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Written by Alex on November 15, 2022 Share on

Bhutan Currency – A Guide to Know About Ngultrum And More!

Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon, is one of the underrated, magnificent and unexplored part of the Asian Continent. One can’t resist from falling in love with the unblemished Himalayan backdrop and its rich flora and fauna adding to its vibrant Buddhist culture. The country has grown into a popular destination for many international tourists. Tourism is the major generator of hard-currency revenue and it also provides a stimulus for the development of the services sector leading to the holistic advancement of the entire country. Before you start your journey to this beautiful country, it is important that you are aware of the details of the Bhutan Currency and other details related to it. Read on to know more about the official currency of Bhutan and much more. This will make your travel more convenient as you will be knowing everything about the currency in the country.

Bhutan currency, Ngultrum
Image credits: Google Images

The Bhutan Currency, Ngultrum ( Nu, BTN)

The official currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum. The code for the currency is BTN and the symbol which is widely used to represent the currency is Nu. Ngultrum is used by the Bhutanese for all levels of economic trades and exchanges. 1 BTN is equivalent to 1000 cents and cents are called as Chhertum.

The Notes of Bhutan Currency

The Currency Notes acceptable in Bhutan are BTN 1, BTN 5, BTN 10, BTN 20, BTN 50, BTN 100, BTN 500 and BTN 1000. Something related to the Bhutanese culture is imprinted on the currency notes. There are also Dzong Architecture printed on the Notes. For Example, In the BTN 1000 note, the front side has a picture of the 5th King of Bhutan, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and in the backside, you can see an image of a dzong.

The front side of BTN 1000 note
Image credits: Google Images

The Coins of Bhutan Currency

The Coings which are available in Bhutan are BTN 0.20, BTN 0.25, BTN 0.5, BTN 1, BTN 5 and BTN 10. The coins or “Chhetrum” are not widely used by the locals as they use notes on a larger basis. Just like the Notes, every coin carries its own identity representing Bhutanese culture and tradition. For instance, the BTN 0.20 coins have a man working in the field imprinted on one side and on the other side, the Bhutan Emblem is printed with the value of the coin. In the same way, you can find the goldfishes of good fortune and double diamond thunderbolt imprinted on the two sides of the BTN 0.25 coin. Other than the BTN 0.2 coin, All the other coins have letters “Royal Government of Bhutan” engraved on them. Meanwhile, the BTN 0.2 coin has “Food for All” imprinted on it.

One Ngultrum coin of Bhutan
Image credits: Google Images

Indian Currency in Bhutan

India and Bhutan have been having a strong diplomatic relationship for a very long time. Due to which and the fact that Bhutan is a smaller nation without major exports and 40% of the country economy comes from India in exchange for hydroelectric power, the Indian Rupees are widely accepted in Bhutan and exchange value of 1 Rupee = 1 Ngultrum is present.
However, Notes of higher values such as INR 500, INR 1000 or INR 2000 are not accepted in Bhutan. So, it is better to use the official currency for higher-value transactions in Bhutan.

Bundles of Indian Currency Notes
Photo by on Unsplash

Exchange Rate of Bhutan Currency 

The exchange rate for the Bhutan currency is on the same track with that of India’s. The currency value depends on several factors such as the demand and supply of Bhutan currency, foreign currency, international trade, etc.

Bhutan and Euro Currency notes
Image credits: Google Images

The rate of 1 BTN in terms of American Dollars has increased considerably in the recent time. During the 1990s, the Bhutan currency value for 1 USD was BTN 26. But as of today, 1 USD is equivalent to BTN 75 approximately. Similarly, the Bhutanese value for 1 Euro is around BTN 85 as of today.

Foreign Exchange in Bhutan

Several currencies around the world like US Dollar, Pound, Euro, Swiss Franc, Hong Kong Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Singapore Dollar and Australian Dollar can be exchanged at Bhutan. The best and obvious places for the currency exchange is the exchange desk of Paro International Airport. In the case of US Dollars, USD 100 notes are easier to exchange and save a considerable amount of time too. However, They accept other currencies as well.

Various Foreign Currencies
Photo by Ethan McArthur on Unsplash

Missed to exchange it at the Airport? Need not worry as there are many bank branches in Paro and Thimphu where you can exchange currencies. There are also some hotels in both these cities that facilitate currency exchange. The challenge will only arise in smaller local towns where there aren’t many branches of the bank that allows you to exchange currencies. It is important that you exchange the necessary amount of currency in the above-suggested places before you embark your journey in the scintillating country of Bhutan.

Usage of Credit Cards and ATMs in Bhutan

Bhutan is present at the Himalayan zone and it does not have very advanced services like ATMs and Bank services in most of the towns. Credit cards and cheques aren’t accepted by most of the shopkeepers. However, they widely accept cash in Bhutan. Only Hotels, Resorts and really fancy handicrafts showrooms accept credit cards. Limited amount of ATM services are present in the major economic centres like Paro and Thimphu. Sometimes, the vendors also accept the Indian Rupees but have a check beforehand.

Facts About Currency Exchange in Bhutan

  • Ngultrum cannot be used in any country outside Bhutan as they don’t accept the currency worldwide. Hence, it is suggested that you exchange the currency at the Bhutan airport during your arrival and departure.
  • Most of the renowned hotels, banks and Forex counters at Paro Airport well known Traveller’s Cheque like American Express.
  • Make sure you have all the receipts for what you buy at Bhutan safe. You might have to produce them when you exchange ngultrum into your local currency. 
  • While you give or receive money from people, use both your hands as it is a part of Bhutanese traditions.
  • Always keep cash with you as acceptance of credit cards are a rare sight there in small towns and areas.

Prices of the necessities in Bhutan

These are the prices of a few essentials,

A water bottle – BTN 25
Charges for a minute of call in a prepaid plan – BTN 1.23
A litre of regular milk – BTN 65
A half-kilogram loaf of white bread – BTN 68
A regular meal at an average Restaurant – BTN 275
A litre of gasoline – BTN 59
A bottle of beer – BTN 70-150

Voila! You have mastered on how to spend your money to explore the land of the Thunder Dragon. It’s about time you start planning you won voyage to the land of Bhutan. Make your dream of conquering majestic landscapes by plotting a trip to Bhutan with Pickyourtrail. Also, Check out all the travel stuff from all over the world with our blogs and keep yourself updated in the travel world by following our Instagram Page.

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