Visit your GP or travel clinic at least 6-8 weeks before departure
to ensure you have all the necessary vaccinations and that they are up to date. There is a risk of Malaria across the country, especially in rural areas below 1,700m, so consult your doctor or travel clinic about the best medication to take, especially if travelling to Bhutan with kids.
Many travellers experience stomach upsets in Bhutan. These are not usually serious, but do be prepared, and bring medication including rehydration and diarrhoea remedies to ensure this disrupts your trip as little as possible.
Familiarise yourself with the dangers of altitude sickness, especially if you are trekking in remote areas.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, emergency medical evacuation. If you do need to receive medical treatment in Bhutan, up-front payment may be required even if it is covered by your insurance.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
There is a reasonably well-equipped hospital in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, with modern diagnostic facilities such as ultrasound, MRI and CT Scan. Outside Thimphu, Bhutanese hospitals provide only basic health care.
Only drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes. Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked. Avoid cooked foods that are no longer piping hot, as well as undercooked meat and fish.
Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing to avoid being bitten: wear long sleeves, long trousers, hats and shoes (rather than sandals), and for rural and forested areas, boots are preferable, with trousers tucked in, to prevent tick bites. Additionally, leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Bhutan. Avoid swimming in fresh water and water that isn’t chlorinated, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.