Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Bhutan is a small land locked country. It is predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.
Is it necessary to book a Bhutan tour through a tour operator?
Except for Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian Nationals, it is a government regulation that a tour should be booked through a licensed Bhutanese Tour operator or one of their international partners. Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian travelers can travel independently. However, it is advisable that they book their Bhutan tour through a Local tour operator in Bhutan, whereby they will not have to face the hassles of travel and will not have to face the risk and the challenges of traveling in an unknown place. Traveling through a tour operator would mean having a perfect holiday in Bhutan because they know the place and can make arrangements to suit your needs.
What are the Visa requirements and process to travel to Bhutan?
All travelers except Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian Nationals require a visa to travel to Bhutan. The visa must be pre-arranged through a tour operator prior to your travel to Bhutan. Once we receive the Tour payment, we will process the Visa. It takes upto a week to process the Visa. The Visa approval letter/ Visa Clearance letter issued by the Department of immigration, Thimphu Bhutan will be mailed to you. You will have to carry this document when you board the Druk Air/ Bhutan Airlines flight. The actual visa will be stamped in your passport upon arrival in Bhutan. A valid passport is required for travel to Bhutan and the validity of the passport should be minimum 6 months from the date of return. The visa fee is USD 40 which should be paid in advance to the tour operators together with the tour payment. For Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian Nationals, visa/permit shall be issued on arrival in production of either a valid National Passport, citizenship Identity card or voter ID card. No visa fee is required for the travelers from India, Bangladesh and Maldives.
How do I get to Bhutan?
There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan (Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai.). At present two carriers operate out of Bhutan, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. Also, there are three land border crossings through which you can travel into the kingdom overland viz. Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar.
What do the $ 200/ $ 250 per night minimum daily package (applicable for foreign tourists except Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian Nationals) include?
The $ 200 per night (low season) and $250 per night (high season) package includes a minimum of 3 star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation (with driver) within the country. The cost also includes USD 65 of government royalty and other taxes.
Can I pay my tour payment through my credit card?
Since there is no credit card payment facility, all the tour operators in Bhutan accept tour payments through wire transfer only.
What currency is used in Bhutan and do we have exchange facilities?
Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. A few shops accept USD and other foreign currencies; however you can exchange them in Banks.
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 without the spice. 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.
Is it a problem in food for strict vegetarians to travel in Bhutan?
We have few pure vegetarian restaurants in Thimphu. However, on prior information we arrange for pure vegetarian food for our guests.
What electrical fittings and voltage do I expect in Bhutan?
The common electrical outlets in Bhutan accept three types of plugs; three round pins arranged in a triangle, two round pins and two parallel flat pins with ground pin. The electricity voltage in Bhutan is 230 volts, alternating 50 cycles per second. If your device does not support this voltage, you may need a separate voltage converter.
Can I reserve window seats in my flight to and out of Bhutan?
The seats are allocated randomly and it cannot be assured during the time of reservation. However, you can check in early and ask for window seats.
Are there any restrictions for gay and lesbian travelers?
No, all travelers can travel equally.
Are any kinds of vaccinations necessary before traveling to Bhutan?
As of now no vaccinations are compulsory. However, it is generally recommended that your tetanus, diphtheria and polio boosters are up to date.
Can I use cell phone service in Bhutan?
If you have international roaming, you can use the facility. However, considering the high cost of using roaming facility, it is always advisable to get a local sim in discussion with your guide on arrival.
Is it legal to buy antiques in Bhutan?
You can buy antiques. However, you should ensure that it has a government seal.