The standard hotels and guest houses in Bhutan are clean and comfortable offering all the basic amenities as well as a mix of continental and local food. The TCB has mandated that all international tourists must be accommodated in establishments that have received a 3 star rating per the Bhutanese hotel rating system. Such hotels have electricity, telephone connection, bathrooms with running hot and cold water and clean and comfortable lodging.
While the larger hotels in Thimphu, Paro and Punakha offer high quality accommodations, generally hotels and guest houses tend to become more basic as one goes further into the interior parts of the country. However, the consolation is that many of the smaller hotels and guest houses are family owned and run and the hosts are welcoming and can be interesting sources of local cultural insights and information. Most of the hotels in Bhutan are built in traditional Bhutanese architectural style coupled with modern comforts.
The predominant means of travel within Bhutan is by road. The primary road is the single lane East-West highway which connects the western, eastern and southern parts of the country. Given the mountainous terrain, the roads are unavoidably winding with numerous hairpin bends and crossing over many mountain passes.The average speed on the roads is between 40-50 km. per hour. In recent years the roads between Thimphu, Paro and Phuntsholing to the south have been upgraded to two lanes. Currently a project is underway to similarly upgrade the road between Thimphu and Wangue Phodrang. Consequently, so as not to impede the on-going road widening works, traffic on this road is restricted to certain fixed timings.
Depending on the group size and the expected road conditions, we use Japanese and Korean made coaster buses, 4WD vehicles, minivans and cars for our tours.
Food and Drink
Bhutanese food usually consists of rice with meat and vegetables. Unlike the other south Asian neighbors, Bhutanese in general do not use spices in their cooking - except for chilly which is considered a vegetable and not a spice. Indeed, the hallmark of Bhutanese cuisine is the liberal use of chillies. However, most hotels and guest houses that cater to tourists offer food that is specially prepared to suit foreign palates.
Almost all hotels provide buffet-style set meals for tourists. These are usually consist of continental, Indian, Chinese and Bhutanese dishes in which the amount of chillies has been substantially watered down.
Due to Bhutan's wide range of altitudes, climatic conditions and average temperatures can vary greatly from place to place. Therefore it is important to bring suitable clothing for your trip to Bhutan. In summer, heavy cottons and lightweight woolens are recommended. It should also be kept in mind that given the high altitude, it is necessary to keep your arms and legs covered to avoid the risk of sun burn. A light jacket or sweater would be handy. During the spring, autumn and winter months it becomes very cold, especially in the mornings, evenings and at night. Hence, a down jacket and woolen sweaters are recommended. Clothing should be layered so that you can adapt to changing conditions. A pair of thermal underwear would also be helpful as some hotels and guest houses may not have adequate heating facilities. Since most tours in Bhutan will involve a bit of walking, a pair of comfortable walking shoes is essential.
Since Bhutanese are generally quite conservative, you should refrain from wearing revealing or tight fitting clothing. Also it is necessary to dress modestly especially when visiting temples and other religious places such as the Dzongs. Slacks for men and trousers or longer length skirts for women are appropriate. Shoulders must also be covered when inside religious buildings.