Are you a city person?
The kind that needs daily hot showers, sparkling clean rooms, super comfy beds, and food that won’t only please the eye but, most importantly, it will not cause too much of tummy problems?
Well, you are not alone.
And perhaps as much as you would love to travel to the magical Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, you are concerned about hygiene, food safety, customer service, and some other common issues found in many parts of Asia.
So, how it’ll be like to go Bhutan?
We’ve put together an article from our Bhutan trip experience, to help you have a better idea of the Land of the Thunder Dragon!
First-World Questions About Bhutan – Answered
#1. First, where is Bhutan?
Don’t be shy. You’re really not the only one asking, simply because on some maps Bhutan doesn’t even exist.
Bhutan is located in the Eastern Himalayas, South Asia. It’s a landlocked country bordered by Tibet and India.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is typically referred to as Land of the Thunder Dragon.
#2. How do I get to Bhutan?
Depending on where you live, it’s actually not that difficult.
The national carrier of Bhutan, Druk Air flies from Singapore, India, Thailand and Nepal.
Paro Airport, the only international airport in the country, is considered one of the most challenging and dangerous airports. Only a select few pilots (between 8-11 in total) in the world are certified to land in Bhutan.This means you’re in very good hands.
Here, due to the mountainous terrain, the pilots use manual methods to land, instead of relying on high-tech navigation systems. Now that’s exciting!
#3. What kind of food would I eat in Bhutan?
Short answer: tasty, organic food.
It’s always buffet-style of red or white rice + several dishes, some spicy, some not at all. You will also have the chance to try the famous Bhutanese chilli-cheese dishes. Tell your guide you wanna try ema-datshi and he’ll get the restaurant to include it.
Vegetable dishes are delicious and fresh. They are always the majority with 1 or 2 meat options. Sometimes fish is also on the menu.
You won’t find international chains like McDonald’s or Starbucks. But, with so much variety of food on the table, you won’t miss them.
#4. How are the hotels? Clean? Hot water? Bed comfort? TV?
Everyone who comes to Bhutan thinks that the hotels will not be that great.
Everyone who leaves Bhutan says all the hotels were not only better than they thought, but excellent.
The rooms are very spacious (so spacious that you could still do yoga in the morning) and clean.
All of them come with in-room heaters, hairdryers, electric kettles, bottles of mineral water and TV.
The staff is thoughtful and polite.
MUST READ: Accommodation Bhutan
#5. Are the toilets clean?
At hotels and restaurants, we can assure you of a resounding yes! There’re toilet bowls and taps, even at the cafe halfway up Tiger’s Nest, or the cafe at Dochula Pass. Most washrooms are as clean and luxurious as the ones in Hong Kong or Singapore or Sydney !
Yes, the toilets are flushable – you don’t need to dump water manually to flush them.
And yes, there will be toilet paper even for public toilets.
#6. Is there WIFI? How’s the internet speed and mobile data?
You’ll likely get free WIFI from your hotel. The WIFI might get spotty in rooms, depending on your hotels.
You can also buy a Tashi Cell prepaid simcard from shops in Thimphu on the first day. The initial charge cost 350nu (S$7.35 / USD$5.45), which includes some local call-time and 400MB of mobile data.
Our advice, in Bhutan, disconnect, recharge and relax!
#7. How are the Bhutanese people like?
The best. Seriously, we’ve only met polite, gracious and friendly locals in Bhutan. Kids are curious and cheeky. Adults are respectful towards one another and quite funny.
Bhutanese love a good laugh.
A very admirable culture!
#8. What languages do they speak?
Locals will speak to one another in Dzongkha, their national language, and to you in English. You might feel surprised at how many Bhutanese can actually speak English! In fact, Bhutan’s school lessons are conducted in English from a very young age. Road signs and shop signboards are in English.
#9. What language will your guide speak?
Tours are conducted in English.
#10. Road conditions in Bhutan?
Bhutan is a mountainous country, but the roads are surprisingly good. However, they are always winding.
So, if you suffer from motion sickness, perhaps taking some ginger pills it will not be such a bad idea.
#11. Why are there so few tourists in Bhutan? Is it because no one wants to go there?
With only so few pilots in this world qualified to fly into Bhutan, and limited flights only allowed in the daytime in good weather, this automatically reduces the number of flights per day.
Bhutan is also not the cheapest destination to visit due to the daily minimum tariff – 250 USD per day!
#12. Can I travel to Bhutan on my own?
If you mean flying into Bhutan and then exploring it on your own, no. It’s required by law to book your trip with a travel company.
#13. Is Bhutan safe?
Oh, yes! Everyone strolls in Bhutan, even the animals on the road, with cars approaching.
Vehicles will thus drive at a slow speed everywhere and give way to pedestrians and animals.
#14. Isn’t it annoying to have strangers (the tour guide and driver) with you all the time?
Surprisingly, not at all. The tour guide will show you around, sharing funny stories and explaining to you the history of the places you visit.
He’ll always be looking out for you, even protecting you from the mules and buffaloes when you’re out in nature.
They will help you translate when you want to buy stuff from shops.
The driver will get you to places safely. Sometimes, they’ll leave you to explore places like Dochula Pass and tell you where they’ll be waiting once you’re done with photos and such.
During meals outside, they’ll discreetly disappear after arranging your seating and stuff, then appear again when you’re ready to leave.
Imagine them like respectful hosts – they look out for you but they won’t be intrusive at all.
Bhutanese people are very quiet and polite.
#15. Is Bhutan clean?
Yes. Bhutan is quite different from other countries in Asia.
Bhutanese are very proud of their country, keep it extremely clean and fiercely protect their culture and environment.
In the open and tourist spots, they have rubbish bins and collection points for things like plastic bottles.
#16. Is Bhutan commercialized?
Not at all.
There won’t be touts hounding you to buy things from them or children asking you for donation.
You won’t see beggars and you won’t feel harassed.
#17. How can I book a trip to Bhutan?
Booking a trip to Bhutan is the simplest thing you’ve ever done.
Browse the all inclusive tour packages on offer, choose the one you fancy, compare prices, accommodations and activities, book with confidence and start packing.
You will love it!