Go anytime – you won’t be disappointed. However If you are prepared to travel outside of the peak season periods (APR-MAY and mid SEP-NOV) there are fewer tourist visitors & you will enjoy a more rewarding experience. We especially recommend June – July (Summer) and December-March (Winter/Spring). If you are trekking you will need to generally travel in the peak season months for suitable conditions.
Lets put this myth to sleep staight away! Because the Bhutanese Government has imposed an ‘all inclusive’ nightly tariff structure a Bhutan tour can ‘appear’ to be expensive.Considering every visitor has access to a private guide, driver, private vehicle and a land package including all meals, accommodation, sightseeing, entry fees, transfers, taxes, Govt Royalties & visa fees it is indeed excellent value for money.
It is not possible to gain an entry visa for Bhutan unless you pre-pay for a pre-arranged land package itinerary with a licensed and approved inbound operator and pay the appropriate nightly tariff. Bhutan prohibits independent backpacker style visitors to maintain its strict cultural and ecological values. However please be aware you can enjoy a degree of flexibility during each day to hike, visit markets & villages and interact with locals as you wish.
With the introduction of ATM’s in Thimphu & Paro in 2011 it is now possible to withdraw local currency via Visa & MasterCard credit & debit cards & Cirrus endorsed bank debit cards. The local currency called Ngultrum (Nu. for short) is pegged to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted throughout Bhutan (except for 500 & 1000 rupee notes which are not accepted). As a more convenient alternativeI to taking in Indian Rupees we strongly encourage visitors to take in USD cash and/or travellers cheques which we recommend as a back-up in case ATM’s are not working. Take low denomination USD to cover any small daily purchases and use higher denomination USD for exchanging into Nu at local banks and also for guide/driver tips at the end of the journey. Credit Cards are becoming more widely accepted too. Most hotels and many handicraft shops will now accept Visa & MasterCard and in some cases Amex. Please do note merchant fee surcharges on credit card purchases can be as high as 7% so it is wise to check this first before you use your card.
Most of the standard tourist class hotels will have a business centre where you can use their PC to access your emails/internet A few of the newer hotels now have wireless broadband and there are internet cafe’s in most valleys. All of the luxury resorts & lodges offer a wireless internet facility however not necessarily in guest rooms.
Bhutan, like many countries in the world, is experiencing some climate change. Broadly speaking Summers (June-mid-September) are warm, humid and wetter and Winters (Dec-early March) cooler and dry. Winter nights are cold however the days are clear, sunny and surprisingly mild in the valleys and only averaging 2 snow falls per annum. The wettest month is August.