Bhutan is an all-season destination with a climate that varies widely from region to region. The dry autumn and winter months (from September to mid-March) offer warm days with temperatures ranging from 12°-20°C (54-68°F). Cobalt blue skies can be enjoyed throughout the days in winter. Evenings and early mornings are cool with overnight temperatures often falling to freezing. The spring season (mid-March to June) offers warmer temperatures of 16°- 30°C (61°-86°F). During the summer (June to September), days are clear and warm with temperatures of 22°-26°C (72°-79°F). Afternoon showers dispel some of the heat and temperatures fall to around 15°C (59°F) at night.
The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha, however English is widely spoken due to its use as the primary language of school instruction.
The national currency in Bhutan is the ngultrum (Nu) and cash is the preferred medium of exchange. Prices are usually quoted in ngultrum although US dollars are widely accepted and changed. Guests are recommended to carry cash in either currency or traveller’s cheques, as there is limited ATM access. Existing ATMs are credit card only. However, most of the antique/textile shops around Thimphu and Paro accept VISA credit cards and a few accept American Express. Ngultrum can be reconverted if changed through an authorised money exchanger.
At Amankora, VISA, Mastercard and American Express are accepted and currency exchange to Bhutanese ngultrum is available using the following currencies – US Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euro. Amankora does not offer cash advances on credit cards, and guests are advised to carry sufficient cash or traveller’s cheques for purchases outside of the Amankora lodges.
Tourist visas are required and must be obtained prior to arriving in the country. The processing of visa applications will be arranged by Amankora and requires approximately 14 days for handling. A visa fee of US$40 will be charged at time of booking. The departure tax is included in the airfare. Indian nationals do not require a visa to visit Bhutan.
The best medical facilities are at the general hospital in Thimphu. Travellers are advised to avoid untreated/un-boiled water. Water at Amankora is fully treated and bottled water is also available. Altitude sickness can affect some travellers although accommodation is at a similar altitude to most ski resorts. General medicines are readily available but guests are advised to bring any prescription medicines. Guests should consult their doctors and arrange travel insurance prior to departure.
Electricity is 230 volts. Bhutan is plus six hours GMT, 30 minutes ahead of India, one hour behind Thailand and two hours behind Singapore. In spring and summer, light clothing is appropriate with a sweater or jacket in the evenings. From autumn through winter, down jackets, fleeces, hats and gloves are necessary. Sports shoes are suitable for light touring, while hiking boots are recommended for treks. Legs, shoulders and upper arms need to be covered when visiting dzongs, monasteries and lhakhangs. Sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses are recommended for higher elevations.