What's in butane
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The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.
Before unnecessary, tourist trips toBhutanis currently being warned.
So far, Bhutan has been moderately affected by COVID-19. Bhutan is classified as a risk area.
The Ministry of Health of Bhutan and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide current and detailed figures.
Bhutan has closed its borders to foreign tourists traveling indefinitely. Entry is currently not possible.
Since October 2020, Bhutan has again been offering isolated internal flight connections to neighboring countries (India, Bangladesh, Thailand) at its only international airport in Paro, although only citizens of Bhutan or the respective destination countries are allowed to fly.
Restrictions in the country
After a new COVID-19 case occurred in the capital Thimphu, the government of Bhutan has issued a tightened lockdown, which includes a travel ban from Thimphu and restriction of passenger traffic between the regions.
The Bhutanese government provides detailed information on how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. A general recommendation is to stay at home, keep social distance and wash your hands often. Wearing mouth and nose protection is compulsory for employees in restaurants.
- Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities.
- Inquire with the Bhutanese representation that is responsible for you before you start your journey.
- Find out more about detailed measures and additional information from the government of Bhutan.
- Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
- When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, test and quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the responsible company or your tour operator, if necessary, and contact the health department at your place of residence or residence if you are entering from a risk area . Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.
The domestic political situation is calm. In the case of isolated demonstrations, violent conflicts cannot be ruled out.
- Find out about the local media.
- Avoid demonstrations.
- Follow the instructions of local security guards.
Petty crimes such as pickpockets occur particularly in places that are very frequented by tourists.
- Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
- Prefer cashless payments and only take the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables.
- Be especially vigilant in crowds and watch out for your valuables.
- Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.
Nature and climate
Bhutan is in a seismically active zone, which is why earthquakes can occur.
There is a subtropical monsoon climate in the south, in central Bhutan it is cool and temperate and in the high mountains in the north there is permafrost.
In the rainy season from June to October, monsoon-like rains regularly lead to landslides, which can subsequently lead to significant traffic obstructions.
- Always observe prohibitions, information signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.
- Familiarize yourself with earthquake behavioral guidelines. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.
Responsible diplomatic mission
There is no German diplomatic mission in Bhutan; the mission responsible for Bhutan is the German embassy in New Delhi, India.
Infrastructure / traffic
Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.
Border crossing points are the airport in Paro near Thimphu or, when arriving by car, in Phuentsholing in the southwest, Gelephu in the south or Samdrup Jongkhar in the southeast of the country.
There is left-hand traffic. There are bus connections, taxis and rental cars on site, but these can only be rented with a driver.
Technical inspections of vehicles, as is customary in Central Europe, are not carried out regularly in Bhutan.
During the monsoon season, typically June to September, roads can become impassable due to flooding and landslides. On unsecured mountain roads there is also the risk of falling rocks and avalanches.
- Always drive carefully and defensively.
- Be critical in your choice of mode of transport and your itinerary.
The international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the national German driving license.
Although homosexual acts are punishable by law, there are no known cases of criminal prosecution.
Offenses against the Narcotics Act are punishable by heavy prison sentences for the possession of small amounts of drugs (including hashish).
Smoking is prohibited in most public places and at festivals.
Money / credit cards
The national currency is the ngultrum (BTN), which is pegged to the Indian rupee at a ratio of 1: 1. Indian rupees are partially accepted as a form of payment in Bhutan. In addition to credit cards, it is advisable to take US dollars and euros with you.
Entry and customs
Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.
Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without notifying the Foreign Office beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information going beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.
Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:
- Passport: Yes
- Temporary passport: Yes
- Identity card: No
- Provisional identity card: No
- Children's passport: Yes
Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least six months at the time of departure.
German citizens need a visa to enter the country.
Entry is generally only possible as a tourist (group and individual traveler) or as a guest of the government. Trips can only be booked through one of the registered travel companies in Bhutan. Entry can therefore only take place with a visa, which must be obtained from the tour operator.
According to the website of the Bhutanese tourism organization "Tourism Council of Bhutan", an entry fee of 40 US dollars is charged upon entry. Information can also be obtained from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bhutan in Brussels.
There are no known special regulations for the entry of minors.
High-quality items (e.g. electronic devices) must be mentioned in the customs declaration. Items sold or given away in Bhutan must be cleared through customs. The export of old / used objects is only allowed with a certificate that confirms that they are not antiques - this is the Department of Culture available. In so-called "Handicraft" shops, the corresponding products are usually already provided with a seal, which entitles the goods to be exported.
The import and export of weapons, drugs and animal products is prohibited. If you violate customs or entry regulations, you may be arrested.
Buying and selling tobacco and tobacco products is prohibited in Bhutan. The import of tobacco products is also subject to high tariffs and is punished with fines beyond certain import quantities for private consumption.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.
In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.
- As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.
No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany.
- Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
- Vaccinations against hepatitis A are recommended as travel vaccinations, and for long-term stays or special exposure also against hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies and Japanese encephalitis.
- Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
- The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.
Dengue viruses are nationwide by diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. There is a risk of infection in the southern parts of Bhutan, below 2,300 m altitude, near the Indian border. Main transmission takes place during and after the rainy season in the months of July to September. The touristic preferred areas in the higher areas are dengue free. The disease is usually associated with fever, skin rash and pronounced pain in the limbs and is increasingly affecting travelers as well. In rare cases, especially in children, serious complications, including possible death, occur. Overall, however, complications for travelers are rare. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy against dengue fever, see information sheet on dengue fever.
- To avoid dengue fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.
Malaria is caused by crepuscular and nocturnal anophelesMosquitoes transmitted. If left untreated, the dangerous one in particular is Malaria tropica often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay in the risk area, see Malaria leaflet.
- If you develop a fever during or even months after a corresponding trip, see the doctor as soon as possible and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.
In Bhutan, there is a medium risk of malaria transmission all year round in locations below 1,700 meters, especially in the summer months from May to October. The risk is highest in the southern lowlands and decreases towards the north with increasing altitude. The districts of Bumthang, Gaza, Haa, Paro and Thimphu are considered malaria-free, see Standing Committee on Travel Medicine (StAR) of the DTG. 90% of the registered malaria cases are malaria vivax. Resistance to chloroquine does occur.
To avoid malaria, protect yourself consistently against insect bites as part of exposure prophylaxis. You should pay particular attention to the following points:
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers the body (long trousers, long shirts).
- Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body, during the day (dengue) and in the evening and at night (malaria).
- If necessary, sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.
Depending on the travel profile, in addition to the necessary exposure prophylaxis, chemoprophylaxis (taking tablets) is also useful. Various prescription drugs (e.g. atovaquone proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine) are available on the German market for this purpose.
- Discuss the choice of medication and its personal adjustment as well as side effects or intolerance to other medication with a tropical medicine or travel medicine specialist before taking it.
- It is recommended that you bring sufficient supplies with you.
HIV / AIDS
There is always a high risk of HIV transmission through sexual contact, drug use (unclean syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions.
- Always use condoms, especially on casual acquaintances.
Diarrheal illnesses are common travel illnesses, see information sheet on diarrheal illnesses. However, most diarrheal diseases can be avoided through appropriate food and drinking water hygiene. Therefore, to protect your health, please observe the following basic information:
- Only drink water of safe origin, never tap water. A previously opened bottle can be identified more easily by purchasing carbonated bottled water.
- If possible, use drinking water to wash dishes and brush your teeth when you're out and about.
- If bottled water is not available, use filtered, disinfected, or boiled water.
- Cook or peel food yourself.
- Make sure you keep flies away from your food.
- Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always before preparing and eating.
- If possible, disinfect your hands with liquid disinfectant.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is inflammation of the brain caused by viruses. These are transmitted by nocturnal mosquitoes. Pigs and waterfowl in particular are infected with the virus without becoming ill themselves. Diseases in humans are rather rare, but then often have a severe course and often leave lasting damage or are fatal. There are no effective drugs against the JE viruses, see also the Japanese Encephalitis leaflet.
In Bhutan there is a risk of infection in the lower-lying rural areas near the border with India, with the main transmission time being from June to December.
- To avoid Japanese encephalitis, protect yourself against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day, and get vaccinated.
Rabies is a regularly fatal infectious disease caused by viruses that are transmitted with the saliva of infected animals or humans (by biting, licking injured skin areas or droplets of saliva on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes). Nationwide, there is a risk of bite injuries from stray dogs and the transmission of rabies, especially in the areas near the Indian border. The necessary medical measures after bite injuries to an unvaccinated person are not always possible in Bhutan. Vaccination before a bite offers reliable protection against the disease. That is why a preventive rabies vaccination is particularly important when traveling to Bhutan. It should definitely be completed before departure. The immediate "refreshment", which is necessary even after a bite, can then take place in Thimphu or in the neighboring country of India.
Tuberculosis is much more common across the country than in Central Europe. The incidence is still well over 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The transmission takes place from person to person via droplet infection or close contact. Due to improper or discontinued treatments, resistant tuberculosis pathogens may also exist in Bhutan. Wearing a surgical mask does not protect against infection!
Bhutan is a popular destination for trekking tourists who soar to great heights. Often there is not enough time for a gradual height adjustment. Different forms of acute altitude sickness are possible, see information sheet on altitude sickness.
- Before you travel to high altitudes (over 2,300 m), seek individual advice from a doctor who is experienced in altitude medicine before finalizing your travel plans. Travel health insurance that covers the mountain risk (e.g. a helicopter evacuation) is absolutely recommended.
Intense sunlight, glare from snow and ice, strong winds, extreme cold and impassable or unfamiliar terrain harbor additional risks for travelers at high altitudes. Earthquakes or prolonged precipitation can lead to avalanches, mudslides and slides off entire mountain slopes in endangered areas.
Medical care is inadequate in large parts of the country and mostly does not meet European standards in terms of medicine, hygiene, technology and organization. Language barriers can make communication much more difficult, especially in rural areas. A sufficient basic supply exists in Thimphu. In the event of serious illness, a medical evacuation, for example to New Delhi, Calcutta or Bangkok, must be considered.
- Take out travel health and repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay abroad. The German Liaison Office for Health Insurance - Abroad provides detailed information.
- Take an individual first-aid kit with you and protect it against high temperatures when you are out and about, see the first-aid kit leaflet.
- Before you travel, seek personal advice from tropical medicine advice centers, tropical medicine specialists or travel medicine specialists and adjust your vaccination protection, even if you have already experienced the tropics from other regions. You can find appropriate doctors e.g. via the DTG.
In addition to the general disclaimer, please note:
- All information is intended for the information of medically trained. They are not a substitute for the consultation of a doctor.
- The recommendations are tailored to direct entry from Germany to a travel destination, especially for longer stays on site. For shorter trips, entries from third countries and trips to other areas of the country, deviations may apply.
- All information is always dependent on the individual circumstances of the traveler and may require medical advice.
- In spite of the best possible efforts, the medical information is always just a consultation offer. They cannot cover all medical aspects, eliminate all doubts or always be completely up-to-date. You stay responsible for your healthy.
Country information for your travel destination
Here you will find the addresses of the responsible diplomatic missions and information on politics and bilateral relations with Germany.
Further information for your trip
The global threat of terrorist attacks and kidnappings remains unchanged.
Since September 2014, the terrorist organizations "Al Qaeda" and "Islamic State" (IS) have been threatening with attacks against various countries and their nationals. There were a number of attacks with firearms, explosives, kidnappings and hostage-taking.
Even if there are currently no specific indications of a threat to German interests abroad, it cannot be ruled out that German nationals or German institutions abroad will also become targets of acts of terrorist violence.
Places with a symbolic character come into question as possible targets. These include well-known sights, government and administrative buildings, transport infrastructure (especially airplanes, trains, ships, buses), economic and tourism centers, hotels, markets, religious meeting places and generally larger gatherings of people.
The level of terrorist threat differs from country to country. There is a particular risk of an attack in countries and regions in which attacks have already been carried out repeatedly or in which they can be carried out relatively easily due to a lack of effective security measures, or in which terrorists have the support of the local population.
More detailed information about the terrorist threat can be found in the country-specific travel and safety information. These are checked regularly and adjusted if necessary.
The risk of falling victim to an attack is still comparatively low compared to other risks that travel abroad entails, such as accidents, illness or ordinary crime. Nevertheless, travelers should be aware of the risk.
The Federal Foreign Office strongly recommends that all travelers behave in a safety-conscious and appropriate manner. Before and during a trip, travelers should carefully inform themselves about the conditions in their country of travel, behave appropriately, follow the local media and report suspicious incidents (e.g. unattended baggage in airports or train stations, suspicious behavior by people) to the local police or security authorities .
German nationals are recommended to register in the Foreign Office's "Elefand" crisis prevention list, regardless of their country or the length of their stay abroad:
Crisis preparedness list
Please clarify with your health insurance company whether there is adequate health insurance coverage for your trip abroad, which also covers the costs of a rescue flight to Germany.
Without adequate insurance cover, the costs necessary on site (e.g. treatment or hospital costs, flight home) are generally to be borne by the person concerned and can quickly use up all of your savings.
It is common in many countries that the costs invoiced by doctors or hospitals have to be settled or even advanced before discharge. It can also not be ruled out that the doctor / hospital will obtain a refusal to leave the country for the patient if the bill is not paid.
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