Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Its landscape ranges from subtropical plains and forests in the South to subalpine forests and snowy mountains in the North. Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.
2. Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?
It is a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator to book your travel to Bhutan or one of their international partners.
3. Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?
All international tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry.
4. How much does the visa cost?
International tourist visas cost US$40. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives there is no cost incurred.
5. How do I get to Bhutan?
There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan (from Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Also, there are three land border crossings through which you can travel into the kingdom overland. All crossings are along the Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator. A list of tour companies operating in Bhutan is available on the Tourism Council of Bhutan website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangements.
6. What does the US$200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?
The US$200 per day (low season) and US$250 per day (high season) package includes a minimum of 3 star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation (with driver) within the country. Also included in the price is a US$65 per day royalty that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.
7. What currency is used in Bhutan?
Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. However Indian notes in 500 and 1000 denominations are not acceptable.
8. Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year?
There is no limit on the number of tourists admitted into the country each year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment the government has adopted a strict policy of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists who will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people whilst also providing the visitors with an unforgettable ‘one of a kind’ experience.
9. What’s the food like in Bhutan?
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillis are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy.
Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are the meats that are eaten most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.