Bhutan Travel Information

The Basics


Local time is GMT +6 hours.


Electrical current is 230 volts (50Hz). European round pin attachment plugs and three-pin rectangular plugs are in use.


Dzongkha is the official language, and various Tibetan dialects are spoken. English has recently become the language of instruction in schools but is only spoken fluently by guides and tourist industry professionals.

Travel Health

Ensure you have adequate health insurance that includes the facility for emergency repatriation. The most significant health risks for travellers are water-borne parasites from unclean drinking water and altitude sickness resulting from exposure to high altitudes. Health care standards are relatively high. For locals all health services are free, and both western and traditional medicine is practiced side by side. In 2004 Bhutan became the first country in the world to entirely ban the sale of cigarettes. Hospitals and clinics are located throughout the country, with excellent facilities available in the capital Thimpu.


Tipping is not expected in restaurants as your meal would have been prepaid by your tour agency. On treks it is usual to tip the cook, his assistant and any porters. Ask your guide for advice. If you hire a driver tip him at the end of your trip. Bhutanese tradition is that one typically refuses a tip the first time it is offered but accepts it the second time.

Safety Information

Bhutan is one of the safest destinations on the planet. There is virtually no crime or violence.

Local Customs

Bhutan is a traditional Buddhist society. Dress conservatively when visiting religious sites, avoid public displays of affection, and never climb or sit on a statue. Do not take photographs within temples unless permission has been granted to do so. Avoid pointing at people or religious icons with your finger; this is considered very rude. Smoking is banned in all public places including restaurants and bars. Betel nut is chewed throughout the day by young and old alike and has become an integral part of Bhutanese society. The royal family is revered and deeply respected; avoid any disparaging remarks or gestures. Mountains are considered to be the abode of the gods and hence any recreational activities therein are disallowed.


The international dialling code for Bhutan is +975. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). There is extensive mobile phone coverage, which is more reliable and widespread than the landline network. Internet access is available in all main towns and hotels.

Duty Free

Travellers to Bhutan may bring with them up to 400 cigarettes/150g pipe tobacco/50 cigars, two litres of liquor, and goods for personal use. Guns and ammunition, narcotics, antiques and wildlife products are prohibited.

Become our Bhutan Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Bhutan travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Bhutan or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

1,528,272 bytes
Loading Time Base Classes  0.0018
Controller Execution Time ( Countries / Index )  0.0979
Total Execution Time  0.1002
No GET data exists
No POST data exists
  DATABASE:  globe_media   QUERIES: 39   
0.0005   INSERT INTO `ci_sessions(`session_id`, `ip_address`, `user_agent`, `last_activity`) VALUES ('565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2''''CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)'1406079886) 
0.0059   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0006   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0006   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = 'a:1:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = 'a:2:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Bhutan\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406079886, `user_data` = 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Bhutan\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:6:\"basics\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0005   SELECT *
FROM (`config_categories`)
WHERE `type` = 'left'
AND `parent_category_idIN (SELECT id FROM config_categories WHERE link "/countries")
display_order` != '0'
ORDER BY `display_order
0.0007   SELECT `province_code`, `province_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`provincesp)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `p`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Bhutan'
ORDER BY `p`.`province_name
0.0026   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Bhutan"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Bhutan"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0024   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Bhutan"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Bhutan"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0016   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Bhutan'
AND `attr_ski_chk` != "Yes"
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0012   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Bhutan'
AND `attr_ski_chk` = 'Yes'
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0012   SELECT `iata_code`, `name`, `url_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`port_of_callpc)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `pc`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Bhutan'
ORDER BY `pc`.`name
0.0004   SELECT *
FROM (`config_nodescn)
JOIN `config_nodes_categoriescnc ON `cnc`.`node_id` = `cn`.`id`
WHERE `cnc`.`category_idIN (select id from config_categories where link "/basics")
ORDER BY `cn`.`position`, `cnc`.`display_order
0.0028   SELECT `id`, `headline`, `via_title`, `via_link`, `body`, `event_date`, `end_date`, `anchor_link`
FROM (`news`)
WHERE `for_pro` = 1
AND `end_date` >  '2014-07-23'
AND `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Bhutan") 
0.0009   SELECT *
FROM (`tour_operators`)
WHERE `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Bhutan")
show_in_column` = 1
`show_in_columnDESC, `name
0.0004   SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Bhutan" 
0.0009   SELECT from tourop_list WHERE destinations LIKE '%BT%' ORDER BY id DESC 
0.0005   SELECT `country_code`
FROM (`countries`)
WHERE `country_name` = 'Bhutan' 
0.0129   SELECT d.id AS destination_idd.overview AS destination_overviewd.extended_overview AS destination_extended_overviewd.photo as destination_photod.*, c.*, 'Bhutan' AS country_nameLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.timed.electricityd.languaged.healthd.tippingd.safetyd.businessd.communicationsd.duty_free)) AS basicsLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.embassy_consulate_usd.embassy_consulate_ukd.embassy_consulate_cad.embassy_consulate_aud.embassy_consulate_ird.embassy_consulate_nz)) AS contacts(SELECT money FROM destinations WHERE country_code "BT" ) AS money(SELECT LENGTH(CONCAT_WS(passport_visaentry_req_usentry_req_ukentry_req_caentry_req_auentry_req_irentry_req_nz))
FROM destinations WHERE country_code "BT" ) AS visa(SELECT group_concat(id) FROM public_holiday p WHERE p.country_code "BT" order by p.weight desc) AS public_holiday(SELECT count(*) FROM tour_operators t where t.country_code d.country_code) AS num_tour_ops(SELECT count(id) AS total_rows FROM tourop_list tl WHERE tl.destinations LIKE ("%BT%")) AS num_tour_operators(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM port_of_call pc WHERE pc.country_code d.country_code) AS ports_of_call(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS cities(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS regions(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM resorts WHERE major_resort AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_resort DESCname ASC) AS resorts(SELECT count(*) FROM dmcs WHERE country_code d.country_code) AS num_dmcs(SELECT concat(caption" © "copyright) FROM images WHERE filename d.photo) AS photo_copyright(SELECT count(*) FROM airports ai where ai.nfuwt != AND ai.country_code d.country_code) AS num_airports(SELECT count(*) FROM events e where e.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country 1) AS num_events(SELECT count(*) FROM activities where region_city_code "0" AND country_code d.country_code) AS num_activities(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND excursion "No") AS num_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND show_on_kids AND excursion "No") AS num_kids_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND excursion "Yes") AS num_excursions(SELECT phrases FROM phrase_book pb where pb.country_code c.country_code AND phrases != "") AS num_phrases(SELECT count(*) FROM image_bridge ib LEFT OUTER JOIN images i ON ib.image_id=i.id WHERE ib.destination_code c.country_code) AS num_photos(SELECT count(*) FROM hospitals h where h.country_code c.country_code) AS num_hospitals
(destinations d)
LEFT JOIN countries c ON c.country_code d.country_code
LEFT JOIN provinces pr ON pr
.province_code d.province_code
`c`.`country_name` = 'Bhutan' 
0.0005   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1406079886user_data 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Bhutan\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:6:\"basics\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0005   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1406079886user_data 'a:4:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Bhutan\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:6:\"basics\";s:6:\"region\";s:0:\"\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '565b41c5d79aa89811ee5552d7ef84a2' 
0.0005   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Bhutan'  
0.0006   SELECT DiscussionID FROM FORUM_DiscussionHasTags WHERE TagID IN (1532)
GROUP BY DiscussionID HAVING COUNT(DiscussionID) = 
0.0006   SELECT od.`Name`, od.`DiscussionIDFROM FORUM_Discussion od
                    WHERE od
.`DiscussionIDIN ( 1465,3187,3689,5564,8793,8795 ) ORDER BY od.`DateLastActiveDESC LIMIT 0 15
0.0006   SELECT i.*, e.fullnamee.bioe.pic FROM interviews i INNER JOIN experts e ON i.expert_id e.id
INNER JOIN countries c ON i
.spatial_id c.country_code WHERE i.interview_type 'country' AND c.country_name 'Bhutan' 
0.0004   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Bhutan'  
0.0006   SELECT DiscussionID FROM FORUM_DiscussionHasTags WHERE TagID IN (1532)
GROUP BY DiscussionID HAVING COUNT(DiscussionID) = 
0.0008   SELECT od.`Name`, od.`DiscussionIDFROM FORUM_Discussion od
                    WHERE od
.`DiscussionIDIN ( 1465,3187,3689,5564,8793,8795 ) ORDER BY od.`DateLastActiveDESC LIMIT 0 15