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 to book your tour to Bhutan or one of their international associates.
Without a guide, navigating the Bhutanese roads would be difficult, and GPS is hardly used. Without a tour guide, it would not be easy to understand the custom, culture, and entire temple symbolism. Without a guide, you would miss out on unique experiences as many activities require special permission, like entering monasteries, temples, etc. Therefore, Bhutan’s government has established that 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. Your tour operator must obtain a visa clearance copy 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 price can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. There is no cost for Indian Passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals, and people from the Maldives.
With the recent change in the Sustainable development fee, every tourist except for Indian nationals must pay USD 200 per night as a Sustainable fee; this excludes other charges such as hotels, food, transportation, entrance fees, company service charges, etc. An Indian national must pay INR 1200 per night as a sustainable development fee. This is effective from 20 June 2022.
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), and Guwahati. At the moment, Druk Air and 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 made 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 the 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.
Bhutan festivals reflect the spirituality and 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 a 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. Indian notes of 500 and 1000 are not accepted at some point.
There is no limitation on the tourists admitted into the country every year. However, to protect our traditions, culture, and natural environment, the government has implemented strict guidelines for “High Value, Low Impact Tourism.” This policy is meant to attract 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 unique feature of Bhutanese cuisine is its sharp taste. Chillis are an essential ingredient of nearly every plate and are considered so critical 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 most frequently. A wide range of western and Indian cuisine is also accessible in many restaurants across the country.