Bhutan Travel Info
People and Culture
Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan. Even thought Dzongkha is the official language English is also widely spoken in many schools and is taught since kindergarten. For a small country Bhutan has many dialects and sometimes it is difficult for the people from the west to understand the people from the East.
The Bhutanese food is famous for being spicy as people use lots of chilies in their food. People eat with their hands and every member of the family sits cross legged on the wooden floor with food first being served to the head of the household.
Women do the kitchen work and serve the food, usually the mother. Praying before eating is a common practice and a small morsel is placed on the floor as an offering to the local spirits and deities. Since the country is slowly getting modernized it is getting common to use different kinds of western utensils and sitting in the regular dining table is getting common.
Traditional dresses are one of the distinct features of the Bhutanese culture. Gho is the male dress, a knee-length robe similar to the kimono tied in the waist by Kera, a traditional belt. Carrying a small pouch is a common practice. The pouch was used for carrying a traditional dagger and food items in the past but nowadays Bhutanese people have transformed it to carrying wallets, cell phones and Doma (beetle nut).
A long, ankle-length Skirt is worn by the women and it is known as Kira. The outer jacket is known as by Tego which has a inner line Wonju. The Bramis and Brokpas in the East of Bhutan, who are tribal, semi-nomadic people, wear different dresses mostly woven from Sheep or Yak fur. Colors of the dress signify the administrative rank of the person for e.g. The King wears Yellow dresses.
Festivals make Bhutan an interesting destination in the lap of Himalayas. Festivals are an important part of the religious communities in Bhutan. Every locality or town has a unique way of celebrating Tshechu, meaning a religious festival.
As the Tshechu begins, the villagers and the general populace dress in their finest clothes and congregate at their local temples and monasteries were these festivals take place. Tshechu are usually occasions to mark important events in the life of the second Buddha, the Indian/Pakistani Tantric master known as Guru Rimpoche or the Precious Gem. Various mask dances are performed together with songs and dances for three days.
Spring (March to May) has warm Day and cool nights. With June begins summer and the day temperature shoots up to 27 - 290C. Come July, the rain starts continuing till mid-September. The autumn months of September to November are ideal for trekking with clear skies and mild weather. In December temperature falls, although the Day will still be warm. The nights, however, are cold with temperature often falling below zero.
In 2003, Bhutan introduced it's first Cellular Service by Bhutan Telecom known as B-Mobile, and now it serves all part of the country. By now, it provides the user to use GPRS, EDGE, 3G allowing the subscriber to make Vedio Calls, MMS, and many other multimedia services. In May 2008, The Tashi Groups of Company launched the second Cellular Service known as TashiCell.
Electricity runs at 220 / 240 volts, 50 cycles AC current in Bhutan. Electricity is fairly reliable, though in the exteriors you might experience a few blackouts.
Food and Drinks
These spices, fruits and vegetables are prepared with beef, chicken, pork, and dried yak or with each other to make dishes that resemble elements of both Chinese and Indian cuisine. Bhutanese dishes are traditionally served with ample portions of indigenous red rice. The food prepared for tourists is tempered to western taste. The tourism authority imported the knowledge of selected European hotel experts to improve the quality of food and beverage
You will be offending people if you walk around in skimpy or tight fitting clothes. Although there are normally opportunities to wear skirts or loose trousers, men should not wear singlets. During visit of monasteries, dzongs and other religious sites, you should not wear shorts and hats.