Tourists can book a package holiday to Bhutan through both international and Bhutanese tour operators. Information is available from travel agencies. The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan and this must be paid in US dollars prior to arrival in Bhutan.
Minimum Daily Tariff:
The Minimum Tariffs for tourist visiting in a group of 3 persons or more are as follows:
- High Season Tariff – USD 250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.
- Low Season Tariff – USD 200 per person per night for the months of January, June, July, August, and December.
The Minimum price includes:
- All internal taxes and charges ( Including the royalty ).
- Accommodation in 3 star Hotels.
- All Meals including evening tea.
- Licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide.
- All Internal Transport including Airport transfers.
- Entrance fees for the museums and monuments.
- Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours.
The rates are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan. On the day of departure, the local agents’ host obligation shall be limited to breakfast only and any extra requirements shall be payable on actual basis.
Individual tourists and smaller groups of less than three persons shall be subject to surcharge, over and above the minimum daily rates applicable as follows:
- Single individual: US $ 40 per night.
- Group of 2 persons: US $ 30 per person per night.
The 10% agency commission payable to agents abroad shall not be deductible from the surcharge.
The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business study or promotional visit duly approved and cleared by TCB.
- There shall be no charge for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by elders/ guardians shall be given 50% discount on daily rates and 100% discount on Royalty.
- Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions shall be given a 25% discount on daily rates.
- A discount of 50% on daily rates shall be given to one person in a group of 11 to 15 people. 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
- 50% discount on Royalty shall be provided after the 8th night and 100% discount on Royalty shall be provided after the 14th
- Visitors availing discounts under Sections A, B & C shall not be eligible for discount under E.
Bhutan Visa Formalities:
Other than Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan requires a visa; all visas are issued from Thimphu; visas are only issued to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator. Visa clearance must be obtained before coming to Bhutan and takes at least 10 days to process. Air ticket to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. At your point of entry the visa will be stamped in your passport on payment of US$20; two passport photos will be required. Visas are issued for a 15-day period; extension can be obtained at a cost of Nu 510.
Tour program booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
- Before 30 days of start of programme – no charges
- Within 21 days – 10% of rate
- Within 14 days – 15% of rate
Less than 7 days or without notice – 50% of rate after arrival in Bhutan – 100%
There is no charge for delays in arrival and departure because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must however bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, and other services required.
Note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1,000 are not accepted in Bhutan.
Getting to Bhutan:
Today the main points of entry are through Phuentsholing in the South that links Bhutan Plains of West Bengal, through Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar that link with the Indian State of Assam and through Paro, where the entry is through Druk Air, the National airline of Bhutan and Bhutan Airlines.
Travel by Air:
The country has so far only one international airport that caters to the needs of visitors coming in through flight. However, within Bhutan, there are domestic flights to Yonphula in eastern Bhutan, Bumthang in central Bhutan, and Gelephu in south-central Bhutan. The international airport at Paro is located at a height of 7,300 ft above sea level and surrounded by mountains and hills as high as 16,000 feet. Together Druk Air and Bhutan Airline – the two airlines operating in Bhutan – fly to destinations that include Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati and Singapore.
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 display of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga at their best.
Travel by Land:
Phuentsholing and Gelephu in the south, Samdrup Jongkhar in South – eastern Bhutan are the only land border areas open for international tourists. The town of Phuentsholing is located approximately 180 km east of the Indian national airport, Bagdogra near Darjeeling. The travel time between Phuntsholing and Thimphu for the 176 km stretch can be about 5 hours.
Samdrup Jongkhar is the only entry point in South – eastern Bhutan. The town borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam and is approximately 150 km away from Guwahati, the capital of Assam. The journey from Guwahati is about three hours. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will take you to Trashigang, the largest district in the country, and from there over the lateral route to Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang and then finally into capital, Thimphu. The distance is about 700 km and will take you a minimum of three days to reach Thimphu.
You will be endorsed by the immigration officers before you are issued with a permit. Make sure you go personally. You may have to carry your passport (also some passport photographs) or voter’s registration card. If you plan to travel by road, the endorsement is done at the entry points in Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu. If by flight, you will enter from the Paro Airport.