

 8. Photography

Photography

Bhutan is an ideal place and frequent haunt of photographers and offers immense opportunities for photography, especially during outdoor sightseeing trips. However on the other hand you may need to check with your guide for indoor photography as it’s not allowed inside Dzongs, temples and monasteries and religious institutions.

9. Health Innoculations

medical needs

And before embarking on a tour to Bhutan it’s advisable to have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations.

10. Safety Precautions

safety issues

Bhutan still remains an extremely safe destination with an exceptionally low risk of theft or harassment. Foreign tourists are usually held in high esteem. However we do recommend you to keep all cash & valuables either on your person or in your vehicle where they will be safely managed by your driver whom you can trust implicitly. Please do not leave cash or valuables on display in hotel rooms. Your guide and driver can be your best safety advisors.

11. Some useful words in Dzongkha, the national language

Dzongkha

Kuzuzangpo La –  Respected Greetings

Tashi Delek – May all good things come to you. (use this as a farewell)

Kardenche La – Thank you.

Goempa – Meditation Centre.

Lhakhang – Temple.

Chapsa – Toilet.

Chuu – Water.

Bang Chhang – Rice Wine.

Toh – Food

Our guide can even arrange a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse visit for you, where you can get to see and experience exactly how the local people lead their daily lives through self-subsistence farming and with the bare basic amenities; where you can blend yourself with the real Bhutanese way of living. It can indeed be an eye-opening experience for someone on travel to Bhutan from Singapore. Seeing exhibits at grandiose museums is one thing but experiencing the Bhutanese culture and tradition first hand in the true Bhutanese sense and @ real time, can be quite another!

So an opportunity to travel to Bhutan, considered a “special destination” by even the most privileged travelers, can be the experience of a lifetime. Bhutan is often described as the last Shangri-la on earth, and this holds true in many ways than one.  It’s a secluded location, so secure and pristine in her own domain and is still a magical kingdom of the past in many ways. Preservation efforts have shielded many from visiting this jewel of the Himalayas. Bhutan opened its doors to tourism in 1974, with the number for tourists kept to an alarmingly low and at an environmentally sustainable level through government structured tourist regulations. We @ Yak Holidays Int’l (www.traveltobhutan.travel), make our best efforts to see that  your tour to Bhutan from Singapore translates and manifests itself into a very successful and memorable one.

The choice is for you to make..

Welcome to Bhutan.

Dee & Martin Visit to Bhutan

Dee and Martin David visited Bhutan from 10th Nov to 18th Nov, 2016

Dear Sithar and Bhim,

Greetings from England

It was very good to meet you both the other day and we thank you for the kind gift of the book on Bhutan, it has pride of place on our coffee table in our lounge and has already been admired by family and friends.

We would also like to thank you very much for the excellent arrangements that made our tour so very memorable. It is the first time we have arranged this type of holiday directly with a tour operator in the country we are visiting, however you not only made it very easy, the communication was always clear, concise and timely. This gave us great confidence and we loved the flexibility in putting the itinerary together.

I know originally we were going to fly back from Bumthang to Paro but flights were not available because of the festival. We are really glad this was the case in the end as it gave us more time to spend with Lal and Dawa and it would have been an anticlimax to part in Bumthang.

Both Lal and Dawa are a credit to Yak holidays, they made the trip very special and even the long drives were filled with laughter and didn’t seem long at all. We have made 2 friends there and are keeping in touch.

Dowa’s driving was very safe and comfortable and at the same time we made good progress. We very much appreciate Lal’s guiding skills and know we got to do and see more than many other tourists.

We were treated as friends, not just guests, at every hotel both Lal and Dawa ensured we had the best possible room and ensured we were settled in before they left us. Lal briefed us both each evening and first thing the following morning ensuring we were happy and to discuss anything we wanted to see or buy during the trip.

We appreciate the hard work by all at Yak holidays, many thanks from us both.

Kind regards

Martin and Dee

interesting facts about bhutan

Facts about Bhutan

  1. Bhutan opened its doors to the outside world in the early 1960s.
  2. Bhutan got its first paved road only in 1962.
  3. The history of Lhakhangs in Bhutan dates back to the 7th century when the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo built 108 temples throughout the Himalaya region to subdue a demon.
  4. His Majesty the fourth King – Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne in favor of his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
  5. Television came to Bhutan only in 1999.
  6. Bhutan is the happiest country in South Asia and the tenth happiest in the world.
  7. Bhutan became a constitutional democracy from an absolute monarchy in 2008.
  8. Chili is the main dish in Bhutan.
  9. Bhutan is the only country in the world to be governed by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product.
  10. Bhutan’s parliament is the most educated parliament in the world. All MPs are required by the constitution to hold a college degree.
  11. More than 60% of the Bhutanese population is under the age of 25.
  12. Bhutan is the only country that follows the tantric form of Buddhism.