Getting to Bhutan – There are only 2 airlines that travel to and within Bhutan. Drukair – Royal Bhutan Airlines, and Bhutan Airlines. We couldn’t buy tickets on-line, we used a Drukair agent out of Singapore, that we found on-line. There is only one international airport that is located in Paro.
Guiding Companies – In order to visit Bhutan, you need to use a government approved guiding agency. Good ones will help you complete the required paperwork for Visas and Route permits. There is a set fee, per person, per day for all tourists. We paid $280/person/day, it is a little cheaper if you are a group of 3 or more. Fees include hotels, meals, entry fees and trekking fees. There are many companies listed on the Bhutan Government website, it can be overwhelming. We used ‘Keys to Bhutan’. Although they were slow to respond to emails, in the end they were reliable, trustworthy and provided a great service. Our guide, Passang, was excellent with a great knowledge and passion for the sites and trekking. Payment is difficult on-line, our bank transfers were refused many times, but if you persist it can be done. We easily arranged our trip without going through a travel agent.
What to wear in Bhutan – Located in the Himalayas, most of Bhutan is situated above 2000 m. Because of this, temperatures are lower than surrounding countries. Tourist seasons of spring and fall see temperatures in the mid teens to mid 20° C during the day and much cooler at night. Clothing needs to be warm enough for these temperatures. Include long sleeve tops and sweaters, long pants and light jacket. Most of Bhutan is rugged so a good light hiking shoe or runner is needed. When visiting temples, including Fortresses, men and women need to wear long sleeves and long pants (skirts).
What to wear when trekking in Bhutan – We did the Jumolhari Yaksa trek in March and had rain, snow, frost and high winds. Overnight, camps are as high as 4500 m so it can be near or below freezing. Bring layers for hiking that include; short and long sleeve merino or quick dry material tops; sweater; hiking pants; long johns or warm flannels to sleep; light down jacket; rain jacket; mittens/gloves and a toque/ hat.
WIFI – WIFI is available at almost all tourist hotels in Bhutan. The town of Phobjikha does not have WIFI and there may be other small towns that don’t either. The quality of WIFI will vary from town to town but is usually poor. We did not have WIFI at any restaurants or other sites.
SIM card – You can buy tourist SIM cards in Bhutan, but since we were with a guide the entire time and had WIFI in our hotels, we didn’t find a need for it.
For the full story of our trip to Bhutan see our posts at Tiger’s Nest and Paro, Jumolhari Yaksa Trek Part 1 and Part 2, Royal Fortresses and Temples and Top Ten Pictures.