Location: Places >> Central Asia >> Bhutan
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good gifts to unknown people in Bhutan
Posted September 3rd, 2012 - 2:39 pm from Anji, China
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Posted September 3rd, 2012 - 3:22 pm by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
From what I have heard, Bhutan is economically better off than other regions in the area and due to daily (?) flights from Bangkok a lot of merchandise has obviously become available in Bhutan - I would think that batteries and mobile phones are amongst those products.

I would guess that people might appreciate things from your country, whether this is a small coin as a token (although personally I have my reservations to give away money in any form) or a postcard ... and I assume that originally you are not from China.

You probably know, but if you are flying DrukAir which seems to be the only way for Westerners to enter Bhutan, you are only allowed 20kg max and as far as I know this includes your handluggage which is strictly limited to 5kg. There is of course the possibility to pay for excess baggage.

I did a bit of research because I have signed up with an organisation to volunteer as a teacher in Bhutan in 2013, but so far I have not been. If the above is (partly) not true, I apologize but assume that someone better informed will give you the correct answer.

Personally, I think it is quite difficult to find a useful give-away which could turn out be useful to a numer of people but a small unique souvenir they will remember you by might be appreciated.


Posted September 3rd, 2012 - 4:06 pm by from Geneva, Switzerland (Permalink)
Farmers in the highlands might appreciate good quality woolen clothing (not clothes that will fall apart quickly though): hats, long socks, sweaters, gloves or down vests. Remember that people live in a cold country without heating. In Thimphu a souvenir from your country, perhaps a bottle of Maotai or a Buddhist woodcarving, might be better appreciated.

However, spending time with people and displaying a genuine interest in their lives and preoccupations is often a safer bet than gifts. As in any country, gifts should be carefully accompanied with the appropriate communication to avoid giving the impression that you are being patronising towards people or trying to use money to buy friendship. If you are close to a town centre then treating people to a good dinner at a local restaurant (zakhang) is almost never the wrong thing to do as it is sociable and shared.

Posted September 3rd, 2012 - 4:31 pm by from Geneva, Switzerland (Permalink)
Very importantly, when giving gifts, make sure to buy enough khatas (white silk scarves) in Thimphu to wrap each gift in at the time of giving it. This symbolises purity of intent.

Posted September 3rd, 2012 - 6:54 pm by from Bangalore, India (Permalink)
Novel idea.

Interesting souvenirs, may be some warm wollen wear, books and play kits for the children ... a few things that come to mind :)

Posted September 4th, 2012 - 8:37 am from Anji, China
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Posted September 4th, 2012 - 10:26 am by from Reading, England (Permalink)
Peter - thats a great gesture.

Other than a town or village centre, a large population of Bhutan live on elevated areas. Any practical tool to help them carry large weights could be of huge help. Locally, they use a huge basket, fill it with what they want and then carry it in such a way that bulk of the weight falls on the tip of their foreheads.

On clothing - most of Bhutanese stick to their traditional clothing for most of the day. Woolen clothing would be of help in the night, yes.