Safety in Bhutan

Welcome to Bhutan, a serene haven located in the majestic Himalayas. Known for its pristine landscapes and rich Buddhist culture, Bhutan is also celebrated for its remarkable safety, making it a top choice for travelers seeking both adventure and peace of mind. The kingdom's exceptionally low crime rate reflects its peaceful society and strong cultural values, ensuring that visitors can explore its wonders with confidence. Whether you're a solo explorer or a family on holiday, Bhutan's welcoming atmosphere and societal stability provide a secure and hospitable environment.

At Amen Bhutan Tours and Treks, we understand the importance of safety in creating a memorable travel experience. We are committed to offering a secure environment for all our guests by providing thorough travel insurance, ensuring access to well-maintained transportation, and employing knowledgeable local guides. From navigating the winding mountain roads to exploring ancient monasteries, every aspect of your journey is meticulously planned to guarantee safety without compromising the thrill of exploration. Discover the unparalleled beauty and tranquility of Bhutan with us, where your safety is our priority.

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Low Crime Rate

Bhutan is widely recognized for its remarkably low crime rate, making it one of the safest countries in the world for both residents and visitors. This low incidence of crime can be attributed to several factors that contribute to the overall security and peaceful nature of the country:

  • Strong Community Values: Bhutanese society is deeply rooted in Buddhist principles which emphasize compassion, respect, and non-violence. These values are ingrained in everyday life, contributing to low levels of aggression and criminal behavior.
  • Effective Legal System: Bhutan has a well-structured legal system that efficiently upholds the law, ensuring that any criminal activities are dealt with promptly and justly. This serves as a deterrent to potential offenders and maintains the orderliness of the society.
  • Government Policies: The government of Bhutan places a strong emphasis on Gross National Happiness, which prioritizes the well-being of its citizens over economic growth. This focus on societal happiness reduces desperation and inequality, often cited as root causes of crime.
  • Cultural Homogeneity: The cultural homogeneity of Bhutan also plays a role in its low crime rate. A strong sense of community and mutual respect among the Bhutanese helps in maintaining harmony and reducing conflict.
  • Tourism Regulation: Bhutan’s unique approach to tourism, which includes traveling with a registered guide and a daily tariff, limits the influx of external influences and helps in maintaining control and security, directly impacting the crime rate positively.

This exceptionally low crime rate contributes significantly to the appeal of Bhutan as a safe travel destination, allowing tourists to explore its natural beauty and cultural richness with peace of mind.


Guided Tours Requirement

In Bhutan, the requirement for tourists to travel with a registered guide is a unique policy that significantly enhances the safety and quality of the travel experience. This policy is part of Bhutan's approach to responsible tourism, which aims to protect the country's cultural and environmental heritage while ensuring the safety and satisfaction of visitors. Here are some key aspects of the guided tours requirement in Bhutan:

  • Regulated Tourism: Bhutan employs a controlled tourism strategy known as "High Value, Low Impact." This approach limits the number of visitors to prevent overcrowding and environmental degradation. Tourists must travel with a registered guide and through an approved tour operator, like Amen Bhutan Tours and Treks.
  • Enhanced Safety: Traveling with a knowledgeable local guide ensures that tourists can navigate the country safely. Guides are well-versed in local laws, customs, and the terrain, which is particularly important in Bhutan's mountainous landscape. This reduces the risk of accidents and ensures that tourists do not inadvertently engage in activities that could be harmful or disrespectful to the local culture.
  • Cultural Insights: Guides provide valuable insights into Bhutanese culture, traditions, and history, enriching the travel experience. They act as interpreters not just of language but of cultural practices, helping tourists to interact more meaningfully with local communities.
  • Support Local Economy: The guided tour policy supports the local economy by providing employment to Bhutanese citizens. Guides, drivers, and other tourism-related workers gain stable employment through this policy, contributing to the overall economic well-being of the country.
  • Quality Assurance: Since all tour guides are registered and trained, tourists are guaranteed a certain level of professionalism and quality in their travel experience. This ensures that visitors leave with a positive impression of Bhutan, further enhancing its reputation as a premium travel destination.

By requiring tourists to travel with a guide, Bhutan not only maintains its unique cultural identity and pristine environment but also ensures that visitors have a safe, informative, and enjoyable trip.


Respectful and Hospitable Culture

Bhutan's respectful and hospitable culture plays a crucial role in making it a favored destination for travelers seeking a serene and welcoming environment. This culture, deeply rooted in Buddhist traditions, emphasizes values such as compassion, kindness, and respect for all beings, which are reflected in the daily interactions and behaviors of the Bhutanese people. Here are some key aspects of Bhutan’s respectful and hospitable culture:

  • Community and Family Values: The Bhutanese society places great importance on family and community relationships. This strong sense of community fosters a welcoming atmosphere where visitors often feel like they are part of a large family. This close-knit community approach ensures that guests are looked after with great care and respect.
  • Spiritual Foundations: Buddhism plays a significant role in shaping the behavioral norms and social etiquette in Bhutan. The principles of peace, non-violence, and empathy guide the interactions among the Bhutanese and extend to how they treat visitors. This spiritual foundation encourages a peaceful coexistence and genuine respect for all individuals.
  • Guest as God: There is a local saying in Bhutan that guests are like gods, which reflects the high level of respect and honor bestowed upon visitors. This ethos ensures that tourists are treated with the utmost hospitality, making their travel experience exceptionally pleasant and memorable.
  • Cultural Pride and Preservation: The Bhutanese are proud of their cultural heritage and are eager to share it with visitors. This pride is evident in their festivals, traditional dress, and daily rituals. Tour guides and locals alike are usually more than willing to explain the significance of their traditions, offering tourists deeper insights into their way of life.
  • Helpfulness and Generosity: Visitors to Bhutan often remark on the helpfulness and generosity of the local people. Whether it's assisting with directions, offering a warm meal, or simply sharing a story, the Bhutanese go out of their way to assist and engage with tourists, enhancing the overall travel experience.

The respectful and hospitable culture of Bhutan not only ensures a safe environment for travelers but also creates a uniquely rewarding and enriching travel experience that resonates long after they return home.


Stable Political Environment

Bhutan's stable political environment is a cornerstone of its national identity and a significant factor in its overall safety and prosperity. Since transitioning to a constitutional monarchy in 2008, Bhutan has enjoyed a period of political stability that has further enhanced its appeal as a peaceful and secure destination for tourists. Here are some key features of Bhutan's political landscape:

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  • Constitutional Monarchy: Bhutan shifted from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, implementing a democratic system while retaining the King as a key figure in the governance structure. This change was initiated by the Fourth King, who believed that democracy would ensure a fair and prosperous future for the nation.
  • Democratic Development: Since the introduction of democracy, Bhutan has held multiple free and fair elections, with active participation from its citizens. This democratic process has contributed to the country’s stability, allowing for a peaceful transition of power and a government that reflects the people's will.
  • Gross National Happiness: Bhutan is famous for its unique focus on Gross National Happiness (GNH) over Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This philosophy places the well-being of its citizens and the environment above economic metrics. GNH principles guide government policy and priorities, ensuring that development is sustainable and benefits all sections of society.
  • Legislative Framework: Bhutan has a well-developed legislative framework that supports the enforcement of laws, protection of rights, and resolution of conflicts. This legal structure supports stability by ensuring that grievances can be addressed through formal channels, reducing the potential for unrest.
  • International Relations: Bhutan maintains cautious and strategic international relations, choosing to stay neutral in global conflicts and focusing on peaceful coexistence. Its foreign policies are carefully crafted to maintain sovereignty while promoting international goodwill and cooperation.
  • Community and Religious Harmony: The political environment in Bhutan also supports strong community bonds and religious harmony. The government promotes respect and tolerance among its diverse religious communities, contributing to social cohesion and stability.

This stable political environment not only secures a safe atmosphere for the Bhutanese but also assures travelers of a peaceful journey within the country. Tourists can explore Bhutan knowing that the nation’s governance is committed to maintaining a secure, harmonious, and welcoming setting for all.


Comprehensive Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is crucial for any trip to Bhutan, given the country’s unique geographical and regulatory conditions. Travel insurance not only provides peace of mind but also ensures that visitors are covered in case of unexpected circumstances. Here's why comprehensive travel insurance is essential when visiting Bhutan, and what it should typically include:

  • Medical Coverage: Despite Bhutan having adequate healthcare facilities in major towns, remote areas might not be as well-equipped. Comprehensive medical coverage is essential for handling unexpected illnesses or injuries. It should cover everything from doctor visits and hospital stays to medical evacuations, which can be costly but necessary if serious health issues arise in remote locations.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption: Travel plans can change unexpectedly due to various reasons such as illness, emergencies at home, or unforeseen political events. Travel insurance that covers trip cancellations and interruptions can reimburse expenses for flights, tour bookings, and accommodations that might otherwise be non-refundable.
  • Baggage and Personal Belongings: Loss, theft, or damage to luggage and personal items can happen during travel. Insurance that covers personal belongings helps replace or compensate for the loss of valuable items, reducing inconvenience and potential expenses during your trip.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation: Given Bhutan’s rugged terrain and the adventurous nature of many of its tourist activities, there is a possibility of needing emergency evacuation, especially if engaging in trekking or visiting isolated areas. Insurance should cover the costs of evacuation and repatriation back to one’s home country if necessary.
  • 24/7 Assistance Services: A good travel insurance policy offers round-the-clock assistance services. These services can provide crucial support, such as information on the nearest medical facilities, assistance with lost passports, and guidance in emergency situations.
  • Legal Liability: Coverage for legal liability is also important, as it protects against the costs associated with being sued for accidentally causing injury to a person or damaging property.

Ensuring that you have comprehensive travel insurance when visiting Bhutan is an integral part of planning your journey. It not only aligns with the requirements for entering and traveling through the country but also addresses the specific risks associated with travel in such a unique destination. Visitors can then fully enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Bhutan with the assurance that they are well-protected against unforeseen events.


Natural Hazard Preparedness

Bhutan's natural landscape is breathtakingly beautiful but also presents certain hazards, particularly due to its mountainous terrain and variable weather conditions. Being prepared for natural hazards is crucial for ensuring a safe visit. Here’s how Bhutan and travelers can address these challenges:

Landslides and Flash Floods: Due to its mountainous terrain, Bhutan is prone to landslides and flash floods, especially during the monsoon season. Roads can be blocked, and travel plans may be disrupted.

  • Preparedness Measures: The Bhutanese government monitors weather conditions and landslide risks closely. Travelers should stay informed through local news and heed travel advisories issued by the government or tour operators.
  • Infrastructure: Bhutan has invested in engineering solutions like retaining walls and proper drainage systems to mitigate these risks. Regular maintenance and checks are performed, especially on routes popular with tourists.

Earthquakes: Situated in a seismically active region, Bhutan is susceptible to earthquakes. Buildings and infrastructure are increasingly designed to withstand earthquakes, following stringent construction codes.

  • Community Preparedness: Local communities are trained in basic earthquake preparedness, including evacuation plans and emergency procedures.
  • Tourist Information: Tourists should familiarize themselves with the safety procedures in place at their accommodations and follow the guidance of local authorities and guides.

Sudden Weather Changes: The weather in Bhutan can change rapidly, especially in the mountains. Sudden drops in temperature and unexpected snowfall can occur.

  • Clothing and Gear: Travelers are advised to carry appropriate clothing and gear for variable weather conditions, including waterproof and warm layers.
  • Guide Expertise: Experienced guides can provide valuable advice on handling sudden weather changes and are equipped to make informed decisions about adjusting travel plans if necessary.

Wildlife Encounters: While wildlife encounters are rare, the forests of Bhutan are home to various species, and it is possible to come across wildlife during treks.

  • Respect Wildlife: Travelers should keep a safe distance from animals and follow the guidelines provided by their guides to avoid attracting or provoking wildlife.
  • Precautionary Measures: Guides are trained to handle wildlife encounters and carry necessary safety equipment.

Altitude Sickness: Traveling to high altitudes in Bhutan can lead to altitude sickness.

  • Acclimatization: It’s important for travelers to acclimatize properly by gradually ascending and spending a few days at moderate altitudes.
  • Hydration and Diet: Staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet can help in adjusting to high altitudes.

By being aware of these natural hazards and taking the necessary precautions, visitors can safely enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Bhutan. Preparation, respect for nature, and adherence to local guidance are key to a safe and enjoyable travel experience.


Health Facilities

Bhutan's approach to healthcare is reflective of its overall philosophy of emphasizing well-being and happiness. The country has made significant strides in improving health facilities, particularly since the introduction of its universal healthcare system. Here's an overview of health facilities in Bhutan, particularly in the context of travel:

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  • Healthcare Accessibility: Bhutan provides universal free healthcare to all its citizens, which also extends some services to tourists. The country has a network of basic health units, district hospitals, and a national referral hospital in Thimphu, which offer a range of medical services.
  • Rural and Remote Areas: While health facilities in urban centers like Thimphu and Paro are reasonably well-equipped, those in rural or remote areas may be less sophisticated. In these locations, healthcare services are basic, and in case of serious medical conditions, evacuation to a better-equipped facility or even out of the country might be necessary.
  • Medical Staff: Bhutanese health facilities are staffed by well-trained healthcare professionals. Many doctors and nurses have received training abroad, ensuring a good standard of care. However, the availability of specialists is limited, and more complex medical issues may require treatment outside Bhutan.
  • Pharmacies and Medications: Pharmacies are available in major towns, and basic medications are readily accessible. However, it's advisable for travelers to bring sufficient quantities of any prescribed medications since specific brands or formulations may not be available.
  • Health Advice for Travelers: Visitors should ensure that their vaccinations are up-to-date, with recommendations including Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Tetanus. Due to Bhutan’s varying altitudes, precautions against altitude sickness should be considered. Travelers are advised to acclimatize appropriately and stay hydrated. It is highly recommended that all travelers have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical treatment and evacuation, as medical evacuations can be prohibitively expensive and logistically complex.
  • COVID-19 Considerations: Bhutan has managed the COVID-19 pandemic effectively, with stringent measures that have included testing and quarantine for incoming travelers. As travel norms evolve, staying updated on the latest health protocols is crucial.
  • Emergency Services: Emergency medical services are available, but may not be as prompt or accessible as in more developed countries, especially in remote areas. Having local emergency numbers and knowing the location of the nearest medical facility is important.

Overall, while Bhutan’s healthcare system is robust by regional standards, travelers should prepare for limited access in remote areas and ensure they have adequate health coverage to deal with potential emergencies.


Emergency Contacts

Having a list of emergency contacts is essential for travelers to Bhutan, ensuring they can quickly reach the necessary services in case of an emergency. Here’s a detailed guide on the key emergency contacts and additional safety tips:

Emergency Contact Numbers in Bhutan

  • Police: For any immediate law enforcement assistance, dial 113. This number can be used for reporting crimes, accidents, or any suspicious activities.
  • Ambulance: For medical emergencies, dial 112. This service is crucial in the event of a health crisis requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Fire Service: In case of a fire, dial 110. This number connects you to the fire department for rapid response to prevent or manage fire incidents.
  • Tourist Police: Bhutan has a dedicated police service to assist tourists. They can help with issues specifically related to travelers, such as lost passports or other travel-related challenges.

Additional Useful Contacts

  • Bhutan’s National Referral Hospital: For more comprehensive medical services, contact the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu. It is the primary hospital equipped to handle more serious health issues.
  • Tour Operator: Always keep the contact details of your tour operator handy, such as Amen Bhutan Tours and Treks. They can assist with a range of issues, from lost travel documents to local guidance and emergency procedures.
  • Embassy or Consulate: If you’re a foreign national, it’s wise to have the contact information for your embassy or consulate within Bhutan or the nearest country that serves Bhutan. They can assist with legal issues, lost passports, and in emergencies affecting nationals from their respective countries.

Safety Tips

  • Save Contacts: Before traveling, save these emergency numbers in your phone and carry a physical copy as a backup in case your phone is unavailable.
  • Local SIM Card: Consider purchasing a local SIM card to ensure connectivity. This can help you make calls even if there's no internet access.
  • Language: Learn a few key phrases in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan, such as asking for help or directing emergency services.
  • Location Awareness: Always be aware of your surroundings and know the address or description of your location. This is helpful when you need to quickly inform emergency services where to come.
  • Travel Insurance: Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance that includes coverage for emergencies. This should cover medical evacuation, which can be crucial given Bhutan's rugged terrain.

By being prepared with the right emergency contacts and following these safety tips, you can ensure a safer and more secure travel experience in Bhutan.


Bhutan stands out as a premier travel destination, not only for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage but also for its exceptional safety record. With a low crime rate, stable political environment, and respectful local culture, visitors can explore this serene Himalayan kingdom with peace of mind. The requirement for guided tours adds an extra layer of safety, ensuring that travelers have knowledgeable guides to navigate the terrain and cultural nuances. Furthermore, comprehensive travel insurance and readily available emergency contacts provide an additional safety net. Whether you're trekking through stunning mountain passes or soaking in the spiritual atmosphere of ancient monasteries, Bhutan offers both adventure and security, making it an ideal choice for tourists seeking a tranquil and safe travel experience.


FAQs on Safety in Bhutan 

Q: How safe is Bhutan for tourists?

A: Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world for tourists due to its low crime rate and stable political climate. The government's strict tourism policies also ensure that all visitors are well looked after.


Q: Is Bhutan safe for solo travelers, including women?

A: Yes, Bhutan is extremely safe for solo travelers, including women. The local culture is respectful and hospitable, and the presence of guides further ensures the safety of all tourists.


Q: What should I do in case of an emergency in Bhutan?

A: In case of an emergency, you can dial 113 for police, 112 for ambulance, and 110 for fire services. It's also advisable to keep the contact details of your tour operator and the nearest embassy or consulate handy.


Q: Are there any health concerns I should be aware of before traveling to Bhutan?

A: While Bhutan has no major endemic diseases, it’s recommended to consult with a travel doctor for recommended vaccinations like Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Also, prepare for altitude sickness if you plan to trek in high-altitude areas.


Q: How are the road conditions in Bhutan?

A: Roads in Bhutan can be narrow and winding, especially in mountainous areas. However, they are generally well-maintained. Traveling with an experienced driver provided by your tour operator is advised.


Q: Do I need travel insurance for Bhutan?

A: Yes, it is highly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellation, and evacuation. This is especially important given Bhutan’s remote and rugged terrain.


Q: What natural hazards should I be aware of?

A: Bhutan is prone to natural hazards like landslides and flash floods, particularly during the monsoon season. Always check local weather advisories and plan your travel accordingly.


Q: How does Bhutan handle political disputes?

A: Bhutan is known for its political stability with a strong constitutional framework that effectively handles any disputes. This stability contributes significantly to the safety of the country.


Q: What should I do if I lose my passport in Bhutan?

A: If you lose your passport, contact your embassy or consulate immediately. Also, inform your tour operator and the local police to get the necessary support for replacing your travel documents.


Q: Are there any specific safety tips for hiking or trekking in Bhutan?

A: When hiking or trekking in Bhutan, always follow the guidance of your guide, stay on marked trails, and ensure you have the proper gear. Also, be prepared for sudden weather changes and carry necessary supplies.


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