FAQ’s

LOCATION & TRAVEL TIPS

Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Its landscape ranges from subtropical plains and forests in the South to subalpine forests and snowy mountains in the North. Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.

There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Bangkok,Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai.).  At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Also, there are three land border crossings which you can travel into the kingdom overland.  All crossings are along the Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar.  All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator. A list of tour companies operating in Bhutan is available on this website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangements.

There is no limit on the number of tourists admitted into the country each year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment the government has adopted a strict policy of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the visitors with an unforgettable one of a kind experience.

Bhutanese delicacies are rich with spicy chilies and cheese. The tourist restaurants will normally tone down the chilly for visitors. Chinese, Continental, Bhutanese and Indian cuisine are available in the hotels and local tourist restaurants.

For trekking groups, we have trained cooks will prepare dishes suitable to western taste in the above range, and every effort will be made to accommodate the individual dietary preferences of your clients. Please give some advance notice of any special dietary requirements so that we can make appropriate arrangements when the catering team assembles provisions.

Due to the wide range of temperature and climatic conditions it is advisable to dress in layers. For protection against cold, layered clothing is better than one or two thick garments. Clothing should preferably be made from natural materials, which allow the body to breathe.

Clothing:

Due to the wide range of temperature and climatic conditions it is advisable to dress in layers. For protection against cold, layered clothing is better than one or two thick garments. Clothing should preferably be made from natural materials, which allow the body to breathe.

Shoes:

Bring comfortable sport shoes for light hikes & sightseeing; hiking boots for treks; semi formal shoes for dinners/appointments/functions.

Trekkers:

Here are the items which we recommend you to bring along:

  • Thermarest and sleeping bags (if you prefer to use your own, we provide used but clean sleeping bags and foam mats)
  • Mountain trekking shoes (soles with good grip that have already been broken in)
  • Running/ walking shoes (to use after arriving at camp in the evening)
  • Sandals or slippers (useful at camp site)
  • Socks (bring plenty, wool ones dry quicker than cotton)
  • Light warm jacket and/or fleece / down jacket
  • T-shirt and inner wear (bring enough as spares)
  • Rain and wind proof gear – pants/jackets/ponchos/gaiters
  • Gloves, scarves, other clothing
  • Water bottle
  • Cap/hat to prevent sun exposure
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip protection, sun burn relief cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Tooth paste, tooth brush and other sanitary items
  • Camera with extra charger (no facility to charge battery during trek)
  • Small sewing kit & safety pins, pocket knife, scissors
  • Flash light with spare batteries
  • Your favorite sweets and/or snacks for energy
  • Your favorite card game
  • Personal medicines and/or medical kit
  • Water proof bags/pouches to protect your clothes, electronics and personal items
  • Backpack & waterproof backpack cover in case of rain
  • Duffel bags or bags without wheels (easier for ponies to carry) to pack your belongings

Obtaining a visa to visit Bhutan is easy process. We will get it done on your behalf. Once you have finalized your trip and payment has been made, we will process your visa with the government. Visitors must have a visa prior to arriving in the kingdom. No foreign mission or embassy abroad grants Bhutan tourist visas. If you wish to extend your stay in the country beyond your pre-planned duration, Bhutan Welfare Tour and Travels will help facilitate and guarantee your extension duration but you have to bear charge for that.

All information required in the Visa Application form must reach us at least three weeks before the intended arrival date to enable processing with the concerned authorities. Alternatively, a copy ofvisa application form can be filled out by tourists and mailed/faxed/e-mailed to us.

The actual visa is stamped on arrival in Bhutan but it must be cleared in advance and a visa clearance number issued.

For all travelers entering Bhutan by Druk Air, the visa clearance is forwarded to the concerned overseas Druk Air stations. Without a visa clearance number, passengers are not allowed to board the flight.

For travelers, entering the country by road through Phuentsholing (the border town in southern Bhutan) the clearance number is forwarded to the Immigration office at Phuentsholing for reference and the visa is stamped on arrival.

Visa fee is US $40 per person for a 14 day visa which can be further extended without additional fees.

Bhutan welfare  will advise all visitors of their visa status before their intended departure dates. We will send you a copy of the visa clearance letter prior to your arrival.

Tour Programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

  • Within 30 days of start of program ~ no charges
  • Within 21 days ~ 10% of rate Within 14 days ~ 15% of rate
  • Within 7 days ~ 30% of rate Less than 7 days or without notice ~ 50% of rate
  • Less than 03 days or without notice – 100% of daily rate.
  • After arrival in Bhutan ~ 100%

The tour cost included:these are the cost already included in the daily tariff.

  • Hotel accommodations
  • All meals and ground transport
  • English speaking guide
  • Mineral water
  • Museum fees
  • All trekking equipment, trekking staff and ponies on trek

The tour cost not included: These are the cost not included in the daily tariff and which you have to make payment by yourself.

  • Airfare and airport taxes
  • One timeBhutan visa fee ($40 per person)
  • Insurance for travel and other contingencies
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
  • Luxury hotels (4 & 5 stars).

Yes. Reservations are required for guaranteed spots on all tours. Reservations help us determine the number of guides we need to ensure that our groups remain manageable and enjoyable, and they allow us to notify you of changes to the tour due to weather or anything that could disturb the tours.

International tourist visas a cost of USD $40 applies.  This can be paid in advance to you tour operator or travel agent.  For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives there is no cost incurred.

Most hotels in Bhutan are in the 2-3 star level and are referred to as Standard Hotels. A few luxury 4 & 5 star accommodations are also available (Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang). The standard accommodations all offer the necessary facilities, and are properly maintained. Generally speaking, hotels in western Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue) are better appointed than the rest of the country. Accommodation establishments are more modest with fewer amenities in the more remote areas of central (Gangtey, Trongsa, Bumthang) and eastern Bhutan (Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Samdrup Jongkhar). Sometimes the best accommodation may be the only accommodation and a very modest one in that area especially in the central and eastern regions.

Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.), with 100 Chetrum = 1 Ngultrum. The Ngultrum is fixed to the value of Indian rupee. Tourists are advised to carry their money in the form of traveler’s checks (preferably American Express) and cash (US dollars would be best), which might be used for incidental purchases/expenses. Daily expenditure varies from person to person, but in general you should allow US$5-10 daily for laundry, drinks, phone calls overseas, small souvenirs, postcards and stamps.

The banks are the only place to change money with the same exchange rates everywhere. There are bank branches in all major towns.

A few hotels and shops may accept payment by credit card, but with a surcharge added. Visas and Master cards are more widely accepted. Bank of Bhutan ATMs in Thimphu & Paro now allows the withdrawal of local currency from Master card & Visa cards (both debit & credit). The maximum amount per withdrawal per day is Nu. 18,000 – Nu. 30,000 (USD 300 -500). A small fee will be charged per withdrawal.

Visitors are required to complete a passenger declaration form for checking by concerned officers on arrival. The following articles are exempt from duty

(a) Personal articles for day to day use by the visitor

(b) Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use

(c) Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use

The articles mentioned under (b) & (c) must be declared on the declaration form. If any such items are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift, they are liable for customs duty. On departure, visitors are required to surrender their forms to the Customs authorities.