Bhutan Overview

Bhutan Overview

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Kingdom of Bhutan.

Capital

Thimphu (Thimbu).

Geography

As a country located in Asia according to top-mba-universities, Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, borders China in the north and India in the south, east and west. The plains in the south are at an altitude of 500 m and rise in the north to the 7500 m high Himalayan plateau. The temperatures in the foothills of the mountains are tropical. Here you can find deer, lions, leopards, the rare golden monkeys, lush vegetation and numerous species of orchids. The extensive deciduous forests are habitats for wild boars and bears. Few people live in the high region of the Himalayas.

Government

Constitutional monarchy since 1969. Sovereign state, since 1971. Constitution of 2005. Bicameral parliament: Tshogdu (state parliament) – 105 of the 150 members are directly elected every 3 years (1 vote per family), the remaining seats are held by 33 government officials (z. appointed by the king) and occupied 12 representatives of Buddhist monasteries. Lodoi Tsokde (Royal Council) – 9 members. There are no parties. Independence from India since 1949.

Head of state

Druk-Gyalpo (“Dragon King”) Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, since December 2006.

Head of government

Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley, since March 2008.

Electricity

220 V, 50 Hz.

Time zone

Bhutan Time: CET +7

TRAVEL WARNING

Overview Bhutan

Country-specific safety instructions

There is currently no country-specific safety notice for Bhutan.

Bhutan Overview

MONEY

Currency

1 ngultrum = 100 chertum. Currency abbreviation: NU, BTN (ISO code). The ngultrum is linked to the Indian rupee (the rupee is also valid currency). Banknotes are in circulation with the values 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 1 NU. Coins in denominations of 1 NU as well as 50, 25, 20, 10 and 5 Chhertum.

Credit cards

Accepted to a very limited extent (partly by large hotels, but time-consuming and expensive). Details from the issuer of the credit card in question.
ATMs

EC / Maestro card / Sparcard
Few ATMs accept foreign cards; these must have the Maestro or Cirrus symbol. It can happen that ATMs do not work or are empty, so you should ensure that there is an adequate supply of cash.

Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank customer card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the options for using their card from their bank prior to departure.

Bank opening times

Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-1 p.m. In Thimphu, some of the banks for currency exchange are also open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Foreign exchange regulations

Unlimited import of local and foreign currencies, mandatory declaration. Unlimited export of foreign currencies, export of local currency only up to 5,000 NU.

Currency Exchange

Well-known foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport, at the Bhutan National Bank and the Bank of Bhutan, but travelers checks offer a cheaper exchange rate. Larger hotels in Thimpu, Paro and Puntsholing also exchange foreign currencies.

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official language is Dzongkha. Due to the remoteness of many villages, the most diverse dialects have been preserved. Sharchop Kha, the northern dialect, is the most common. Nepali is also spoken. English has been taught in schools since 1964 and is therefore widely used.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Annotation

All Buddhist holidays and the Hindu festival Dussera are also celebrated. Buddhist and Hindu holidays are based on the lunar calendar and local astrological observations.

Annotation

All Buddhist holidays and the Hindu festival Dussera are also celebrated. Buddhist and Hindu holidays are based on the lunar calendar and local astrological observations.

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

The following items can be imported into Bhutan duty-free:

Items for personal use;
professional equipment;
electronic devices for personal use;
200 cigarettes (upon payment of the import duty of 200%);
1 liter of spirits.

A customs declaration must be filled out upon entry, which must be kept until departure. All private items brought in, including plants and soil, must be noted on this form.

Prohibited imports

Animal products, narcotics, weapons and ammunition.

Prohibited exports

Antiques, animal products, narcotics, weapons and ammunition.

Export regulations

Old, used items may only be exported with a certificate that certifies that they are not antiques.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

Very few foreign business people come to Bhutan – prior appointments are required in any case. Tropical suits are appropriate. October and November are the most affordable for business travel.

Business hours:
Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Economy

Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
PO Box 147, Doebum Lam, Thimphu
Tel: (02) 32 27 42.
Internet: www.bcci.org.bt

Business contacts

Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
PO Box 147, Doebum Lam, Thimphu
Tel: (02) 32 27 42.
Internet: www.bcci.org.bt

COMMUNICATION

Phone

International direct dialing limited to the larger cities. All other calls must be registered with the remote office. The national telephone company is called Bhutan Telecom (Internet: www.telecom.net.bt/).

Internet

The only Internet provider is currently DrukNet (Internet: www.druknet.bt). Bhutan Telecom plans to become an internet provider as well. There are four internet caf├ęs in Thimpu.

Post Office

Airmail shipments to Bhutan take up to two weeks on the way. Shipments to Europe take 7-10 days. However, the stamps have a high collector’s value and are not infrequently removed from the envelope, which can significantly delay delivery.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

SHOP

Overview

On Sundays you can visit markets selling local clothing, jewelry and groceries. The Handicraft Emporium in the capital, Thimphu, is on the city’s main street. It is open every day except Sundays and sells hand-woven and other handicrafts. A gift shop recently opened at Hotel Motithang in Thimphu. The gold and silversmiths in the Thimphu Valley make handcrafted items to order. Shop opening times: Almost all shops are open every day except Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

CULTURE

Religion

Mahayana Buddhism (75%), mostly Drukpe school of the Kagyupa sect, is the state religion. Nepalese immigrants, who make up a large part of the population (in the south of Bhutan), are mostly followers of Hinduism (25%), a Muslim minority.

Social rules of conduct

The many Buddhist shrines and prayer wheels are a sign of the all-encompassing influence of religion on everyday life. The majority of the population lives in rural communities. Kadrintsche means “thank you” in Dzongkha. Smoking: Smoking in public is prohibited in Bhutan. Since then, tobacco products can no longer be bought anywhere in the country. Photographing: Photographing is permitted during Buddhist festivals. If in doubt, ask for permission beforehand. Tips are not common. 5-10% can be given at your own discretion.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Tropical in the south, to the north and increasingly colder with increasing altitude. Monsoons between early June and September. During the day it is mostly sunny and clear; Especially in winter it can get very cold at night. October, November and April to mid-June are the best vacation months with little rainfall and pleasant temperatures. In the southern foothills of the Himalayas, it is not particularly cold in winter either.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +975 Area (sqkm) 38364 Population 741919 Population density (per sqkm) 19 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 112

About the author