The Thunder Dragon Kingdom impresses with its natural beauty and an amazing biodiversity. While the country’s north is characterized by the awe-inspiring Himalayan mountain range, you can find huge pristine forests in the south that are home to numerous, mostly endemic animal and plant species – with a little bit of luck Bhutan’s nature allows you to observe tigers, snow leopards, clouded leopards, several deer species, monitors, different bird species and a variety of other fascinating animals.
Similar to Switzerland, Bhutan covers an area of more than 38.000 km². It is located at the border of Central and South Asia. In the south it shares a border with India, in the north with Tibet and China. One fifth of Bhutan’s 780.000 inhabitants live in the country’s capital Thimphu. Bhutan is particularly characterized by the Himalayan mountain range; about 80% of the country lie at an altitude of more than 2000 metres. Most people live in the central highlands, only accessible through rough roads or narrow trekking paths. The country’s highest mountain and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world is the Gangkhar Puensum – with an elevation of 7570 metres.
Thanks to its large forest area and its different climate zones Bhutan fascinates with a diverse animal and plant life. While tropical rainforest is dominant in the country’s south, you can find abundant forests, mainly composed of nut trees, oaks, maple trees, magnolias, spruces and East Himalayan firs. Dwarf-shrubs and herbs often grow in higher elevations respectively in the mountains, while Bhutan’s most Northern part is covered in ice and snow.
Bhutan’s mostly untouched forests are home to a multitude of rare and protected animal species. In the country’s tropical south the Asian Elephant, gaurs (the largest extant bovine) and Gee’s golden langurs are present. Various deer species, wolves, small pandas, Asian black bears, tigers and capped langurs live in Bhutan’s more central parts. Particularly snow leopards, blue sheep, takins and ailuridae can be found in the North. Moreover, approximately 770 bird species live in Bhutan.
Due to its special location Bhutan is divided into three different climate zones. Whereas the climate is subtropical in the south, it is temperate in the country’s central parts and cold and polar-type in the north. Temperatures in Bhutan’s south range from 15°C to 30°C year-round. In the central parts of the country summers are warm and winters cool and dry, whereas it is very cold and snowy in the north anytime of the year. Western Bhutan has heavier monsoon rains from the end of June until the end of September which make up between 60% and 90% of this region’s rainfall. The rest of the country is much drier.
The currency in Bhutan is called Ngultrum, but Indian rupees are also accepted which have the same value as the Ngultrum. Before you travel to smaller villages and rural areas you should withdraw cash in a bigger city. For the current exchange rate see www.währungsrechner.com.
The metric system is valid in Bhutan.
The standard voltage in Bhutan is 230 V with a frequency of 50 Hz. You need an adapter.
Due to the mountainous landscape Bhutan does not have many roads and most of these are built only for light traffic. You cannot find any highways in Bhutan, either, which is why it can take a couple of days to get from one village or town to the next. For a couple of years now the construction of steel cable bridges is proceeding to improve the infrastructure of the country. The only international airport is in Paro, but more transportation systems are planned for the future.
Take your sunglasses and hats or caps off when you enter a temple or a religious site.
Put your phone on silent mode when you are in a temple or at a religious site.
Let monks or elderly people start with their meal first when you are in public.
Taste some of the local specialties.
Wear a traditional scarf (kabeny) when you enter a monastery or an office.
Do not take pictures or wear shorts when you are at a religious site.
Do not touch ritual objects.
Do not smoke in public places.