The small and predominantly Buddhist nation of Bhutan, tucked between China and India, is lanced by deep ravines and coated with thick woods.
The country has no traffic lights. Smoking as well as tobacco products are illegal, as are hunting and fishing (except for catch and release).
It is forbidden to climb high peaks (where spirits dwell), and employees must wear traditional clothing—a gho robe for men and kira dress for
women—during work hours. Years ago, Gross National Happiness was identified by the nation as being more important than Gross National Product (GNP).
Monasteries—often massive and commanding—abound; monks, when not in prayer or meditation or chores are often found playing board games, sharing stories,
laughing or all three. Archery is the national sport and green chili peppers together with ‘cheesy sauce’ is the national dish. Ask any resident, and
likely you'll find they truly do love their king and queen.
How to Reach?
Plane travel is a fast and relatively safe alternative to tackling Bhutan's twisty roads, but schedules are sparse and flights are cancelled at the drop of a hat. Druk Air and Bhutan Airways (aka Tashi Air) fly from Paro (Thimphu) to Yongphula Airport near Trashigang and Bathpalathang Airport in Jakar, Bumthang region, and to Gelephu close to the Indian border, in the southern central region.
Due to the mountainous terrain, roads are frequently blocked by rock falls during the summer season. Therefore, it is best to avoid traveling long distances from the beginning of June to the end of August. However, if you must travel at this time, carry ample bottled water and snacks as if the landslide occurs it could take some time to clear the road.
There is NO DIRECT TRAIN ROUTE in Bhutan. Tourists have to reach at the defined station and then take a cab or local transport to reach Bhutan. Convenient and best options from India are New Alipurduar, Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri Station and Hasimara.
All tourists not from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives must obtain a visa prior to departure.
All tourists must book their travel through a local licensed tour operator (or international partner).
Visas are applied for online by your local tour operator and it is not required that you visit a Bhutanese
Embassy or consulate. Your holiday must be paid in full, via a wire transfer, to the Tourism Council of
Bhutan account before a tourist visa is issued. Visa clearance takes no longer than 72 hours, once full
payment has been received. At your point of entry the visa will be stamped in your passport on payment
of US$20, two passport photos will also be required. Visa extensions can be obtained through your local
tour operator at a cost of Nu.510 (1 Ngultrum = 1 Indian Rupee) and the tourist will also be subject to
the daily tariff for the additional days. Visas are issued on arrival to residents of India, Bangladesh
and Maldives only. Indian citizens are allowed to stay in Bhutan indefinitely with a valid passport.