Translator

Find us on Facebook

Travel Information

Bhutan Tourism Policy is based on the principle of sustainability which means that Tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, culturally and socially acceptable, and also economically viable. For this reason the number of tourists visiting Bhutan are kept to an environmentally manageable level through government regulated tourist tariff.

The volume of tourism is regulated by carrying capacity of Bhutan like infrastructure, geographical and demo-graphical situation.

The high value low impact tariff policy is framed based on sustainability and Bhutan can only bring high value visitors.  Bhutan is generating foreign currencies through tourism and it is one of the largest GDP contributing factors in the kingdom. One must be proud as a visitor because of the direct contributing the national income which goes in to social welfare like free education.,Health, sanitation,water drinking facilities, road development, electricity etc in the remote part of the country.  One must be highly rewarded and respected by the people of Bhutan.Therefore daily tariff rate is fixed by the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Air Connection

Bhutan’s national Airline, Druk Air, is the only airline operating in Bhutan. All flights to Bhutan fly into Paro, which is the Kingdom’s only Airport. Flights to and from Kathmandu and Delhi take place three times a week. There are five flights per week to and from Kolkata and Bangkok.Recently Druk Air opened it’s new route to Singapore.During monsoons, unpredictable weather forces can delay flights.so,travelers are advised to include an extra day in their itinerary.

Road Connections 
The nearest Indian airport is in Bagdogra, which can be reached by plane from Calcutta and Delhi. The road from Bagdogra connects to Phuentsholing, a border town in Bhutan. It is a 3-4 hours drive from the airport. It is also possible to arrange land exit through the eastern  border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, which is approximately 3 hours drive to Guwahati, capital of the Indian state of Assam,you will catch the flight  at Guwahati either to Kolkata or Delhi.

Booking your Bhutan Trip

It is wise to book your trip several months in advance, in order to guarantee the smooth preparation of your trip. Since tourism started in Bhutan (1974), tourist infrastructure is still limited. During peak season the flights can be quite busy and Bhutan has only one flight Druk Air operating in and out of the country. So earlier you book, the better chance of securing flights and good quality of hotel rooms. We can see some hotels are gradually demanding for the month of February-March 2012 and especially during the festive season of Bhutan you need to book around three- six months advance to get flights and hotels. If your mission to visit Bhutan is inflexible and are tied to particular dates you can always enquire in advance.

Confirmation of your Bhutan Travel Booking

The Confirmation of your Bhutan Travel Booking is done on the arrival of payment for your trip via bank transfer to Bhutan, which is routed through the Tourism Council of Bhutan in the Government account and is not paid directly to Bhutan Vajra Adventures. The credit card is not accepted therefore, we will provide you details of bank, once your choice of trip has been confirmed. Please note that payment should be made in advance so as to confirm the booking flight, hotels and other essential tour arrangements. Once you have paid the payment trip, then we will receive notification from the bank that your payment has been arrived, we will send you a real trip letter and copy of bank receipt, so your booking has been confirmed.

 Security

There is nothing to feel insecure about sending money to us or to any of the tour operators in Bhutan such as Bhutan vajra Adventures. The Tourism Council of Bhutan (www.tourism.gov.bt) not only controls the tariff but also make sure that you are not deceived under any circumstances. Your tour payment will be taken care of by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and given to the respective tour operators only after the trip is over. Furthermore, if you want our references please, feel free to ask us.

If any circumstance you do not take holidays in Bhutan, the Tourism Council of Bhutan will not release your money to us but will return to you subject to any cancellations charges.

Flights

Once your booking has been done and payment has been made then we will instruct the bank to transfer your part of payment to Drukair  for issuing ticket. Druk air  will then issue your ticket in the form of an e-ticket and we will forward this to you, upon receipt you can download and print out for your requirement on checking during your flight. .

Druk Air Cancellation

Since Druk air does not have a fixed cancellation rule as of now, it varies with time and season. Please contact latest polices of Druk air and log on to  www.drukair.com.bt  for cancellation policy.

Delayed Arrival

There are no extra charges due to delays of weather conditions, road blocks etc. However the visitors must bear costs of food, accommodation, transportation, and other miscellaneous cost.

Accommodation and Food in Bhutan.

Since tourism in Bhutan was open in 1974 and has few tourist accommodations which are very luxurious.As you move further to the east there are lots of accommodations which offer basic necessities.

Tourist accommodation in Bhutan is generally peace and beautiful. The resorts in Bhutan are mostly located away from the city. As you go further to the east you will experience Bhutanese authentic dishes but in western Bhutan you may expect some continental dishes.  Most inns in Bhutan have rooms with private bathrooms, hot water, telephone, Internet and electricity and heaters will be provided, but in some destinations you may find yourself making good use of thick cloths.

If you wish of luxury hotels you can always take opportunity of deluxe hotels. The rated,  5 stars hotels in Bhutan are  Uma ParoHaven ResortHotel Zhiwaling ParoTashi Taj,  the foreign investment hotels like Amankora in , Paro, Thimphu, Punaklha , Gangtey, and Bumthang. All offer something quite different from any local accommodation but be prepared to pay for the privilege! If you are interested in exemplar the delights of these hotels, let us know and we can arrange it for you.

Many inns and restaurant, especially in Thimphu, also offer Thai, Chinese, Indian or Nepalese dishes and also serves pizza, pasta,cake , sandwiches etc. If you want local tea and food you can ask your guide to obtain local hotels. But while travelling you will experience mostly local food.

Driving in Bhutan

Bhutan has 20 districts and all are accessible by roadIn-spite of high mountains, steep slopes, and the deepest of valleys, Bhutan has a moderately well developed network of roads. Steep ascends and descends are feature of road travel in Bhutan make travel much slower than one maybe used to. The average driving speed rarely exceeds about 30kms per hour in steep roads and 50km per hour in broad road.  However, one is attractively rewarded for the long and sometimes tiring car journey, by the impressive views of patronizing mountains, abundant green forests, villages and glorious monasteries.

 

Distance

From

To

Distance (Kilometer)

Driving Time

Paro

Thimphu

65 km

1 ½ hours

Paro

Haa

60 km

2 ½ hours

Thimphu

Phuentsholing

176 km

6 hours

Thimphu

Wangduephodrang

70 km

2 hours

Thimphu

Punakha

77 km

2 hours 15 min

Punakha

Wangduephodrang

23 km

30 min

Wangdue

Phobjikha, Gangtey

60 km

2 ½ hours

Phobjikha, Gangtey

Trongsa

125 km

3 ½ hours

Wangdue

Trongsa

178km

5 hours

Trongsa

Bumthang

68 km

3 hours

Bumthang

Mongar

193 km

7 hours 10 min

Mongar

Lhuentse

75 km

3 hours

Mongar

Trashigang

91 km

3 hours 15 min

Trashigang

Chorten Kora, Tashiyangtse

54 km

2 hours

Trashigang

Samdrup Jongkhar

180 km

7 hours

Samdrup Jongkhar

Guwahati, Assam, India

106 km

3 hours

Samdrup Jongkhar

Phuentsholing

344 km

9 hours

Phuentsholing

Bagdogra, West Bengal, India

164 km

4 ½ hours

Phuentsholing

Siliguri, West Bengal, India

150 km

4 hours

Phuentsholing

Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

200 km

6 hours

Phuenthsoling

Kalimpong, West Bangal, India

185 km

5 hours

Phuentsholing

Gangtok, Sikkim, India

220 km

7 hours

 Transport

We use Japanese and Korean imported luxury vehicles like Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota Cars, Hiace Buses, Hilux, Santa Fee,Tucson and Toyota coaster bus for large groups etc.

Insurance
To protect against unforeseen accidents and mishaps, we advise you to have Travel insurance policy from your country. It should adequately cover helicopter evacuation and medical assistance. We regret the unavailability of such policies in Bhutan.

Bhutan Average Temperature

Average Temperatures in Degree Celsius (maximum/minimum)
 
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
 
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
Paro
9.4/
-5.8
13.4/
1.5
14.5/
0.6
17.6/
4.6
23.5/
10.6
25.4/
13.1
26.8/
14.9
25.3/
14.7
23.4/
11.7
18.7/
7.4
13.9/
1.4
11.2/
-1.7
Thimphu
12.3/ -2.6
14.4/
0.6
16.4/
3.9
20.0/
7.1
22.5/
13.1
24.4/
15.2
18.9/
13.4
25.0/
15.8
23.1/
15.0
21.9/
10.4
17.9/
5.0
14.5/
-1.1
Punakha
16.1/
4.2
19.6/
5.3
21.2/
9.2
24.4/
11.9
27.2/
14.8
31.2/
19.5
32.0/
21.6
31.4/
19.8
29.9/
20.0
27.8/
18.9
22.3/
13.0
15.0/
7.9
Wangdue
17.0/
4.3
19.0/
7.8
22.8/
10.4
26.2/
12.9
29.1/
17.7
29.2/
20.1
18.4/
16.2
29.1/
20.0
27.5/
19.1
26.1/
14.7
22.6/
9.6
19.1/
6.3
Trongsa
13.0/
-0.2
13.9/
0.4
16.7/
4.4
20.1/
6.6
21.0/
11.6
22.2/
13.6
25.3/
15.3
23.8/
15.0
22.6/
14.2
21.8/
11.7
19.8/
6.4
18.2/
2.5
Bumthang
10.8/
-5.1
10.0/
-1.4
16.2/
3.5
18.7/
3.9
21.3/
9.5
22.5/
13.5
14.1/
10.9
23.0/
13.7
21.6/
12.1
19.5/
5.9
16.1/
-0.5
12.3/
-2.3
Mongar
15.5/
8.2
15.9/
8.3
20.0/
11.6
22.8/
14.0
25.1/
17.4
26.1/
19.5
16.1/
15.8
25.4/
19.6
24.7/
19.4
22.7/
15.8
19.9/
11.2
15.7/
9.5
Trashigang
20.4/
10.5
21.7/
11.5
24.8/
14.4
28.3/
17.0
30.0/
20.6
30.7/
22.6
31.5/
23.1
30.2/
22.7
30.0/
23.9
29.1/
17.7
26.1/
13.6
23.0/
11.6

 

What to Bring

The following list will cover your needs for a vehicle-based cultural tour. Since you will be travelling in Bhutan Vajra Adventures private vehicles, there is less concern about bulk and weight than if you were transferring your own luggage on and off various forms of public transport. There is a 20 kg (44 lb) weight limit (30 kg or 66 lb in business class) on Druk Air. You should hold yourself to this allowance. Even if you pay for excess baggage, it still travels standby and may be offloaded. As with all travel, the less you carry, the easier it is to move about and the less there is to misplace.

Casual clothes are fine, but you would also do well to have a set of dress-up clothes (jacket and tie for men, dresses for women) for festivals or in the likely event that you are invited to a Bhutanese home or social function. Thimphu and other towns in Bhutan have a small-town atmosphere, and you might easily find yourself in the company of a high government official. If you have scheduled your trip around a festival, you definitely should carry a set of dressy clothing. Bhutanese people dress quite formally, and dirty jeans don’t fit in on such occasions.

Even in the summer, it can be cool in Paro and Thimphu, and it’s downright cold in winter. Days can be quite warm, especially in the lower regions such as Punakha and Phuentsholing, and you could start off driving in the cold of dawn and be uncomfortably warm by mid-morning. Use a layering system, starting with thermal underwear and adding a shirt, pile jacket and windbreaker or parka as necessary. If you are not trekking, you will need:

  • Underwear (including thermals for cold weather)
  • Swimming costume (for the hotel swimming pool in Punakha)
  • Cotton trousers
  • Cotton skirt for women
  • Pile jacket or sweater – even in summer
  • Down jacket – in winter; not needed in summer
  • T shirts or short sleeved (not sleeveless) cotton shirts * sneakers or walking shoes and socks
  • Sandals or flip flops
  • Rain jacket – Gore-Tex if you can afford it, otherwise a poncho or nylon jacket
  • Dress-up clothes for festivals
  • Sun hat

All hotels provide sheets, blankets or quilt, and a pillow. Unless you are trekking, you won’t need to carry bedding or a sleeping bag. Most hotels also provide some sort of heating in winter, either an electric heater or a wood stove. The heating, plus the pile of blankets on your bed, should keep you warm.

You will be outside a lot, and much of this time is at altitudes above 2,500 m (7,800 ft); so there is plenty of sun and wind. Bring a supply of sun cream and some lip protection, such as Blistex; these items are not available in Bhutan.

Essential Extras

There are several things that you should carry to make a trip to Bhutan more comfortable. All of the following items are essential:Pack a folding umbrella; especially if traveling during the monsoons. Rain is possible any time, and is almost certain from June through August.Be sure to carry ear plugs (and spares) to reduce the noise from the barking dogs at night. The Bhutanese are Buddhists and do not euthanize stray dogs.

There are occasional electric outages throughout the country; so you should always keep a torch (flashlight) beside your bed.

Miscellaneous Items

Carry a pair of sunglasses (as protection from high altitude glare). A Swiss army knife has many uses, such as cutting cheese and opening bottles. Bring a small clock with an alarm to help you wake up, because not all hotel rooms have telephones.

Packing

If you are on a cultural tour, it’s OK to bring a hard suitcase, though a soft bag is more versatile and easier to pack into the luggage space of a vehicle. You will also want a small rucksack or waist pack to carry your camera, water bottle and other essentials in the vehicle and when you are walking around town or visiting monuments.

FAQ

(Frequently Asked Questions)

1.      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.

2.      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.

3.      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.

4.      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.  For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives there is no cost incurred.

5.      How do I get to Bhutan?

There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Thailand – Bangkok; Nepal – Kathmandu; Singapore ;India – Delhi, Mumbai,Kolkata, Bodh Gaya , Guwahati; and Bangladesh – Dhaka).  At present  Drukair Airlines and Bhutan Airlines are the only two airlines to operate flights in and out of the country.  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.

6.      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 royalty that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation.  All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.

7.      What currency is used in Bhutan?

The major banks now have ATM’s and you can withdraw local currency via Visa & MasterCard credit & debit cards & Cirrus/Maestro endorsed bank debit cards. The ATM’s do not always work and usually you’ll only be able to draw at small amounts in any single transaction, so back up cash in USD on Indian Rupees is advisable.

The local currency called Ngultrum (Nu for short) is pegged to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted throughout the Kingdom (except for 500 & 1000 rupee notes which are not accepted). As a more convenient alternativeI to taking in Indian Rupees we strongly encourage visitors to take in USD cash and/or travellers cheques which we recommend as a back-up in case ATM’s are not working. Take low denomination USD to cover any small daily purchases and use higher denomination USD for exchanging into Nu at local banks and also for guide/driver tips at the end of the journey.

8.      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.

9.      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

10.   When is the best time to go?

Don’t believe everything the major guide books tell you. Less is best in Bhutan and there’s more to Bhutan than the peak seasons and festivals crowded with tourists.

If you are prepared to travel outside of the peak season periods (APR-MAY and mid SEP-NOV) there are fewer tourist visitors; you will save money & you will enjoy a far more rewarding experience. We especially recommend June–early July (Summer) and December-February (Winter). However if you are trekking you will need to generally travel in the peak season months for the most suitable conditions.

11.   Why is it so expensive to visit Bhutan?

Sure Bhutan is more expensive than 3 star India or Nepal however lets put this into perspective! Because the Bhutanese Government has imposed an ‘all inclusive’ nightly tariff structure, for all tourist visitors, Bhutan tours can ‘appear’ to be expensive. In our 08 years+ experience with Bhutan we regularly receive comments  from returning visitors on how great the ‘value for money’ genuinely is. Considering every visitor has access to a private guide, driver, private vehicle and a land package including all meals, accommodation, sightseeing, entry fees, transfers, taxes, Govt Royalties & visa fees it is indeed excellent value for money. And….Bhutan is such a privilege to visit

12.  Can I travel totally independently in Bhutan?

It is not possible to gain an entry visa for Bhutan unless you pre-pay for a pre-arranged land tour itinerary with a licensed & approved inbound operator and pay the appropriate nightly all-inclusive set Government tourist tariff.

Bhutan prohibits independent backpacker style visitors to maintain its strict cultural and ecological values. However please be aware you can enjoy a high degree of flexibility during each day to hike, visit markets & villages and interact with locals as you wish.

13.  Is their internet available?

Most of the standard tourist class hotels now have WiFi….plus have a business centre where you can use the hotel PCs . Generally speaking WiFi is free for at least a few hours use. All of the luxury resorts & lodges offer a wireless internet facility however not necessarily in guest rooms.

Some more remote valleys, like Phobjikha, have intermittent  power and internet supply so please factor in for some inconsistency as you travel.

Purchasing a local SIM card for your smart phone or iPad will give you wifi most of the way through the Kingdom for those who need more conncetivity.A local Bhutan sim card with prepaid call credits can easily be purchased on arrival and is perfect for roaming whilst in the Kingdom and great for iPads.

14. What will the weather be like?

Bhutan, like many countries in the world, is experiencing some climate change. Broadly speaking Summers (June-mid-September) are warm, humid and wetter and Winters (Dec-early March) cooler and dry. Winter nights are cold however the days are often clear, sunny and surprisingly mild in the valleys. The western valleys only average 2 snow falls per annum. The wettest period is August/early September. You will find a climate chart on our website and also one is sent in our Pre-Departure Kit.

Don’t let a little rain or cold nights put you off. Bhutan is no beach destination so a little rain doesn’t matter. In our humble opinion these periods are the best times to visit. Beat the crowds!

15.  What gifts can we take for the local children?

The Bhutanese wish to discourage gifts of any kind be given to individual children to avoid promoting a culture of begging. A gift of coloured pens/pencils etc given to a local schoolteacher is appropriate. Even better is a gift such as an oral hygiene kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash)  or donate some warm clothing/shoes when you leave.

 

 

Designed by Green e-Solutions, Bhutan | Web Maintenance by iDRUK SOLUTIONS