Gender and Sustainable Mountain
Development in a Changing World

International Conference
Thimphu, Bhutan
15-19 October 2012

Conference and Travel Information

Important conference-related information 

  • A conference dedicated volunteers will be stationed at the Paro airport committee to welcome and direct delegates.  Transportation will be provided to/from the airport.  A daily conference shuttle will also be provided to/from respective hotels and the main conference venue at set times.  The transport schedule and routes will be provided upon arrival in Paro.
  • Conference registration will take place between 14:00–17:00 on Sunday, 14 October at the Taj Tashi Hotel, the host hotel for conference events. There will be transport to and from hotels and the conference venue. Participants will be supplied with the final programme, list of participants, and other materials upon registration.
  • The Prime Minister of Bhutan is expected to attend the formal opening ceremony which begins at 17:00 on Sunday, 14 October. Delegates are encouraged to wear semi-formal or formal attire.
  • In observation and celebration of the International Day of Rural Women, the conference will hold a dinner reception in the evening on 15 October. Participants are encouraged to wear grassroots or traditional clothing or semi-formal or formal attire.
  • Participants are also encouraged to bring a small gift (not exceeding USD 5) as a part of our cultural exchange. The gifts, preferably handmade crafts from the participants’ country/culture, will also highlight the work and knowledge of grassroots women from participants’ country.
  • Participants must carry a copy of their passport and visa confirmation letter (except for delegates with passports from India and Bangladesh) andDruk Air e-ticket in order to check in at the Druk Air check-in counter and to enter Bhutan.
  • Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and health insurance coverage. The conference will not cover or reimburse any costs related to these. 

Documents required at the Paro Airport 

  1. Druk Air e-ticket: A printout must be presented at the check-in counter.
  2. Visa: A copy of your visa confirmation letter, which has been sent to you via e-mail, must be presented at the check-in counter. 
  3. Valid Passport: Passports must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry to Bhutan.

 Baggage allowances and electronic devices 

Baggage allowances: The weight limit for checked baggage is 20 kg for economy class and 30 kg for business class. It is possible to check excess baggage, but it may be sent on the next flight. One piece of carry-on baggage is allowed, but is limited to 5 kg (11 pounds) within the dimensions of 45 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm.

Personal computers, cellular telephones, cameras, and other electronic devices must be registered with Bhutanese customs upon arrival. These items may be checked upon departure. The export of all antiques is strictly monitored.

Cigarettes laws and regulations

Up to 200 cigarettes may be imported on payment of an import duty of 200%. You must have your customs receipt on your person when in possession of tobacco products. If you cannot produce it on demand by police, you will be charged with smuggling and can expect a prison sentence of three years.


The Conference Organizers have made arrangements for transportation from the Paro Airport to hotels in Thimphu (approx. 1 hour drive) and to and from hotels and the conference venue each day. 

Local laws and customs 

Tobacco/smoking: Penalties for the possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Smoking is forbidden in public spaces such as hotels, restaurants, and bars. It is illegal to sell or purchase tobacco products in Bhutan. 

The buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden.

Dress code/etiquette

There is no particular dress code for tourists. However, the Bhutanese do tend to be modest, so it is suggested that participants avoid revealing clothing (such as short skirts and tank tops). Participants can bring jeans, cotton pants, T-shirts, casual shirts, and a light jacket or coat for the evening as well as appropriate attire for evening events. While visiting monasteries, temples and dzongs, shoulders should be covered and visitors cannot wear shorts or sleeveless shirts. 

At religious sites and festivals, hats are to be taken off, and sneakers, jeans, and shorts are not allowed 

Always walk in a clockwise direction when visiting religious places or objects such as temples, monasteries, stupas, and prayer flags. Do not point with a single finger to indicate a sacred object or place, but rather use a flat extended hand.

Currency and exchange/banking services 

The currency in Bhutan is the ngultrum. It is linked and equal in value to the Indian rupee, which is also accepted in Bhutan. You cannot purchase ngultrums prior to arriving in Bhutan, but you can easily buy ngultrums at the Paro airport, at the Bhutan National Bank and the Bank of Bhutan, and at major hotels in Thimphu and Paro. For up-to-date currency exchange information, please refer to

Banks in Bhutan accept the following currencies: 

    • US dollar
    • Euro
    • Pound sterling
    • Canadian dollar 
    • Hong Kong dollar 
    • Singaporean dollar 
    • Australian dollar 
    • Japanese yen 
    • Swiss francs
    • Danish kroner
    • Norwegian kroner
    • Swedish kroner
    • Travellers cheques

Use of credit cards and travellers cheques 

There are a few places, including bigger hotels and popular handicrafts shops, that accept credit cards. The ATMs of at least two banks (Druk-Punjab Bank and the Bank of Bhutan) allow the withdrawal of local currency using a VISA or Mastercard; however, you should not count on using a credit card in Bhutan. It is safest to carry cash or travellers cheques, which can be cashed in at any bank, most hotels, and the foreign exchange counter at the airport. There are bank charges of 1% for cheque encashment. You should carry only well-known brands such as American Express, Visa, Thomas Cook, Citibank, or Barclays. There are no replacement facilities for travellers cheques in Bhutan.

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Reliable telephone/fax services and internet access (at hotels, cafés, etc.) are available in Thimphu. If you use a GSM 900 phone, you can by a SIM upon arrival in Bhutan at a very affordable rate. 

About Thimphu

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. It is a picturesque city surrounded by mountains. With a population of 80,000, Thimphu is a typical mountain town spread out longitudinally along the west bank of the valley formed by the Wang Chuu, also known as the Thimphu Chuu River. Thimphu lies between the altitudes of 2,248 m (7,357 ft) and 2,648 m (8,688 ft). 

Weather and time 

Bhutan has only one time zone. It is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 30 minutes ahead of India, 15 minutes ahead of Nepal and 1 hour behind Thailand. During daylight savings time in the United States (April through October), Bhutan is 10 hours ahead of New York City. The winter season begins in October, so it is recommended that delegates carry warm clothes, especially for the mornings and evenings, and comfortable shoes for the field trip.

October weather pattern

  • Max daytime temperature: 18°C (64°F)
  • Min night-time temperature: 6°C (43°F)
  • Hours of sunshine: 7 hours per day
  • Hours of daylight: 11 hours per day
  • Heat and humidity discomfort: None
  • Days with some rainfall: 4 days
  • Monthly rainfall (mm): 70 mm (2.8 inches)
  • UV index (maximum): 9 (very high)