Approximately the size of Switzerland, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan issues a limited number of visas each year and is miraculously unspoiled. Traditional clothes are required for the inhabitants, new buildings are constructed in an indigenous style, and nearly all of the country’s 750,000 people are engaged in agriculture. Everywhere the influence of Tibetan Buddhism makes itself apparent: Brightly colored prayer flags flutter in the breeze, and the golden-roofed fortified monasteries (dzongs) dominate the idyllic scenery. The roads are narrow and winding, but drives are endlessly fascinating.
To phone hotels in Bhutan, dial 011 (international access) + 975 (Bhutan code) + local numbers in listings.
Bhutan’s climate is greatly determined by elevation. Spring and fall are generally warm and sunny. The monsoon from June-September brings heavy rain, including the epic thunderstorms that have given the country its official name of “Druk Yul,” or “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” Winter months can be cold.
Ngultrum (BTN). Fluctuating rate valued at BTN73.43 = US$1.00 as of October 2020. Note: Our suggested hotel quotes rates in US$.
None. U.S. Embassy is located in New Delhi, India, Tel. (91) 11-2419-8000.
10 hours ahead of New York (EST). (Time listed is for DST in the West. Difference is one hour more November to mid-March.)
Passport (valid for at least six months beyond end of stay) and visa. Individual travel is not permitted; all visitors must be registered with an authorized tour operator in Bhutan. Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.