I've had so much fun emailing back and forth with people who have written to say they are traveling to Bhutan. They ask my advice! I am so thrilled to give advice. I've put some of the things here that I am most often asked and I've included visuals so you get the full effect.
1. Get ready to have your mind blown. The flight into Paro Valley is phenomenal. You'll notice a perceptible difference before you get off the plane in Paro and take in the magnificent landscape of mountains, pine trees, picturesque farmhouses, and temples high up on the sides of mountains. Everything is intensely green. It doesn't look or smell like any other place on earth. The airport terminal looks like a temple. The air is fresh, clean, dry, and thin. Take big gulps of it. Breathe in and out lavishly and take it a little easy at first because you are very high up in the mountains-- about a mile high. Drink lots of bottled water. You can get it anywhere. At this time of year there will be bright blue skies and it will be cool but sunny. You'll see Bhutanese men in gho and women in kira and they will all be smiling. If they're not smiling it's because they're busy stamping your passport. Smile at them and they will smile back.
2. Wear easy, uncomplicated clothing that's comfortable and that you can layer. Wear nice, sturdy shoes. Peel off sweaters, jackets, and shawls during the day and pile them on in the afternoon when the sun goes down. I like to wear black long pants and skirts, and black or dark colored tops, and then buy colorful shawls and jackets and bags as accessories. There are lots of colorful Bhutanese-made things in the markets. And jewelry! They are unique and beautiful and more expensive than things you get in India. That's because they are hand woven and it takes a long time. Things are less expensive the farther away from Thimphu and Paro you get. Dress nicely when you visit temples. The Bhutanese will appreciate your effort.
3. This is the way the dogs look in Thimphu during the day. At night they are awake and running around and making lots of noise. Bring earplugs if you think you might not be able to sleep with dogs barking incessantly. It you spend more time in Thimphu, eventually you won't be able to sleep unless the dogs are barking.
4. I love the walk up to Sangaygang above Thimphu. It's also called BBS tower. You can see the Takins on the way up and get some magnificent views of the valley. I guess I don't really need to tell you, but take lots of pictures.
5. In Thimphu tell your guide to arrange a visit to the private Choki Art School in Kabesa, which is a 20 minute drive north of Thimphu. Insist on it. Excellent guides will know how to do this. It's a gorgeous place and you'll enjoy the setting and meeting the students. It's also a great place to buy gifts like wood carvings, embroidery, weaving, and thangka paintings. Prices are reasonable and 100 percent of what you pay goes to the students. And most of them will send it home to help support their families. The school is for "disadvantaged youth," and they learn a trade and it is a gorgeous place to visit. Talking and engaging with the students is great fun, and you'll get a good idea of how Bhutanese young people from the villages think and act. They are charming. Visit the Post Office in Thimphu and get stamps. In Punakha besides visiting the Dzong, go to Nysegang Chorten at the other end of the valley and Dojaga, a private temple. If you have the time I highly recommend visiting Bumthang. The walk to Taktsang in Paro is amazing. If you don't want to walk the whole way, stop and have tea at the cafeteria half way up.
7. Bring cash or travelers' checks as many places still don't accept credit cards, and you'll get a better deal on things you buy if you pay cash. There are a few ATMs, but they don't always have money in them.
8. I wear a transdermal patch traveling long distances because I get motion sickness. You can get Dramamine at the local pharmacies. The roads are winding and east of Thimphu there are many potholes because of all of the heavy trucks plying them to supply the numerous hydroelectric projects being built in the country. Travel can be uncomfortable, but you'll be glad you endured once you get to where you're going.