10 Do’s and Don’ts when in BHUTAN
When someone tells you . . . I am traveling to Bhutan soon! You should be very happy for that lucky person.
This is because the government has very strict rules and a set quota per year on the number of visitors influx in.
It is highly regulated under the policy “High Value, Low Impact Tourism” in order to minimize the impact on the country’s unique society and environment. Thus preserving the people and its culture. We all know too well the pros and the cons, booming tourism industry brings to certain communities if it is not regulated well by the governing body.
Druk Gyal Khap or better known as Kingdom of Bhutan is also known as the most happiest country on earth currently (as reported by CNN Travel), we should not go about smiling 24/7 . . . less you might be the most famous person in YouTube or might even end up in the prison of the most happiest country on earth. Well I’m quite sure you DO NOT care to find out if the prison is a happy one or not. (it being the happiest country and all . . . )
Having said that, let’s explore together the do’s and don’ts while traveling in Bhutan.
1. DO ask for permission should you want to capture the local Bhutanese on photograph.
2. DON’T wear singlets and miniskirts as they are not well accepted. Dress appropriately with respect to the local culture. Further more being high up on the Eastern side of the Himalaya’s could be quite chilly.
3. DO take your sunglasses and hats off as you enter the dzongas and monasteries, also when you are in front of the National Flag.
4. DON’T pass negative comments on their religion, the royal family and the spiritual leader. The Bhutanese might seem simple to some visitors due to the chosen way of life, but it is because they are polite and have a deep reverence for the monarchs, as well as a deep profound respect for both religion and the spiritual leader.
5. DO remember cash is almost king here in Bhutan. Smaller shops do not accept credit cards, hence it is best to change some Bhutanese Ngultrum Notes (BTN), USD is widely accepted as well. The current exchange rate as of 1 FEB 2018 *To note exchange rate may vary accordingly. ( RM 1 : BTN 16.50 / USD 1 : BTN 64.33 ). There are also very few ATM machine around.
6. DON’T wash, swim or litter or throw things into the lakes. The lakes are very much sacred to Bhutanese just as the Himalaya hills are. A handful of lakes in Bhutan are particularly sacred, most often connected to lives of Buddhist saints Guru Rimpoche and Pema Lingpa. They believe the spirits inhabit these lakes.
7. DO be extra careful when buying souvenirs especially things which are old or branded antique in Bhutan. There is a customs rule strictly prohibiting export of these items.
8. DON’T light up cigarettes as you please, smoking is not allowed in many areas in Bhutan, especially places like the monastery and dzong. You can’t find cigarettes in the local stores as it is prohibited. Visitors can bring in 100 sticks of cigarettes but will be subjected to 200% tax.
9. DO use your right hand or both hands to give and receive. It is the basic of manners here in Bhutan.
10. A reminder, being happy is great being the ultimate-state-of-mind. However DON’T keep smiling in an insane-kind-of-way . . . especially fellow men to the local Bhutanese ladies. Less you might want to invite the wrath of the Tigers of Bhutan and perhaps nights in the Bhutanese prison. Unless that is your idea of an ultimate experience . . .
APPLE ASIA helps you with the application of VISA and brings you to BHUTAN hassle free with a DIRECT CHARTER FLIGHT.
Departure Dates: 17 March – 24 November 2018
Call HOTLINE: 03-2141 8250 (APPLE ASIA)
Click on Link: Bhutan Charter Direct Flight