The country of Bhutan is the last surviving Buddhist kingdom, renowned for its starkly preserved heritage which earned it the title of the Last Shangri La. A small chunk of landlocked region, Bhutan is 60% forested & plans to remain so, under the orders of royalty. Nearly 90% of the population practices agriculture in its fertile plains watered by rivers like Torsa, Manas, Sankosh, Paro Chhu & more. The almost shocking differences in the elevations throughout the country due to its mountainous features invites varied climatic conditions nation-wide. The forests are humid while the plains are cool & the mountains are frosty simultaneously.
The locals treat the Royalty with utmost reverence & primarily prefer to embark on the Middle Path. A Major part of their cuisine include the incorporation of chilly, cheese & meats in their everyday meals. Since most of them are employees of the primary sector, chilly is almost considered as a vegetable & not a condiment. Ema-Datsi one of their famous dishes. One of the most notable festivals they are known to celebrate is the Tshechu Festival, apart from Punakha Drubchen & the Haa Summer Festival. Every Bhutanese is entitled to free education & medical assistance.
A crucial information about Bhutan’s tourism policy is that tourists visiting the country should obtain a visa prior to their entry. Citizens of India, Maldives & Bangladesh are exempted from this rule. The entire expense of your tour must be paid in advance to the Tourism Council of Bhutan before the tourist visa is issued. Once the payment is cleared, your visa gets its clearance within the next three days. The deposited money remains with the Council & the local tourist operator gets paid only after the completion of your assigned tour. All of these arrangements are seen by Ghumne Chal. We even arrange permit extensions if the situation requires.
Indians, however, do need a permit to enter Bhutan. The permit is issued in Phuentsholing/Kolkata and it requires an identification proof like the Indian passport or Voter ID. An information on Bhutan currency is that Ngultrum(the currency of Bhutan) has the same monetary value as that of an Indian Rupee. Indians can extract Bhutanese currency directly from their debit cards at INR 20rs per transaction but Indian notes are accepted throughout Bhutan.
Once you enter Bhutan, you are required to issue route permits to access the roads, trekking routes/biking trails. Most of the locations in the capital city have check posts that require you to produce permits to proceed with your tour. Hence, issuing a permit in advance is highly advisable, which will be arranged by the Ghumne Chal Executive assigned to you.