Getting to Bhutan via Air
Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air, and Bhutan Airlines both provide international flights into Bhutan’s international airport located in Paro, about one and a half hours drive from Thimphu.
Druk Air has a fleet of modern Airbus A-319 and ATR planes. Druk Air flies in and out of Bhutan from:
Bangkok (BKK – Thailand)
Delhi (DEL – India)
Mumbai (BOM – India)
Kolkata (CCU – India)
Bagdogra (IXB – India)
Gaya (GAY – India)
Guwahati (GAU – India)
Kathmandu (KTM – Nepal)
Dhaka (DAC – Bangladesh)
Changi (SIN – Singapore)
Bhutan Airlines began its international operations in October 2013. It’s sectors to Bhutan include:
Bangkok (BKK – Thailand)
Delhi (DEL – India)
Kolkata (CCU – India)
Kathmandu (KTM – Nepal)
Domestic Air Travel within Bhutan
Tashi Air, also known as Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air also domestic flights within Bhutan. The flights take place between Paro and Bathpalathang (Bumthang). This air link will provide an excellent opportunity for those wanting to explore the western and eastern districts of Bhutan without the lengthy drive times.
Druk Air have also operate a service to Gelephu in the South from Paro. This flight takes place every Tuesday.
Getting to Bhutan via Road
If you wish to travel overland, you can enter and exit Bhutan through its southern gateway of Phuentsholing into the Indian state of West Bengal. It is approximately a five hour drive from Thimphu. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, located approximately four hours by road from Phuentsholing. This border point is an ideal junction for those wishing to combine their exploration of Bhutan with the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal.
For those who would like to journey across Bhutan, there is an exit only border crossing at Sumdrup Jongkhar in southeast Bhutan to India. The closest airport is 110 km away in Guwahati. From here you a number of destinations you can fly on to including Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata and Bangkok. This is convenient for those flying into Paro in the west and touring across Bhutan without back tracking.
The tariffs are set by the Government of Bhutan through Tourism Council of Bhutan, and it is valid for all-inclusive packages. The travel period in Bhutan is classed under two levels as high season and low season.
Single travels will have to pay additional US $ 40 per night as surcharge. Two people travelling together will have to pay US $ 30 as surcharge. The rates applicable are detailed here under.
The Minimum tariff includes following.
The following costs are excluded
Once your desired tour product is discussed with Bhutan GBS Tours and Travel, you can wire transfer the fund to our bank account in Bhutan National Bank. 50% payment is required while confirming the tour. The remaining payment must be made one month prior to the arrival date.
Please be informed that a Bhutan visa can only be applied upon remittance of the fund. Tourism Council of Bhutan due to their particular interest in government taxes strictly monitors all monetary transaction between the clients and the agents. The bank details will be sent to you depending upon your location. Your desired tour package with Bhutan GBS Tours and Travel will be booked and confirmed as soon as the tour payment is remitted.
How to get or apply Tourist Visa to Bhutan
You can’t personally apply for tourist Visa yourself. Application has to be done by an authorized travel agent in Bhutan on behalf of you.
This is the steps which you have to take:
1. Book a Bhutan tour package with a licensed tour operator
2. Purchase & confirm your air-tickets on DrukAir
3. Ensure that you have a passport with at least six months validity at the point of arrival in Bhutan
4. Provide the information required as listed below
• Full name as per passport
• Mailing address
• Contact No. (mobile preferred)
• Submit a scanned copy of your passport.
Tour programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
# More than 40 days before the start of tour program: 10% of the rates.
# Between 40 days and 30 days before the start: 20% of the rates.
# Between 30 days and 20 days before the start: 30% of the rates.
# Between 20 days and 15 days before the start: 50% of the rates.
Less than 15 days before the start or cancellation without notice: 60% of the rates.
After arrival in Bhutan: 100% of the rates.
If you want to cancel your tour after you have paid payment to us, we will process your refund with conformity as the list of charges above. Because the Tourism Council of Bhutan is holding your payment until you leave Bhutan, so we need time to require them to return the funds to you. The refund times can take some time, at periods of busy is 5 weeks.
If you are planning for an amazing trip to Bhutan – “The Land of The Thunder Dragon”, here are some tips for you.
1. Peak and off peak seasons
The peak seasons in Bhutan are spring – March, April and May and autumn – September, October and November.
It is advised that you should book your tour and flight tickets at least three months ahead of your trip to Bhutan or even earlier. For festival tours, you may need to book four to five months prior to your holiday to ensure your reservation of hotels and flight tickets.
Spring and autumn are the perfect time for trekking with good weather. There are also some famous festivals which are often held during these periods like Punakha festival, Paro festival, Thimphu festival, and Bumthang Jamba Lhakhang Drup Festival, explaining for the mass tourists coming to Bhutan in these periods.
Off peak seasons are summer – June, July, August and winter – December, January and February. In summer, the rains turn the beautiful Bhutan valleys into a lush green colour. This is also a great time for mushroom picking as well. While winter may be cold and dry, it offers a clear blue sky which is ideal for the mountain views and photography opportunities. If you do not want to deal with crowds of tourist, it is a good idea to consider travelling during summer and winter.
2. Clothes and what to bring with you
Warm clothes are very important, especially if your trip is between the months of winter and spring – from October to March with the cold and the strong winds. However, we advise that you should always have a jacket with you during your time in Bhutan, regardless of the seasons. This is because of the huge changes of weather you may experience due to elevation, with some valleys care colder than the others.
If you travel to Bhutan in spring and summer, you can wear light clothing during day time, and a sweater or jacket will be necessary in the evenings. From autumn through winter, down jackets, fleeces, hats and gloves are crucial to keep yourself warm as it will have snowfalls and strong winds in certain areas. Sports shoes are suitable for tours with mostly walking and light hiking. For trekking tours, we recommend to bring your hiking boots with you. Sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and hat may be needed for higher elevations. It is wise that you have spare batteries for phone and camera as well, especially for treks.
If you have motion sickness, do not forget to take travel sickness tablets with you as the roads in Bhutan are bumpy and winding and you will spend lots of time travelling by car.
Your Bhutan travel will not be complete without trips to dzongs, temples and monasteries. But make sure to wear long pants or trousers and collar shirts (full or half sleeved) when entering these places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps and sunglasses as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised and also when you cross a bridge.
You can bring some books and keep some movies in your laptop or tablet for entertainment during flights and the trip. You may find something to do while in Thimphu and Paro as they are quite developed, but in other places, nightlife is non-existent. Most hotels are not close to the main town either.
If you want to smoke, bring your own cigarettes to Bhutan, The country forbids the sale and consumption of tobacco, so you are not allowed to smoke in public areas. However, consumption is not totally banned in Bhutan so if you want, ask your guide to know where you can go and take a drag on your cigarette.
Other tips for your Bhutan trip:
# Most hotels in Bhutan have WiFi, but if you need more connectivity you can get a local SIM card from Tashi Cell or B-Mobile and top up with prepaid cards. You should be able to pay via credit card at most hotels and handicraft stores.
# You do not have to tip in restaurants and hotels. The guide will take care of tipping on your behalf. However, be aware that you have to tip your guide and driver.
# Bring with you a multi-purpose electrical plug and a universal travel adapter in case you have many devices you want to charge is a good idea.
# When taking photos or filming inside any religious institution like dzongs, temples, monasteries, do check with your guide in advance whether it is allowed because some areas may ban it. Do remember not to touch robe of monks, any paintings, murals and any other ritual objects at these institutions.
Bhutan Tourism Policy
Bhutan’s tourism sector is regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. Bhutan enjoys a reputation for authenticity, remoteness and a well-protected cultural heritage and natural environment.
Bhutan Tourism Policy of the Royal Government of Bhutan is based on a concept of High Value & Low Impact. Founded on the principle of sustainability, tourism must be environmentally friendly, socially and culturally acceptable, and economically viable. The Royal Government of Bhutan recognizes that tourism is a worldwide phenomenon and an important means of achieving socioeconomic development, particularly for a developing country like Bhutan. It believes that tourism, in affording the opportunity to travel, can help to promote a deeper understanding among people and to strengthen ties of friendship based on a deeper appreciation and respect for different cultures and lifestyles.
Tourists are kept to a manageable level through a government regulated tourist tariff. This all-inclusive tariff covers all food, accommodation (excluding resorts such as Aman Kora, Taj Tashi, Uma Paro & Uma Punakha, Le Meridien Thimphu, and Zhiwa Ling Paro), transport and guide services. A portion of the tariff (currently 35%) helps to sustain the provision of free medical care and education for everyone in the country. All tour operators are subject to this all-inclusive rate.
Bhutan GBS Tours and Travel is a licensed tour operator as certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, Association of Bhutanese Tourism Operators and the appreciation letter from the Swiss Government for providing excellent services and tour for the diplomate official trip to Bhutan.
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