Planning a trip to the remote country of Bhutan, having a piece of basic knowledge about the Bhutan currency should be on your priority list.
Bhutan currency is known as Ngultrum. The unit of the currency is Nu or BTN, which is equivalent to that of the Indian Currency, i.e., 1 Ngultrum =1 Rupee
So, to ease your pain and make your trip convenient, here is the complete information about the official currency of Bhutan.
What is the Currency of Bhutan?
Ngultrum is the official currency of Bhutan. The unit of the currency is Nu or BTN, which is equivalent to that of the Indian Currency.
Ngultrum is the officially accepted currency in Bhutan for all trades and businesses. As in the Western world, 100 cents make up 1$. Likewise, in Bhutan, 100 Chhertum makes 1 Ngultrum.
The term “Ngultrum” is derived from the word “Ngul”, meaning silver in the Bhutanese Language (Dzongkha), and “trum”, from a Hindi word used for money.
In 1960, the government of Bhutan focussed on growing the economy of the country, monetary reforms took place in 1974.
In 1974, the Royal Government of Bhutan introduced the Bhutanese Ngultrum, where 100 Chhetrums are equal to 1 Ngultrum.
The money of Bhutan or the currency pegged at par with the Indian rupees which is continuing at this time of the year.
Now the question arises,
Why Bhutan Currency is equal to Indian rupees?
That is to say, the country is a smaller nation without major exports and 40% of the country’s economy comes from India in exchange for hydroelectric power.
Also, the diplomatic relation between both countries is friendly enough to maintain the value of INR and BTN.
Currently, 1 Bhutanese Ngultrum (Nu) is equal to 1 Indian Rupee (INR).
Bhutan Currency Notes
At present, the BTN 1, BTN 5, BTN 10, BTN 20, BTN 50, BTN 100, BTN 500 and BTN 1000 currency notes come in 8 variations and are legally accepted in the country.
All the notes have something imprinted on them, which is related to the Bhutanese Culture. Whereas, the backside of the notes has a picture of Dzong.
Like on the BTN 1000 note, the front side has a picture of the 5th King of Bhutan, i.e., King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
Bhutan Currency Coins
BTN 0.20, BTN 0.25, BTN 0.5, BTN 1, BTN 5 and BTN 10 value coins are also present in the country. But as of now coins or “Chhetrum” are not widely used by the locals.
In addition, BTN 0.20 or Ch. 20 has a print of a man working in the field, and on the reverse side, a lesser version of the Bhutan Emblem and the value of the coin is written.
Likewise, on BTN 0.25 or Ch. 25, golden fishes of good fortune are imprinted on the obverse and a double diamond thunderbolt on the reverse side.
The same goes with the BTN 0.5 or Ch. 50 and BTN 1 or Nu. 1, treasure vase (one of the 8 revered Buddhist symbols) and coats of arms, i.e., the Bhutan Emblem are imprinted respectively.
As a result, every coin carries its own identity with all the Bhutanese culture and tradition.
Exchange rate of Bhutanese Currency with Indian Rupee, Dollar, and Euro
To clarify, the exchange rate of the currency varies on different factors. Like in every country, the currency floats.
At present (August 2019), 1 Bhutanese Ngultrum (Nu) is equal to 1 Indian Rupee and 100 USD is equal to 7200 Nu. Check the current rate here.
In the same way, the Western country currency, 100 Euro is equal to 7800 Nu.
Foreign Currency Exchange in Bhutan (For Foreigners)
If you’re entering Bhutan by air, foreign currencies can be exchanged at the Paro Airport’s exchange desk.
In the first place, currencies that can be exchanged into Ngultrum are the US Dollar, Pound, Euro, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Hong Kong Dollar, Australian Dollar, and Singapore Dollar.
Just make sure to carry lower denomination notes as they can be easily exchanged at the counter and will consume less time in the process.
Besides, Bank of Bhutan branches in Paro and Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan can also be considered for the exchange of foreign currency notes. Likewise, there are a few hotels as well where you can try exchanging foreign currency for local currency.
Tip: Please use both hands while giving and taking money, just a Bhutanese tradition.
Credit Cards and ATMs in Bhutan
Like any other country, Bhutan has an ATM card facility but is not as advanced as the other countries. Being a small kingdom, bank services are quite limited.
Cash is widely accepted all over the country. Credit cards are accepted only in hotels, resorts, and expensive handicraft shops. But likely you’ve to pay a 5% surcharge for the service.
How much money to carry while visiting Bhutan?
Bhutan is the small Himalayan Kingdom and transportation is costly, so traveling to Bhutan is a bit expensive. Day to day things are at higher prices because of the supply.
So now you know the value of Ngultrum, assume the expense of Nu. 600-700 per person daily which includes food and other basic needs.
Generally, for foreigners the whole trip is planned and paid for in advance, the tour operator takes care of your traveling and staying expenses. Only for the basic needs, the tourist has to take care of their own.
Above all, the currency of Bhutan is not accepted in any other country. So before leaving Bhutan make sure to exchange all your left Ngultrum for your basic currency.
Shopping in Bhutan
Eventually, when you’re visiting Bhutan, you might be interested in doing some shopping out there.
Who doesn’t love souvenirs? Though Bhutan is known for its tradition and culture, selling local products is the essential thing you must spend your money on.
For instance, Bhutanese Handicrafts like wooden bowls and cups, bamboo products, woven fabrics, jackets, and handmade paper are a few of the items you can spend the currency in Bhutan.
Also, handwoven textiles woven from cotton and silk are famous in the country.
Apart from that, gold and silver jewelry is also another type of souvenir you can go for.
As a matter of fact, you can save some money on Bhutan or the Bhutan currency as a memory to stay with if you belong to that currency collection category.
Since Bhutan is a Buddhist country, paintings & sculptures of Buddha and other Buddhist Heritage are popular among tourists.
What’re you waiting for now?
Plan a trip to Bhutan and make sure to read our other informative articles on the beautiful country “Bhutan”. Still, have a doubt about how to travel to this beautiful country, check here.
Can I use Indian Currency in Bhutan?
Yes, you can use Indian Currency in Bhutan. The value of Bhutanese currency (Ngultrum) and Indian currency are the same.
What is the currency of Bhutan?
Ngultrum is the official currency of Bhutan.
Can I use USD in Bhutan?
Foreign currencies are only accepted at some hotels and resorts. It’s better to convert the USD to the Bhutanese Currency.
Can I use Indian Debit Cards in Bhutan?
Yes, you can use the Indian Debit Card in Bhutan for ATM transactions depending on the international transactions facility activated on your card.