BHUTAN - Travel Tips


Lightweight cottons in the foothills, also linens and waterproof gear, light sweaters and jackets for the evenings. Upland areas: thick, warm clothing for evenings, particularly during the winter months.

Social Conventionse

The lifestyle, manners and customs of the Bhutanese are in many respects unique to the area. The strongest influence on social conventions is the country’s state religion, and everywhere one can see the reminders of Buddhism and the original religion of Tibet, Bonism. There are no rigid clan systems and equal rights exist between men and women. The majority of the Bhutanese live an agrarian lifestyle.


Markets are held regularly, generally on Saturday and Sunday, and are a rich source of local clothing and jewelry, as well as food. The Handicraft Emporium on the main street in the capital is open daily and offers a magnificent assortment of hand-woven and handcrafted goods. Some hotels have a souvenir shop. Silversmiths and goldsmiths in the Thimphu Valley are able to make handcrafted articles to order. Bhutanese stamps are collectors’ items. Shopping is otherwise limited and bargaining is not customary. Phuentsholing has a small department store, the only one of its kind in Bhutan.


1 Ngultrum (BTN; symbol Nu) = 100 chetrum (Ch). The Ngultrum is pegged to the Indian Rupee (which is also acccepted as legal tender). Notes are in denominations of Nu500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of Nu1, and 50, 25 and 20 chetrum. Smaller denomination notes and coins have been discontinued but are still in circulation and are legal tender. US Dollars are also widely accepted.

Currency Exchange

Leading foreign currencies are accepted but traveller’s cheques are preferred and receive a better exchange rate. Major hotels in Thimphu, Paro and Phuentsholing will also exchange foreign currency.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

Most cards have limited acceptability. ATMs only accept Bhutanese bank cards.

Travelers Cheques

These can be exchanged in any branch of the Bank of Bhutan or at all BTCL hotels. Travelers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars.


Full medical insurance is strongly advised. Medical facilities are good but not always close at hand

Mobile Telephone

Coverage is extensive but since the mobile network is now superseding the landline service, oversubscription can lead to problems.


Access is growing. There are Internet cafes in large towns and access in major hotels across the country.