Safest Countries to Travel for Citizens of Bhutan

1. What is the current safety rating for Bhutan according to international travel advisories?

At the time of writing, the current safety rating for Bhutan according to international travel advisories is generally considered to be safe for travelers. According to the official website of the U.S. Department of State, the overall crime rate in Bhutan is relatively low and violent crimes are rare.

2. How does Bhutan compare to other countries in terms of safety?
Bhutan is generally considered safer than many other countries around the world. In 2019, Bhutan was ranked as the 16th safest country out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index. This ranking takes into account factors such as levels of crime and violence, political instability, and militarization.

3. Are there any specific safety precautions I should take while traveling in Bhutan?
While Bhutan is generally considered a safe destination for travelers, it’s always important to take basic precautions while traveling anywhere. Some recommended safety measures for travelers in Bhutan include being aware of your surroundings, avoiding leaving valuables unattended, respecting local customs and laws, and following any instructions or warnings from local authorities.

4. Is there a risk of natural disasters in Bhutan?
Bhutan does have some risk for natural disasters such as earthquakes and landslides. The government has implemented measures to mitigate these risks and provide timely warnings in case of any potential hazards. It’s always advisable to stay informed about any potential weather or seismic activity during your stay in Bhutan.

5. What should I do if I encounter an emergency while traveling in Bhutan?
In case of an emergency, you should contact local authorities by dialing 113 (police), 112 (ambulance), or 110 (fire department). If you are a foreign visitor, you can also contact your embassy or consulate for assistance.

It’s also important to have adequate travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and evacuation services in case of serious accidents or illnesses while traveling in Bhutan.

2. Are there any specific safety concerns for citizens of Bhutan when traveling abroad?

As with any international travel, there are some general safety concerns for citizens of Bhutan when traveling abroad. These may include:

1. Political instability: Depending on the destination, there may be political turmoil or civil unrest which could pose a safety threat to travelers.

2. Crime: Tourists are often targets for petty crimes such as theft and pickpocketing. It is important to be vigilant about your belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

3. Natural disasters: Some destinations may be prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods. Before traveling, it is important to educate yourself about potential risks in your destination and have a plan in case of an emergency.

4. Scams and frauds: Tourists can be targets for scams and fraudulent activities in some countries. Be cautious when approached by strangers offering deals that seem too good to be true.

5. Health risks: Depending on the country you are visiting, there may be different health risks such as diseases, food poisoning, or unsafe drinking water. It is important to research any health risks before traveling and take necessary precautions like vaccinations.

6. Public transportation: Be cautious when using public transportation in unfamiliar cities as it can increase the risk of theft or accidents.

7. Cultural differences: Understanding cultural norms and customs in your destination can help prevent unintentional offenses or misunderstandings that could result in safety incidents.

8. Terrorism: Some countries may have a higher risk of terror attacks, particularly in crowded tourist areas. Stay informed about any potential threats and follow local authorities’ instructions if necessary.

Overall, it is important for citizens of Bhutan (or any country) to research their destination and take necessary precautions before traveling abroad to ensure a safe trip.

3. How do crime rates in Bhutan compare to other popular tourist destinations?

Crime rates in Bhutan are generally low compared to other popular tourist destinations. According to the 2019 Global Peace Index, Bhutan ranks as the 15th safest country out of 163 countries, with low levels of violent crime and political instability. In comparison, popular tourist destinations such as Thailand (at 70), Indonesia (55), and India (136) ranked much lower on the index.

Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory system, Bhutan has a Level 1 rating (the lowest possible) indicating that visitors should exercise normal precautions while traveling in the country. This is in contrast to countries like Mexico, which is a popular tourist destination but has a Level 2 rating due to higher levels of crime and violence.

However, it is important for tourists to take general safety precautions while traveling in any destination, including Bhutan. This includes being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and following any local guidelines or restrictions.

4. Are there any known natural disasters or extreme weather events that could affect travelers in Bhutan?

The most common natural disaster that could affect travelers in Bhutan is earthquakes. Despite being a landlocked country, Bhutan is located near several active seismic zones and has experienced strong earthquakes in the past. In 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 struck eastern Bhutan, causing damage to buildings and roads.

Flash floods are also a potential risk, especially during the monsoon season from June to September. These floods can be triggered by heavy rains and can cause landslides and blockages on roads.

In addition, Bhutan is also susceptible to landslides and avalanches, particularly in mountainous regions. These events can occur unexpectedly and may disrupt travel plans or pose risks to travelers in affected areas.

Lastly, severe winter weather conditions can also affect travelers in Bhutan, especially those trekking or engaged in outdoor activities. Snowstorms and blizzards are not uncommon in high elevation regions during the winter months (December to February), which could lead to road closures or make hiking trails unsafe.

5. Is terrorism a major concern for tourists visiting Bhutan?

No, terrorism is not a major concern for tourists visiting Bhutan. The country has strong security measures in place and there have been no reports of terrorist attacks in recent times. Additionally, the overall crime rate in Bhutan is relatively low, making it a safe destination for tourists. However, it is always important to exercise caution and follow any safety guidelines provided by authorities or tour operators while traveling to any foreign country.

6. Are there any regions or neighborhoods within Bhutan that should be avoided by tourists due to safety concerns?

There are no specific regions or neighborhoods within Bhutan that should be avoided due to safety concerns. However, tourists are advised to respect local customs and traditions, and to avoid straying from designated tourist areas without a guide. It is also important to heed any warnings or closures issued by local authorities, especially during times of inclement weather.

7. How prevalent is street crime and pickpocketing in popular tourist areas of Bhutan?

Street crime and pickpocketing is extremely rare in popular tourist areas of Bhutan. The country has a very low crime rate compared to other countries, making it one of the safest destinations for tourists. However, as with any other tourist destination, visitors should always exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings to avoid becoming a target for petty crimes. It is advisable to keep valuables securely and not leave them unattended while exploring popular tourist areas. Local authorities also take strict measures to ensure the safety of tourists in all major tourist spots.

8. Are tourists targeted for scams or frauds in certain parts of Bhutan?

Bhutan is generally a very safe country, and tourists are not typically targeted for scams or frauds. However, as with any tourist destination, it is always important to exercise caution and be aware of common scams.

Some potential scams that tourists should be aware of in Bhutan include:

– Overcharging: This can happen in markets or souvenir shops, where vendors may try to overcharge tourists who are not familiar with the local prices. It is always a good idea to research typical prices beforehand and bargain if necessary.
– Inflated taxi fares: Some taxi drivers may try to charge higher fares to tourists, especially at airports or popular tourist spots. It is recommended to always negotiate the fare before getting into a taxi.
– Trekking permits: If you plan on doing any trekking in Bhutan, it is important to get your permits through a reputable tour company or through the government’s official tourism office. There have been cases of fake permits being sold by individuals claiming to be tour guides.
– Charity scams: Sadly, there have been reports of people posing as monks or local villagers asking for donations for a cause or charity. It is best to donate directly to established organizations rather than giving money directly to individuals.

Overall, if you use common sense and do your research before traveling, you should not encounter any major scams or frauds in Bhutan. The people of Bhutan are known for their hospitality and most are honest and genuine individuals who will go out of their way to make sure tourists have a pleasant stay in their country.

9. Is public transportation safe and reliable for travelers in Bhutan?

Bhutan’s public transportation system mainly consists of buses and taxis. While both are generally safe, buses tend to be more reliable as they follow fixed schedules and have designated stops. Taxis, on the other hand, do not have set routes or schedules and may be more expensive.

In terms of safety, bus accidents in Bhutan are rare but can happen due to road conditions and driver error. It is important for travelers to follow basic safety precautions such as wearing seatbelts, avoiding overcrowded buses, and choosing reputable bus companies.

Taxis in Bhutan are also considered safe for travelers. However, it is recommended to negotiate the fare before entering the taxi and choose licensed drivers with proper identification.

Overall, public transportation in Bhutan may not be as efficient or advanced as in other countries, but it is generally safe and reliable for travelers. It is always a good idea to plan your trip ahead of time and be aware of any potential risks or scams while using public transportation.

10. What emergency resources are available for tourists in case of an accident or health issue while traveling in Bhutan?

In case of an accident or health issue while traveling in Bhutan, tourists can avail the following emergency resources:

1. Tour Guide or Travel Agency: The first point of contact for any emergency situation should be your tour guide or the travel agency you have booked your trip with. They will provide you with necessary assistance and help you navigate through the emergency.

2. Emergency Contact Number: The Tourism Council of Bhutan has a 24/7 emergency contact number (+975 17160503) that tourists can call in case of any medical or other emergencies.

3. Hospitals and Medical Facilities: There are several hospitals and medical facilities available throughout Bhutan, including in remote areas. The best way to locate them is to ask your tour guide or hotel staff for recommendations.

4. Local Police Station: In case of any theft, loss of valuable items or other serious incidents, tourists can also report to the nearest police station for assistance.

5. International Clinics: There are a few international clinics in major cities like Thimphu and Paro that cater to tourists and offer specialized medical care.

6. Insurance Coverage: Having a comprehensive travel insurance policy is highly recommended when visiting Bhutan. It will cover the costs of any medical emergencies, repatriation, and other situations requiring urgent assistance.

7. Embassy Contacts: Tourists should carry their country’s embassy contact details with them at all times in case of any emergencies that require their intervention.

8. Pharmacies: Most towns in Bhutan have well-stocked pharmacies where tourists can purchase over-the-counter medications for minor ailments.

9. Rescue Helicopter Service: In case of serious accidents or injuries in remote areas, rescue helicopter service can be requested through local authorities.

10. Mountain Rescue Teams: For trekking and other adventurous activities, it is advisable to register with mountain rescue teams who can quickly respond in case of any mishaps on the trail.

11. Have there been any recent political tensions or civil unrest that could potentially impact the safety of travelers in Bhutan?

No, there have been no recent political tensions or civil unrest in Bhutan that could potentially impact the safety of travelers. The country maintains a peaceful and stable environment, with strict laws and policies in place to ensure the safety and well-being of both citizens and visitors.

12. Does the government of Bhutan provide support and assistance for its citizens traveling abroad?

Yes, the government of Bhutan does provide support and assistance for its citizens traveling abroad. This includes providing information and guidance on visa requirements, travel documentation, safety advisories, and emergency contact numbers. The Department of Consular Services under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for providing these services to Bhutanese citizens. Additionally, embassies and consulates abroad also offer assistance to Bhutanese travelers in case of emergencies or other issues.

13. Are LGBTQ+ travelers generally safe and accepted in Bhutan, or are there potential risks to consider?

LGBTQ+ travelers are generally safe and accepted in Bhutan. While homosexuality is illegal in the country, it is not actively enforced and there has been no reported discrimination or hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals. The predominant Buddhist culture values tolerance and respect for all individuals, and there is a general sense of acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community.

However, as with any destination, it is important to remain cautious and aware of cultural norms and sensitivities. Public displays of affection, regardless of sexual orientation, are not common or culturally appropriate in Bhutan and may draw unwanted attention or disapproval.

Additionally, same-sex marriage is not legal in Bhutan and LGBTQ+ travelers should be prepared to navigate this challenge if traveling with a same-sex partner. It is recommended to research local customs and laws before traveling to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

14. Are vaccinations recommended or required for visitors to enter Bhutan?

It is recommended that visitors be up to date on routine vaccinations before traveling to Bhutan. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid are also recommended. Yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

15. How do laws and regulations regarding drugs and alcohol differ from those of the visitor’s home country while in Bhutan?

Laws and regulations regarding drugs and alcohol in Bhutan may differ from those of the visitor’s home country. In general, Bhutan has strict laws and penalties for the possession, use, and distribution of drugs and alcohol. The following are some key differences that visitors should be aware of:

1. Legal drinking age: In Bhutan, the legal drinking age is 18 years old. This means that anyone under 18 is not allowed to purchase or consume any type of alcoholic beverage.

2. Sale and consumption of alcohol: The sale of alcohol in Bhutan is strictly regulated by the government. It can only be purchased at licensed bars, restaurants, and hotels. It is prohibited to drink alcohol in public places like streets, parks, or while driving.

3. Use of drugs: Any form of drug use is strictly prohibited in Bhutan. This includes both illegal drugs as well as prescription medications that are not declared at the border upon entry into the country.

4. Possession and trafficking: The possession or trafficking of drugs, including small amounts for personal use, can result in severe penalties such as imprisonment or deportation.

5. Smoking: While smoking tobacco products is not illegal in Bhutan, it is highly discouraged by the government due to its negative health effects. Smoking in public places is also banned.

6. Religious sensitivity: Bhutan is a deeply religious country where Buddhism plays a significant role in everyday life. Visitors should respect local customs and avoid consuming alcohol or using drugs near religious sites.

It is important for visitors to familiarize themselves with local laws and regulations before traveling to understand their responsibilities and consequences for violating any drug or alcohol-related laws while in Bhutan.

16. Is it common for visitors to encounter discrimination based on race, religion, or nationality while in Bhutan?

It is relatively uncommon for visitors to encounter discrimination based on race, religion, or nationality in Bhutan. The country values its cultural diversity and has a strong focus on preserving its unique identity and promoting peace and harmony among its citizens. However, as with any country, incidents of discrimination can occur on an individual basis. As a visitor, it is important to respect local customs and traditions and behave appropriately to avoid any potential conflicts.

17. Are there certain cultural norms or customs that visitors should be aware of to ensure their safety while traveling through Bhutan?

Yes, there are a few cultural norms and customs that visitors should be aware of to ensure their safety while traveling through Bhutan:

1. Dress modestly: Bhutan is a conservative country, so it is important to dress appropriately to avoid unwanted attention. For both men and women, it is best to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees.

2. Respect local customs: Bhutanese people are very proud of their cultural heritage, so it is important to show respect for their customs and traditions. This includes removing your shoes when entering temples or homes, asking for permission before taking photos of people or sacred sites, and avoiding public displays of affection.

3. Do not disturb wildlife: Bhutan has a rich biodiversity, with many species of rare and endangered animals. It is important to follow designated trails and not disturb or harm any wildlife.

4. Follow local laws: It is essential to follow all local laws while traveling in Bhutan, including those related to drugs, littering, vandalism, and cultural preservation. Disrespecting the laws could result in fines or imprisonment.

5. Seek permission for trekking: If you plan on trekking in Bhutan, you must obtain a trekking permit from the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB). The TCB will also require you to hire a licensed guide for your trek.

6. Be cautious when driving: Road conditions in Bhutan can be challenging due to steep mountainsides and winding roads. It is essential to drive carefully, follow traffic rules, and hire an experienced driver.

7. Understand local manners: Bhutanese people are known for their warmth and hospitality but do have certain social etiquettes that visitors should be aware of. For example, it is polite to greet someone with “Kuzuzangpo” (hello) instead of shaking hands.

8. Avoid political discussions: While the Bhutanese people are welcoming towards tourists, they are also very protective of their political system. Avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics and religion.

9. Keep your valuables safe: While Bhutan is a relatively safe country, it is always prudent to keep your valuables secure. Avoid carrying large sums of money and do not leave your belongings unattended in public places.

10. Have a guide with you at all times: It is mandatory for tourists to have a licensed tour guide with them at all times during their stay in Bhutan. This ensures your safety and helps you understand the local culture and customs better.

18. What precautions should solo female travelers take when visiting Bhutan, if any?

While Bhutan is generally a safe and peaceful country, it is always important for solo female travelers to take some basic precautions in any destination. Some tips for solo female travelers in Bhutan include:

1. Do your research: Learn about the cultural norms, customs and traditions of Bhutan before you travel. This will help you understand what is considered appropriate behavior and dress in different situations.

2. Dress appropriately: Bhutan is a conservative country, so it is important to dress modestly, especially in more rural areas. This means covering your shoulders and knees, and avoiding revealing clothing.

3. Avoid walking alone at night: As with any destination, it is best to avoid walking alone at night, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area or have been drinking alcohol.

4. Stay in reputable accommodation: Choose reputable and well-reviewed accommodations to ensure your safety and comfort during your stay.

5. Research transportation options: Be aware of the different modes of transportation available in Bhutan and research which ones are safest for solo female travelers.

6. Keep valuables secure: Keep important documents, cash, and other valuables locked up in your hotel room or on your person at all times.

7. Use common sense: Use common sense when interacting with strangers or accepting offers of help or transportation from people you do not know.

8. Let someone know your plans: If you are traveling alone, make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

9. Be cautious of local customs and traditions: As a guest in another country, it is important to be respectful of local customs and traditions, especially as a solo traveler.

10. Trust your instincts: If something does not feel right or makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation.

19. Do local authorities recommend any specific measures or precautions to take to ensure personal safety while visiting Bhutan?

When visiting Bhutan, it is generally recommended to follow these safety precautions:

1. Hike with a local guide: While hiking in the mountains or exploring remote areas, it is best to hire a local guide who knows the area well and can ensure your safety.

2. Respect cultural and religious customs: Bhutan is a deeply spiritual country with strong Buddhist traditions. Make sure to respect local customs, dress modestly, and behave respectfully around religious sites.

3. Beware of altitude sickness: Many parts of Bhutan are located at high altitudes, so make sure to acclimatize properly if you are not used to the elevation. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, and take breaks when needed.

4. Take precautions against COVID-19: As with any destination during the pandemic, be sure to follow all local guidelines and protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19. This may include wearing a mask in public places and maintaining social distancing.

5. Be cautious when traveling by road: The roads in Bhutan can be narrow and winding, so drive carefully and be aware of other vehicles on the road. Also, be prepared for unexpected delays or road closures due to weather conditions.

6. Avoid political demonstrations: Political demonstrations are rare in Bhutan but can happen unexpectedly. It is advisable to avoid participating in any protests or gatherings as they may turn violent.

7. Be mindful of wildlife encounters: Bhutan has a diverse range of flora and fauna, including some potentially dangerous animals like bears and leopards. If you encounter any wildlife, give them space and do not disturb them.

8. Keep important documents safe: Always keep your travel documents and money safely tucked away while traveling in Bhutan.

9.Report any suspicious activity: If you see any suspicious activity or behavior, report it immediately to local authorities or notify your tour guide.

Overall, Bhutan is considered a safe country for travelers with a low crime rate. By following these precautions and using common sense, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to this beautiful country.

20. Are there any ongoing conflicts or tensions between Bhutan and its neighboring countries that potential visitors should be aware of before traveling?

Bhutan has a long-standing border dispute with China, which has resulted in tension between the two countries. In recent years, there have been reports of Chinese troops building roads and infrastructure along the disputed border, leading to increased tensions between the two countries.

Bhutan also shares a border with India, and while there have been occasional disputes over border demarcation and cross-border activities, the relationship between the two countries is generally friendly and cooperative.

It is always advisable for travelers to be aware of any political or territorial issues in a country before traveling, but the current situation in Bhutan does not pose any significant threat to visitors. The Bhutanese government maintains good diplomatic relations with its neighboring countries and works towards resolving any conflicts peacefully.