The key to travel comfort is to not bring a lot and keep it simple! You need to bring loose, comfortable clothes and walking shoes for your touring trip. Dress in Bhutan tends to be very casual. For women, pants (not tight) and skirts are appropriate. Women want to dress modestly, so try to avoid low-cut tops and sleeveless shirts. Very short or tight clothes are considered inappropriate in public areas in most Asian countries. Therefore we recommend light-weight, loose fitting trousers or skirts. Even at dinner, it is rare to dress up. Should you need laundry service, it will be available at the hotel but itinerary might limit timing for laundry service. They do a very good job when time permits. Hand washing personal items often works, too.
In addition to your “normal” daily clothes, you will need to bring the following items with you:
- warm jacket
- good leather or waterproof fabric boots or shoes with good soles,
- waterproof jacket
- warm hat
- sunhat and sunscreen
Please check out the weather during the time of your visit to plan properly.
Recommended: gloves, thermal underwear (for evenings and in the winter), backpack, head lamp, insect repellent, lip balm, a sufficient supply of any medication you are taking. Camera film is a rarity in Bhutan so bring your own supply which should be in your carry-on luggage. Whether you are on a trekking or touring, clothing should be layered and non-cotton. Remember that adequate wet weather gear is important, because they wash well in cold water and dry quickly.
During a typical day, when you leave your hotel, (if the day starts out cool), you may choose to wear a shell jacket with a fleece or wool sweater underneath along with a shirt or T-shirt, a pair of long pant pants, with hat, sun glasses and rain-gear in your day pack. If we are touring with day hikes, you need a good pair of waterproof walking shoes. As the day warms up, you will adjust layers and tuck clothes into your day pack.
Since toilet facilities are not always available, women may prefer wearing skirts rather pants. It is easier to “squat” in a skirt and you can easily bathe surreptitiously under a skirt, if necessary. We recommend long skirts. They have many advantages: culturally appropriate, cooler than pants.
Visiting Sites of Cultural Importance
When you enter the monasteries and temples, do not wear hats, shorts or sleeveless shirts. Shoes are always taken off outside before entering the shrine or temple. Socks are allowed. Floors of these temples sometimes tend to be cold, so we recommend wearing warm socks. Smoking, consumption of alcohol or narcotic in and around temples/monasteries or religious monuments is a taboo and so is shouting, yelling or laughing with loud voices in and around religious area. Do not point with your forefingers to a person, religious figures or statues. Instead a stretched palm is used as a reverence or respect to point to someone. When visiting a temples or monasteries, small donations are welcomed. If you wish to give these donations as an offering, convert into small changes of Nu. 5s and 10s Nu.
Walking and Hiking
Since some cultural itineraries combine hiking with a cultural focus, being fit will greatly increase your experience. The hikes are designed for all levels but in the Himalayas the elevation is higher and terrain more rugged. We ask that you start or continue a program of regular aerobic exercise prior to your trip. Please note that there are almost no wheel chair access sights in the country. When visiting sights, the vehicles are parked in the parking lot and you walk to get the sight. Sometimes they are steep uphill or down and may involve climbing steep stairs. Although all these walks can be avoided, being fit before you leave home will enable you to enjoy these days to the fullest.
We ask you to bring on duffel bag large enough to hold your sleeping bag and trekking clothes and gear. Make sure your duffel has a full length zipper and is water-resistant or water proof (Bhutan gets a lot of rain). Please check with your airline for any size restrictions. Most airlines don’t allow bags exceeding 62 inches. You will need a day pack with a capacity of 2000-2500 cubic inches. It should have a good padded waist belt. Consider a small spare duffel that you can lock and leave at hotel for the trek. We will provide you with a detailed packing list to prepare for a trek.