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Frequently Asked Questions

All foreign nationals traveling to Bhutan need a visa, which has to be processed before traveling to Bhutan. It is mandatory that the visa application has to be processed through a registered Bhutanese tour operator based in Bhutan; no Mission or Embassy abroad can issue a Bhutanese visa. Once tour payment is remitted to the account of Tourism Council of Bhutan, the visa application is endorsed and forwarded to the Department of Immigration for clearance.

Visa is now processed online and is mandatory to submit a scanned copy of your valid and clearly visible passport to the Department of Immigration. They take a minimum of 3 working days to verify for clearance. Upon approval, a copy of visa clearance letter will be issued and forwarded to you through email; you will be able to board the flight to Bhutan with this clearance letter. The actual visa is stamped on arrival in Bhutan.

For travelers, entering Bhutan by air, visa clearance letter is forwarded to concerned overseas stations, without which travelers are not allowed to board their flight. It is thus, mandatory to carry a copy of this visa clearance letter while boarding the flight to Bhutan.

For travelers entering Bhutan overland through Phuentsholing, Gelephu or Samdrup Jongkhar (border with India), visa is stamped on arrival also on the basis of this clearance letter.

Visa fee of US$ 40 per person is payable along with tour payments.

You will need a valid passport with a minimum of six months validity.

Your passport must have at least 2 un-used pages for visa stamp.

All tours must be booked through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator such as Himalayan Marvels.

Visitors may only experience Bhutan on an all-inclusive package tour for which the Tourism Council of Bhutan sets a fixed daily tariff.

Minimum Package Tour Rate: (Standard Package)

  • US $ 250 per person per night (Mar, Apr, May, Sept, Oct, Nov – Peak Season)
  • US $ 200 per person per night (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug, Dec – Regular Season)
  • US $ 40 Bhutan Visa fee per person (per one time visit)

Govt. FIT Surcharge: in addition to the tour rates given above

Single Individual:

US $ 40 per night per person (Peak & Regular Season)

Groups of 2 persons:

US $ 30 per night per person (Peak & Regular Season)

Group of 3 persons and more

FIT Surcharge is waived (Peak & Regular Season)

The above Standard Package covers the following land costs:

  • (a) Govt. approved standard hotels in twin sharing room (3 star)
  • (b) All meals at the Govt. approved standard hotels or local restaurants
  • (c) Standard Transport / transfers within Bhutan for the duration of the tour
  • (d) A licensed English speaking local guide for the duration of the tour
  • (e) Sightseeing, entrances fees to museums & monuments, all permits
  • (f) 35% royalty to the government & all taxes
  • (g) Trekking (basic equipment, haulage & crew)

Other services, activities and higher category of hotels will require an additional supplement.

Accommodation

Most hotels in Bhutan are in the 3 star level and are referred to as Standard Hotels. A few luxury 4 & 5 star accommodations are also available in (Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang). The standard accommodations all offer the necessary facilities, and are properly maintained. Generally speaking, hotels in western Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue) are better appointed than the rest of the country.

Accommodation establishments are more modest with fewer amenities in the more remote areas of central (Gangtey, Trongsa, Bumthang) and eastern Bhutan (Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Samdrup Jongkhar). Sometimes the best accommodation may be the only accommodation and a very modest one in that area especially in the central and eastern regions. When you travel with Himalayan Marvels, you can be sure that your accommodation in lodges, guest houses, smaller hotels and tented camps will be up to the best available.

Food

The Standard Package tour will include breakfast at the overnight hotel/accommodation; lunch and dinner at local tourist restaurants or at the overnight hotel/accommodation. We provide packed lunch for journeys that pass through areas where local tourist restaurant are not available (central and eastern Bhutan) and on treks and hikes.

If weather permits, the packed lunch is normally enjoyed outdoors at a suitable area along the journey. If weather is not suitable, then lunch is provided at the nearest available sheltered structure (house, barn, etc).

Guides

All our tours are escorted by well trained and knowledgeable local English Speaking Guides. Our guides are all certified and trained by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

There will be extra charges for German/French/Japanese/Spanish speaking guides. Since there are not many language-speaking guides in Bhutan, advance booking will increase the confirmation of the language-speaking guides.

 Transportation

Chauffeured by our skilled and experienced drivers, they will ensure your safety and comfort while traveling on the small winding roads of Bhutan. The Standard transportation consists of Toyota coaches seating 6-20 people and smaller Toyota vans seating 1 to 5 people. 

Trekking

On your trek, you will be accompanied by a professionally trained and experienced catering/trekking team, who will set up camp, prepare fresh meals, and cater to all your needs while on the trek. Since there are no teahouses or lodges along the trekking routes in Bhutan, tented camps are set up during the treks. All members of our catering/trekking team are certified and licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

Information for Indian Tourists

Indian tourists visiting Bhutan are required to carry either a valid Indian Passport, which has a minimum validity of six months, or valid Voter Identity card issued by Election Commission of India. Indian tourists do not require tourist visa to visit Bhutan. However entry permits must be processed to enter the country. The entry permits can be processed on arrival, which will require waiting in line at immigration or, in advance by a local travel agent such as Himalayan Marvels.

Processing entry permits for Indian tourists visiting Bhutan

Indian tourists must process for an entry permit on arrival either at the airport or at the Department of Immigration Office at the point of entry if traveling by road. With the entry permits, Indian tourists can stay up to 15 days in Bhutan with possibility of extension subject to approval by Immigration.

Documents required for processing entry permit for Indian tourists

  • Valid Indian passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or valid Voter Identity Card
  • Duly filled entry permit application form
  • 2 standard size passport photographs
  • Hotel booking voucher (hotel bookings in Bhutan must be confirmed prior to applying for the permit)
  • Processing the entry permit can take up to a few hours and for Indian tourists travelling to Bhutan by road, should note that the Department of Immigration offices are closed during the weekends and therefore must plan their trip accordingly to avoid unnecessary delays.

Indian tourists must note that the entry permit allows them to enter Bhutan and visit Paro, Thimphu and Phuntsholing district only. For Indian tourists wishing to visit other places, which are not included in the list, they must apply for Route Permit on arrival in Thimphu at the Immigration office. Staff at Himalayan Marvels will be able to help out with this process.

Documents required for processing route permit for Indian tourists

  • Valid Indian passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or valid Voter Identity Card
  • Duly filled route permit application form
  • Copy of the Entry Permit
  • These must be processed and should not be ignored. The immigration check post en route to most places will check for this permit and Indian tourists failing to apply for it will not be allowed to continue their journey.

Procedures for Indian tourists wishing to drive private Indian car to Bhutan.

Indian tourists wishing to drive private Indian car to Bhutan must apply and avail authorization letter from the Royal Safety and Transport Authority of Bhutan (RSTA) on arrival at the border town prior to proceeding to other places in Bhutan.

Documents required for processing the authorized letter from RSTA Bhutan

  • Vehicle insurance
  • Vehicle fitness certificate
  • Valid driver’s license copy
  • Entry Permit Copy
  • Copy of Passport/Valid Voter ID Card
  • Duly filled authorized letter application form
  • Authorized letter from the owner of the car

Flights to Bhutan from India

The Royal Bhutan Airlines (Druk Air) and Bhutan Airlines operate inbound flights to Paro International Airport in Bhutan from New Delhi, Kolkata and Bagdogra airport in West Bengal and Guwahati airport in Assam.

Flight duration from various Indian cities to Paro Bhutan

From

To

Flight Duration

New Delhi

Paro Bhutan

3 hours

Kolkata

Paro Bhutan

40 minutes

Bagdogra

Paro Bhutan

30 minutes

Guwahati

Paro Bhutan

30 minutes

Traveling to Bhutan by road from India

There are three border entries from southern Bhutan. Phuntsholing town in the Southwestern Bhutan links with Indian state of West Bengal. It is roughly 170 kilometers away from Bagdogra International Airport in West Bengal. Tourists can catch a taxi or local bus and drive to Phuntsholing town from the airport. It is about 5 hours drive from the airport to the border town. This is the most popular point of entry for tourists in Bhutan.

Gelephu town in South Central region and Samdrup Jongkhar town in Southeastern region connects to the Indian state of Assam. Guwahati International airport in Assam is roughly 105 kilometers away from Samdrup Jongkhar town. Tourists can catch a taxi or local bus and drive to Samdrup Jongkhar town from the airport. It is about 3 hours drive from the airport to the border town. This point of entry is recommended if tourists plan on exploring the eastern region.

Traveling to Bhutan from Kolkata by road

Tourists can take a bus ride from Kolkata to Phuntsholing Bhutan. The Royal Government of Bhutan operates the bus services. It is an 18 hours journey to Phuntsholing from Kolkata.

Kolkata to Phuntsholing Bus Service schedule

Route

Fare

Departure Timing

Departure Schedule

Kolkata to Phuntsholing

INR 653

07:00 PM (IST)

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Phuntsholing to Kolkata

INR 653

03:00 PM (BST)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

 Traveling to Bhutan by train from India

There are no train stations in Bhutan. Tourists preferring to travel by train to Bhutan from India have to stop at Indian train stations that are closer to the Bhutan border. Tourists will need to get to one of the following train stations and catch a taxi or bus to the border town of Phuntsholing.

Train Station

Station Code

Distance to Phuntsholing

Drive Time to Phuntsholing

Hasimara Railway Station

HSA

20 Kilometers

40 Minutes

New Alipurduar Railway Station

NOQ

60 Kilometers

1 hour 45 Minutes

New Jalpaiguri Railway Station

NJP

152 Kilometers

5 hours

 

Traveling to Bhutan from Kolkata by train

Trains

Boarding Station

Final Station

Commute Time

Kanchan Kanya Express
Karmabhoomi Express

Sealdah (SDAH) Kolkata

Hasimara Railway Station (HSA)

18 hours

Indian tourists can get to Bhutan from Kolkata by boarding the Kanchan Kanya Express or the Karmabhoomi Express. Tourists will have to board the train from Sealdah train station (SDAH) in Kolkata and the final stop will be at the Hasimara Railway station (HSA) in Alipurduar district of West Bengal. From Hasimara Railway Station, tourists will have to take a 40 minute taxi or a bus ride to Phuntsholing Bhutan.

Traveling to Bhutan from New Delhi by train

Trains

Boarding Station

Final Station

Commute Time

Rajdhani Express

Avadh Assam Express

New Delhi Railway Station

(NDLS)

New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP)

22 hours

To reach Bhutan from New Delhi by train, tourists will have to board the Rajdhani or the Assam Express from the New Delhi railway station and get off at the NJP station in state of West Bengal. Tourists will then have to take a taxi or bus to Phuntsholing Bhutan from New Jalpaiguri Raiway Station. It is around 5 hours’ drive from NJP to the Indo Bhutan border.

Information for Bangladeshi Tourists

Bangladeshi tourists visiting Bhutan are required to carry a valid Bangladeshi passport, which has a minimum validity of six months. Bangladeshi tourists do not require tourist visa to visit Bhutan. However entry permits must be processed to enter the country. The entry permits can be processed on arrival or in advance by a local travel agent such as Himalayan Marvels.

Processing entry permits for Bangladeshi tourists visiting Bhutan

Bangladeshi tourists must process for an entry permit on arrival either at the airport or at the Department of Immigration Office at the point of entry if traveling by road. With the entry permits, Bangladeshi tourists can stay up to 15 days in Bhutan with possibility of extension subject to approval by the Immigration.

Documents required for processing entry permit for Bangladeshi tourists

  • Valid Bangladeshi passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
  • Duly filled entry permit application form
  • 2 standard size passport photographs
  • Hotel booking voucher (hotel bookings in Bhutan must be confirmed prior to applying for the permit)
  • Processing the entry permit can take up to a few hours and for Indian tourists travelling to Bhutan by road should note that the Department of Immigration offices are closed during the weekends and therefore must plan their trip accordingly to avoid unnecessary delays.

Bangladeshi tourists must note that the entry permit allows them to enter Bhutan and visit Paro, Thimphu and Phuntsholing district only. For Bangladeshi tourists wishing to visit other places, which are not included in the list, they must apply for Route permit on arrival in Thimphu at the Immigration office.

Flights to Bhutan from Bangladesh

The Royal Bhutan Airlines (Druk Air) operate inbound flights to Paro International Airport in Bhutan from Dhaka.

Flight duration from Dhaka to Paro

From

To

Flight Duration

Dhaka

Paro

1 hour 10 minutes

  • There shall be no charge other than visa fee of USD 40 for children below the age of 5 years.
  • Children between the ages of 5-12 years shall be given 50% discount on minimum daily package rate.
  • A GROUP SIZE DISCOUNT of 50% on minimum daily package shall be given to one person in a group of 11 people. 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
    Please Note: Children below 5 years will not be eligible for GROUP SIZE DISCOUNTS & DURATION DISCOUNTS.
  • Full time students below the age of 25 years, holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions, shall be given 25% discount on minimum daily package rate.

The Tourism Council of Bhutan will only allow us to process visa for the guest after receiving the full amount of the tour in advance.

In the extremely rare case of the visa being denied, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Please feel free to contact us if you need any clarification.

The total amount for your tour must be sent via wire transfer to the account of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, see below:

Bank Address:  Standard Chartered Bank Ltd.

Correspondent Bank :

One Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010-3603 , SWIFT Code: SCBLUS33, CHIPS ABA: 0256, FED ABA: 026002561

Beneficiary Bank Account:  358-202-171-9001 (USD A/C)

Beneficiary bank: Bhutan National Bank, P.O.Box No. 439, G.P.O. Building, Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan , SWIFT CODE: BNBTBTBT

Ultimate Beneficiary:   Account No. 0100004493010 of Himalayan Marvels, Bhutan

Cancellation Policy

  • 60 days or more before date of arrival – Full refund
  • 30 days or more before date of arrival – 85% refund
  • 14 days or more before date of arrival – 70% refund
  • 7 days or more before date of arrival – 50% refund
  • Less than 7 days before date of arrival – 35% refund

After arrival in Bhutan No refund

Point of entry & exit to Bhutan by air is at Paro, which is in the western region of the country. If arriving overland, the points of entry/exit are at Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar in the southern region that connects Bhutan with the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam respectively.

By Air

There are two airlines operating in Bhutan i.e. Druk Air, the national airlines which has been in operation since 1982 and Tashi Air which launched its international operation in 2012. Bhutan’s only International Airport is located in Paro, at an altitude of 2400 Mtrs./7,300 ft. height which is also day light restricted; besides there are three domestic airports located each in central, eastern and southern Bhutan. As of now, Bhutan is connected to & from Bagdogra, Gauwhati, Bodh Gaya, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in India; Kathmandu in Nepal, Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Singapore.

The flight between Paro and Kathmandu is one of the most stunning as the aircraft passes over four of the five highest mountains in the world; in a clear weather, one can have spectacular views of Mt.Everest, Mt.Lhotse, Mt.Makalu and Mt.Kangchenjunga.

 Overland

If you are reaching/exiting Bhutan overland, you will have to enter/exit either through the border town of Phuentsholing in western Bhutan or Gelephu in the southern part or Samdrup Jongkhar in eastern Bhutan. Phuentsholing is 180 km from Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal and takes around 5 hours to reach Phuentsholing. Gelephu in southern Bhutan is another entry point. Samdrup Jongkhar is another entry point to Bhutan from the eastern region. It is approximately 150 km from Guwahati Airport in Assam and takes around 4 hours to reach.

The daily tariff does not cover your travel insurance. Travelers are, thus highly advised to have a Comprehensive Travel Insurance policy to protect you from any unforeseen incidents like accidents, travel and baggage delays, medical emergencies, etc.

Since many insurance companies do not offer policy in general for adventures like trekking, biking, rafting, etc. it is recommended to take extra coverage for specific activities you wish to undertake in Bhutan. We also recommend you to purchase travel insurance to cover any cancellation eventualities including cancellations based on medical grounds, professional commitments or any travel interruptions.

Recorded Average Temperatures at different places in Bhutan (recorder at Degree Centigrade)

Place

Jan/Feb

Mar/Apr

May/June

July/Aug

Sep/Oct

Nov/Dec

 

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Paro

+13

+3

+15

+3

+23

+13

+25

+15

+22

+10

+12

+3

Thimphu

+14

0

+16

+6

+22

+14

+27

+17

+20

+13

+16

+1

Punakha

+18

+7

+24

+9

+22

+10

+26

+13

+25

+11

+22

+9

Wangdi

+17

+7

+24

+11

+28

+18

+29

+20

+26

+17

+22

+7

Trongsa

+12

+1

+16

+2

+20

+14

+18

+14

+17

+13

+16

+9

Bumthang

+10

+1

+16

+5

+18

+10

+21

+13

+19

+11

+15

+2

Mongar

+23

+10

+27

+11

+30

+20

+35

+22

+30

+18

+25

+8

Trashigang

+16

+4

+19

+7

+20

+13

+22

+14

+20

+11

+16

+9

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