Punakha FAQs

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Area geography

Punakha comprises one of the 20 districts (dzongkhag) of Bhutan. The Po Chhu and Mo Chhu pass through it, and the spectacular Punakha Dzong lies at the convergence of these two rivers. Owing to the low altitude of Punakha valley, it is the most fertile valley in Bhutan, allowing rice crops, oranges, bananas and guavas to grow in abundance. It is bordered by Thimpu, Gasa and Wangdue Phodrang dzongkhag. More than half of Punakha lies within Jigme Dorji National Park.

Notes currencies cards

Bhutan’s currency, Ngultrum (Nu) is at par with the Indian Rupee. ATM facilities are limited and many do not accept international cards. Visa and American Express credit cards are widely accepted. But, expect a surcharge of around 5%. Indian Rupees of denominations up to Rs. 100 can be freely used anywhere in Bhutan. Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes are illegal to carry and use.

Cellular service for tourists

B-Mobile

Wifi internet

There are many internet cafes around town and many hotels and restaurants offer an internet-connected public computer or free WiFi.

Drinking laws

The legal drinking age is 18 years and above. Bars remain closed on Tuesdays.

Tipping

Tipping is a personal matter. While it is not customary, you may want to give tips to your guides and drivers. If you have been trekking, it is advised to tip the guide, cook and waiter. Horsemen also expect a tip, but the amount will vary depending on if they are the owners of the horses or yaks and are making money by hiring out their animals.

Custom visa

Carry a valid passport or voter’s ID as official identification. Along with this bring at least 5 passport photographs. Indians do not require a visa to enter Bhutan.

You will receive a baggage declaration form on arrival. The form needs to be filled out and presented to the Customs authorities on departure. Remeber the following rules with respect to Customs regulations:

  1. Duty-free allowances include 2 litres of liquor
  2. You can bring in only 200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%
  3. Export of antiques and wildlife products is strictly prohibited
  4. Be cautious while purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may need a clearance certificate.

Safety

Although Bhutan is a very safe destination, devoid of scams, there are certain things you should keep in mind. Avoid roaming the streets after 9 pm, and if you do venture out at this hour, be sure to move around in a group or with your guide. Theft is minimal in Bhutan, but is slowly growing. Take good care of your personal belongings including, passports, route permits, cameras, wallets and handbags.

General information

Languages spoken

Dzongkha, Hindi, Nepali, Bengali, English

Time zones

IST + 30 minutes

Major religions

Vajrayana stream of Mahayana Buddhism

Domestic international calling codes

+975 2 / +975

Electricity standards

230V/50hz. Two and three pin plugs can be used

Common greetings

Hello: Kuzu zangpo la

Good morning: kuzu zangpo

Good evening: kuzu zangpo

Good night: chiru delek

Goodbye: Log Dhi Jay gey

Thank you: Kadrin chhe

Sorry: gom ma thay

Do you speak English?: Choe Gi In Ked Shey Ga?

I do not understand: may shey

No: Men

Yes: In

I do not know: Meshe

How are you?: Gaday bay Zhu Ga?

What is your name?: Chhoe gi ming ga chi mo?

My name is _____: Nge gi ming _____ in

Where is the washroom?: chabsang ga tey yeth ga

Is this vegetarian? ( point to a dish in a menu card)/ I don’t eat meat : Nga Shaa Za Ni Mey

Where is this? (point to a monument, amenity on a paper/map): Gathey?

How much does this cost?: Ngultrum ga they chi mo?

Too expensive!: Dhi gong bom ing may

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Emergency numbers

Fire: 110

Ambulance: 112

Police: 113

Tourism Council of Bhutan: 02 323251