The Step-by-Step Guide to travel Bhutan

Bhutan Travel Guide

Brief Overview of Bhutan

Bhutan is known by various names. In the past, the country was widely known as Mon Yul or the Land of Darkness. The other names given were Lho Jong Men Jong or the Southern Land of Medicinal Herbs, Ridag gi yul or the Land of dense forests and mountainous terrain. Today, we are known as Bhutan to the international community.

Bhutan is situated in the eastern Himalayas. To the north, it borders the Autonomous Region of Tibet, China and to its South, the Democratic Republic of India. Bhutan is a mountainous country except for a small flat strip in its southern foothills that borders the two Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. High steep valleys and deep gorges are normal features of Bhutan.

Bhutanese really pride their rich culture and tradition that is not only unique but being preserved. Our rich culture and traditions have really blended well with modernization and development. Preserving the culture has also been recognized as one of the main pillars in fulfilling the overall development philosophy of Gross National Happiness.

Bhutan Tourism

Tourism in Bhutan was initiated by the forth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck at the time of his coronation. Today, the Tourism Council of Bhutan is the regulatory authority which is an autonomous body. There is a strong policy in place which that advocates high value, low impact/volume tourism. The number of tourist visiting the country has been increasing steadily over the years.

The Step-by-Step Guide to travel Bhutan

  1. Best Time to visit Bhutan
  2. How to reach Bhutan
  3. Bhutan Tourist Visa
  4. Tourist Map of Bhutan (driving distance)
  5. Tourist attraction in Bhutan
  6. Bhutan Travel Cost
  7. Bhutan Trip Package Includes and Excludes
  8. Bhutan Climate
  9. Where to stay in Bhutan
  10. Festival of Bhutan

 

  1. Best Time to visit Bhutan

 Bhutan has four particular seasons and each season has its own particular magnificence and appeal. Bhutan is a year-round goal. In this way, it is completely up to you to choose your trip to Bhutan period.

1. Spring (March, April and May) (Peak Season for Tourist  Arrival)

Spring is a botanist’s joy as different blossoms begin and plants begin sprouting after their long torpidity in winter. Blooms, for example, rhododendron, wild azaleas, and edelweiss cover the glades like cover and include another feeling of ponder to the Bhutan’s scene.

2. Summer (June, July and August): (Off Season for Tourist  Arrival)

This season is a time of hot and wet climatic condition with high precipitation in many parts of the nation. It is a bounteous time as blossoms are in full sprout and valleys are canvassed in green.

3. Harvest time (September, October and November) (Peak Season for Tourist  Arrival)

This is the time when the whole scene transforms into brilliant shading. The agriculturists gathering their products in the brilliant shaded paddy fields under the fresh blue skies is only a stunning perspective of Bhutan’s scene in the Autumn season.

4. Winter (December, January and February)(Off Season for Tourist  Arrival)

These months encounter chilly and dry climatic conditions. Be that as it may, the crisp winter season in Bhutan gives one a reasonable perspective of the world’s most noteworthy Himalayan mountain ranges canvassed in snow.

  1. How to reach Bhutan

Road or by Air is the only way how to reach Bhutan. Getting to Bhutan is either by Road or by Flight. Entry to Bhutan by road can be made only from Phuntsholing , Samdrupjongkhar and Gelephu.

West Bengal (Jaigaon) border is the favored one for the individuals who wish to take a road trip to Bhutan.  The Entry gate at Phuntsholing remains open from 7 Am (BST) till 10 Pm. For any tourist making a trip to Bhutan must first visit to immigration office to complete registration and then proceed further continuing your daily tour itinerary.

How to Reach Bhutan by Flight?

Paro International Airport is the only Airpoprt in Bhutan that connects Bhutan to the outer world. Bhutan only has two domestic airports at Gelephu and Bumthang as for now.

Reaching Bhutan by Flight has now become much easier compared to before. More destinations has been added up to make ease for tourist visiting Bhutan. Bhutan currently has two major Airlines, Bhutan Airlines and Drukair.

How to Reach Bhutan by Flight

Destinations & Route Map of Drukair & Bhutan Airlines

Country City Airport
Singapore Singapore Changi International Airport
Bangkok Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport
 Nepal Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport
India Guwahati Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport
Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport
Bagdogra Bagdogra International Airport

 

  1. Bhutan Tourist Visa

For any international tourist visiting Bhutan must produce Bhutan Tourist Visa at the entry point to Immigration Officer. Prior to your trip to Bhutan, Bhutan Visa must be processed through any of the local Bhutanese tour operator.

Bhutan Tourist Visa is approved in advance and will take up to seven working days excluding Saturday and Sunday’s. Flights tickets for tourist cannot be booked without valid visa clearance certificate.  One time visa processing fee of USD 40 has to be paid separately excluding Bhutan tour cost. A scanned copy of original passport valid for 6 months has to be send to the local Bhutanese tour operator to process your visa.

4. Tourist Map of Bhutan (driving distance)

Approximate Travel Time in Car

From To Distance(Km) Hour
Thimphu Paro 55 1
Thimphu Phuntsholing 175 5
Thimphu Wangdue Phodrang 70 2
Thimphu Punakha 75 2
Thimphu Trongsa 199 7.5
Wangdue Gangtey 52 1.45
Wangdue Trongsa 129 4.30
Trongsa Bumthang 69 1.20
Bumthang Mongar 195 6
Mongar Trashigang 96 3
Trashigang Samdrup Jongkhar 180 6
Samdrup Jongkhar Guawhati 110 2.30
Phuntsholing Baghdora 175 4

 

5. Tourist attraction in Bhutan

There are numerous important tourist attractions in Bhutan ranging from 16th century monuments and even older than that which makes Bhutan as true iconic structure in the world. Some myths of Terton Pema Lingpa even take us back to 14th century.

The main historic tourism attractions in Bhutan highlights Tiger’s Nest, Punakha Dzong, Wolrd’s tallest sitting Buddha, Chimi Lhakhag (Devine Madman’s Temple), Ta Dzong (National Museum of Bhutan), Rinpung Dzong and Trashicho Dzong.

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The Tourism Council of Bhutan plays important roles of which they plan and update important national policies. Develop and implement tourism guidelines and put in place measures, carry out marketing and promotional activities and develop new products and services besides facilitating man power and skills requirements in the tourism sector.

Paro

The only airstrip in Bhutan is located at Paro.  Paro Valley is one of the most populated areas of the whole country because of it’s proximity to the airport. The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions and requires a few days to explore properly. Casting a shadow across the town of Paro and controlling all secular and religious activities in its valley is the Rinpung Dzong built in 1645. Behind Rinpung Dzong, on the top high hillside, is the castle-shaped ta Dzong. Onetime watch tower built to defend during the civil wars of the 17th century. Ta Dzong has housed the nation’s heritage in Bhutan’s National Museum since 1967.

From a Buddhist’s point of view, Paro was the first stop for Guru Rimpoche on his crusade from Tibet to Bhutan over one thousand years ago. Taktshang monastery is now a scared shrine for all visitors who travel to Bhutan from all over the world to pray at its temple. Eighten Kilometers from Paro town on the south side of the valley are the burnt ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. It was from this monastery that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetans armies during the 17th century.

Thimphu

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. A regal town, Thimphu is home to the revered Bhutanese Royal family and to several foreign missions and development projects.

On the bank of the river lies Tashicho Dzong, the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. The national Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. Visitors are strictly prohibited from entering the government building at all during an active session.

Bhutan’s National Library is located clsode to the painting school and is also worth a look in. Housed in the library are some of the oldest records of Bhutanese history and religion.

A wonderful day’s outing from Thimphu is a visit to Cheri and Tango Monasteries to the north of the town. They can be reached by road but many tourists go up to the monasteries for a daytrip by foot.

Five miles from Thimphu stands the 17th century Simtokha Dzong in the land houses the school for Buddhist studies.

Punakha

Punakha lies about two hour’s driver from Dochula down low in its valley from Thimphu. Punakha Dzong is home to the central monk body and the Je Khenpop during the milder winter months.

A temperature climate and natural drainage from Pochu (male) and Mochu (Female) rivers, the fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops. Punakha severed as the capital f Bhutan until 1995.

Punakha Dzong was strategically built at the junction of the two rivers in the 17th century by the frst Zhabdrung to serve as the religious and administrative center.  Chimi Lhakhang (Devine Madman) where all people of world visit this lhakhang for child. There are many true stories how childless parents got their child through prayers and ceremonies visiting Chimi Lhakhang.

6. Bhutan Travel Cost

The base day by day bundle for voyagers going in a gathering of 3 people or more is as per the following:

The minimum Bhutan travel cost of USD $200 per individual every night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.

The minimum Bhutan travel cost of USD $225 per individual every night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.

These rates are appropriate per traveler every night stop in Bhutan.

The Royal Government of Bhutan sets least pitching costs for bundles to Bhutan. These must be paid in US dollars preceding landing in Bhutan.

7. Bhutan Trip Package Includes and Excludes

The minimum daily Bhutan trip package Includes the following services.

  • A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an additional premium).
  • All Meals
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All internal transport
  • Trekking & camping equipment for trekkers
  • All Sightseeing Tours in Bhutan as per the itinerary and
  • Refreshments

The minimum daily Bhutan trip package Excludes the following services.

  • Travel Insurance and
  • Flight tickets

 

8. Bhutan Climate

The atmosphere in Bhutan is very distinct compared to other parts of the globe. The difference of the climate conditions in Bhutan follows two principle factors, the huge contrasts in elevation display in the nation and the impact of the northern Indian rainstorm.

Southern Bhutan has a hot, sticky sub-tropical atmosphere that is genuinely perpetual consistently. Temperatures can fluctuate between 15-30 degrees Celsius. In the Central parts of the nation the atmosphere cools somewhat, changing to calm and deciduous woodlands with warm summers and cool, dry winters. In the far Northern Bhutan the climate is cool amid winter. Mountain crests are unendingly shrouded in snow and lower parts are as yet cool in summer inferable from the high elevation territory.

Thimphu encounters dry winter months (December to February) and no precipitation until March. Bhutan’s dry spring begins towards beginning of March and continues until mid-April. Summer climate begins with intermittent showers and proceeds to late June. The heavier summer rains last from late June through late September.

Pre-winter, from late September or early October to late November, takes after the stormy season. It is described by splendid, bright days and some early snowfalls at higher rises.

From late November until March, winter sets in, with ice all through a significant part of the nation and snowfall basic above heights of 3,000 meters.

Average Temperatures in Bhutan

It should be noted that average temperatures are recorded from valley floors. There can be considerable divergences from the recorded figures depending upon elevation.

Month Values in Celsius Paro Thimphu Punakha Bumthang
January Max 9.4 12.3 17.0 10.8
Min -5.8 -2.6 4.3 -5.2
February Max 13.0 14.4 19.0 10.0
Min 10.5 0.6 7.8 -1.4
March Max 14.5 16.4 22.8 16.2
Min 0.6 3.9 10.4 3.5
April Max 17.6 20.0 26.2 18.7
Min 4.6 7.1 12.9 3.9
May Max 23.5 22.5 29.1 21.3
Min 10.6 13.1 17.7 9.5
June Max 25.4 24.4 29.2 22.5
Min 14.1 15.2 20.1 13.5
July Max 26.8 25.9 30.4 24.1
Min 14.9 25.9 30.4 24.1
August Max 25.3 25.0 29.1 23.0
Min 14.7 15.8 202 13.7
September Max 23.4 23.1 27.5 21.6
Min 11.7 15 19.1 12.1
October Max 18.7 21.9 26.1 19.5
Min 7.4 10.4 14.7 5.9
November Max 13.9 17.9 22.6 16.1
Min 1.4 5.0 9.6 -0.5
December Max 11.2 14.5 19.1 12.3
Min -1.7 -1.1 6.3 -2.3

 

Travel to Bhutan from Europe

Travel to Bhutan from Europe and Bhutan Travel Cost

If you are travelling to Bhutan from Europe, Bhutan is +6:00 hrs ahead of Universal Time Coordinated (UTC+6). Bhutan does not observe any Daylight saving time. For all visitors planning their trip to Bhutan can take flight routes from New Delhi, Kathmandu, Bangkok or Singapore. Travel requirements for European citizens to get into Bhutan require a passport, valid for at least 6 months.

Processing of Bhutan Visa for tourist will at least take seven (7) days for approval. Bhutan Visa costs USD 40 and is only issued to tourist booked with local Bhutan tour operator or through foreign travel partners. There are only two Airlines that fly into Bhutan, Bhutan Airlines & Drukair.

Bhutan-Flight-Routes

Bhutan or the ‘Place that is known for the Thunder Dragon’ may have shed hundreds of years of deliberate segregation yet it continues rehashing itself as a one of a kind country with its very own character. Today, we are the world’s most youthful vote based system, talented to the general population by our dearest Fourth King himself. Our directing advancement reasoning is Gross National Happiness.

Custom, culture and the earth are enthusiastically watched and religion is a lifestyle. Bhutan positions among the world’s best travel goals however not very many guests make the trip. It needs to do with the Kingdom’s ‘high esteem low effect’ tourism strategy, intended to protect the country’s rich social legacy. The individuals who visit may find a land and a people set in an uncommon adjust of advancement and custom, magnificence and agreement.


Bhutan Travel Guide

Bhutan at a Glance

Area :  38,394 sq.Km.

Population: 797765(2016)

Capital: Thimphu

Local Time: GMT +6

Religion: Mahayana Buddhism

National Symbols

Tree: Cypress (Cupresses Corneyana)

Flower: BluePoppy

Animal: Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor)

Bird: Raven (Corvus Corax Tibetanus)

Sports: Archery

National Day: 17 December

Language: Dzongkha

Electricity: 220 / 240 volts. 50 cycles AC, the current is variable.

Currency: Bhutan’s Ngultrum(Nu) is at  par with Indian Rupee (INR)

Credit Cards: Most hotels and shops catering to tourists accept Traveller’s cheques, American Express and VISA credit cards.

How to get Bhutan Visa?

Preceding your voyage to Bhutan, Visa is required for your trip to Bhutan. Visa is endorsed ahead of time and a visa leeway number is issued by the Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. Without the visa leeway number, sightseers can’t get onto the flight or enter the nation. The duplicate of this visa freedom is sent to the concerned Drukair stations and other section focuses by the concerned Department. An examined duplicate in shade of the first travel permit (legitimate for a half year) ought to be sent through email to empower us to apply the visa for your benefit to the concerned government offices of Bhutan.

Favorable time to Visit Bhutan

This can be planned throughout the year, but best months are March, April, May, September, October and November. There are several festivals taking place during these months, offering an added attraction. Winter in Bhutan is from mid November to mid march and at this time of the year, climate is dry and sunny for the most parts with perfect blue sky, temperatures’ peaking at around 15 degree Celsius in the day time and falling below zero at night. The monsoon usually arrives in mid-June, with light rain falling mainly in the afternoons and evening.

Favorable time to Visit Bhutan

Coming to Bhutan – Bhutan Travel Cost

In Bhutan, the tourist tariff is set by the Royal Government in an all-inclusive package structure. The Royal Government fixed minimum package tariff for tourists visiting in a group of three persons or more are as follows:

For March, April, May, September, October & November

  • US $ 160/ per person per night. PLUS Royalty Tax = US $ 65/ per person per night.

For January, February, June, July, August & December

  • US $ 135/ per person per night. PLUS Royalty Tax = US $ 65/per person per night.

* These tariffs are the same for cultural tours, treks or any other special interest tours.

  1. Individual tourists and smaller groups of less than three persons are subject to the following surcharges, over and above the minimum daily package tariff:
  • FIT surcharge for 01 pax = US $ 40/ per night
  • FIT surcharge for 02 pax = US $ 30/ per person per night
  • There is no surcharge for three pax and above.
  1. Additional surcharge of USD 40/ per person per night will be applicable for trek nights only for a group comprising of less than three people.
  2. Single supplement of USD 40/ per person per night.
  3. Visa Fee of US $ 40/ per person for single entry will be applicable.

Terms and Conditions for Bhutan Tour Packages

THE PACKAGE RATES ARE INCLUSIVE OF THE FOLLOWING SERVICES:

  1. Accommodation on twin sharing basis (in standard hotels).
  2. All meals (buffet system /include evening tea/snacks per person each day).
  3. All hotel tax & service charges.
  4. Bhutan visa processing.
  5. All inland travel permits.
  6. Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) royalties and taxes.
  7. Inland transfers: SUV Vehicles (Hyundai Tucson /Hyundai Santa Fe/ Toyota), Toyota Hiace, Toyota Coaster, Hyundai Motor Buses – based on group strength.
  8. Local sightseeing with entrance fees where applicable.
  9. Services of an English speaking local guide.

EXTRAS PAYABLE:

  1. Airfares and taxes.
  2. Travel & Medical insurance coverage.
  3. Drinks/Beverages.
  4. Communication charges, laundry, tips, porters at hotels.
  5. Other expenses of personal nature.

NOTES:

  1. The bundle rate given above is the base rate appropriate per visitor every night end in Bhutan. Any extra administrations or a higher review room/lodging would add to a higher cost for the bundle. The higher review/lavish inns are Taj Tashi, Zhiwaling, Uma and the Amankora Lodges.
  2.  All visits to Dzongs and Monasteries are required to take after the best possible clothing standard as commanded by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
  3.  Full visit installment for air and land course of action is to be saved no less than 45 days preceding entry in Bhutan. Visa will be cleared by the endless supply of installment. The banks and record numbers will be insinuated once the visit appointments are affirmed.
  4.  There is no individual protection of any sort incorporated into the visit cost. Travel protection ought to be gotten from your place of living arrangement, before initiation of your excursion.
  5.  All reservation must be sent in composed, fax or email. Appointments will be gotten for all dates independent of high season or low season whenever of the year.For all Festival Dates, the appointments must be sent or affirmed at the very latest 100 days preceding the date of entry in Bhutan.

Non affirmation of the appointments with no notice following 100 days will be dealt with as wiped out and the reservations will be discharged to maintain a strategic distance from cancellation charges from the lodgings.

Any appointments got/restored following 100 days time span will be acknowledged relying on the accessibility of Drukair seats and lodgings.

CANCELLATION CHARGES:

Tour programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

  1. For cancellations received on or before 45 days prior to date of arrival – full refund.
  2. For cancellation received less than 45 days from the date of arrival – 50%

iii. For cancellation received less than 30 days/no shows/early departures after arrival in Bhutan – 0% refund

  1. All cancellation has to be sent in written (fax/e-mail) before the stipulated time.
  2. All rates and conditions applied above are subject to change depending upon the policies of the Royal Government of Bhutan, which shall be intimated to you as soon as our office is notified officially about it.
  3. Every effort will be made to adhere to the planned itinerary. However, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather and road conditions, changes in flight schedules, national holidays and reasons beyond Bhutan Wonderland’s control, there might be changes in the daily programme/itinerary.