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Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is a small, land-locked Buddhist country nestled deep in the Himalayas between two Asian giants, China in the north and India in the south. Thimphu (capital city) is situated in the western central part of the country at an elevation of 2,300m above sea level.
Is Bhutan a safe country?
Bhutan is a very safe country to travel especially for women, children and solo travellers. Crime rates are generally very low, where begging and theft are not very common. While some incidents of pickpocketing and purse snatching are reported, violent crimes are rare. It is advisable to take the usual safety precautions and avoid walking alone late at night and, if you must, ask your guide to accompany you.
What is the time zone of Bhutan?
Bhutan has only one time zone. It is 5 hours (summer) and 6 hours (winter) ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
When is the best time to visit? And when should I book my tour?
A trip to Bhutan is possible all year round, but the best months to visit are March, April, May, September, October and November. These months are an ideal time where several festivals take place and the weather is favourable with plenty of sunshine (flowers in full bloom in spring and clear blue skies in autumn). Seats of Drukair or Bhutan Airlines and hotels get booked up in advance due to a limited capacity during the popular festivals such as Thimphu Tshechu and Paro Tshechu. So book early to avoid disappointment and guarantee your place.
How do I make my booking?
Booking can be done via Contact Us section on our website; by calling our office in Bhutan on Mobile: +975-77600026 or UK Mobile: +44 78 53189421 and through one of our overseas appointed agents. Or simply complete the Tour Booking Form (either PDF or WORD format) available at the bottom of Homepage and email it along with your passport copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prior to booking, please read our Simple Guide to booking a trip here: https://www.bhutangreentravel.com/booking-guide/.
Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can cometo Bhutan each year?
There is no limit on the number of tourists coming to Bhutan each year. The Government adopts a “high value, low impact” tourism policy instead of mass tourism, which is aimed at attracting respectful tourists that will appreciate the unique cultures, traditions and values of the Bhutanese people.
What can I see in Bhutan?
Bhutan is today one of the top emerging travel destinations especially for those looking for out-of-the-ordinary-experiences and off-the- beaten-track holidays. The country offers, first off, the safest and peaceful place on earth for tourists, devoutly Buddhist and hospitable people, the wonderful sights, the beautiful sounds, unspoilt traditions and cultures, amazing mountain landscapes, striking dzongs (fortresses), fantastic monasteries, unique Buddhist architecture and tapestries, spectacular and colourful religious dance festivals with playful clowns, outrageous archery competitions, diverse flora and fauna, a paradise for botanists, birders, trekkers, walking, etc. With about 72% of the land under forest cover, perhaps believed to be Yeti-spotting in Merak Sakteng in eastern Bhutan, thrilling Bhutanese stamps and Gross National Happiness (GNH) where Bhutan is trying to measure progress not by the popular idea of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but through (GNH) concept – happiness is a place on earth.
I don’t want to travel in a group. Do you offer a private tour or tailor make itineraries specifically for my requirements?
We do not go by the “one size fits for all,” meaning we offer private tours with your own guide and driver. We will always do our best to customise any itinerary to suit your specific interests and needs.
Do I need a visa to travel to Bhutan?
Yes, all international tourists (except those from India) wishing to enter Bhutan need a visa which must be pre-arranged.
Nationalities from India are able to apply for a permit but are required to hold an Indian passport or an Indian Voter ID Card.
Visitors from Bangladesh and the Maldives also require a visa, but this can be applied for and approved either in advance of travel or upon arrival in Bhutan.
all tourists are required to obtain a visa before travelling to Bhutan except nationals from India, Bangladesh and Maldives. The Embassies, Missions or Consulates of Bhutan does not issue visas. A licensed Bhutanese tour operator (of which Bhutan Green Travel is one) processes visas application in Thimphu on your behalf. A copy of the main photo page of your passport having at least six months' validity with sufficient blank visa pages at the point of departure from Bhutan is required. Visa fee is USD $40 and actual visa is stamped on your passport at the port of entry.
Can I extend my tourist visa after reaching Bhutan?
Yes, a visa can be extended in Bhutan provided the extension is applied for before the original visa or permit expires. This means an extension of your trip is possible with additional SDF on the actual number of nights spent plus visa extension fee.
How do I get to Bhutan?
Fly to Paro International Airport in western Bhutan by Drukair or Bhutan Airlines from Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Guwahati, Kathmandu and Dhaka. No other airlines fly into Bhutan! You can also enter by road from the border towns of Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu via India.
How much free baggage does Drukair or Bhutan Airlines allow?
Passengers travelling on Drukair and Bhutan Airlines would be allowed free checked-in baggage with a maximum weight of 30kg and one hand/carry-on baggage not exceeding 5kg (but Bhutan Airlines allows up to 7kg) in economy class. The dimensions of carry-on bags in the cabin are limited to 45cm x 35cm x 20cm (Drukair) and 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (Bhutan Airlines). If you are holding a business class ticket, both the airlines offers an extra 10kg without additional charges.
What type of vehicles do you use during tours?
We use a fleet of comfortable and only imported vehicles such as Toyota/Hyundai/KIA. SUVs for solo traveller and a group of two persons, Toyota Hiace Bus/Hyundai H1 Bus for small groups and Toyota Coaster Bus for larger groups.
How much does it cost to visit Bhutan? And what does the tour cost include? Is the cost of international flights included in the cost?
On 20 June 2022, the Royal Government of Bhutan passed a new Tourism Levy Bill requiring tourists to pay a tourism levy known as the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of US$ 200 per person per night for a visa to be issued.
The tourism levy is paid separate to the costs of accommodation, meals, transportation, guides, entry tomuseums/monasteries/temples and other sightseeing attractions, visa fee ($40) and more.
All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. It includes sustainable development fee (SDF), visa fee, transfers to and from airport, twin-sharing accommodation in certified 3-star hotels, village home stay/farmhouse, camping facilities and haulage for trekking, all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours, sightseeing, entrance fees to museums and other attractions, comfortable vehicles, baggage handling at all hotels and camps, all applicable internal taxes and service fees and mineral water. Service excludes international and domestic flights, travel insurance, discretionary gratuities for guides and driver, single room supplements and other personal expenses such as such as drinks & beverages, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
I am travelling alone. Do I have to pay a single supplement?
Yes, a solo traveller is subject to single supplement charges. But if you wish to join in one of our group tours, then you may able to share a room with fellow traveller(s) of the same sex.
Can I find cheaper prices for holidays to Bhutan?
Perhaps yes, but the tourism industry in Bhutan is strictly monitored by the Department of Tourism, (national tourist board) and checks any kind of undesirable practices.
Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?
It is highly recommended to use licensed local tour operators for pre-booking a trip to Bhutan for their expert knowledge and excellent service.
How can I pay for my tour? Is my money safe when booking a holiday with Bhutan Green Travel (BGT)?
Payments for your pre-booked trip should be made by wire transfer or card. After your booking is finalised, we send you a booking confirmation and invoice with our bank details for making a part/full payment. When Bhutan Green Travel receives your money or from our travel agent abroad, the funds are further transferred into Government Account until your trip is complete, which means Tourism Council of Bhutan protects our customers who book holidays with us.
How much money should I bring after I have fully paid for my trip?
The price you pay covers almost everything during your stay in Bhutan such as hotel, food, transportation, sightseeing, entrance fees, guide and bottled water. You may need extra money for soft drinks or alcohol, souvenir purchases like handicrafts, tapestries and thangkas (wall hangings), laundry and other personal expenses not covered by the tour. How much cash to bring is a personal matter – some spend more and others spend little! Here are some rough estimates: a large bottle of beer costs USD $4-5 in hotels and slightly less in restaurants or shops, a bottled water around $1-2 in hotels or half/less outside, local wines cost $7-20+ in hotels and less elsewhere (imported wines are pretty expensive). In altogether, we would estimate around $25+ per day per person.
How much money should I spend on tipping?
Tipping is optional in Bhutan. It is up to you to decide whether or not to tip an individual depending on how he/she has made your travels more enjoyable and memorable. We recommend about USD $10-15 per day for guide and $5-10 per day for driver on a private tour and $5-10 per day for guides and $5+ per day for one driver on a group tour. On a trek, there are additional crews such as cook and his assistants plus porters. Cook is usually tipped $8+ per day and his assistants plus porters $5 per day. In general, tips may be slightly higher if the duration is short or lower if it's a long tour. Hotel and restaurant bills include 10% Bhutan sales tax and 10% service charge, but hotel porters expect tipping for carrying your bags ($1+ per bag).
What is the currency in Bhutan? How do I change my currency? Can I use credit cards?
The currency in Bhutan is called the Ngultrum (Nu). Its value is officially pegged at par with the Indian Rupee (Rs). Ngultrums can be bought only upon arrival in Bhutan at Paro International Airport, banks, major hotels and handicraft stores. The widely accepted currency for shopping is US dollars in cash and traveller's cheques (fading out of use now). Other major currencies such as GBP, Euro, CAD, AUD, CHF, JPY including Scandinavian and some Asian currencies can also be exchanged. The Ngultrum is traded at an approximate rate of Nu.74.50 = US$1.00 as at 20.05.2020.
What’s the food like in Bhutan?
Most hotels provide buffet-style meals. An option for a la carte service is available on order but may not always have everything on a menu. The traditional Bhutanese dishes are rich and spicy with a lot of cheese and chili. Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy. If you dare, you may try out the deliciously spicy “ema datshi” served with cheese and chili (the national dish of Bhutan) and other authentic Bhutanese dishes. Food consists of mainly white or red rice, momos (Tibetan-style dumplings), seasonal vegetables, limited choice of salads and most commonly eaten meats such as pork, beef, chicken and fish. A variety of vegetarian and non-veg food options are also available. You are recommended to stick to the Chinese, Continental, Indian or Tibetan cuisines that are served in most hotels and restaurants. All hotels have a good selection of international and Bhutanese beverages.
Will the hotels have a laundry service?
Laundry services are available in hotels at a reasonable price. You are advised to use the laundry service only when you are in the hotels for more than one night because Bhutan climate conditions will be difficult for your clothes to dry overnight.
What about Internet access in Bhutan?
Most hotels, resorts, guesthouses and lodges have free wi-fi service and some have business centre for guests to use (except when trekking). The speed may not be fast for you to browse but good enough to check and send your emails.
Do I need travel insurance?
Insurance is not included in the tour price. A travel insurance policy is a mandatory requirement when applying for a Bhutan visa. It is must that you purchase adequate insurance cover which includes cover against cancellation charges so that you may be able to reclaim these charges from your insurance company. Furthermore, we or our travel agent abroad will not take any liability for any kind of illness, injury, or death during the tour/trek in Bhutan.
If I become ill on my trip, will there be sufficient medical care?
Your guide will assist with a doctor’s visit or hospitalization should you require. All towns in Bhutan have government hospitals providing basic health care services. Away from towns, there are also government Basic Health Units (BHUs) in villages. All travellers can get free medical attention during emergencies in Bhutan. However, we strongly recommend that you have a comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu has the best facilities.
Which immunizations do I need for travelling to Bhutan?
Every destination has different health requirements. Your GP or practice nurse may be able to give you general advice and up-to-date information about relevant travel vaccinations and health checklist in the country that you are visiting. However, our guests are advised to have typhoid and hepatitis A vaccinations. Rabies vaccine recommended for those who may come in contact with animals during a trip.
What type of dress code is expected of visitors in Bhutan? Can I wear shorts or skirts? How about calf-length skirts and capris?
Generally speaking, there is no such formal dress required while travelling as tourists in Bhutan. However, visitors are advised not to wear any type of dress that expose or reveal. Calf-length skirts will be fine including capris. Shorts and skirts (above the knee) are disallowed when visiting temples, monasteries and dzongs (fortresses), and hat & shoes too have to be removed. Also, when attending a formal meeting or entering offices, hats have to be removed. It is also customary in Bhutan that you are expected to remove your hat and bow when encountering the Royal Family members. The manners and customs of the Bhutanese are in many respects unique.
Can I drink the local tap water?
We advise you to avoid drinking tap water, fountain drinks or ice cubes. Drink only bottled or boiled water and carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Most hotel rooms will have a water boiler or provide flasks of boiled water for drinking and cleaning teeth.
Would you recommend taking a raincoat?
Most of the time there should be nice weather in Bhutan but bring a light rain jacket just in case. For more information about the climate of Bhutan, please have a look on the link – https://www.bhutangreentravel.com/climate/ .
If I wanted to change my travel dates, what should I do?
Once you know what dates you want to change to, please contact us immediately. We will try to change it without any additional fees but our policy is to charge if any of our associated suppliers apply extra charges on the new changes made.
Are there mobile phone services in Bhutan?
Yes, there are currently two cell phone networks that operate in the country, namely B-Mobile and TashiCell, both of which have bilateral and unilateral roaming links with the operators outside Bhutan. 4G service operates over B3 (1800 MHz) with Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) technology. If your mobile phone is without international roaming facilities, then bring an unlocked mobile phone with GSM 900-1800 technology. Upon arrival in Paro International Airport in Bhutan, you can purchase a local pre-paid mobile SIM card (costs about USD $5) by filling up a form with your passport copy after completing immigration procedures. We recommend getting B-Mobile SIM card from Bhutan Telecom Counter right beside the Money Exchange. Otherwise your guide can help you buy one in Paro/Thimphu or elsewhere later.
If I wanted to cancel my booking, what should I do?
We must be informed in writing about cancellation of your tour. The cancellation charges apply according to the notice period received prior to your departure. More details can be found in the link provided here –
What should I do if I am not satisfied with my tour provider?
We suggest you to speak or write to us about your complaints first. We’ll try to resolve it to the best possible means from our end. If you are still not happy with our responses, then you may lodge your formal complaints to the Department of Tourism (national tourist board) at email@example.com.