Bhutanese Ngultrum

A currency contains a piece of its country’s history, but only few are capable of sharing that history in the form of money. The Kingdom of Bhutan, however, used this tool effectively.

The Bhutanese ngultrum was seeded in one of the smallest countries in the world, located between China and India. The accumulated culture, mostly influenced by Tibetan connections, was transferred on legal tender for all to see. The idea was to reflect on paper the citizen’s affection for its Bhutan origin. The bills’ graphic compositions depicted the characteristics of a nation natively called the “Land of The Thunder Dragon”. Bhutanese love for art and nature was incorporated in print as well.

The intricately detailed paper money already spoke volumes in behalf of its people. Tourism continued to expand and eventually allowed the government to create additional opportunities. Luckily, there are no restrictions on the import or export of ngultrum.

One US dollar is currently equivalent to around 45 BTN. One ngultrum is made up of 100 chetrums. Its current denominations are 5 and 10 (which are not used anymore), 20, and 25 chetrums. A one ngultrum coin is also on circulation. With regards to banknotes, the denominations are 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 BTN.

Back in 1974, India played a great part in the economic growth of Bhutan making the Bhutanese ngultrum at par with the Indian rupee. Up until now, this caused the ngultrum to be in exchanging terms only with India’s currency. The ngultrum practically loses its worth outside its own country. It is dependent on India as a medium for trading to other nations. But aside from those two, the US dollar is accepted for buying and paying for commodities in Bhutan.

In order to maintain its assets, the government adjusts financially and uses income from tourism for maintenance cost. Simply put, sight-seers and travelers are being charged for their stay and the services availed. Some experienced tourists see the importance of their contribution to a country’s development and usually will avoid high expenses since they will not necessarily get what they pay for.

One response to “Bhutanese Ngultrum”

  1. Mark says:

    I’m always fascinated by the history of various currencies

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