Bhutan Tourist and
Travellers' Information, entry points, air tickets, tourist visas,
hotels, tourist seasons, costs, tours and trekking information.
Bhutan Tourist Information
Entry Points to Bhutan
The easiest way for visitors to enter Bhutan is by air
on Druk Air, Bhutan's national carrier and the only
airline operating in Bhutan. Druk Air's fleet consists
of two British Aerospace jets, BAe 146s, which are specially
specially designed for Bhutan.
Flights to Bhutan are available from
Bangkok in Thailand, Kathmandu in Nepal, Delhi &
Calcutta in India, and Dhaka in Bangladesh several times
each week. Latest flight schedules are available on
On clear days the flight into Paro
offers spectacular views of the Himalayan mountain range,
including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari,
Kula Kangri and many other peaks of the Himalayas.
Paro Airport, located in the mountains,
is subject to the vagaries of nature, and weather conditions
sometimes prevent flight landing and take off. Druk
Air itself has an impeccable safety record, without
a single mishap since its inception in 1983.
We can book your air-seats in and out
of Bhutan well in advance, avoiding last-minute rush
during the peak tourist seasons of Spring and Autumn.
Tourists wanting to combine a visit to Bhutan with Sikkim
& Darjeeling (or other places in India) can enter
Bhutan by surface through the border town of Phuentsoling.
This is the only other entry point to Bhutan other than
flying into Paro airport. In the reverse order visitors
can fly into Bhutan and exit by surface to India through
For those travelling to far Eastern
Bhutan there is a option to exit out of the country
through the border town of Samdrup Dzonkar to Guwahati
Airport in Assam of India. Only exiting out of Bhutan
is allowed from here not entry. From Guwahati there
are flights available to Calcutta and Delhi.
Druk Air, the national carrier of Bhutan,
is the only airline that fly in & out Bhutan's Paro
airport. Air tickets will be issued only after your
visa is approved by the Home Ministry of Bhutan. To
expedite this procedure, it is essential that you send
us all passport information required to apply for your
Bhutan visa (see below). The air-tickets cannot be issued
until the visa is approved - and this process takes
a week or more.
Tourist visas have to be approved prior
to your arrival in Bhutan. With prior approval visas
are then issued only on your arrive in the country,
either at Paro airport or (if by road) at Phuentsoling.
Once your are ready to confirmed your tour arrangements
we will apply for your visas. We need the following
details in order to start applying for visas.
01: Your full name (as it appears in your passport)
02: Permanent address -
03: Occupation -
04: Nationality -
05: Passport number -
06: Date of issue and expiration of passport -
07: Date and place of birth -
Double check that the information is
correct; if there are discrepancies when you arrive
in Bhutan, delays and complications can take place.
The actual visa is stamped in your passport only when
you arrive in Bhutan. You need to pay US$ 20 and present
a passport photo with your passport number written on
the back. You will then receive a visa for the period
of your stay in Bhutan. We will process visa extensions
for you if they become necessary.
In the major towns such as Thimpu,
Paro, and Phuentsoling, comfortable hotels await the
visitor, while in smaller towns, modest, but adequate,
hotels, lodges and guest houses are available. Your
tour agent should ensure that the best available accommodations
are arranged for you. The Tourism Authority of Bhutan
(TAB), regulates hotel standards and all travel regulations
in Bhutan. The cost of the accommodations are included
in the tour cost.
Food and Drink
Traditional Bhutanese food is hot and
spicy. For our visitors, however, Chinese, Indian, and
Continental fares are served. The more adventurous can
try the local delicacies like the tasty, but fiery,
ematatshi, the national dish of Bhutan, made with red
chillis and cottage cheese. Meals are normally served
buffet style in the hotels. On trekking tours, we serve
simple but nutritious and tasty dishes, freshly cooked
by our trained cooks. The daily tour cost includes all
meals while in Bhutan as well as other services, including
trekking arrangements, as required. Your only extra
expenses will be mineral water, liquor, laundry, souvenirs
and optional tips to the guide, driver and hotel staff.
We use comfortable and safe Japanese
cars, jeeps, vans and coaches to transport our guests.
The cost of transport is already included in the daily
tour cost. All our drivers are fully trained in safety
and are well experienced in driving in Bhutan. You will
find that you are more comfortable driving through the
winding hilly roads of Bhutan, where sane driving prevails,
and drivers are unusually courteous to each other, unlike
in some of the neighboring countries.
All tourist groups will be accompanied throughout their
stay in Bhutan by an English-speaking guide and have
a vehicle and driver at your disposal at all times.
All of our guides are trained by the
Tourism Authority of Bhutan (TAB) and licensed by the
Government. Our trekking guides and cooks undergoe an
additional mountain guide training, including safety
and first aid instruction. TAB has received assistance
from the Austrian Government in the form of trainers
and funds to establish the training programs for tourist
A visit to Bhutan can be planned anytime
of the year but the best period is from mid-September
to May. The peak seasons, when most visitors come to
Bhutan, are during the Spring and Autumn. Spring is
from April through June and Autumn from September through
November. There are many festivals during these periods,
and visitors come to take advantage both of the pleasant
climate and the wonderful festivals. However, Bhutan
has limited tourism infrastructure and during peak seasons
facilities are packed. For those wanting to avoid the
busy tourist periods the winter months of December,
January, February, are recommended.
Daily Tour Costs
The Tourism Authority of Bhutan (TAB)
regulates all tourism related activities in Bhutan.
All tour operators are registered with them, and the
TAB also fix the daily tariff rates. Thirty-five percent
of the daily cost goes directly to the TAB and hence
to the national treasury. These funds are used by the
government for the socioeconomic development of Bhutan.
Hospitals, schools, and roads are built and maintained
with the income. TAB has released a travel information
booklet detailing their role and the regulations by
which all tour operators are governed.
The normal rates for tours in Bhutan is as below:
-- 3 or more persons travelling together: US$ 200 per
person per day.
The following surcharges are applied for smaller groups:
-- Two people travelling together - US$ 30 per night
-- One person travelling alone - US$ 40 per night per
Contact us if you have any questions
regarding the tour costs. The daily rate may sound high
at first, but remember that this includes all your accommodation,
all meals, guided tours, and all transportation within
Bhutan as per tour itinerary.
What to Bring
The following list will cover your
needs for a vehicle-based cultural tour. Since you will
be travelling in private vehicles, there is less concern
about 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 flights. You should try
and keep to this allowance. Even if you are willing
to pay for excess baggage, it travels standby and may
be offloaded. As with all travel, the less you carry,
the easier it is to move about.
Casual clothes are fine, but please
also do take along 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. Thimpu 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 during a festival, you
definitely should carry a set of dressy clothing. Bhutanese
people dress quite formally, and dirty jeans do not
fit-in on such occasions.
Even in the summer, it can be cool
in Bhutan, and it is downright cold in winter. Days
can be quite warm, especially in the lower regions such
as Punakha and Phuentsoling, and you could start off
driving in the cold of dawn and be uncomfortably warm
by midmorning. Use a layering system, starting with
thermal underwear and adding a shirt, pile jacket and
wind-breaker (or parka) as necessary. If you are not
trekking, you will need:
Underwear (including thermals for cold
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 possible), otherwise a poncho
or nylon jacket
Dress-up clothes for festivals
All hotels provide sheets, blankets or quilt, and a
pillow. Unless you are trekking, you won't need to carry
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, much of
the time at altitudes above 2,500 m (7,800 ft); so there
is plenty of sun and wind. Bring a supply of sun cream
and lip protection, such as Blistex; these items are
not available in Bhutan.
There are several things that you should carry to make
a trip to Bhutan more comfortable. All of the following
items are essential:
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.
There are a lot of dogs in Bhutan as the Bhutanese love
There are occasional electric outages
throughout the country; so you should always keep a
torch (flashlight) beside your bed.
Carry a pair of sunglasses (as protection from high
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.
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.
For those trekking in Bhutan a strong duffel bag as
luggage is best. You will also want a small rucksack
(back pack) 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.
PRE DEPARTURE INFORMATION
Once your tour or trek in Bhutan is confirmed we
will provide you with a detailed Pre Departure Information
packet which contains a list of recommended clothing
& equipment along with many other details that
will help you prepare for you tour/trek in Bhutan.