12 Things You Must Know before Traveling to Bhutan
Known as "the happiest country in the world", Bhutan attracts a lot of tourists all over the world every year. Bhutan is located at the southern foot of the Himalayas, with an area of only over 38,000 square kilometers and a population of 700,000. What should you pay attention to when traveling to Bhutan? Top Asia Tour lists 12 things You Must Know Before Traveling to Bhutan for the first time.
1. Is Bhutan really limiting the number of tourists?
We often hear a saying that Bhutan allows up to 6000 foreigners to travel in each year, but this is actually a number fabricated by many travel agencies to emphasize the scarcity of Bhutanese products. In fact, Bhutan does not limit the number of inbound tourists each year. However, due to the limited accommodation and reception capacity of Bhutan and the limited space of fixed flights to Bhutan every day, the number of tourists who can travel to Bhutan each year is at most about 30,000.
2. What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
The best time to go to Bhutan is mainly in the peak season, which is March, April, May, September, October, November. Therefore, it is very difficult to book accommodation and air tickets during the peak season. Be sure to make a reservation at least 2-3 months ahead. Most tourists from European and American countries generally book their itinerary more than half a year in advance and pay the money to the travel agency early.
3. Is it difficult to obtain a visa for Bhutan?
In fact, it is not difficult to obtain a visa for Bhutan, but you cannot do it yourself. It can only be done through a Bhutanese travel agency authorized by the Bhutanese government. If you are determined to travel to Bhutan, then in about one to two weeks, the travel agency can help you apply for a visa, and there is no need for proof of property, work, bank statements, etc.
4. Is it possible to travel independently in Bhutan?
Although independently travel has become a trend now, it is absolutely impossible to go to Bhutan for freedom travel. Because the Bhutanese government stipulates that all tourists entering Bhutan for tourism must pass through the local travel agency to arrange, which is easy to manage.
5. Will altitude sickness occurs when traveling in Bhutan?
Bhutan is located on the southern slope of the Himalayas. The terrain is high in the north and low in the south. The average elevation is about 3,500 meters. As 74% of Bhutan's land area is covered by forests, abundant oxygen can help reduce altitude sickness.
In Thimphu, Paro and Punakha areas, there is basically no altitude sickness. If you are worried about mild altitude sickness, you can also drink Rhodiola rosea water in advance, or prepare some medicine for altitude sickness
6. Why do Bhutanese feel happy?
Bhutan is known as "the country with the highest national happiness index in the world". There are several main reasons:
- Bhutan is a relatively closed country. Only a small number of tourists are allowed to enter Bhutan every year, and Bhutanese people rarely go abroad. The national differences are very small, so it is difficult for Bhutanese people to compare with the outside world.
- All people in Bhutan believe in Buddhism. People focus on giving and helping others, living and working down-to-earth, ideals and reality are very close, so all people will feel very happy.
- The whole people of Bhutan enjoy free medical care and education. The worries of Bhutanese people are solved and they are naturally happy.
- The spiritual life of Bhutanese is very rich, and there are still many ancient festivals and art forms. Every festival people will gather together to sing and dance, and hold various cultural and entertainment activities.
- Bhutan's folklore is simple and honest. People are simple, generous, and kind. You will never consider being deceived, neglected, or calculated. You will be infected by the simple folklore here.
7. Is there an age requirement for travelers?
Bhutan has a mild climate and fresh air. Except for the Tiger Cave Temple, which takes about 3 hours on foot, you don't need to consume too much energy wherever you go. Travelers of any age can participate as long as they are healthy.
8. Why is the barrier to travel so high?
Tourism in Bhutan is not well known to people. In addition to local restrictions on the entry of tourists, it is also related to the high local travel expenses. There are not many cities that have diplomatic relations with Bhutan and can set up embassies to provide visa channels.
Under the condition of extremely small local urban population, it is impossible to provide complete facilities for tourists to visit. In addition to the high tourism tax (70 USD per person per day), the government stipulates that travel agencies must charge a tourist fee of 250 USD per person per day during peak seasons.
9. Are there any special precautions?
- Bhutan is a non-smoking country, please refrain from smoking during travel.
- For formal occasions such as monasteries and clan castles, clothing must be dignified and tidy. Slippers, shorts, miniskirts, suspenders, sleeveless tops and other revealing clothes will be inappropriate.
- Do not touch the offerings in the monastery, and visit in a clockwise direction.
- Please comply with the warning where photos are not allowed.
- The head is considered noble and sacred, please do not touch the child's head.
10. What is the Happiness Committee?
In order to take care of the spiritual world of every resident, in 2008, Bhutan established the Gross National Happiness Committee. Even in the census questionnaire, there is a special chart in which local people need to indicate their level of satisfaction with everything in their lives.
11. What is the dressing code for Bhutan?
There is no obvious gap between rich and poor in Bhutan, and no beggars can be seen on the streets. All the people wear national clothing all year round. Men wear Gho, while women wear Kira. Bhutanese must wear shawls when entering the office to show respect. The shawl color indicates different identities, and the king is a yellow shawl.
12. Are there traffic lights in Bhutan?
There are no traffic lights in Bhutan. Even in the capital Thimphu, traffic is directed by traffic police. When the traffic police are off duty, the traffic in Thimphu depends on the drivers' self-consciousness. However, there are few cars in Bhutan and the drivers are very friendly and humble. Therefore, the traffic conditions in Bhutan are very good.