Travel general information
Population: 7,00,000 (1996)
Location: Bhutan lies between 89 degree and 92 degrees E and 27 degrees nd 28 degrees N.
Language: Dzongkha is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by over half a million people in Bhutan; it is the sole official and national language of the Kingdom of Bhutan.The Tibetan alphabet is used to write Dzongkha. The word dzongkha means “the language of the palace”; dzong means “palace” and kha is language.
Time Zone: Bhutan is GMT/UTC + 6h during Standard Time
International Calling Code: 975 + city codes
National Calendar: The calendar is based on the lunar system. A year has 360 days, with some days omitted to make it correspond with the waxing and waning of the moon. An extra short month is added to the 12 months every third year to adjust it to the solar calendar.
Unification Day: December 17, 1907 – Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk
Constitution Birth: 2008
National Anthem: “Druk tsendhen”
National Motto: “Gross National Happiness.”
National Bird: Raven
National Flower: Himalayan Blue Poppy
Land Area: 38394 sqkm
Geography: Bhutan is a rugged land of steep mountains and deep valleys, that is easily divided into three main geographical areas. The lowlands front its southern border with India; the lesser (or lower) Himalayas cover the central areas, and its northern border with China is dominated by the massive peaks of the Himalayas.
Travel : You can enter into Bhutan by road through Phuentsholing in the south or by air at Paro. Druk Air, the national carrier, is the only airline servicing Bhutan operating from these cities: Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Calcutta, and Dakha.
Visa : All foreign nationalities require a visa for Bhutan. We will need a completed visa application from you and should be faxed or e-mailed to us at least 6 weeks prior to arrival in Bhutan. The actual visa will be issued in your passports at the entry points, either Paro airport or Phuentsholing.
Bhutan travel season: The best times to visit are the spring months of March, April, and May, and the autumn months of September, October and November. The winter months are cold at night, but the daytime temperatures are warm with bright, clear blue skies. Most high altitude trek routes are closed during winter but there are a number of low altitude treks which we offer for winter. During the summer monsoon in June, July, August and early September, rain is expected. There are chances of road and flight problems, but every effort within Bhutan Gateway Travel capacity will be made to stick to original program.
Accommodation : Hotels and tourist lodges in Bhutan are comfortable but not luxurious. Although recently a few luxury hotels have been established in Bhutan, visitors in general can expect an unique combination of traditional Bhutanese style together with modern services, but not international five-star luxury all over Bhutan! Clean and well maintained, most of the hotels are equipped with telephones, fax machines and long distance service. The food offered to the visitors is carefully prepared to suit the western taste combining Bhutanese food and western dishes.
Currency : Bhutanese currency is the ngultrum (Nu). The approximate exchange rate is Nu 42 for one US dollar. The ngultrum is on par with the Indian rupee (both the Nu and Indian Rupee can be used in Bhutan). US dollars and dollar traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks (hours 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Mon to Fri) and the larger hotels Ngultrum or rupees will be what you will need for your purchases while in the kingdom
People : There are two main population groups in Bhutan: the Dukpa (67%) of Tibetan and Monpa origin and Lhotsampa (of Nepalese origin).The rest comprises of indigenous tribal groups such as Toktop, Doya and Lepcha of SW Bhutan.