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.
All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator. 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.
For International tourist visas, a cost of USD 40 is applicable. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives, there is no cost incurred.
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 TCB website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangements.
The $200 per day (January, February, June, July, August) and $250 per day (March, April, May, September, October, November) package includes a minimum of 3 star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation within the country. Also included in the price is a $65 per day Sustainable Development Fee that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.
Tourists travelling in a group of two (2) persons or less shall be subject to a surcharge, in addition to the minimum daily package rates. These are as follows;
• Single individual – US$ 40 per night
• Group of 2 persons only – US$ 30 per person per night
The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business study or promotional visit duly approved and cleared by TCB.
There is no limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit in a year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment, the government has adopted a unique policy of “High Value, Low Impact ”. 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.
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.
Rice forms staple Bhutanese diet. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are consumed most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.
Autumn is from September to November when it’s generally sunny with some snow at higher elevations. Late November to early March is dry with pre-monsoon showers starting in May month. The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring months of March to May. Autumn from September to November.
The popular mask dance religious festival locally known as Tshechu is celebrated across the country during different times of the year. In the event, monks perform series of religion inspired dances wearing colorful silk robes and exquisitely hand crafted mask depicting pantheon of Buddhist deities. It is believed the sacred dances invoke deities to bless the congregation. The visual aesthetics of the Tshechu event can be encapsulated as the Bhutanese culture. The Tsechus are celebrated in the courtyard of the great fortresses. The event draws locals and many tourists to witness the unique event. The popular Tshechu among tourists are as follows:
Punakha Drubchen – 21st February – 24th February 2018 – Punakha District
Paro Tshechu – 27th March – 31st March 2018 – Paro District
Thimphu Tshechu – 19th September – 21st September 2018 – Thimphu District
Note: the dates are subject to change annually however the dates usually fall within the same season or possibly the same month.
1.Bird Watching: Bird watching tours can generally be organized throughout the year however if travellers are interested in specific seasonal birds, your travel plan must be arranged according to the seasonal movement. For instance, the popular endangered Black Necked Cranes migrate to Bhutan only during the winter season and fly back by early spring.
2. Trekking: The perks of being a mountainous country, it offers tourists many trekking options varying in intensity. We have mild treks lasting few days to snowmen treks which are considered the most difficult trek in the world lasting several weeks. Interested trekkers need to know that the most trekking routes are closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall and during summer due to heavy rainfall. Trekking expeditions are generally recommended during the spring and fall seasons.
3. Motor Biking Tours: The climatic conditions can greatly affect the motor biking experience in Bhutan. We recommend avoid planning a motor biking trip during the summer and winter months. Bhutan currently has major highway widening project in the central and eastern region. The bad quality road is further worsened by heavy rain in the summer and the winter months are too cold to be riding a bike. Spring and fall season have the best climatic conditions to enjoy bike ride in Bhutan.
4. River Rafting & Kayaking: River sports are generally closed during the summer months due to the rise in water level and stronger waves making it dangerous.
Paro International Airport in Bhutan has renown of the most difficult international airport in the world. It lies in the elevation of two and half thousand meters from the sea label and it’s enclosed by almost five thousand meters high mountains. However, there is no reason to be frightened to fly to Paro Bhutan. Our pilots are very well qualified and they never take any dangers. In case of bad climate, there are probabilities of delays. In some cases, the flights can be diverted to other airports.
Visiting to Bhutan by flying is by far the most relaxed way how to get into the Kingdom of Bhutan. Flights to Paro Bhutan International Airport are operated by the state-owned Druk Air Corporation and private Bhutan Airlines. There are also options to charter the flight to Bhutan, if you are looking for flights ticket and tour to Bhutan we will easily organize for you.
Apart from Paro International Airport, there are three more domestic airports in Bhutan: Bumthang in central Bhutan, Yongphula in the east and Gelephu in the south. As of now, Bumthang flights are operated by DrukAir 3 times a week. Gelephu is getting 1 flight a week.
The Royal Government of Bhutan strongly follows to a policy of ‘high value, low impact’ tourism, which serves the purpose of creating an image of exclusivity and high yield for Bhutan. The principle of “high value, low volume” has been the overall tourism policy since 1974, which later changed to “High Value, Low Impact” in 2008.
As per the latest amendment made to the Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan in 2014, the following tobacco products are permitted to be carried for personal consumption:
800 sticks of cigarettes 150 pieces of cigars 750 grams of other tobacco products . A person shall be allowed to import only one tobacco or tobacco product at a time as stated above. A proof or receipt of tax payment shall be valid only for one month from the date of payment of tax.
Tax on import of cigarettes and other tobacco products depend on the place of import: Place of Import Tax India 100% Sales Tax Other Countries 100% Sales Tax 100% Customs Duty. Note: While in Bhutan, visitors must retain the tax receipt to present to, if you encounter any checking by Tobacco Control Inspectors. Source: Tobacco Control Amendment Act of Bhutan 2014.
A foreigner traveling to Bhutan is allowed to import the following (carried on person/accompanied baggage) items, free of customs duty: 2 liters alcohol 100ml perfume. Articles for personal use or as gifts and travel souvenirs up to a value of Nu. 10,000 (approx. US$ 150)
Import/export of the following items is strictly prohibited: Arms, ammunition and explosives. All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species Antiques Import of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may not be exported without a clearance certificate.
Do you require any further information regarding your trip to Bhutan? Please send us an email with your queries, and we will respond as soon as possible.