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BHUTAN

 

Secluded high in the eastern Himalayas with unique customs and people with deeply held beliefs. Bhutan is a land of dzongs and monasteries; monks, majestic mountains and a rich heritage; and an architectural style like no other on earth and a land full of warm-hearted, friendly people who go to unusual lengths to preserve each element of Bhutanese life. Today as a visitor picks up a telephone to call home or travels over a wide network of roads, it may be difficult to imagine that as recently as the 1960's telecommunication was non-existent in Bhutan and travel within the kingdom could only be made by horseback or on foot...there were no roads.

Beyond building a telecommunication network and roads, Bhutan has been integrating the process of modernization with the rich heritage of its past. Bhutanese, go to unusual lengths to preserve each element of their life; from environment to dress to language to religion Bhutanese have managed to keep their centuries-old culture and traditions alive. Besides learning as much as from the past, Bhutanese have tried wherever possible to embrace the future and envelop it into the Bhutanese way.

 

People and culture:

The official estimate of Bhutan's population in 1990 was about 600,000 but other sources estimate the population for 2000 was just under 2 million. Those living in Bhutan of Nepali origin have been excluded from the official census since 1990 which results in such a large discrepancy in population numbers.

Bhutan has four major ethic groups: Bhutia, Sharchops, Nepali, and other indigenous groups. The Bhutia, who are descended from Tibetans, live in the central and northern regions of Bhutan. This ethnic group basically dominates politics in Bhutan particularly with it's contribution of government officials and monks that come from it.

Believed to be Bhutan's earliest settlers, the Sharchops live in the southeastern and eastern region. They speak both Tibeto-Burman languages as well as Hindi.

The Nepali people are the latest immigrants to Bhutan. Living in the southwestern and south central section of Bhutan, immigration of Nepali's has been forbidden by the Bhutanese government since 1959. Fear of Bhutan becoming too heavily populated with Nepalese brought about this and the ban on living in the central Himalayan region. Bhutan traditions and culture are to be retained and not dilute Bhutanese distinctiveness.

There are small groups of ethnic minorities that live all throughout Bhutan with the largest group living in the Duars. This group is related to those groups living in India's Assam and Bangla states.

 

Visa and permit:

All visitors to Bhutan must have a visa approved prior to arriving in the kingdom. Those who have not had a visa approved will not be permitted to board their Druk Air flight to Bhutan. A two-week visa costs US$20 and is stamped in your passport at Paro Airport during the immigration process. Visas are approved and issued prior to entry, with the prepayment of your travel itinerary. Therefore visitors to Bhutan need to finalize their travel plans well in advance.
 

Climate:

Bhutan's climate ranges from tropical in the south, to temperate in the center of the country, to cold in the north...and like much of your adventure in the Himalayas it will be quite unpredictable. The weather can vary dramatically from place to place, from day to day or within the same day. In the Thimphu and Paro valleys, the winter daytime temperature averages 60 degrees Fahrenheit during clear winter days but drops well below freezing during the night. Mid December to early January can be a beautifully clear and dry time in Western Bhutan. Late December through mid February is the period of heaviest snow fall in the higher elevations.

The fluctuations are not quite so great during the summer and daytime temperature often rises to the mid-eighties Fahrenheit. Punakha and the central valleys are lower than their Western neighbors and tend to always be a few degrees warmer. The higher peaks will be snow-covered all year. The higher passes, particularly Thrumshing La, between Bumthang and Mongar, can be treacherous during the winter as snow falls frequently and ices up the road. Light snow will often dust Thimphu and Paro in winter, and occasionally there will be heavy snowstorms despite their location in the Central Himalayas.

The Summer monsoon from the Bay of Bengal affects Bhutan from late May to late September. Views over the Himalayas from the higher passes are usually obscured from June to August. There are notable advantages to visiting Bhutan during the wet season including the spectacular rhododendron blossom from March through May and the deep green valleys. Many species of wild orchids are in full bloom diring late summer season (August).

The Spring season in Bhutan can only be compared to a master artist's palette, truly a spectacular time. The autumn season, late September through November, is usually very mild and clear. The Fall colors surround and embrace your senses. The sky is usually at it's clearest, affording magnificent views of the Himalaya range. The Spring and Fall seasons are traditionally the most popular times to visit the Kingdom.

 

Money and Banking:

Bhutanese currency is the ngultrum (nu). The approximate exchange rate is 45.00 nu for one US dollar (this will vary 1 or 2 nu, plus or minus) The ngultrum is on par with the Indian Rupee (both the Nu and Indian Rupee can be used in Bhutan). US Dollars and other world currencies as well as traveler's cheques can be exchanged at banks in the larger towns (hours 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Mon to Fri) and at the larger hotels. In the capital town of Thimphu some of the smaller bank branches are open Saturday and Sunday for currency exchange. Ngultrum or rupees will be what you will need for your purchases while in the more rural towns and villages.

 
Bhutan Tour

Secluded high in the eastern Himalayas with unique customs and people with deeply held beliefs. Bhutan is a land of dzongs and monasteries; monks, majestic mountains and a rich heritage; and an architectural style like no other on earth and a land full of warm-hearted, friendly people who go to unusual lengths to preserve each element of Bhutanese life. Today as a visitor picks up a telephone to call home or travels over a wide network of roads, it may be difficult to imagine that as recently as the 1960's telecommunication was non-existent in Bhutan and travel within the kingdom could only be made by horseback or on foot...there were no roads.

Beyond building a telecommunication network and roads, Bhutan has been integrating the process of modernization with the rich heritage of its past. Bhutanese, go to unusual lengths to preserve each element of their life; from environment to dress to language to religion Bhutanese have managed to keep their centuries-old culture and traditions alive. Besides learning as much as from the past, Bhutanese have tried wherever possible to embrace the future and envelop it into the Bhutanese way.

 
The Tours we organize in Bhutan are as followings:
   
Bhutan Tour   Bhutan Tour and Trek
Duration : 6 nights 7 days   Duration : 10 nights 11 days
     
Bhutan tour Mountain Joy  

Bhutan at glance

Duration : 6 nights 7 days   Duration : 14 days
     
Bhutan tour : Exotic Himalaya  

More Tours & Treks in Bhutan

Duration : 4 nights 5 days    
 
 
 
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