Druk Yul or the land of the thunder dragon, Bhutan, is one of the most mesmerizing places on this planet. With a system of tightly monitored industrialization and encouragement towards preservation and protection of culture, Bhutan stands out as a uniquely vibrant destination for travel. Moreover, it is cheap, and one can travel throughout the length and breadth of the country on a decent budget.
Bhutan is as amazing as I make it sound like, but you should be aware of certain things before you travel to this country. Of course, traveling to any country requires multiple considerations, but I have compiled the top 5 things about traveling to Bhutan you should be aware of. :
Bhutan has deliberately kept itself remote so as to preserve its rich heritage from external ‘modern’ influences. While it has embraced many aspects of the technologically-driven modernity, do not expect them to be necessarily world-class. This is, especially, the case with cellular connectivity.
The two major mobile networks in the country are TashiCell and B-Mobile SIM. As soon as you land here, ask your guide to arrange for a SIM card. Internet services are available throughout the country, though you should expect them to go on-and-off from time to time.
Now, this might sound like a bad deal, but this is the real beauty of Bhutan. It will disconnect you with the technology-obsessed lifestyle and allow you to have travel experiences the way they should be experienced.
Better Hire A Travel Agency
Unless you are a citizen of Bangladesh, India or Maldives, you are required to obtain a visa. Your visa will only be approved by the Bhutanese authorities if you have hired the services of a travel agency.
In simpler terms, you are not allowed to travel independently and will require a tour guide with you throughout the time (unless you belong to any of the three countries mentioned above).
It might seem like a hassle for many, but think about this way: all your arrangements will be done by the time you reach here. You should know that Bhutan imposes a lot of restrictions which might not be found in other countries. For example, only government-approved hotels are licensed to cater to international tourists. So, instead of going through all the hassle of verifying and doing reservations, it is better to leave it all to the tour company.
The Tiger’s Nest
There is no way you are leaving Bhutan without seeing the legendary Tiger’s Nest. While it is a sight to behold, the path to the sacred site is laborious and may take up to five to six hours.
Considering the rough topography of the area in which the site is located, it is highly recommended that you wear sturdy hiking boots and use hiking poles for climbing up and down the mountain. Keep yourself hydrated all the time and hence, bring along a water bottle.
Be Prepared For A Jumpy Flight
Bhutan is a land of the thunder dragon for a reason: the country goes through numerous thunderstorms and unpredictable weather conditions. So, the aviation industry is extra careful about how it goes about operating.
Considering the weather conditions, flights may not necessarily be on time. You will go through an interesting experience when your plane is about to land at Paro Airport which is surrounded by scenic mountains. Thus, you should expect difficult visible conditions for landings.
It is recommended that you keep yourself stocked with basic necessaries because you never know how long you will have to wait for your flight to take-off or land.
Really Spicy Food
If your tongue can’t handle spice, then you might face food-related issues in Bhutan. Bhutanese love spicy food. They have a special relationship with chili pepper, which is sprinkled on every possible dish over there.
One of the first things your tour company will ask you is what kind of food you prefer. Make sure you tell them you are not into spicy food in order to avoid future mishaps. However, I would suggest that you give some of the Bhutanese dishes a try—at least try the national dish ema datse.
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