Etiquette and Taboo in Bhutan

Bhutan is well-known for its culture and excellent conditions for hiking and trekking. Bhutan is a religious country, and there are plenty of things that you should keep in mind so that you won't offend the taboo. Meanwhile, knowing the etiquette and taboo in Bhutan before traveling will be helpful, as Bhutanese attach great importance to etiquette. Please continue reading to know more information, and you can ask us for help whenever you have any other questions.


Dress Custom in Bhutan

The traditional dress of Bhutanese men is a knee-length robe which is called Gho, and it is tied by a cloth belt around the waist, which is known as the Kera. Normally, men wear shorts in summer, while women wear ankle-length dresses. The dress they wear is called the Kira, which is also tied at the waist with the Kera, with two identical brooches called the Koma clipped at the shoulders. Both men and women wear shawls on formal occasions, but the color and style of shawls are strictly different according to their status.


Clothing in Bhutan

Clothing in Bhutan


Please dress modestly during your trip in Bhutan, especially when you visit a Dzong or temple. You'd better not wear halter tops, tank tops, and short shorts when traveling in Bhutan. In addition, Bhutanese would love to see foreign visitors wearing their traditional clothing.


Dietetic Custom in Bhutan

Staple food in Bhutan include rice, buckwheat, and maize. Bhutanese also eat beef, pork, fish, chicken, lamb, and yak meat, and they like to eat spicy food. Chili is used as a vegetable instead of a seasoning. When cooking, a lot of dried chili is added, no matter what kind of dish. Besides, local people like to make salads with raw chili. Before eating, drinking, or drinking tea, people will throw a little food, tea, and wine into the air, so as to pray for God's blessing.


When dining in a group, both the host and the guest will wait for everyone to be served. Before eating, they will have some drinks and talk with each other. During the meal, they usually do not talk, and the guests will leave immediately after the meal.


Dishes in Bhutan

Dishes in Bhutan


Almost everyone in Bhutan eats betel nuts, regardless of men, women, or monks of all classes. Many Bhutanese carry betel nuts with them and share betel nuts with others to show their kindness.


Social Etiquettes in Bhutan

Bhutanese attach great importance to etiquette. In the following discussion, let's have a better understanding of social etiquettes in Bhutan from different aspects.


Social Etiquettes in Bhutan




  • Bhutanese give Hada when welcoming guests to show their respect and blessing.
  • When speaking with the elders, they lean forward slightly, look down, and cover their mouths with their right hands.
  • Bhutanese try to use "no" as less as possible, and use subjunctive words such as "maybe" and "able" to express euphemistically.


Gift Exchange

  • Gift exchange is a Buddhist concept for Bhutanese, and it's very important for them.
  • When receiving a gift from a Bhutanese, you cannot open it in front of the one who gives you the gift. You must return the gift afterward.
  • Refusing is expected before accepting the gift.
  • It's polite to return the container of the gift, and you must put some candy in the box when you return the container.


Visiting a Temple

  • Take off your shoes and hats before entering the temple.
  • No photos inside the temple.
  • People won't speak loudly.
  • Walk around the temple clockwise.


Visiting Temples in Bhutan

Visiting Temples


Taboos in Bhutan

  • Don't touch the head of a Bhutanese because Bhutanese believe that the head is the most sacred part of the human body.
  • Don't smoke in public. The sale of tobacco gave been banned in Bhutan.
  • Don't stretch your feet in front of others, or cross your legs.
  • Don't purchase religious artifacts and antiques that are not approved.
  • Don't give money or candy to children.
  • Don't throw stones, sticks, or anything else into lakes.

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