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Bhutan

Bhutan is a small, land-locked Himalayan country that completed its transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in April 2008; the country is now led by a king and a democratically-elected government. The United States has consular, but not full diplomatic, relations with Bhutan. There is no US diplomatic or consular presence in Bhutan. The US Embassy in New Delhi handles assistance to US citizens. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Bhutan for additional information.

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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Bhutan
Continent: Asia
Capital City: Thimphu
Boundary Countries:

China, India

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Thimphu General Hospital (Thimphu)

Main Cities:

Thimphu, Paro, Tongsa, Gasa Dzong, Tashigang, Samdrup, Jongkhar, Phuntsholing

Country Size: 47,000 sq km
Population: 2,327,849 note: other estimates range as low as 810,000

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects

Currency: Ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Predominant Religions:

Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%

National Holidays: National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Economic Status:

The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population.

Security:

Royal Bhutan Army: Royal Bodyguard, Royal Bhutan Police

US Presence:

There is no US Embassy or Consulate in Bhutan. Although no formal diplomatic relations exist between the United States and Bhutan, informal contact is maintained through the US Embassy in New Delhi, India. Updated information on travel and security in Bhutan may be obtained at the US Embassy in New Delhi, at any other US Consulate in India, the US Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, and the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. US citizens living or traveling in Bhutan are encouraged to enroll through the Department of State’s travel registration page, noted above, or with the US Embassy in New Delhi to obtain updated information on travel and security within Bhutan. US citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the US Embassy in New Delhi or missions mentioned below in person or via mail. By enrolling, US citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located on Shanti Path, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi 110 021, India, telephone +91-11-2419-8000, fax +91-11-2419-8407.
Since Drukair, the Bhutanese national carrier and sole regularly scheduled airline to fly to Bhutan, has direct flights to and from New Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, and Bangkok,  US citizens may also enroll in consular sections in these locations:
The
U.S. Consulate in Kolkata is located at 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700 071, India, telephone +91-33-3984-2400, fax +91-33-2282-2335.
The
U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is located at Maharajgunj in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Consular Section can be reached through the Embassy switchboard at (977) (1) 400-7200 or directly by fax at (977) (1) 400-7281 or contacted by email.
The
U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is located at 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok, Thailand, telephone +66-2-205-4000, fax +66-2-205-4103.

Document Requirements:

Independent travel is not permitted in Bhutan. Visitors are required to book travel through a registered tour operator in Bhutan. This may be done directly or through a travel agent abroad. Further information, including a list of authorized tour operators in Bhutan, may be obtained from the Tourism Council of Bhutan, PO Box 126, Thimphu, Bhutan, telephone +975-2-323251, 2-323252, fax +975-2-323695. Entry by air is available only via India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Thailand. The border with China is closed. The minimum daily tariff is set by the Bhutanese Department of Tourism and cannot be negotiated. The rate includes all accommodations, all meals, transportation, services of licensed guides and porters, and cultural programs where and when available. The rate is the same for both cultural tours and treks. Travelers should contact the Tourism Council for the latest daily tariff. At this time, the only carrier servicing Bhutan is Drukair, the Bhutanese government airline. Drukair will board only travelers with visa clearance from the Tourism Authority of Bhutan.
A passport and visa are required for entry into and exit from Bhutan. Visa applications are available from selected travel agencies. Travel agencies will usually arrange for a traveler’s entry visa and clearance. Visitors, including those on official US government business, should obtain visas prior to entering the country. For additional entry/exit information, please contact the Bhutan Mission to the United Nations (Consul General), 763 First Avenue, New York, NY  10017, telephone (212) 682-2268, fax (212) 661-0551. 
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  2,  Airports with paved runways:  1

Paro Airport (PBH/VQPR)
Paro Airport, Bhutan, Druk Air Corporation, Paro, BHUTAN
Tel: +975 2 29122
Fax: +975 2 29110
Email: drukair@druknet.bt
Website: www.drukair.bt.com

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

There is relatively little crime in Bhutan. Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse snatching is occasionally reported.
Visitors planning to trek in Bhutan should pay special attention to the risk of altitude illness. Treks in Bhutan can take visitors days or weeks away from the nearest medical facility. Helicopter evacuation from remote areas is not available in Bhutan.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  96.37 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 55.17 years  (male 55.38/female 54.96)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Polio, Hep A & B, Japenese Encephalitis, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters: MMR, DPT, etc.

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria risk area in Bhutan: Risk in rural areas below 1,700 m (<5,577 ft) in the 5 southern belt districts of: Chirang, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Sarpang, and Shemgang.
Filariasis is common in Bangladesh, India, and the southwestern coastal belt of Sri Lanka. A sharp rise in the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis has been observed in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Cutaneous leishmaniasis occurs in Afghanistan, India (Rajasthan), and Pakistan. Outbreaks of dengue fever can occur in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and the hemorrhagic form has been reported from eastern India and Sri Lanka. Japanese encephalitis occurs widely except in mountainous areas.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities in the populated areas in Bhutan such as Thimphu or Paro are available, but may be limited or unavailable in rural areas. Medical services may not meet Western standards and some medicines are in short supply. Certain emergency medical services are provided free of charge to all tourists.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 2
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Polio is still endemic in India and Afghanistan. Rabies is common in the region and poses a risk to travelers, especially in rural areas.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +975
Internet Country Code:  .bt

 



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