Life in Bhutan

Bhutan's First and Only A+ Accredited Institution      Inspiring Education in Bhutan

Key information

Population   : Bhutan approximately 700K; Thimphu approx. 115K.

Languages   : Dzongkha is the national language, but English is official and widely spoken.

You are likely to hear other Bhutanese languages, Nepali and Hindi. Others including Nepali and Hindi Currency, ngultrum [1 USD = approx. Nu 68; at par with Indian Rupees].

Altitude          : Between 2,300 - 2,700 meters in Thimphu

Country & City Code : Bhutan’s country code is 975 and Thimphu City code is 02 for fixed lines.

To call from a mobile to fixed line, you need to use the city code first.

RTC Location   : Ngabiphu (past Babesa or past Serbithang), Thimphu

Distance from City centre     : 11 kms

We are located about 20 minutes from the city centre. Regular scheduled bus services from RTC to the city are available and you can purchase bus tickets/passes to avail these. For 1-way travel its 25 Nu, and 50 Nu for round-trips. If you are travelling by a Taxi/Cab the fare will be approximately around Nu. 300 during the day and Nu. 400 during night time, depending on the drivers and the fare. You can pay for a private taxi or share the taxi with up to 4 passengers. If you find a reliable taxi driver, you can always take the number and ask for their working hours as there are no bus routes scheduled for Sundays from RTC to town.



Studying and living in Bhutan will be an experience of wonderment- one that will hopefully change not only the way you think about and see the world, but also the way you live. In Bhutan you will experience a part of the world that is much simpler and slower in many ways than that of which you are likely accustomed to, though one which is changing fast. The country is still very traditional and religiously minded. You will also have the chance to experience one of the world’s last vast natural areas as part of the vast Himalayan biodiversity hotspot and enjoy beautiful nature trails. This is a country where people often fluently speak three to four different languages, wear their traditional attire, and a place where you might feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

It’s a different world – you’ll also be challenged to keep an open mind and be think about others using broader frameworks. Try and question your preconceptions and realize they’re based mostly on your own upbringing, culture, and nationality, so your values and norms are not universal. Things will naturally be different here. As a simple example, Bhutan as a developing country does not have infrastructure comparable to developed regions, and its culture and environment are unique. Students from developed countries would typically be interested in studying here for reasons other than strictly a ‘fun and sun’ modern study-abroad experience, though we find that they end up having very meaningful experiences that they think back very fondly on.

Western style efficiency will never be the norm here; for example, power and internet (already pretty slow) might go out occasionally, or certain bureaucratic procedures, class experience or living situation might confound you once in a while. Take these kinds of things as personal challenges to reflect on and grow from. Of course, the experience of living in Bhutan can be priceless. This is really the crux of it - bottom line is we all do our part (the things we have control over) the best we can. For everything else, maintain high expectations and strive for improvement, but be prepared when things don't go according to plan.

Thimphu is as modern as it gets in Bhutan and you can find most of the basics here (groceries, goods, generic clothes, basic electronics). There are entertainment and dining options, though it’s the natural beauty and outdoor activities that are the biggest plus points. The weather is mild to very cold and there’s no real concept of insulation or central heating anywhere in Bhutan (and space heaters can only do so much) – you’ll be bundled up for about half the year.

Bhutan is a Buddhist nation. As in any multinational environment, cultural sensitivity and tolerance are necessary for all members of our community. Keeping this in mind is particularly helpful if you find yourself getting frustrated with certain inconveniences or cultural differences. Bhutan is classified as a ‘least developed’ country, and its landlocked status in complex geopolitical region and difficult geography would have historically constrained any potential for industrialization and strong economic growth. Nor are ‘development’ and ‘growth’ for their own sake particularly valued in Bhutan. Keep in mind that such approaches in many developed countries have historically occurred on the backs of exploited natural resources and even exploited peoples!

Bhutan aspires towards ‘Gross National Happiness’. Not happiness in the fleeting or individual sense, but the kind of lasting overall societal well-being that comes from a just society living in harmony with itself and with the natural world.