Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a visa at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 month validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC)).
All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior to travel to Bhutan You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to us for visa process. 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.
There are flights to destinations that include Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai
Paro is situated at a height of 2,225 m (7300 ft.) above sea level and is surrounded by mountains as high as 4,876 m (16,000 ft.). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. And there are domestic airports in Yonphula in eastern Bhutan, Bumthang in central Bhutan, and Gelephu in south-central Bhutan. A second international airport is currently under construction in Gelephu along the southern border to India.
Flying into Bhutan’s Paro International Airport is typically an exciting experience as the descent into Paro valley brings you closer to the mountain tops than most other flights in the world. The flight between Paro and Kathmandu is one of the most exciting ones as the aircraft passes over four of the five highest mountains in the world. In fine weather, as you soar higher up, you can enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga at their best.
You should not travel internationally without travel insurance. The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan has initiated a travel and medical plan solely for our visitors. Travel insurance can be provided through your Bhutanese tour operator or international partner. You may also visit the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan website at www.ricb.com.bt for more information.
The best medical facilities are at the general hospital in Thimphu. Travelers are advised to avoid untreated/ un boiled water. Altitude sickness can affect some travelers although accommodation is at a similar altitude to most ski resorts. General medicines are readily available but guests are advised to bring any prescription medicines. Guests should consult their doctor’s and arrange travel insurance prior to departure.
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is accepted as legal tender in the country. ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard. For concerned travelers a list of ATM locations throughout Bhutan is found here: http://www.bob.bt/contact-us/atm-locator/. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.
Note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan.
Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that cater to the needs of the people. Some of the banks that you can avail of while in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank. Traveller’s cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged for local currency. Many of these banks provide internet banking facilities. ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard. For concerned travelers a list of ATM locations throughout Bhutan is found here: http://www.bob.bt/contact-us/atm-locator/. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.
All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters for your electronics if necessary; however, most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography especially during outdoor sightseeing trips. However you should check with your guide before taking pictures or filming inside Dzong, temples, monasteries and religious institutions as in some area photograph/filming is not permitted. You are free to capture images of the landscape, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, rural life, flora and fauna, distinctive Bhutanese architecture and the exterior of Dzong and Chorten in particular.
Some popular handicraft items available for purchase are hand-woven textiles of raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted gods of silver. Other items you may be interested in are the exquisite Buddhist thangkha paintings or Bhutan’s wide array of colourful and creative postage stamps. You can come across these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Tipping is a purely personal matter. We leave it up to you as to whether you want to give a gratuity to your guides and drivers. However, if doing so, we recommend that you place the gratuity in an envelope.
You have to complete the passenger declaration form at your port of entry.
Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may not be exported without a clearance certificate.
If importing any items to Bhutan which are for sale or gift, they may be liable for customs duty. On departure, visitors are required to fill out a departure form, which will be asked for by Customs authorities.
Import/export of the following goods is strictly prohibited:
The following articles are exempt from duty:
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Most hotels and cafe’s offer Wi-Fi internet access. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming also assessable.
Bhutanese speak a variety of languages with Dzongkha being the national language and one of the most widely spoken. English is also spoken by the majority of Bhutanese making communication very easy. It is encouraged to speak with the local Bhutanese, especially in the urban areas and towns,as it will enhance your knowledge on Bhutan.
Bhutan has a good team of interpreters and licensed guides that are well versed in local history and possess good communication skills. All guides are tested and certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. Guides are available who are fluent in Japanese, Thai, Spanish and other European languages.
With great altitudinal variations, weather is quite mixed in Bhutan. So be prepared to face the unforeseen weather conditions. In spring and summer, light clothing is appropriate with a sweater or jacket in the evenings. From autumn through winter, down jackets, fleeces, hats and gloves are necessary. Sports shoes are suitable for light touring, while hiking boots are recommended for treks. Legs, shoulders and upper arms need to be covered when visiting Dzong, monasteries and l lhakhangs (temples). Sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses are recommended for higher elevations.
We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. Long pants and long sleeved tops should be worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised.
Bhutan is an all-season destination with a climate that varies widely from region to region. The dry autumn and winter months (from September to mid-March) offer warm days with temperatures ranging from 12-20°C (54-68°F). Cobalt blue skies can be enjoyed throughout the days in winter. Evenings and early mornings are cool with overnight temperatures often falling to freezing. The spring season (mid-March to June) offers warmer temperatures of 16-30°C (61-86°F). During the summer (June to September), days are clear and warm with temperatures of 22-26°C (72-79°F). Afternoon showers dispel some of the heat and temperatures fall to around 15°C (59°F) at night
Bhutan is plus six hours GMT, 30 minutes ahead of India, one hour behind Thailand and two hours behind Singapore and Bhutan is 2 hours behind Malaysia.
The types of accommodations can be divided into Hotels, Resorts, Farm-stays and Home-stays
Additionally visitors embarking on long treks will be provided with tents and whatever other camping equipment is deemed necessary. Regardless of where they stay, visitors can be assured of their comfort and traditional Bhutanese hospitality.
Bhutan has hundreds of hotels located all across the country. They range from small, simple and clean local hotels to luxurious resorts for affluent travelers seeking the ultimate getaway. Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 Star rating System. All Tour Operators are required to provide their guests with a minimum of 3 Star accommodations so you can be assured of your comfort. Most hotels provide their guests with Television, Room Service, Fitness Centers, Spas and Wi-fi. However the exact services available will vary from hotel to hotel.
There are various Guesthouses located around the Bhutan. They are graded on the same scale as hotels. The exact services available can vary among Guesthouses.
Visitors also have the option of spending a night in a traditional Bhutanese Farm House. Agriculture is still one of the major sources of livelihood amongst the Bhutanese people and a Farm-Stay will give you an excellent glimpse into the day-to-day life of a typical Bhutanese family. You’ll be able to observe age old Bhutanese farming traditions as the family goes about its daily tasks. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host.
All officially sanctioned and listed Farm-stays are located in the gorgeous Bhutanese countryside amidst lush farmland far from the noise and crowds of population centers. In order to experience a traditional life, electricity and running water are not available at Farm-Stays. Hot water can be provided by the family but will be served in a wash basin/bowl.
Visitors have the option of spending a night in the traditional home of a Bhutanese family. A Home-Stay will give you an excellent glimpse into the day-to-day life of a typical Bhutanese family. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host.
All officially sanctioned and listed home-stays are located in the gorgeous Bhutanese countryside, far from the noise and crowds of population centers. In order to experience a traditional life, electricity and running water are not available at Home-Stays. Hot water can be provided by the family but will be served in a wash basin/bowl