The mysterious kingdom of Bhutan is a carefully preserved tradition of Buddhism, dizzying landscapes of the Himalayas and a lot of ancient monasteries, stupas and monuments. Rafting and trekking, visa, tours, prices and reviews – everything about Bhutan from the Subtleties of Tourism. According to populationmonster, Thimphu is one of the largest cities in Bhutan.
The last Shangri-la, the Land of Happy People, the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon – these are just some of the poetic epithets that are used to describe Bhutan – a small state in the Himalayas that opened its doors to foreigners just over 30 years ago. From its neighbors – India and Tibet – Bhutan is distinguished by almost complete isolation from the outside world until very recently, thanks to which, once you find yourself here, you feel literally out of time and space: local residents in colorful outfits walk sedately through the streets of cities, everywhere there are Buddhist monasteries and dzongs lost on the forested slopes of the Himalayas. Tourists in Bhutanit is proposed to enjoy amazing exotics, visit Buddhist shrines, including unique rock-fortified monasteries, climb the Himalayas, go rafting, and also feel the healing effects of Tibetan medicine – there are enough “fives” in the country with excellent spa centers.
Climate of Bhutan
The climate of Bhutan varies greatly with altitude and is influenced by the monsoons, though not as strongly as in India. The eastern, central and western regions of the country, where most of the cities visited by tourists, including the capital, are located, are influenced by a temperate continental climate. In summer in Thimphu, the air, as a rule, does not warm up above +24…+26 °C, in winter the temperature fluctuates between -6…+2 °C. In the highlands in winter it is up to -10… -15 ° C, in summer – about +10 ° C. And in the extreme south, on the border with India, in summer the air warms up to +30 ° C and above; in winter it is not less than +15 °C.
Current weather forecast for the main resorts of Bhutan for the coming days.
Bhutan is a high-mountainous country, so even in summer warm clothes will not interfere here. In addition, the approach to heating homes in general and hotels in particular in the country is very philosophical.
Bhutanese tea is a very nutritious drink: salt, pepper and oil are added to it.
The main pride of the artisans of Bhutan is handmade wool fabrics. Geometric patterns and bright colors, obtained exclusively from natural dyes, are a real eye-catcher. Popular products are appliqués sewn onto clothes, wall panels, tablecloths and mats. The material is called “yatra”, and the craftswomen who are famous throughout the country live in eastern Bhutan (although the products are sold throughout the country).
Wooden bowls “dappa” – analogues of Russian vessels, are used to store and transport cooked food. They are sold in pairs, and the halves are almost hermetically joined. However, even individually, they can find the widest application in the economy.
It is also worth bringing from Bhutan bamboo baskets “banchun” – they also consist of two tightly closed halves. Banchuns are made in southern Bhutan but sold all over the country.
Among the trifling souvenirs are all kinds of figurines of dragons, the symbol of Bhutan, images of national symbols.
Prices in shops in Bhutan are fixed, and bargaining is not accepted even in souvenir shops.
The impression of Bhutanese cuisine is most often twofold. On the one hand, rice and a mass of natural products – cereals, vegetables, dairy cheeses; on the other hand, the widespread and generous use of chili peppers, which negates all the usefulness of “pasture” for European mouths not accustomed to fires. Nevertheless, in tourist places they got the hang of preparing, from the point of view of the Bhutanese, “fresh” food for the needs of the guests of the country – most importantly, do not forget to clarify that you do not need pepper at all.
If you are still caught in the burning paws of Bhutanese chili peppers, the first rule is to fill the fire in your mouth with cold milk or yogurt.
Lunch in Bhutan most often consists of a vegetable, less often meat, stew cooked with chili peppers, accompanied by rice (here it is an indispensable side dish) and some kind of soft cheese or cottage cheese. Bhutanese rice – narrow long and almost red – is the only species that can survive in the highlands. They also eat buckwheat and corn, and in the Himalayas they also eat wheat and potatoes.
Popular dishes: “ema-datsi” – chili peppers stewed in cheese sauce with spices; “kewa-dats” – the same chili and cheese, but accompanied by potatoes, “shamu-dats” – as you might guess, chili plus cheese and plus mushrooms. From the “heavy” one, you should try “phagsha-pa” – pork stewed with radish, “kewa-phagsha” – pork with potatoes and spices, “tshoi” – beef stewed with rice and mushrooms. The main dishes are always served with thin unleavened cakes and fresh vegetables.
It is customary to drink a meal with black or green tea, wheat beer “chang” or “changi”. Bhutanese tea is a very dense drink: salt, pepper and oil are added there. Well, from a strong one, you should try rice or corn vodka “ara”.
Visa to Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan is quite loyal to Russian tourists in visa matters – if only they arrive in the country through a Bhutanese tour operator (and, it should be noted, there is no other way here). Even in Russia, a tourist receives a visa confirmation in his hands (the agency handles its processing), and upon arrival in Bhutan, it must be presented at the border – and the visa is in your passport. The visa fee is very democratic – only 20 USD. An important condition: confirmation of the availability of sufficient funds – and it is rather big: 250 USD per person per day. A visa is given for 15 days, if necessary, it can be extended on the spot.
Applying for a visa to Bhutan
Russian citizens need a visa to visit Bhutan. Applying for a visa consists of two stages: obtaining a visa permit and actually obtaining a visa upon arrival at Paro airport.
A travel agency is engaged in obtaining a visa permit, where a tourist purchases a tour. It sends scanned copies of the documents to the tour operator in Bhutan, who, along with proof of payment for the tour, sends them to the Bhutan Tourism Corporation. A visa permit is issued as soon as the funds paid by the tourist for the tour are credited to the Bhutan Tourism Office – usually within 72 hours. The visa permit is sent to the Russian travel agency, which in turn issues it to the tourist.
The second stage: upon arrival at Paro airport, the tourist presents a visa permit, and the visa stamp is affixed to the passport. When crossing the border, they may also be asked to provide confirmation of the availability of sufficient funds for the period of the trip at the rate of 250 USD per person in the high season (March-May and September-November) and 200 USD in the low season.
In addition, you should definitely take out a medical insurance policy for the entire duration of the trip. Let it be better not to be useful than to be left without qualified assistance in case of an accident.
Documents for a visa to Bhutan
Required documents for obtaining a tourist visa:
- international passport
The validity of which is at least 6 months at the time of submission of documents. The presence of the owner’s signature in the passport is mandatory;
2 photos 3×4 cm
- Bank account statement
With enough funds on it;
Children under 18 years of age fit into the parents’ visa.
Visa permission is issued within 3-10 working days.
Consular fee – 40 $
The consular fee for obtaining a visa permit is 40 USD, it is paid to the travel agency along with the documents for a visa. Upon arrival at Paro airport, a visa fee of 20 USD is charged.