Frequently asked questions about Bhutan
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 to Bhutan.
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. 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?
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.
How long does it take to get my Bhutan Visa?
In order to process the visa, full payment of the package must be made. After that is done, the Visa usually takes about 7 days to obtain.
What is the best time to visit?
For the most part, the region of Western Bhutan experiences four seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring and Autumn are considered high season and the minimum daily package expense is 250$. During these seasons, temperature ranges are more suitable for exploring what the country has to offer. Spring is a wonderful time to witness the blossoming of Bhutan’s wide range of flora, whereas Autumn, is an ideal time to explore Bhutan when rice crops are maturing and being prepared for harvest. What also makes both these seasons attractive are the annual Tshechus festivals.
During the Summer months, Bhutan’s lush green forests and natural beauty is ever present. The
temperature range depends on elevation, however, light showers are common in the late afternoon.
Winter is a time when guests can admire the blue skies and snow-capped mountain peaks. Both
Summer and Winter are considered low season with less tourism and minimum daily package of 200$.
What does the $200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?
The $200 per day (December, 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.
What currency is used in Bhutan?
Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is widely
accepted in the country.
What’s the food like in Bhutan?
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.
Am I allowed to smoke in Bhutan?
In Bhutan, there is a ban on the sales of tobacco products. Guests are allowed to bring their own
cigarettes to Bhutan, however a duty of 200 percent will need to be paid at Paro International Airport.
Even though smoking is not banned, it is recommended not to smoke in public places as it may attract unnecessary attention.
If your question is still unanswered
With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors travelling to Bhutan need a visa. Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a permit at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC)).
All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior the travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator directly or through a foreign travel agent.
You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received, the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.
At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
Online Regional Permit System
In order to streamline and facilitate smooth visitation by tourists from Bangladesh, India and Maldives, the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Tourism Council of Bhutan have launched the Online Permit System. The system facilitates the online processing of permits for regional tourists through registered Bhutanese tour operators and TCB certified hotels. The facility is offered as an optional channel to process permits for visitors from the region and is applicable for entry from Paro and Phuntsholing. Visitors who use this facility will be able to obtain their permit clearances and route permits ahead of their arrival in Bhutan similar to international tourists.
Yes, the discounts for children and students are as follows:
There shall be no charge other than visa fee of 40 USD for children below age of 5.
50% discount from daily minimum spending - Children between 5-12.
25% discount from daily minimum spending - Full time students below at age of 25, holding valid ID cards.
Large group incentive – a discount of 50% shall be given to one person in a group of 11 people.
Large group incentive – a discount of 100% shall be given to one person in a group exceeding 16 people.
Children below 5 years of age are not eligible for large group incentive discounts.
Small groups of 2 or less are subjected to surcharges
Single Individual – US 40$ per night
Group of 2 people – US 30$ per night per person
cancellation & refund policy
For paid trips, a full refund will be made for the tour cancelled 45 days or more prior to arrival date.
30% penalty on total tour cost for tours cancelled less than 30 days prior to arrival date for both paid and un-payed trips.
50% penalty on the total tour cost for the tour cancelled less than 21 days prior to arrival date.
50% cancellation charge for the tour cancelled before 21 days of arrival date for both paid and unpaid trips.
Duration lost or trip shortened due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan will not refunded.
Drukair/Bhutan Airlines Flight Booking cancellation & refund policy
100% refund permitted for tickets cancelled more than 40 days from the date of travel.
50% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 30 days – last 15 days from the date of travel.
No refund will be made for missed connections or “no show” at the airports.
An additional fee of US $25 is levied for every date change once the tickets have been issued.
For every cancelled ticket, an administrative fee of US $50 is levied.
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