General Travel Information ::
Between India & the Tibetan autonomous Region of the peoples Republic of China.
147,181 Sq. Kms.
Approximately 21 million
Over 40 Ethnic Groups & 70 Spoken Languages.
From the world's deepest gorge "Kali-Gandaki" to the highest point on earth Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) 8,848 meters above the sea level.
Nepal possesses some of the most outstanding bio-diversity in the world, ranging from sub-tropical Rain forests to Alpine deserts.
Climate ranges from sub-tropical in the low lands to Arctic in higher altitudes.
Best time to visit :
Summer (March - may), Autumn (Sept-Nov)
National Bird :
Impean Pheasant (Danfe)
National Flower :
Rhododendron Arboreum (Lali Gurans)
Nepal Standard Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 15 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time (IST).
World Heritage Sites :
Ten (of which seven World Heritage Sites are situated within 20 Kms of radius, in the Kathmandu valley)
Flora and fauna :
840 different species of wetland, migratory and residential birds. 8% of the world's population of birds. 11 of the 15 butterfly families in the world. 2% of the flowering plants. 4% of mammals on earth.
Home to Endangered Species Like Royal Bengal Tiger, one horned rhino, snow-leopard, Red panda, Brown bear, Assamese macaque, Gangetic dolphin, wolf, wild elephant, giant horn-bill, swamp deer, wild yak, Tibetan antelope, Black buck, four horned antelope, Musk deer, Pigmy hog, Haspid hare, Pangolin, Gharial, Indian bustard, Saras crane, Impean pheasant, Python, etc.
In Tibet, the currency in circulation is RMB (Renminbi). The basic unit of this currency is called ‘Yuan’, which is substituted by Chinese word ‘kuai’. Foreign currency can not be used directly and can be exchanged only in big cities, such as Lhasa and Shigatse . Foreign currency can be exchanged in these cities either at the Bank of China or at some of the big hotels. Passports must be shown to exchange currency.
Clothes & Accessories :
In the summer months, unless you are not planning to go on a high altitude trekking, a couple of inner T-shirts and a good sweater will work enough. Thermal underwear, a down jacket and even a balaclava for ear protection are essential during other months of year. A light sleeping bag would be an advantage. Good walking boots and thick shocks, hat, raincoat will be useful. Sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, lips guard, toiletries etc are other needs.
There is no need to be overly worried about altitude sickness or other risks to health. Some travelers who fly or go overland to Lhasa are likely to experience some symptoms of altitude sickness but in most cases, they are mild and recedes after a couple of days of rest in Lhasa. However, all visitors to Tibet should have knowledge about Altitude Sickness, its cause, prevention and remedies.
Other health hazards are like sunburn, cold, motion sickness, giardiasis, diarrhoea, dysentery etc. Your travel insurance should be valid in China and cover all expenses incurred due to health hazards.
Best Season :
You can travel to Tibet throughout the year but mid of April through to the mid of October is the best period.
The temperature varies sharply from the south grassland to north plateau. The south is warm and rainy. Most rain falls during May to September. It is warm from June to August. The coldest months are from December to February and crossing over the passes becomes almost impossible. Below given is a table of average temperature, rainfall and sunshine hours in Tibet.
Tibet travelers are not supposed to expect luxury, more choice and options. Tibetan urban centers like Lhasa, Gyantse, Xhigatse and Tsedang have choices and better condition hotels but in the rest of the destinations, maybe you have to throw in yourself into a truck stop or inns with a row of rooms each containing four or five beds. Hot water is provided in jugs or thermoses with washing basin. Do not expect running water and electricity in such places.
All visitors to Bhutan must prepay for a visa and hold a current passport. Visa application is made through Vertical Adventures (P.) Ltd. Visa fee is US$ 20 and is collected during along with the tour payment. Visa will be entered on arrival in Bhutan though they are cleared in advance and visa clearance numbers are issued.
Visas are not issued at Bhutanese embassies abroad. Visas are issued only when you arrive in Bhutan either at Paro airport or at Phuentsholing or Samdrupjongkhar (if by road). You must apply for a Bhutan visa in advance. You can send the following information and we will take care of the rest.
It is absolutely necessary that you double-check that the information you provided us with is correct. There will be delays and complications in issuing the visa when you arrive in Bhutan if there are discrepancies in any important numbers.
- Your full name as it appears in your passport & Gender
- Permanent Address
- Passport Number
- Date of issue and expiry of passport
Drukair will not issue the tickets to Paro until they receive the visa confirmation number from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Vertical Adventures (P.) Ltd. will process visa extensions for you if they become necessary.
We use what we consider to be the nicest accommodations in Bhutan (with the exception of the new resorts, which we can book). Hotels in w estern Bhutan have better standards than ones in the Central and Eastern part of the country. All accommodations are approved by the Department of Tourism, Royal Government of Bhutan. Each one is clean, comfortable, offering a warm welcome, friendly smile and restful haven that are much appreciated after a day of cultural exploration. All the hotels, lodges and guesthouses are equipped with telephones, fax machines and international dialing.
By Air: The best way to enter Bhutan is by Drukair - Royal Bhutan Airlines. The airport is in Paro. During monsoons and winter, unpredictable weather forces can delay flights and travelers should consider including an extra day in their itinerary. Druk Air is the national carrier of the Royal Government of Bhutan and operates to following stations:
India : Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Bodhgaya
Nepal : Kathmandu
Thailand : Bangkok
Bangladesh : Dhaka
By Road: The nearest Indian airport is Bagdogra, which can be reached by plane from Kolkata and Delhi. The road from Bagdogra connects to Phuentsholing, a border town in Bhutan. It is a 3 - 4 hour drive from the airport. It takes approximately 6 hours from Phuentsholing to Thimphu or Paro.
Bhutan has an unusual variety of climate influenced by varying altitudes. Southern Bhutan, which is situated at low altitudes, has mild winters and hot summers during which morning and evening showers are common.
Paro, Thimphu and other temperate regions have cold winters with sunny skies. In spring and autumn, days are warm but nights are cool. Summers are warm with light but frequent rainfall. The lower temperate regions such as Punakha and Trashigang have mild winters and warm summers.
Spring is generally from March through May, summer from June through August, autumn from September through November and winter from December through February.
The Bhutanese currency is the Ngultrum . The Ngultrum is at par with the Indian Rupee. US Dollars are widely accepted throughout the kingdom and traveler’s checks can be exchanged at the bank. Ngultrum will be required for smaller purchases of souvenirs beyond Thimphu. Credit cards are now accepted in some locations but checks are generally not accepted.
The Bhutanese delicacies are rich with spicy chilies and cheese. Our selected chain of hotels; lodges and guesthouses offer delicious Chinese, Continental, Bhutanese and Indian dishes. Even on treks, our trekking team is prepared to serve Continental, Chinese, Indian and Bhutanese dishes.
Bhutan Standard Time is half an hour ahead of Indian Standard Time and 6 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
No vaccinations are currently required for traveling to Bhutan. However if you are arriving an area infected with yellow fever, you are required to have a yellow fever vaccination and it shall be administered at least 10 days before your arrival into Bhutan. Also if arriving from Cholera infected area, the vaccination is strongly recommended for all travelers who are visiting rural areas in the districts that border India.
Because of the variety of climates you may encounter in one day, choose garments, which can be layered. This means that the majority of your clothing can be worn in layers, so that you can put on more clothing if it is cold or take off layers as it warms up. In general, from June to September cottons and a good sweater will be enough, but from October to May you will need warm clothes including long underwear or woolen tights to wear under trousers, and a down jacket or a warm coat. Also don’t forget to bring an umbrella or a rain jacket. Comfortable sports shoes are highly recommended and mountain boots are necessary if you come on a trek or plan to hike up to Taktsang. In Bhutan, you can get sun burnt quite quickly. Don’t forget to include a sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and barrier cream for your nose and lips in your packing list.
Based on our vast experience in the Indian outdoors these are a few useful suggestions
Best time to visit:
Ladakh is open for tourist throughout the year, while the best period for tour and trek is from June to October. Most of the trekking routes are closed after November due to heavy snowfall at high passes except the Liker to Kahltsey (Sham) trek. The best period for Chadar trek is from January to Mid-March
Permit and Passport:
Tourist don't require permit for Leh; however, all foreigners are required to registered at Drass, Rumtse and Sarchu if they are traveling by road. Those traveling by air get themselves registered at the airport. The tourist are required to get a permit for restricted areas like Tsomoriri, Tsokar, Pangong Lakes, Dhahanu and Nubra Valley, which can be obtain through registered travel agencies. Make it sure to carry six photocopies of the permit while traveling, to submit at the Checking points.
Credit Cards are not accepted by most of the hotels and travel agents except some antique shops.
As resources are limited, please use as little water and power as possible. Do not leave litter lying around and carry all rubbish away with you. Apart from defacing the scenery it can also cause injury or poison the local fauna of the area. Put all campfires out thoroughly. Common sense and courtesy should prevail in all your actions.
First Aid and Medical Treatment:
Always seek expert advice when in doubt. It is sensible to carry with you a small first aid kit with essentials like anti septic cream, bandages, insect repellent, paracetemol etc. All our guides are trained in first aid and carry their own kits. All camps also keep first aid kits with managers having done their first aid courses.
The Indian Rupee is the only currency accepted in Ladakh. A mixture of cash and travelers cheque provides the best degree of security and flexibility. US Dollars and Pound Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange with American express, Thomas Cook and Visa being the most accepted travelers cheque. All your valuables, passports etc can be left at your lodge or hotel for safekeeping.
Due to the extreme altitude, there is an immense variation in climate and vegetation. With a rainfall of about 140 inches in Gangtok, the climate is tropical up to 5,000ft, temperate between 5,000ft–13,000ft, alpine at 13,000ft, and snowbound at 16,000ft and above.
The best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March and June but especially, April and May, when the rhododendrons and orchids are in bloom. However, temperatures can be high, especially in the valleys. During the monsoons, from the end of June until end September, rivers and roads become impenetrable, though plants nurtured by the incessant rain erupt again into bloom towards the end of August. October, when orchids bloom once again and November tend to have the clearest weather of all. As December approaches, it gets bitterly cold at high altitudes, and remains that way until early March, despite long periods of clear weather.
The best time to visit this zone is from mid September to mid December, although it gets pretty cold by December. The high seasons again starts from mid-march & continues till mid June. During monsoon months ie; from June to September, the view of the mountains gets obscured & rainfall is pretty heavy (270 cm annually)
Foreigners require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) in addition to normal Indian visa to enter Sikkim and can visit Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodang and Pemayangtse. No permit is required to enter & stay in Darjeeling & other parts of North Bengal including Kalimpomg.
All foreigners intending to visit Sikkim can avail of 15 days inner-line permit with a further 15 days extension available in Gangtok. Re-entry into Sikkim is not possible within 3 months of leaving Sikkim. Restricted area permit for individuals & groups for restricted areas i.e., Gangtok. Rumtek, Phodong, Pemagyantse can be obtained in advance from all Indian missions aboard, Sikkim tourism offices at Delhi, Calcutta, Siliguri & Gangtok, after furnishing requisite documents. A standard Permit allows one to visit Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodong and Pemagyantse. The permits are checked and the visas stamped while entering and leaving Sikkim.
Foreigners without a valid passport and permit are not allowed to enter Sikkim. The best and the easiest way to get the permit is when the individual/group is getting their Indian visa stamp on their passport. All they have to do is express their desire to visit Sikkim & the Indian missions abroad endorses the permit while granting the India visa.