Bhutan is a small, landlocked country situated in the eastern Himalayas between China and India. Its landscape ranges from Subtropical plains and forests in the south to subalpine forests and the snowy Himalayas in the North. Bhutan is a principally Buddhist country and it is recognized as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.
Yes, it is Bhutanese government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese Tour operator in order to book your tour to Bhutan or one of their international associates.
Without a guide, it would be difficult to navigate the Bhutanese roads and GPS is hardly used. Without a tour guide, it would be difficult to understand the custom, culture, and the entire temple symbolism. Without a guide, you would miss out on unique experiences as many activities require special permission like to enter monasteries, temples and etc. Therefore, the government of Bhutan has established to having a guide is a Must to travel to Bhutan.
All foreign tourists planning to visit Bhutan require a visa that must be pre-arranged through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or any of their International associates. A visa clearance copy must be obtained via your tour operator in order to fly to Bhutan. For Indian passport holders (or VIC), Bangladeshi nationals and people from the Maldives may obtain a visa upon arrival.
The visa fee for foreign travelers is US$ 40. The fee can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. For Indian Passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals, and people from the Maldives, there is no cost incurred.
There are several airports where you can fly into Bhutan such as Thailand (BKK), Nepal (KTM), Singapore (SIN), India (Delhi), Kolkata, Bodh Gaya, Bangladesh (Dhaka), Guwahati. At the moment, Druk Air, Tashi Air (Bhutan Airlines) are the two operators in and out of the country. Also, there are three overland borders crossing which you can enter Bhutan. All these three borders are from India such as Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar. Entire travel arrangements must be done via a local travel operator or any of their international partners. You can get a list of the local tour operator on the official website of Bhutan Tourism Council, however, if you are booking through an international agency, make sure the international agent is a partner of any of the Bhutanese local tour operators listed on TBC.
The daily minimum package of the Bhutan tour includes 3-star accommodations, all meals (Breakfast and dinner at hotel and lunch en-route), an experienced guide, transportation. The package also can be called Full Board Basis. The Standard cost for the minimum package is US$ 250 Per Night (High Season) and US$ 200.00 Per Night (Low Season); this also includes US$ 65.00 Per Day as a Royalty that goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation. All of those services and details will be arranged by your tour operator.
Bhutan festivals reflect the spirituality as well as a vibrant culture of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Bhutan celebrates several traditional festivals throughout the year and it is essential to attend the stunning festival during your trip to Bhutan at least once in your lifetime to witness the unique Cham dance and approach authentic Bhutan with the friendly community. Click here for the Bhutan festivals with tentative dates.
The currency of Bhutan is called Ngultrum. The value of Ngultrum is tied to the Indian Currency which is acceptable as a legal tender. Though, Indian notes of 500 and 1000 are not accepted at some point.
There is no limitation of the tourists admitted into the country every year. However, in order to protect our traditions, culture, and natural environment, the government has implemented strict guidelines of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism”. This policy is meant at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the guests with a memorable one-of-a-kind experience.
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.