While Dzongkha is the national language, English is the medium of instruction in schools and is widely spoken and understood by most Bhutanese.
Bhutan time is 6 hours ahead of GMT and there is only one time zone throughout the country.
Clothing and Dressing
Due to the wide range of temperature and climatic conditions, it is advisable for you to dress in layers. To protect you against cold, layered clothing is better than one or two thick garments. Clothing should preferably be made from natural materials, which allow the body to breathe. You will be offending people if you walk around in skimpy or tight fitting clothes. Shorts are not welcomed and women are advised to wear below the knee skirts or fairly loose trousers. Do not wear sleeveless T-shirts (singlets, vests) as outer garments. Dress modestly and respectfully for visits to monasteries, dzongs and other religious institutions. Hats and caps should be removed before entering such premises. Bring comfortable sport shoes for light hikes and sightseeing, and bring hiking boots for treks.
Bhutan's currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.), with 100 Chetrum = 1 Ngultrum. The Ngultrum is fixed to the value of Indian Rupee. Indian Rupee in small notes no more than 100 is acceptable for transactions. Travellers are advised to carry some cash (Indian Rupee is good; among other currencies, US Dollar would be the best) which might be used for incidental purchases and expenses. There are bank branches in all major towns. You can change your currency to the local currency in the bank branches.
In Bhutan, electricity runs on 230 V, 50 Hz, with Type D / F / G power sockets. If you bring electrical appliances, also pack appropriate adapter plugs. Thimphu electrical appliance shops stock adapter plugs, but they are unlikely to be available elsewhere.
Internet and free wifi is readily available at most hotels in Thimphu and Paro. Internet cafes are more widespread in Western Bhutan.
Travel insurance is highly recommended to protect you against medical and personal accident risks. You should be aware that some insurance policies restrict coverage or do not cover travel to Bhutan and may not cover activities such as trekking, mountain biking, and white water rafting. Please ensure that your insurance policy provides a sufficient level of protection and covers you for the activities involved.
No vaccinations are currently required for travelling to Bhutan. However, visitors coming from an area infected with yellow fever are required to have had a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days before their arrival. Cholera vaccinations are strongly recommended for visitors coming from a cholera infected area. Anti-malarial medication is also recommended for all travellers who will be visiting rural areas of districts bordering India.
The photographic opportunities throughout your Bhutan trip are immense. Outdoor photography is usually permitted, but photography is generally not permitted when visiting shrine rooms of dzongs, monasteries and religious institutions. Please check with your guide before taking any photographs. You will also wish to record the local people, their houses and shops etc. For respect, always ask by a gesture if it is alright to do so.
Hand-woven textiles, carved masks, woven baskets, wooden bowls, handmade paper products, finely crafted metal objects, Thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps are the items mostly purchased by travellers in Bhutan. The buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden.
Tipping in Bhutan is purely a personal matter. Bhutanese do not have a tradition of giving tips. But tips especially to your guide and driver will be much appreciated. There is no set amount for the tips. Your guide and driver will appreciate any amount you choose to give. For travellers include a trek in the itinerary and served by trekking crew like cook and horsemen, tipping the crew at the end of the trek is also a common practice. You can check with your guide how much to tip based on the length of the trek and the number of trekkers.