Bhutan’s Four seasons & Vegetation
Bhutan has four seasons, commonly known as Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Every season has its own charm and beauty due to the country’s rich biodiversity and rich cultural heritage nestled on diverse vegetation. The country consists of four types of vegetation; Tropical, subtropical, Cool broad-leaved forest, and Alpine.
Generally for one particular season, the weather in Bhutan will be almost similar in all the touristic districts or places to visit. Only the temperature may differ a little bit from place to place. For instance, the southern parts of Bhutan with tropical vegetation is hotter and receives more rainfall than the western, central and northern part of Bhutan. The western, central, and eastern parts of Bhutan ranging from sub-tropical to cool broad-leaved vegetation got moderate temperatures in the spring and autumn with pretty cold winters. And the northern part with alpine vegetation is extremely cold with icy trails in winter.
Climate in different region
The southern part of Bhutan is tropical, and in general, the east of Bhutan is warmer than the west of the country. The central valley of Punakha, Wangdiphodrang, Mongar, Trashigang, and Lhuntse enjoy a semi-tropical climate with cool winters. While Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Trongsa, and Bumthang have a harsher climate, with rains in the summer and the snow falls only once or twice a year in a particular place like Thimphu, Paro, Haa, and Bumthang. Winter in Bhutan starts from mid-November till mid-March, and at this time of the year, the climate is dry with a daytime temperature of 16-18° C and the nighttime temperature falling below zero. The monsoon usually arrives in mid-June, with the rain falling mainly in the afternoons and evenings. Autumn starts from the end of September, after the last of the big rains, and it is a magnificent season for trekking-lasting till mid-November.
The Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum. Ngultrum (Nu in short) is as par with the Indian currency, Rupees. Ngultrum is accepted only in some bordering Indian towns, whereas Rupee is accepted throughout Bhutan. However, please note that the Indian Rupees of the 500 and higher denominations are not accepted in Bhutan. For more information on up-to-date currency exchange visit Bhutan National Bank.
Most travelers’ cheques are accepted but shops generally charge a levy on credit cards. Payments sometimes can be made with American Express, VISA, and the JCB cards although the hotels and shops that accept are usually confined to Thimphu and Paro.
Cash is always more convenient, particularly in the districts outside Thimphu, Paro, and Phuentsholing towns.
Electricity & Fittings
Bhutan’s electricity is 230 volts 50 hertz for our household. Electrical outlets in Bhutan accept 3 types of plugs: three round pins arranged in a triangle, two round pins, and two parallel flat pins with ground pins. These kinds of multi-plug points may be available in few hotels of Thimphu, Paro, and Phuntsholing (south) only. Most places and hotels use two and three-round pins type plugs attached together. The flat ones have lesser usage in Bhutan. Even though you can buy the required adapters from the shops as these varied of Electricity and fittings comes from India.
The crime rate is low in Bhutan. Nevertheless, it may not advisable to walk alone late at night or do not go alone at night. Sometimes the dogs can be really rude at midnight if you are alone. And there is no harm in for caring your personal belongings, though there weren’t any bad cases so far. This is rather to be on the safer side. Generally, you are very safe to be anywhere in Bhutan.
To protect against unforeseen accidents and mishaps, we advise you to have a Travel Insurance policy from your country. It should adequately cover helicopter evacuation and medical assistance. Bhutan Travel Adventures will not be liable for any kind of injury, illness, or death during the tour/trek in Bhutan.
Postal & Communication in Bhutan
The Bhutanese postal system is reliable, you can send mails from hotels and post offices and no special procedures are necessary. If you mail cards or letters from the Thimphu post office, you can buy exotic Bhutan postage stamps from the philatelic bureau and use them on your letters and postcards.
Bhutan Post offers outgoing EMS [expedited mail service], which is a reliable and fast international mail delivery facility that is cheaper than courier services. DHL is the only international courier to operate from Bhutan. Most of the kingdom’s major towns have both domestic and international direct dial facilities.
Bhutan has its own Internet and mobile facilities widely. Internet Service and television in Bhutan were introduced recently in 1999 and making international phone calls from most towns are available while touring Bhutan. In most places, we have High-Speed Broad Band or Wireless internet connections. Internet is freely available almost in every tourist hotel. And Bhutan is also connected with the GSM mobile services.
Since Bhutan is culturally and environmentally rich. It may be a one of the best places on earth for those who like taking photos. An enthusiastic photographer shall come across very good photos of the landscape, dzongs (fortress) and Lhakhangs (monasteries), people and nature beauty of the country. Generally Bhutanese people do not mind their photos to be taken. Yet, if you wish to take picture of a particular person, it may be more appropriate to ask before you take photo. This is just because few of the older people do not want to expose their photo due to some religious reasons.
Taking photo inside the Alter rooms of Dzongs and lhakangs are not permitted which is also due to religion, and particularly they being sacred. You are allowed to take pictures and record videos in the courtyard of these places. There is set of rules that one has to follow as a professional and commercial video or film makers, otherwise recording for your personal video has no objection.
The wide range of temperatures does not make dressing easy. From May to Sep. cotton clothes are sufficient, plus a woolen sweater or light jacket. From November to the end of April, on the other hand, you will need very warm clothes including long underwear or woolen tights to wear under trousers, and a down jacket or coat, etc. It’s best to dress in different layers. The necessary things you should pack for the trip are sunglasses/spare glasses or contact lenses. A pair of casual shoes, washing kit, shaving kit, towel, hat umbrella, camera, film and accessories, maps, insect repellent, hand cream, small sewing kit & safety pins, torch or flashlight with spare batteries, mirror, sunscreen cream, lip salve or soluble aspirin, antiseptic cream, preparation for the relief of sunburn. You may not be tuned to the Asian drugs so it is always better to bring your own brand.
Dress code for Dzongs and Monasteries
Though you don’t have to be in formal dress with a shoot and tie while you visit Dzongs and monasteries. But you will have to dress up in full pants and shirts. The proper dress has to be maintained especially while visiting the Dzongs as they are religious as well as administrative buildings for our government. Smoking, wearing slippers, using hats and umbrellas are also strictly prohibited around these premises.
Medical & Health Care
Anyone who enjoys outdoor life and is physically fit can participate in our treks and tours. However some treks may be rigorous and difficult because of high altitude and therefore a good training of fitness for at least a month at home is required for treks going to an altitude in excess of 4000 meters, there are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Bhutan or within the continent. However, it’s recommended that you will be protected against Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A, Malaria, especially if you are traveling out of Bhutan. If you have a heart condition, please check with the doctor to ensure that you are fit to undertake high-altitude treks.
On 17th December 2004, Bhutan became the world’s first nation to introduce a complete ban on tobacco sales, following a resolution taken by the National Assembly. Smoking is also now restricted in private areas and restaurants. However, tourists are allowed to bring just a few packets for their personal usage.
Exports of antiques, plants, or animal products are strictly prohibited. Visitors are required to fill up the Custom Form on their arrival. Cameras, video cameras, computers, and other electronic equipment for personal use must be declared on the Customs forms. Some articles, which are exempted from duty are 2 liters of wine/any other alcohol. The customs authorities will not allow you to take any old items if they have not been certified as non-antique. Therefore all tourists should be cautious in purchasing any old items.