- 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.
- Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?
It is a government regulation that you must use a license Bhutanese Tour Operator to book your travel to Bhutan or one of their international partners.
- Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?
All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry.
- How much does the visa cost?
International tourist visas a cost of USD $40 applies. This can be paid in advance to you tour operator or travel agent.
- How do I get to Bhutan?
There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Bangkok,Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. 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. All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator. A list of tour companies operating in Bhutan is available on this website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangements.
- What does the $200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?
The $200 per day (low season) and $250 per day (high season) package includes a minimum of 3-star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation (with driver) within the country. Also included in the price is a $65 per day Sustainable Development Fee that goes towards free education, free healthcare and 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 tied to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. However Indian notes in 500 and 1000 denominations are not acceptable.
- Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year?
There is no limit on the number of tourists admitted into the country each year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment the government has adopted a strict policy of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism”. 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 one of a kind experience.
- What’s the food like in Bhutan?
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillis are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy.
Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are the meats that are eaten most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.
- What is included in the tour packages listed?
The Tourism Council of Bhutan imposes minimum spending per traveler per day. Within this limit, the following are included:
- Accommodation (3 star rated hotels)
- All meals inclusive
- A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
- An experienced driver
- A good vehicle (4WD for travelling couples or mini bus or bus for bigger groups)
- Taxes, surcharges, Sustainable Tourism Development Fees of USD 65 per day
The following are not included:
- Visas for Bhutan
- Air-tickets (International and Domestic)
- Travel Insurance
- Meals at 4 and 5 stars restaurants. Breakfast at 5 stars restaurant is included if you have booked a night at the hotel
- Tips for the guide and driver
- How is the mobile coverage in Bhutan?
Mobile coverage is pretty good in the Paro and Thimphu region. As travelers enter central Bhutan, mobile coverage may become less consistent. Mobile coverage is also unreliable when trekking and travelling from one town to another town. You can buy a SIM card when you arrive in Bhutan and buy an internet package.
- Can we access the Internet from Bhutan?
Internet access is available in most hotels depending on the location. In remote areas the internet connection is not so good or reliable.
- Is tipping expected in Bhutan?
Tipping is not an ingrained culture. Hotel & waiting staffs do not linger around expecting a tip. However, following industry norms, tipping the driver and guide is more commonly accepted. The rule of thumb is $5 to $7/day for the driver and $8 to $10/day for the guide. However, it is all up to you.
- What’s the cancellation policy for travel to Bhutan? For Bhutan trip booked and subsequent cancellation, the following applies.
- More than 45 days before start of tour, USD 150 flat rate/per person.
- Between 45 – 30 days before start of tour ~ 65% refund
- Between 30 – 21 days ~ 50% refund
- Between 21 – 7 days ~ 25% refund
- Within 7 days ~ 10% refund
- After arrival in Bhutan ~ no refund
In addition, an administration fee of USD 100 is chargeable for each traveller’s cancellation.
- Is Bhutan a safe travel destination?
Yes. The crime rate in Bhutan is very low and people are peace loving and generous. It is safe for women to travel alone to Bhutan.
- When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
All months are good to travel to Bhutan. Many visitors tend to favor the Spring (March to May) and Autumn (August to November) months because of the good weather, clear skies and the many colourful religious festivals.
However, there are many community and popular festivals throughout the year and the lush green valleys in summer or the deeply vivid mountain skies of winter make it ideal to also plan cultural tours or treks in the Summer and Winter months as well.
- Ground transportation used for our tour?
For individual travelers we use Hyundai 2WD, 4WD Land cruisers; for groups of 3-7 persons we have Hyundai H1, Toyota Hiace mini buses; for larger groups of 8-20 persons we have Toyota Coaster Buses. The guide accompanies the tourist during the entire Bhutan tour.
- Can I find cheaper rates for travel to Bhutan?
Yes, there are some travel agents that may offer lower rates below the rates prescribed by the government.
However, booking through agents that offer lower than the government rates are unlawful and you could be taking a serious risk. The tourism authority firmly checks any kind of undercutting, and will impose severe fines on anyone found guilty, such as cancellation of business license, disruption of tours, and even expulsion of visitors who use these agents. In any case, lower rates would lead to poorer customer service and as tour operators put guests up in sub-standard hotels and hire unqualified guides to cut expenses.
- Are there any discounts?
Yes, we offer the following discounts on daily rates are allowed:
- The royalty for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years is exempted, while those between the ages of 6 and 12 years, accompanied by elders/guardians, will be given 50% discount on daily royalty
- Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years, holding valid identity cards from academic institutions, will also be given a 25 % discount on daily royalty.
- What should I pack?
The packing list might vary from person to person but in general you should bring different assortments of clothing for different seasons. Generally morning and evenings can be quite cold and windy so we advise some warm clothing, with jackets.
Some of the few things you might want to carry are: Warm clothing during the autumn and winter months, thin jackets for spring and summer, full sleeved shirts and long pants to be worn in monasteries and official places, comfortable hiking clothing for day hikes, sun glasses, cap and sun screen lotions, good pair of hiking boots if you go for hiking or trekking etc.
- What currency should I carry?
Most currencies are exchanged at the banks in Bhutan. The most commonly accepted currencies are US dollars, Australian dollars, Singapore dollars, Euro, Pounds, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, Canadian dollars, Danish kroner, Norwegian Kroner and Swedish Korner.
Most handicraft shops accept US dollar, Australian dollar, Euro and Pounds.
- Can I use credit cards in Bhutan?
Yes, you can use Visa, Maestro and Master debit and credit cards in some of the shops.
- What is the Voltage in Bhutan?
Bhutan operates on a 230 V supply voltage and 50Hz. Please bring a travel adaptor if your electronic devices and gadgets operate on a different supply voltage.