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> Some things to remember while in Bhutan
galing21
post Mar 3 2008, 07:02 AM
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Some Things to remember while in Bhutan

a. Money : the money in Bhutan is the Ngultrums and is at par with the Indian rupees (1 Rs= 1 Nu).US $ is widely accepted.The only major credit card that is accepted in Bhutan is Visa card and that too carries a service charge of 5.3 % extra as it is in tie-up with the Grindlays Bank in Nepal, hence the service charge.
b. Electricity : the voltage used in the country is 220 volts.The plug types are all European style.However adaptors are available.
c. Television: most hotels have satellite television.However the number of channels/choices offered may vary.
d. Laundry : most hotels do have laundry but few hotels offer same day service.Dry cleaning facilities are also available though not always in the hotels.
e. Toilets : most of the hotels would have the “WC” or western commode.However in some remote areas it may still be the use of the Indian style commodes.While on treks it would be in the open using dug out pits.
f. Health : there are a couple of bigger hospitals in Bhutan but in terms of specialized hospitals it is lacking.
g. Disabled Travellers : most hotels do not have adjustment or modifications made for the disabled travelers.However in very recent years it is been looked into and some hotels (few) do have the modifications required done.
h. Gym : only some hotels provide gym facilities.Sauna and steam facilities are even further limited to a very few hotels.But Bhutan does offer very good areas for early morning walks or jogs.
i. Food : you would find Indian,Chinese,Bhutanese and Continental style cuisines offered nearly everywhere.It should be noted that the Bhutanese dishes are very hot.Ever so the famous “ Ema Datshi” which is a lot of chillies cooked with cheese”.To a Bhutanese it would not be so hot but to a foreigner it would be quite a tearful.However some hotels do take care and remove the seeds of the chilly thereby making it less hot and more palatable to the guest.Salad should be eaten with caution as most hotels would not be using treated water to wash the vegetables.
j. Water : Very few hotels have water filtering systems.Therefore it is always advisable to drink bottled mineral water from Bhutan itself.
k. Accommodation: most of the tourist visiting Bhutan will be put up in Class “A” hotels.However it has been noticed that some of the class A hotels are also not up to the mark.Thereby the Hotel Classification system is being reviewed and it would make sure that certain hotels improve their standard or be put in lower category hotels.
l. Drinks : mostly all foreign drinks are available in Bhutan.However the choices would be limited to the major cities like THimphu/Paro and Phuentsholing. As you travel into the interior of Bhutan the foreign drinks would be less available.But Bhutan has its own supply of local drinks that range from Whiskies,rum,Brandy,gin and wine.
m. Smoking : selling cigarettes etc or smoking in public places is not allowed.A traveler for his own consumption can bring 200 sticks of cigarettes but will be subject to 100% tax.
n. Entertainment : for entertainment purpose there are bars & pubs with/without karoke.There are a couple of Discotheques and clubs.For the more adventurous there are a lot of local bars which cater to the local masses.

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starlagurl
post Mar 3 2008, 10:04 AM
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Thanks Galing, that will be a great help to our members. Welcome to the forums!


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Paul
post Mar 3 2008, 11:52 PM
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Hi - that is great info.

I would love to go.

Is it possible to stay in home stays instead of hotels?
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starlagurl
post Mar 4 2008, 10:10 AM
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Hey Paul, there are a total of eight couchsurfers in Bhutan. Did you check there yet?

Here's the couchsurf search site: http://www.couchsurfing.com/mapsurf.html


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Paul
post Mar 5 2008, 01:18 AM
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Hi - although I think the idea of couch surfing is largely a good one; I don't have any spare room in my new house and I do have young kids - so I think it is far too dangerous to allow travellers to come to the house. Unfortunately I see many nice travellers but also many that aren't nice. Same as people I suppose. Some people, for some unknown reason, decide not to be considerate, caring and open to other people. The ability to have a very pleasant world is well within our reach but we decide not to have that. ??? I don't understand, but I would prefer to keep more control of who comes to my house, due to that strange human behaviour.

So if I can't offer my place to couch surfers then I think I can't use the service of others.

But having said all that - the reason I asked is because throughout Asia and particularly in the Himalayas, my understanding is that traditionally travellers and guests would always stay in houses. The villagers would always look after people as part of their culture and courtesy. Seems a shame that this is largely gone and instead replaced by hotels. In fact I was a bit disappointed to hear that the hotels sound so "comfortable" and with Western toilets!??!?

Perhaps the people now feel the same way as I do regarding couch surfers??
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starlagurl
post Mar 5 2008, 10:21 AM
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Of course you can surf without offering your couch! The premise of couchsurfing is that you give what you can, and you take what you want.

I think they are assuming that if you have a good experience surfing now, then later, down the road...(for you maybe many many years down the road) perhaps you will open your couch to surfers when you are ready.


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Paul
post Mar 6 2008, 12:52 AM
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Hmmm, I knew that I was allowed to couch surf without offering my house, but I felt that that would be wrong. Taking advantage of the whole thing without giving back.

But the way you describe it - hmmm, interesting... maybe.
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galing21
post Mar 6 2008, 06:03 AM
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Hi Paul Talking about home stay in Bhutan let me try and put some things in place. The Department of Tourism looks to a policey of quality service for the tourists and this includes hotels. Only A grade hotels can be used. Hence home stay is by rule not allowed except during festivals when all hotels are packed.
Check out on www.bhutanorchidadventures.bt for a visit plan to Bhutan.

QUOTE(Paul @ Mar 6 2008, 12:52 AM) *

Hmmm, I knew that I was allowed to couch surf without offering my house, but I felt that that would be wrong. Taking advantage of the whole thing without giving back.

But the way you describe it - hmmm, interesting... maybe.
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Paul
post Mar 6 2008, 07:57 AM
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I would really love to go to Bhutan.

Nice the government is trying to give tourists a good experience.

Does it separate the tourists from the people a bit or??? I imagine many Bhutanese are very friendly.

How did the elections go? Has that happened yet?

Do you know that your King is very very popular here in Thailand? People like him very much here.
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galing21
post Mar 8 2008, 11:40 PM
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Yeah guided tourism does kind of seperate from people but I guess its good for the country in the long run. However there is enough opportunity for the visitors to intermingle in the streets and markets, fulfil academic or religious inquisitiveness.
The National Council (upper house) went very well and the genaral elections (lower house)is on the 24th of March, campaigning is in full swing.
Yeah I heard that our present king whose coronation will be this year(date not announced but soon after the new government is formed) is popular in Thailand and we are more than happy and grateful about it. Lots of activities taking place between us in a number of fields too. Chow
QUOTE(Paul @ Mar 6 2008, 07:57 AM) *

I would really love to go to Bhutan.

Nice the government is trying to give tourists a good experience.

Does it separate the tourists from the people a bit or??? I imagine many Bhutanese are very friendly.

How did the elections go? Has that happened yet?

Do you know that your King is very very popular here in Thailand? People like him very much here.
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big_red_truck
post Mar 12 2009, 07:39 AM
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Thanks for those tips...

Since you have to come to Bhutan through a licensed tour operator, do you have any suggestions for the better tour operators to use?


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galing21
post Mar 17 2009, 10:37 AM
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QUOTE(big_red_truck @ Mar 12 2009, 07:39 AM) *

Thanks for those tips...

Since you have to come to Bhutan through a licensed tour operator, do you have any suggestions for the better tour operators to use?

the first tour operator that comes to my mind is of course 'Bhutan Orchid adventures" which is a customer service agency. You may look up www.bhutanorchidadventures.bt and convince yourself.
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jacquesl
post Apr 13 2010, 09:01 PM
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Check out this link. It will show you some results for members who have been there and you can read their experiences!

http://www.travelpod.com/s/tiger's+nest?st=user

Cheers!


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