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Telephone

Public call offices (PCOs) are becoming rarer throughout the country, as the mobile service is generally excellent. Most hotels can arrange local and international calls for a premium, though few have in-room direct-dial facilities.

Local calls cost around Nu 1 per minute, or Nu 2 per minute long distance. International calls cost Nu 18 to Nu 50 per minute, or Nu 7.5 to India.

A useful number:

1600 Domestic and International directory inquiries

Mobile Phones

As long as your phone is unlocked you can buy a B-Mobile or Tashi Cell SIM card for both local and international use and top it up with prepaid cards.

Bhutanese Mobile Phone Companies

A B-Mobile SIM card for tourists is available at any telecom shop in Thimphu for Nu 100, which includes talk time worth Nu 100 and is valid for one month. Your passport must be shown at the time of purchase. Further top-ups are available in multiples of Nu 100. B- Mobile (www.druknet.bt) has the best coverage; its numbers start with 17. Tashi Cell (www.tashicell.com) has similar rates but more limited coverage; its numbers start with 77.

Local call charges vary from Nu 0.40 to Nu 0.70 per 15 seconds, depending on the time of day and network called. Text messages are Nu 0.70. ISD charges are Nu 4 per minute for India and from Nu 18 to Nu 50 per minute for the rest of the world.

Bhutan Telecom provides satellite phones using the Thuria system, which allows direct dialling from anywhere in the country, even on a trek. Some tour operators have these phones or they can rent them, though the charges are higher than for normal calls.