Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Its landscape ranges from subtropical plains and forests in the South to subalpine forests and snowy mountains in the North. Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.
Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?
It is a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese tour operator to book your travel holidays to Bhutan or through one of their international partners.
Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?
All International tourists wishing to visit Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel.
Regional tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives holding valid passport with minimum of six months validity at the time of traveling to Bhutan does not require visa.
The regional tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives will be levied the daily sustainable development fee of Bhutanese currency Ngultrum or Indian Rupees of 1200 per person per day possibly with effect from 01st July 2020 onwards as adopted in the recent Tourism and Exemption Levy Bill 2020 passed by the Parliament members.
How much does the visa cost?
For International tourist visa, a cost of USD 40 per person for single entry is applicable. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent along with the tour packaged tariff as per the regulation of the government.
You are required to submit the coloured photo-page of your passport with minimum validity of six months at the time of travel in Bhutan to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) upon confirmation of the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee).
The payment has to be wire transferred and received in the bank account of TCB (Tourism Council of Bhutan). The account detail will be provided by your local tour operator and a copy of the wire remittance slip from your bank has to be provided to the tour operator in Bhutan for necessary follow up with the local bank in Bhutan.
Upon receiving the payment, your tour operator in Bhutan will apply for processing of your visa with the Tourism Council of Bhutan and final approval of your visa will be granted by the Department of Immigration, under Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Bhutan. The processing of your visa application will take about 72 hours from the date of application.
You will have to carry this approved visa copy and produce same at the time of check-in at respective airline counters. Drukair and Bhutan Airlines (managed by Tashi Air Pvt. Ltd.) will not allow boarding without producing your approved Bhutan visa copy.
Your passport will be stamped by the Immigration Authority upon your arrival in Bhutan at the concerned entry point upon showing your approved visa clearance copy.
How do I get to Bhutan?
There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Mumbai, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Singapore). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines (managed by Tashi Air Pvt. Ltd.). Also, there are three land border crossings which you can travel into the kingdom overland. All crossings are along the Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar in the southern part of Bhutan. All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator.
What does the $200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?
The daily tariff of US$ 200 per day per person (for regular season months of January, February, June, July, August, December) and US $ 250 per day (peak season months of March, April, May, September, October, November) package includes a minimum of 3 star accommodations, meals, an English speaking guide and transportation within the country. This is based on a minimum of tourist group size of 3 person and above.
Additional surcharge of US $ 40 per night for 01 person and US $ 30 per night per person for 02 persons will be applicable above and over the minimum daily tariff during regular or peak season months. The surcharge is not applicable in minimum group of 3 person and more traveling together for the same dates and duration in Bhutan.
The above daily tariff include the Sustainable Development Fee of US $ 65 per night per person that goes to the revenue of the government which provide free education, free healthcare, development of infrastructures, road, bridge and school construction activities and also support in poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.
What currency is used in Bhutan?
Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is also pegged to the Indian currency -Rupee which is widely accepted in the country. Visitors can also bring in sufficient cash preferably in US dollars for their personal shopping and expenses. Credit cards like visa and master card also accepted, however at very few establishment and local bank here.
What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
This can be planned through the year, but best months are March, April, May, September, October and November. There are several festivals taking place during these months, offering an added attraction. Winter in Bhutan is from mid-November to mid- March and at this time of the year, climate is dry and sunny for the most parts with perfect blue sky, temperatures peaking at around 15 degree Celsius in the day time and falling below zero at night. The monsoon usually arrives in mid-June, with light rain falling mainly in the afternoons and evenings
What are the major festivals celebrated in Bhutan?
The most celebrated Tshechus (festivals) in Bhutan are Paro Tshechu, Thimphu Tshechu, Punakha Tshechu, etc. Other festivals include Black-necked crane festival in Phobjikha valley in Gangtey and Rhododendron Festival.
Do Bhutanese speak English?
Yes, English is spoken widely in Bhutan being the medium of instructions in schools. Government letters and road signs are also written both in English and Dzongkha, the national language.
Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year?
There is no restriction on the number of tourists visiting Bhutan. In order to protect and preserve our culture, tradition and natural environment, the government has adopted a unique tourism policy of “High Value, Low Volume”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the visitors with an unforgettable and memorable experience.
Why is Bhutan so expensive?
Bhutan has adopted the tourism policy of ‘High Value and Low Volume’. This is also to encourage responsible visitors who also are aware and respect the tradition, culture and environment of the country. The minimum daily tariff during regular and peak seasons are inclusive of your accommodation (on twin sharing basis) in a minimum of 3 star properties as approved and certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, meals in buffet-style, English speaking guide, transportation and the government’s sustainable development fee of US $ 65 per person per night. The revenue goes to the government which support development of roads, bridges, schools, provide free education and health services, promote and preserve our culture, tradition and support preservation of the natural environment in the country.