The rich culture, unspoiled environment, and fresh mountain air make it very worthwhile to visit Bhutan. The number people visiting Bhutan is increasing every year, reflective of growing interest in the country as a tourism destination. Here's what you need to know before planning a trip to Bhutan.
With the exception of passport holders from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, all tourists must travel on a preplanned, prepaid and guided package tour through a local tour operator like us.
Getting a Visa
Everyone traveling to Bhutan requires to obtain a visa in advance, except for passport holders from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives. Passport holders from these three countries can obtain a free Entry Permit on arrival, upon producing their passport with a minimum six months validity. Indian nationals can also use their Voters Identity Card.
For other passport holders, visa fee is $40. The visa must be applied and paid for in advance, from a registered local tour operator like us at the same time as booking the rest of your trip. You should try and make your travel arrangements at least 90 days prior to travel to allow time for all the formalities to be completed. For last minute booking, please contact us.
The visas are processed through an online system, and are approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan once full payment of the trip has been received. Tourists are issued with a visa clearance letter, to be presented at immigration upon arrival at the airport. The visa is then stamped in the passport on arrival in Bhutan.
Getting to Bhutan
The only international airport in Bhutan is located at Paro. Currently, two airlines operate flights to Bhutan: Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Departure points include Bangkok (Thailand), Kathmandu (Nepal), New Delhi and Kolkata (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Singapore.
It's also possible to travel to Bhutan from India overland by road. The main border crossing is Jaigon-Phuentsholing. There are two others, at Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar.
The tariff in Bhutan is set by the government, to control tourism and protect the environment, and can't be negotiated. The price includes all accommodations, meals, transportation, guides and porters, and cultural programs. The tariff also includes the sustainable development fee (35%), which goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation in Bhutan.
The tariff varies according to the season and number of tourists in the group.
High Season: March, April, May, September, October, and November
$250 per person per day, for a group of three or more people.
$280 per person per day, for a group of two people.
$290 per day for single individuals.
Low Season: January, February, June, July, August, and December
$200 per person per day, for a group of three or more people.
$230 per person per day, for a group of two people.
$240 per day for single individuals.
Discounts are available for children and students.
ATM service is available in Bhutan, and credit cards are not widely accepted. The Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum and its value is linked to the Indian Rupee. With the exception of 500 and 2,000 rupees notes, the Indian Rupee can be used as legal tender. Banks and hotels offer foreign exchange service.
Please contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.