Some DO’S & DONT’S in Bhutan

With a view to enabling you to enjoy your stay in this remarkable country of age old rich culture and heritage, it is important to take into consideration of some travel tips. Here is a list of the tips which may be helpful to you.

Particularly, in Bhutan, it is polite to follow some of the do’s and don’t’s as this country has not yet been so exposed to modernization. So, some of the major do’s and don’ts are given below.

1. The form of greeting in Bhutan ‘Tashi Delek’ or ‘Namaste’ is performed by joining the palms together with a little vowing of your head.
2. While traveling, dress appropriately. Shorts should never be worn both by women and men, even during a trek. Bhtanese ladies never show their legs, only men. You are supposed to do the same. For the foreign visitors, even men should wear long pants/trousers. Women should wear loose-fitting long pants or a calf-length skirt. A normal sari is fine for those who are used to sari. Women’s shirts should be loose-fitting and not revealing, and a bra should be worn. This may seem trivial or an inconvenience, but remember that you are a visitor in their country.

3. Remember, Bhutan uniquely follows a matriarchal family system in Asia. Women are highly honoured in the Bhutanese society. 

3. Religious beggars are an accepted part of society in Bhutan and most of Asia. However, do not encourage begging among the children, youths and fit people. Giving sweets also may not be good for the children who hardly brush their teeth especially in the remote areas. 

4. Shouting slogans or discussing any negative feeling about the Royal family and government might help you feel better temporarily. But, remember it will cause a grave dangers to your travel agent, guide, hotel or the people you are visiting and wish to help. 

5. Any negative action of yours against the Bhutan Govt. especially on the matters of Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin sheltering in Nepal will not only bring trouble for you, but also cause trouble for your travel mates or any Bhutanese people like travel agent, guide, drivers, etc. 

6. Always seek permission before taking pictures of the interior of all dzongs, monasteries and temples. Some dzongs, monasteries and temples may be closed without any prior notice. So, kindly co-operate our guides accordingly. 

07. Walking around monasteries, temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.

08. Public displays of affection between man and woman are frowned upon. Do not do something that totally alien to the Bhutanese culture like kissing in the public.

09. Remember, many times, when a person shakes his/her head from left to right, s/he may mean ‘yes’, as in Bhutan, Nepal and India.

10. Never touch anything with your feet. This is considered an offence among the Bhutanese. 

14. Exchanging money with the authorized banks or money changers is always advised with a receipt. 

15. Make sure you do not buy banned wildlife products and artifacts more than 100 years old. In such cases, you are required to have special certification from the concerned Govt. authorities.

16. Do not show off your money and valuables. Always maintain small money in a separate pocket/wallet for the frequent petty expenses.

17. Tipping is a part of tourism industry. Anyone offering you a service will expect a tip, provided the service is up to your expectation. They include your guide, driver, hotel porters, etc. In a restaurant in the cities, 10% tip is expected.

18. You know that traveling light is always enjoyable everywhere. However, make sure you have enough warm clothes with you even when you are traveling in Bhutan in summer season. 

19. Develop a genuine interest to meet and talk to the Bhutanese people and respect their customs. Your guide can be your interpreter. You will have a great time with them.