Bhutan Travel Information

Getting into Bhutan

Travel to Bhutan via Air or Land: The Kingdom of Bhutan stayed isolated from the rest of the world until the early 1960s. It used to be very difficult to enter the country it was only accessible by walk from two Northern and Southern entry borders. The Northern route was through Tibet crossing high altitude passes and that was unreachable during the winter season. The second route from Southern point came through the plains of Assam and West Bengal. The Dense Jungle in the South and High altitude passes from the North make it very difficult to enter the country. However, after Bhutan planned economic development carefully that has made the country much accessible and there are now connected roads entering the country as well as one international airport in Paro.

Visa Information for Entering into Bhutan

Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldives citizens can obtain Bhutanese visa at any port of entry to Bhutan producing a valid Passport with a minimum validity for 6 Months (Indian National may use their voters’ ID (VIC) as well.) And the other entire tourist must obtain a Visa Clearance before the travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through your Bhutanese Local tour operator or any international travel agent/partner.

You will be required to send your color copy of the passport (Photo Page) to your tour operator (HimalayanWindows deserves entire processing) who will apply for your visa. The visa is processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your package including the visa fee has been transferred to the tour operator. Generally, Visa Clearance will be processed within 72 working hours after the payment is received by TCB in Full.

During your point of entry, you will be required to show your Visa Clearance Copy, then the visa officer will stamp into your passport with entry details.

Visa Clearance letter is a copy approved by TCB along with your complete personal information and passport details. Your entry/Exit details and places to visit have been mentioned on the Visa Clearance Letter. So that it is requested to bring that copy while boarding on and must be shown at the immigration of Bhutan along with your original passport.

Traveling By Air

Only one international Airport situated in Paro connects several countries such as India (Delhi, Kolkotta, Bodh Gaya, Guwahati), Nepal (Kathmandu), Thailand (Bangkok), Bangladesh (Dhaka), and Singapore. Paro is situated at the elevation of 2225m above the sea level and is bordered by mountains as high as 4876m. At present, Druk Air and Tashi Air are operating flight into around the country. There are also regular services to Bumthang (central region) and flights available to Trashigang (eastern region) and Gelephu (Southern Region). A second international is currently under construction in Gelephu along the southern border to India.

Flying to Paro International Airport is typically an exciting and thrilling experience as the descent into Paro valley takes you closer to the mountain peaks than the most other flights in the world. It has also been considered the world’s most thrilling and adventurous airport. The flight between Paro, Kathmandu, Delhi is worthwhile as it offers impressive views of four of the five highest mountains in the world including Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu and Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Traveling by Land

Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar are along the southern borders of India and these are only open overland borders to international tourists.

The Phuentsholing Border Town is situated about 170 Kilometers east of the Indian National Airport Bagdogra. The capital city, Thimpu is about 180 KM journeys from Border Town Phuentsholing which takes about 7 hours. You will begin your drive through mountainous climb through hair-pin bends until you approach Thimphu. Travel sickness tablets are advised to bring for young children and who feel uncomfortable traveling in the hillsides. For those planning to exit from the Phuentsholing border, this Paro Phuentsholing Bhutan tour 7 Days can be useful.

Gelephu, the Central South Town is another border to Bhutan. It is about 250 Km from Thimphu, this long journey takes you through lush sub-tropical forests and pristine alpine forests before you reach to Thimphu. The drive to Thimphu from Gelephu takes approximately 9-10 hours due to the mountainous countryside narrow roads.

Samdrup Jongkhar is the only entry point in eastern Bhutan. This border is nearby of Indian District such as Darrang, Assam, and about 150 Km from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The Journey from Guhawati to Samdrup is about three hours and tourists entering Bhutan via Samdrup Jongkhar will have to travel through Trashigang, the largest district in Bhutan, and from there travel east through Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, and Wangdi Phodrang to the capital city, Thimpu. You should allow about three days to complete your journey from Samdrum Jongkhar to Thimphu.

Minimum Daily Package

  • The Minimum Daily Package of Bhutan tour covers the following services
  • Accommodation on 3 Star hotel (4 and 5-star hotels can be requested with additional supplement.
  • All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner); Breakfast and dinner are provided at the hotel, and lunch is served en-route.
  • A Licensed Bhutanese English Speaking Guide (Other language Guide can be requested with additional cost)
  • Transportation by Private Vehicle by Car, Jeep, Van, Bus (Depends on the number of travelers) with all airport-hotel-airport transfers
  • Camping Equipment and transport for trekking packages.
  • All domestic taxes and surcharges
  • A Sustainable Tourism Royalty (STR) of US$ 65.00 Per Day. The STR goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.

The Minimum Standard Daily Package for tourists traveling to Bhutan in a group of 3 People or more is as follows:

US $200.00 per Night per Person for January, February, June, July, August, and December as Off-Season

US $250.00 per Night per Person for March, April, May, September, October, and November

{Contact HimalayanWindows for the best rates as per the group size and months in Bhutan} 

Discounts as per the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)

  • There shall be No Charge for Children up to the age of 5 Years. However, those between the age of 6-12 years accompanied by elders or guardians shall be given a 50% discount on daily rates and 1pp discount on Royalty. The Royalty is currently set at US$ 65 per day.
  • Full-time students below the age of 25 years, holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions, shall also be given to one member a 25% discount on the Royalty.
  • A 50% Discount on Royalty shall be provided after the eights night and a 100% discount on Royalty shall be provided after the fourteenth night.

Food in Bhutan

The most unique feature of Bhutanese cuisine is its sharp taste. Chillis are an important ingredient of nearly every plate and are considered so essential that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy.

Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals. It comes with one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Beef, Pork, and Chicken are the meats that are taken most frequently. A wide range of western and Indian cuisine is also accessible in many of the restaurants across the country. Some of the cuisines are very popular in Bhutan including Ema Datshi, MoMos, Phaksha Paa, Jasha Maru, Red Rice, Goep (Tripe).

List of Hotel to be used or Similar (3 Star hotels)

Paro Thimphu Punakha Wangdue Bumthang
Hotel Olathang Hotel Pedling Damchen Resort Dragon’s Nest Resort Chumey Nature Resort
Tiger Nest Resort (TNR) Hotel Phuntsho Pelri Meri Puensum Resort Hotel Tashiling Gongkhar Guest House
Namsey Resort Yeedzin Guest House Hotel Zangthopelri Gakling Guest House Hotel Kuenzang Norling Intl (KNI)
Jigmiling Hotel Hotel Migmar Hotel Lobesa Punatsangchhu Cottage Hotel Pedling

Note: A list of Four and Five-star hotels can be sent as per your request. However, it is recommended to decide the hotel after checking their reviews from past travelers.

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