Offers cultural tours and trekking adventures to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Also contains travel tips and country information
Bhutan Travel
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     Frequently Asked Questions for Travel to Bhutan
1. When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
Every season has its own charm. The most popular times to travel to Bhutan are the spring months of March, April, and May and the fall months of September, October, and November. The weather is warmer and the skies are clearer at this time, and many of the most dramatic festivals take place during these months.
2. Do I need a visa for Bhutan? How can I obtain a visa for Bhutan?
All visitors traveling to Bhutan are required to obtain a visa, except for Indian nationals holding a valid Indian passport.You cannot obtain your visa prior to your arrival in Bhutan.
We will handle the visa procedures for you. We will provide you with a visa application form. You do not have to send us your passport. We must submit the visa application to the Bhutan government at least 6-7 weeks prior to your arrival date to allow time for processing. The actual visa will be stamped in your passport when you arrive at the Paro airport.
3. What documents will you provide that I need to take with me to Bhutan?
Druk Air e-ticket: You will need your e-ticket whether you booked your seats through us or through Druk Air's website.
Visa confirmation letter: We will send a copy of your visa confirmation letter to you via email a few weeks before your arrival in Bhutan. You will need to present your visa confirmation letter at the Druk Air check-in counter in order to board your flight.
Itinerary: Please take a copy of your tour itinerary with you.
4. Where do I enter Bhutan?
You can enter Bhutan via Druk Air from the following cities:
Bangkok, Thailand
Kathmandu, Nepal
New Delhi, India
Calcutta, India
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bagdogra, West Bengal, India
Gaya, Bihar, India
Guwahati, Assam, India
The only airport in Bhutan is in Paro. You are required by the government of Bhutan to use Druk Air at least one way. You can also enter from a few cities on the Indian border by car.
5. How can I purchase Druk Air tickets?
There are two ways to purchase Druk Air tickets. You can purchase your Druk Air tickets directly from Druk Air's website (www.drukair.com.bt). Or we can purchase your Druk Air tickets for you. All tickets are e-tickets and will be sent to you via email.
6. How much does it cost to visit Bhutan?
The price of the tours is set by the Bhutan government to control tourism and to protect the environment.
High-season rate: March to May and September to November
US$290 per day for an individual traveler (inclusive of government surcharge)
US$280 per day per person for groups of two (inclusive of government surcharge)
US$250 per day per person for groups of three or more (no government surcharge)
Low-season rate: December, January, February, June, July and August
US$240 per day for an individual traveler (inclusive of government surcharge)
US$230 per day per person for groups of two (inclusive of government surcharge)
US$200 per day per person for groups of three or more (no government surcharge)
7. What is the fare for Druk Air?
Please note that the Druk Air rates listed on our website may differ slightly from the rates given on Druk Air's website. We try our best to stay up to date. Also, Druk Air's rates fluctuate with the exchange rate, so the rates can vary a little day by day. Druk Air fare
8. What is included in the tour packages?
The tour packages include accommodation, meals, overland transport within Bhutan, sightseeing, a local English-speaking tour guide, a driver and vehicle, airport transfers, and a supply of pack animals for treks, along with the trekking equipment.
9. Can I have a private tour?
Yes, all of our itineraries are designed for private tours, meaning that we will not group you together with other tourists. So you can travel solo or bring along a few friends. You decide who will be in your group, and you will have your own English-speaking guide, driver, and transportation.
10. Can I customize my itinerary/tour?
Though we have many preset popular itineraries, please feel free to customize your schedule and tour. We will help you plan your itinerary based on your interests and time frame.
11. What kinds of vehicles do you use?
We use comfortable, clean, well-maintained Toyota vehicles: a four-seater car for groups of one or two people; a minivan for groups of three to seven; and a bus for larger groups. If for some reason you are not comfortable with your vehicle, you can request a change. You can also upgrade from a four-seater car (included in the tour price) to an SUV at the additional cost of $20/day.
12. Are there any discounts available?
There is a discount for visits in duration of more than 10 days. The discount is 10% per night per person. The discount is not applied to the first 10 days but is applied to day 11 and onward.
There will be no charge for children aged 5 and younger. Children aged 6 through 12 will be given a 50% discount when accompanied by an adult/guardian.
Full-time students under the age of 20 will be given a 15% discount if they have a valid identity card from their academic institution.
13. How far in advance do I have to sign up for the tours?
For most tours the booking must be completed 8 weeks in advance, but for tours during the festivals, booking must be completed at least 12 weeks in advance. Festivals held in the autumn and spring are peak travel time for tourists, and it can be difficult to secure accommodation and Druk Air seats without advance notice.
14. What will the food be like?
You will have a variety of cuisines to choose from, including Bhutanese, Indian, Tibetan, Thai, Continental, and Chinese. The main staples of the Bhutanese diet are rice (red or white) and chilies. One dish favored by most Bhutanese is called "ema datse," which is chilies and cheese. Meat is widely eaten in Bhutan as are vegetables. Bhutanese food tends to be spicy, since many dishes are made with chilies, but the spiciness can be reduced to your liking.
15. What is the language of Bhutan?
The official language in Bhutan is Dzongkha, though many regions have retained their own dialects due to their isolation. English is the medium of instruction in Bhutan, and it is widely spoken by those who have received education.
16. Is there a US embassy in Bhutan?
There is no US Embassy or Consulate in Bhutan. Informal contact between the US and Bhutan is maintained through the US Embassy in New Delhi, India. Travelers may also obtain assistance from the US Consulates in India (in Chennai, Mumbai, and Calcutta) and, to a limited degree, from the US Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.
17. What vaccinations do I need?
For up-to-date information about vaccinations for Bhutan, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.
18. Do I have to worry about altitude sickness in Bhutan?
The altitude in Bhutan is higher than many people are used to. Though most visitors will have no problem adjusting, altitude sickness may be a problem for certain people. Our cultural tours do not reach altitudes higher than 3,500 meters.
18. Do I have to worry about altitude sickness in Bhutan?
The altitude in Bhutan is higher than many people are used to. Though most visitors will have no problem adjusting, altitude sickness may be a problem for certain people. Our cultural tours do not reach altitudes higher than 3,500 meters.
All of our treks reach at least 3,500 meters, and some of our treks go as high as 5,000 meters. You can obtain more information on altitude sickness and prevention from the US Centers for Disease Control and from the International Society for Mountain Medicine.
19. What is the currency in Bhutan?
The currency in Bhutan is called the ngultrum. It is linked and equal in value to the Indian rupee, which is also accepted in Bhutan. You cannot purchase ngultrums prior to arriving in Bhutan, but you can easily buy ngultrums at the Paro airport, at Bhutan National Bank and the Bank of Bhutan, and at major hotels in Thimphu and Paro, all of which accept traveler's checks and/or dollars and various other currencies. When visiting smaller towns, however, you should bring ngultrums for your purchases, as it may not be possible to exchange your currency.
For up-to-date currency exchange information, you can refer to Exchangerate.com.
20. Can I use my credit card in Bhutan?
In general, credit cards are not accepted in Bhutan. Credit cards are accepted only at a few high-end tourist shops.
21. Are there ATMs in Bhutan?
There are no ATMs in Bhutan.
22. What is the time zone in Bhutan?
Bhutan has only one time zone. It is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 30 minutes ahead of India, 15 minutes ahead of Nepal, and one hour behind Thailand. In the USA, during daylight saving time (April through October) Bhutan is 10 hours ahead of New York City. During standard time (November through March), Bhutan is 11 hours ahead of New York City. The country code for Bhutan is 975.
23. Is it safe to travel to Bhutan?
There is very little crime in Bhutan, and it is safe for women travelers and solo travelers. For in-depth and up-to-date information on travel to Bhutan, you can refer to the US State Department's Consular Information Sheet on Bhutan.
24. Do you provide travel insurance?
No, we do not provide travel insurance.
25. What if I need to cancel my trip?
You can cancel the trip at any time without obligation. You will be subject to a cancellation fee for tours booked, paid for, and later canceled. Read our cancellation policy.
26. What are the accommodations like?
All of the hotels we use are clean, comfortable, and of the highest standard in Bhutan. They are all approved by the Department of Tourism. Western Bhutan (Thimphu, Paro, Wangdue, and Punakha) has the best hotels. As you head into central and eastern Bhutan the quality of the hotels goes down a little bit. But we use the best quality available in each region. Your hotels in Bhutan will provide you pillows, blankets, sheets, towels, bathroom tissue, and soap. You have to take your own toothbrush, toothpaste, lotions, and other items. Most hotels will have telephones..
27. How can I pay for my tour?
Your tour payment can be made via check, credit card, and wire transfer. If you choose to pay with a credit card, there is a processing fee of 4%.
28. What is the weight limit for luggage on Druk Air?
The limit is 20kg for economy class and 30kg for business class. It's possible to pay for excess baggage, but there is a chance that the luggage will have to be sent on the next flight.
Cabin Baggage: One piece of cabin baggage for adult and child and the weight is limited to 5kg (11 pounds) may not exceed the following dimensions: 45cm x 30cm x 20cm.
29. Why do I need a guide? Can I just tour Bhutan on my own?
Tourism in Bhutan is highly regulated by the government. If you want to visit Bhutan, you must do so through a licensed Bhutanese tour company. You cannot tour the country on your own. And you cannot rent a car on your own. You are obligated to have a guide and a driver. This policy ensures that when you come to Bhutan, you will be immersed in a culture and environment that have been carefully preserved.
30. Is there a dress code for tourists in Bhutan?
There is no particular dress code for the tourists. The Bhutanese do tend to be modest though, so you might want to avoid revealing clothing (such as short skirts and tank tops). Men can bring jeans, cotton pants, T-shirts, casual shirts, and long sleeves and a coat for the evening. Women can bring jeans, cotton slacks, long skirts, T-shirts, and long sleeves and a coat for the evening. You cannot wear shorts while visiting monasteries, temples, and dzongs, though they're fine for trekking.
31. Festival etiquette and dress code
On 21st September 2006, representatives from various ministries and agencies met in the office of the Secretary of Dratsang Lhentshog regarding the Thimphu dromche and tsechu (festival). The following items were discussed and forwarded to all tour operators:
1. Dress code:
a. Please take off your hats while entering religious sites and festivals (Tsechu)
b. Sneakers, jeans, and shorts are not allowed
c. Dress decently (smart casual)
2. Cameras: No cameras during the Dromche. Please inform your guests not to bring cameras, as the security team does not have enough space to store the cameras. However, cameras are allowed during the Thimphu Tsechu
3. Valuables: Valuables like passports and money remain the sole responsibility of the owner.
4. Others:
a. Always walk in a clockwise direction while visiting religious places or objects like temples, monasteries, stupas (chortens), prayer flags, etc. b. Remember not to point with a single finger but use a flat extended hand, especially when indicating a sacred object or place.
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