As elsewhere in the world, it has become customary in Bhutan to reward excellent service with a cash tip for the local staff of guides and drivers who will be assisting you during your stay in Bhutan. Of course, all tipping is optional and by no means mandatory, however, if you feel that your staff and drivers have performed at a good or at excellent level, it is a great way to let them know you appreciate their efforts.
Our leaders and guides are all certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and have in-depth knowledge of the country and speak fluent English. They receive bi-annual training and courses to update themselves with the course of events in and around the country. They are all certified in a First Response course conducted by NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) a wilderness leadership & education school offering expedition-length courses. They can make all the difference to your trip here.
The national language is Dzongkha. English is widely spoken in major towns and is a medium of education in schools. Other widely spoken languages are Nepali, Bumthap, Sharchop and Hindi. There are a host of local dialects spoken in small pockets within the country.
The food is varied and every region has its own specialty. Try the famous Chili and cheese, known as the ‘Ema Datsi’ which has fast become to be a favorite of everyone. Drink only bottled water on tours and on trek. Yangphel staff will provide you with boiled drinking water each night during treks. Hotels and restaurants generally serve Indian, Chinese, Continental and Bhutanese food. A reasonable variety of both hard and soft drinks are available in hotels, restaurants and shops in most towns. Many Bhutanese enjoy drinking traditional homemade alcoholic brews made from wheat, millet or rice known as "Ara" the moonshine.
The main health risks are similar to other South Asian countries, namely diarrhea, respiratory infection or more unusual tropical infection. It is wise to have health insurance, and although vaccinations are not required they are recommended. When trekking there are also risks associated with altitude sickness and accidents. In the event of health problems there are basic hospital facilities in each district headquarters.
The crime rate is currently extremely low, making Bhutan one of the safer places in the world. It is rare to feel at all insecure within the country.