And so this guide is for those who have less days in hand and more to see.
How do I reach Bhutan?
You can travel to Bhutan from India either by road or air. If you have less days in hand, air will be the only option. Again, there aren't many direct flights available to Bhutan. We travelled from Bangalore and so had to first fly down to Kolkata via a domestic airline and then by Drukair to Paro, Bhutan.
Handy Tips: Make sure that you have at least 2 hours in between the connecting flights to cover time for transfer within terminals. Plus, would highly recommend that you grab something to eat at the airports. The snacks offered on Drukair are not impressive. We were served a cold bread-and-butter sandwich, juice, muffin and salted peanuts. Another tip - Because of the hilly terrain, the flight will be turbulent. So prepare your tummy for it and don't over-eat.
Should I carry Bhutan currency?
If you're travelling from India, this may not be required. Most vendors in Bhutan accept Indian currency, which they conveniently call IC. In fact, a few will request for it instead of BC (Bhutan currency).
Handy Tips: Bhutan no longer uses coins in its currency. So if you're into numismatics, explore some of the handicraft shops or some betel leaf vendors (you will find plenty of them) for some old coins. And don't forget to bargain.
What's the best time to visit Bhutan?
They say October to December is the best time to visit Bhutan. That said, we visited Bhutan in the end of January and the first week of February. The beauty is still as enigmatic and tourists are less. But on the flip side, it is seriously very cold. So if you don't mind exploring the kingdom when tourists are less, carry lots of warm clothes, including gloves, caps and socks. We layered up all the time.
Handy Tips: Make your travel plans around weekdays if you have less days in hand. Why? The government offices are closed over the weekend. You will need permits for places like Punakha.
Where should I stay?
There are lots of hotels available in Bhutan. Homestays are there as well, and these are highly recommended for personal interaction with the locals. Also, would recommend staying in Paro instead of Thimphu. Paro is where the beauty lies. Thimphu has a 'city' feel to it.
Handy Tips: Rent a bike and travel around. There is no better way to explore the bio-diversity than on the road. Every bend will give you a post-card moment. Also, look out for the creative quotes at every furlong from Project Dantak of the Border Roads Organization, a subdivision of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers that has been maintaining these roads. Sample this. 'If you're married, divorce speed', or 'Peep, Peep, Don't Sleep'.
How is the food?