Do we need to know about dress code in Bhutan?

The kingdom of Bhutan is widely known for its deep-rooted traditions and cultural aesthetics. One of the things that make this nation stand out from other developing nations is their dress code behaviour. The traditional attire for men and women were introduced around the 17th century by the unifier of Bhutan as a nation-state, ‘Ngawang Namgyal’ to display their unique identity. It was made mandatory for Bhutanese citizens to wear their traditional outfits in an attempt to promote and preserve Bhutanese heritage. A deeper connection towards the land and a sense of belongingness amongst the fellow citizens emerged out of this practice. With the aim to integrate a sense of community, the national dress code continues to be applicable for Bhutanese.

Let’s have a look at their distinct attire that makes our everyday clothes look too ordinary

1. Gho

The men in Bhutan adorn themselves in a knee-length, robe-like cloth which is wrapped around their bodies and nicely secured with a belt. Known as ‘Gho’, this outfit forms a pouch-like area in the upper part and is used for storing various things- traditionally betel nuts but now mobile phones! It is highly worn during formal occasions and large gatherings.

2.  Kera

A woven cloth belt, ‘Kera’ is used by the Bhutanese to tighten their outfits. It is an added accessory to their overall attire which enhances their look. With plenty of designs, colours and patterns to choose from, Kera is widely available in Bhutan to compliment the dressing style of both men as well as women.

There is no particular dress code as such for the tourists. But Bhutanese being modest you might want to avoid revealing clothing. Choose your clothes wisely in order not to offend the locals. Men can bring jeans, cotton pants, T-shirts, casual shirts and warm jacket/coat for the evening. Women can bring jeans, cotton slacks, long skirts, T-shirts and long sleeves and warm coat/jacket for the evening. You cannot wear shorts, hats and umbrellas while visiting temples, monasteries and festivals. Also you need to take off your shoes while entering the temples as a mark of respect.