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10 Things You Must Know Before Planning a Trip to Bhutan

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Situated in the east side of the enormous and gorgeous Himalayas, Bhutan is visualized as the land of monasteries, temples and of course, mesmerizing natural beauty and one of the most eye-catching wilderness. The country is unlike any other. There are unprecedented travel experiences, hiking, trekking, adventure, and spiritual that entice every visitor. PErtinently, Bhutan opened it’s borders for tourists after 1974, but more and more number of visitors are now visiting the country that contributes in making revenue for the country. The “High value, low impact” slogan which fits with its sustainable  methodology, has been in the tourism policy of Bhutan ever since that implies exclusivity and high production for the kingdom.

If you fancy a trip to this wonderful Himalayan country, here are a few things to consider before you start packing your bags.

 1)Best time to visit Bhutan?

The ideal time to tour Bhutan is during the spring season, i.e from March to May. It’s the time when flowers are blossoming, skies are clear and clearly visible Himalayan peaks. From June to August, the tourist season is all time low because of the incessant rains that significantly  restrict the tourist activities, such as trekking and sightseeing. But of course, travelling in this season would be least expensive than in peak seasons when the rush of visitors is quite high.

Since the country is also known for it’s buoyant and vigorous religious festivals, many people from all over the world like to witness the enthralling gala. These religious festivals and events are known as Tshechus, which means “10th day” and every temple and monastery hosts their Tshechu on the 10th of their selected month. These festivals are regarded with high respect and  people gather together for masked dances and receive blessings from their deities. These special events and festivals particularly attract visitors, creating a unique and remarkable aura. It also familiarises foreign people with the traditions,culture and history of Bhutan.

2) Choosing a tour operator

Travelling to Bhutan cannot be decided in a jiffy. The government of Bhutan requires tourists to plan their journey in advance and book their tour, artrange their visas, etc through government approved tour operators. It’s all pre-paid. The tourist fee per person per day is $200-250, including accommodation, food and travel within the country and an assigned travel guide. However citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives do not require a visa to visit Bhutan.

3) Food in Bhutan

The food in Bhutan is mostly quite spicy and almost every meal includes chillies. If you are not used to eating spicy food, you can ask for anything with no chillies. They will politely oblige. Rice and meat dishes are the staples. However veggies, momos and dumplings are also also available widely.

4) Dress Code

The traditional dress of Bhutan is a “gho” for men and “kira” for women. Gho is a long, knee-length robe like garment, wrapped around and held with a belt, while kira is an ankle-length dress accompanied by a jacket called “Tego”, with an inner layer known as a “Wonju”. The local people wear them on all occasions, in temples monasteries and Dzongs, etc. But visitors are not necessarily required to wear them. However while visiting their temples and other religious places, it’s important to ensure that you are covered. You must also remove your hat or cap if you are near their national flag, and remove your footwear as well when entering a holy place, such as a temple or a monastery.

5) Language

The language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. However, taxi drivers, shopkeepers, hotel and restaurant staff can speak and understand English quite well.

6) Photography

People of Bhutan are quite friendly. However they are shy too. If you want to take a picture of the local people there, seek permission first. However, avoid clicking pictures of any member from the Royal family. This could land you in trouble otherwise.

Photographing their temples and Dzongs is permitted but not where their deities are placed. Also keep in mind that wherever you require to take off your shoes, clicking pictures is prohibited. However you can always take help from you local tour guide.

7) Smoking is prohibited in Bhutan

Just like any other country, Bhutan also has it’s rules and regulations. It is imperative upon visitors to strictly adhere to them. The country has a stern and uncompromising policy for tobacco consumption. Smoking is totally banned at public places in Bhutan. However foreign tourists are allowed to carry a maximum of 200 cigarettes and you can find a hotel, restaurant or a bar to smoke. If you are caught smoking at a public place or their religious place, a high amount of fine can be imposed on you and you could even be sentenced jail.

8) Do not disrespect the tradition or the Royals

The Royals are considered the incarnation of their Gods and deities. So any indecent and rude remark towards the royals will not be appreciated. Make sure you do not mock them.

9) ATMs in Bhutan

ATMs are easily available in most parts of Bhutan. However the transaction charges might be variable. Foreign currency can be exchanged for the local currency when you land in Bhutan.

10) Get a local SIM card

There is no guarantee that your SIM card would work in Bhutan, as there is a handful of mobile service providers in the country. However you can get a local SIM quite easily to stay connected. You will need your passport You tour guide would help you getting one.

After having read about the kingdom, you must be certainly be excited for a Bhutan tour. If you desire a smooth, cheerful and hassle free tour experience, you can always count on bookmytour.bt for a trip to cherish, as we offer a wide range of packages that suit you best.

This article is a contribution of Ram Narayan Mandal

 

About the Author:

Ram Narayan Mandal, is a content manager at the BookMyTour.

He basically used to write about the topic that helps people to understand better about Bhutan.

 

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Wirex Launches Enhanced Cryptoback™

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Today, payments platform Wirex launched a supercharged update of their revolutionary Cryptoback™ rewards programme. Customers can now earn up to 1.5% back in Bitcoin on Wirex Visa card purchases.

Released in 2018, Cryptoback™ was the world’s first rewards programme that paid out 0.5% in cryptocurrency for all in-store spending with the Wirex Visa card. Thanks to the recent launch of the Wirex Token (WXT), customers can now triple the amount of BTC they earn – making investing in cryptocurrency easier than ever before.

Depending on the amount of WXT held, in-store Wirex card purchases now generate up to 1.5% in Bitcoin. There are three levels of crypto rewards available:

  • 500,000 WXT = 1.5% Cryptoback™
  • 100,000 WXT = 1.0% Cryptoback™
  • 50,000 WXT = 0.75% Cryptoback™

Wirex have calculated that the average UK consumer stands to earn more than £300 in Cryptoback™ every year, just by using their Wirex Visa card for day-to-day spending. Unlike many other cashback programmes, Wirex doesn’t impose restrictions on what customers can do with their rewards. Cryptoback™ can be redeemed instantly into their Bitcoin accounts, or quickly and easily exchanged into fiat for spending.

Enhanced Cryptoback™ is just one of the ways that holding Wirex Tokens allows customers to get even more out of their account. They can also enjoy heavily discounted fees based on the same structure, with access to premium products, merchant offers and airport lounges coming soon. As Wirex co-founder Pavel Matveev explains:

“We created the Wirex Token to be something that provides tangible value and benefits for holders beyond its market trajectory. Enhanced Cryptoback™ is the perfect example of this, as it allows customers to earn and invest in digital currency with a minimum of fuss. We’re looking forward to introducing even more benefits for WXT holders soon.”

 

SOURCE Wirex

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MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week

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The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research WeekSeptember 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.

WHO:
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:

  • Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
  • Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
  • Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
  • Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)

Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.

The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignBoston UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.

WHAT:
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.

WHEN & WHERE: 
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.

Conference highlights:

Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.

The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.

Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.

NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.

Other Colloquium speakers include:

  • Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
  • Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.

Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.

 

SOURCE IBM

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AI Operations Leader, ThroughPut.AI, chosen to present at the esteemed Plug and Play Japan Summit for IOT and Mobility in Tokyo on September 19th, 2019

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ThroughPut Inc., the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Supply Chain pioneer that enables operations to increase output, quality, throughput, profitability and safety through automated bottleneck elimination, today announced their presentation and participation of their COO and CTO at the Plug and Play Japan IoT and Mobility Summit and EXPO in Tokyo, Japan on September 19, 2019. As a Plug and Play portfolio company, ThroughPut has been one of the most active global members of the Plug and Play ecosystem, being awarded to participate in multiple cohorts and events at Plug and Play Sunnyvale, BerlinMilanFrankfurtClevelandJapan, and elsewhere, spanning diverse topics including application of AI, Data and Analytics to Industrial Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, Mobility, Industry 4.0, Oil and Gas, Food and Agriculture, and more.

“As the leading AI platform for Operations using existing data systems, ThroughPut is honored to be an active contributor to the Plug and Play Japan Mobility Batch 3 cohort,” noted Ali Raza, CEO of ThroughPut. “Our executive team is excited to present to over 1,500 Japanese corporate executives, resellers and partnership leaders at the IoT and Mobility Summit next week in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as consequent meetings that week.”

Plug and Play runs 15 industry themes across more than 50 accelerator programs a year in cities across the world. Plug and Play’s Japanese arm has accelerated four leading-edge industry programs,  and awarded participation to 69 pioneering technology start-ups and 31 corporate leaders, including MUFG, Tokyu Land, Sompo, Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujikura, DENSO, NipponLife, Dentsu, ADK, Nittsu, Norinchukin Bank, Orix, Macnica, Sumitomo, J-Power, Suzuki, SMFG, NEC Solution Innovators, Aflac, Asahi HD, Coca Cola Japan, AISIN, Kyocera MKI, Tanabe, Toshiba Tec, JXTG Energy and Shimadzu. This year’s Summer / Fall Summit is expected to receive an even greater response from startups and corporations across JapanAsia and even further overseas.

“We are very excited to continue building upon our strong client and partner relationships in Japan“, responded Seth Page, COO of ThroughPut and eight-time entrepreneur, while adding, “Plug and Play has opened up unique opportunities for collaboration with corporate partners, clients and investors around the world, bringing together the brightest minds in the industry on a single business platform. In Japan, we are showcasing our unique capabilities to a host of reputed industrial and global corporate titans, while also acquiring valuable insights from other fellow global thought leaders through participation in the Japense Mobility program and event. We look forward to continuing business discussions with market leaders in Japan next week and especially at the IOT and Mobility Summit in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as the Smart EXPO in Nagoya on September 18th.”

Bhaskar Ballapragada, CTO of ThroughPut, commented as well, “The time is ripe for industries to leverage the value of Artificial Intelligence on top of the decades of disaggregated data they’ve been collecting in-house. ThroughPut’s ELI Kaizen-AI product gives unprecedented power to a firm’s own operations managers. AI-enabled, data-driven analysis and executable insights to eliminate bottlenecks in real-time now enable the management of seamless operations across their end-to-end supply chains. In our mission to eliminate the $10 Trillion dollars of annual global industrial waste, we are reaching out to as many industries and companies to test for themselves our ELI product and enable them to experience firsthand the power of their own data with AI, and realize the quick ROI that comes with freeing-up working capital from operations by investing in ThroughPut’s ELI.”

 

SOURCE ThroughPut Inc.

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