This FAQ will tell you everything you need to know about travelling to Bhutan.
Bhutan is a magnificent place for a holiday, but there are a few things that you need to know first. Take some time to read through it; it will ensure that you’re prepared and you’ll know what to expect.
What are the costs involved for traveling to Bhutan?
There is a minimum selling price in USD set by The Royal Government for all travel packages to Bhutan and to be paid prior to your arrival in Bhutan.
Our standard of quality in service will never be compromised with our discounts offered. Tariff for a Group of 3 person or more will be as follows:
High Season – USD$ 250 each per night for the months of March, April, May, August, September, October, and November.
Low Season – USD$200 each per night for the months of January, February, June, July and December.
What's included in the tariff?
- 3 to 4 star hotel stay (luxury hotels will be charged differently)
- All tour & transfer throughout your journey
- Personal guide & driver with SUV
- Breakfast, lunch & dinner (excluding alcoholic drinks)
- Free mineral water through your trip
- All entrance fees & sightseeing including Monasteries & Dzongs etc
- Bhutan government daily royalties, visa fees, and other taxes
- All trekking equipment (e.g. sleeping mats, sleeping tents, toilet and shower tents)
- When trekking additional support crew and ponies are included
- We assign excellent leaders to each trip. They are highly qualified and certified by the Tourism Council of Bhuan. They make all the difference to your trip.
What are there surcharges for travel groups that comprise of less than 3 people?
Solo travellers – US$40 each per night
Group of 2 persons – US$30 each per night
The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business, study or promotional visits duly approved and cleared by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
What are the procedures for applying a visa?
A visa is to be obtained through a foreign or local agent in Bhutan (excluding Indians, Bangladeshis and Maldivians).
We require a scanned clear copy of your passports to process visas. Payment is required to be made in full in order to process your visa. Please ensure that your passport has more than 6 months of validity.
What if I have to cancel my booking?
All tour programmes that are booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
Deposit Date Until 50 Days of Arrival
21-50 Days before arrival
14-20 Days before arrival
8 – 13 Days before arrival
7 Days or less before arrival
No refund can be made
Are there any charges for delays in arrivals and departures?
There is will be no charge for delays in arrival and departure due to weather conditions, flights disruption or road blocks. However, the guest will have to bear the cost of food, accommodation transportation and other services required.
Will travel or medical insurance be provided?
We recommend all travellers to obtain their own travel insurance.
What's Bhutan's currency?
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) that is at par with the Indian rupee. US dollar are also accepted only at certain shops, restaurants and hotels. Generally, credits cards are not accepted, with the exception of hotels.
Will I have Internet access in Bhutan?
Almost all hotels in Thimphu and Paro have internet access. Mobile (cell) phones are also widely used with international roaming facilities.
Am I allowed to take pictures anywhere and everywhere in Bhutan?
Bhutan is an ideal place for photographers, offering immense opportunities for photography, especially our outdoor sightseeing trips. However, indoor photography is not allowed inside Dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions, unless you have a special permit from the Department of Culture. Nevertheless, you can capture images of the landscapes, panoramic views of the mountain ranges, the rural folk life, the flora and fauna, the Bhutanese architecture and the Dzongs and Chortens in particular.
What's shopping like in Bhutan?
You may shop for a a variety of goods such as hand-woven textiles that is either in raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted gods of silver. There are also shops that sell beautiful Thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. There are many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and Paro.
Does Bhutan practice tipping?
Tipping is generally only for your guide & driver, hotel porters, and trekking crew, as for the rest, tipping is generally discouraged. For children accompanying you, please do not include them in the tipping formula as only adults need to tip.
1- 2 persons travelling: US$8 – 10 per person per day for your guide & USD5 – 7 per person per day for your driver
3 -8 persons travelling: USD6 – 8 per person per day for your guide & USD3 – 5 per person per day for your driver
8-16 persons travelling: USD4 – 6 per person per day for your guide & USD3 – 5 per person per day for your driver
For travellers that are staying more than 8 nights, we recommend a slightly lower rate to be paid for your guide and driver tips, at your own discretion.
You will also need to tip your trekking cooks and horsemen (not structured to day hikes). Normally, your trekking guide will be with you throughout your entire journey. Tip your guide & driver at the end of your tour using the formula above.
We recommend the below total tips for the entire cook/horsemen crew and not per person.
Tips for 5 trekkers or less:
Short treks 4 nights or less: total USD80 to the cook/s & total US$50 to the horsemen
Longer treks 5 night plus: total USD150 to the cook/s & total US$80 to the horsemen
Tips for 6 trekkers or more:
Short treks 4 nights or less: total US$150 to the cook/s & total US$100 to the horsemen
Longer treks 5 nights plus: total USD200 to the cook/s & total USD150 to the horsemen
What type of transportation is provided?
Tourists travel in Bhutan with medium-sized buses (20-22 seats), small buses (8-12 seats) or hired cars. Larger coaches are not permitted due to the road’s limited width.
What should I expect if I'm trekking in Bhutan?
With the high altitude, Bhutan is a challenging and rewarding experience for trekkers. It will take you deep into the beautiful and unspoilt nature. It will lead you to evergreen forests populated by various plant and animal species, forming a scenic path for you to follow. These treks lead you through villages, farms and religious temples, allowing a chance to witness the rich culture and the life of the rural Bhutanese people.
We have knowledgeable and friendly guides, cooks, porters, assistants and pony handlers at your disposal. In short, all you need to do is simply enjoy the trek with a camera in hand as you take shots of the breathtaking scenery and mingle with the indigenous people. In addition, we customise treks to suit each individual of different groups and needs.
Bhutan’s summers are warm with daily temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degrees celsius, while winters are cold with daily temperatures often falling bellow 15 degrees celsius. If you’re visiting Bhutan during winter, be sure to pack a few sets of warm clothes and comfortable shoes.
Will I be accompanied by anyone during the trek?
All trekkers are accompanied by a guide, a cook and usually at least one horseman or yak herder. They will lead your trekking group. The horseman and cook will usually run ahead during a trekking day. They will have prepared a packed lunch for hikers and will go on to the night’s resting place to set up camp.
They set up tents, cook dinner and ready the area for arriving trekkers. When trekkers reach the campsite they are greeted with a hot cup of tea and biscuits in the dining tent. After six hours on the mountains, no drink will ever taste sweeter. For dinner, the cook will usually prepare a buffet of dishes that are just as delicious as they are welcoming.
In Bhutan, all trekking supplies – camping equipment, kitchen implements, food – are all carried by pack animals. Usually, the loads are carried by horses or, in higher regions, yaks.
What should I bring with me if I'm going to trek in Bhutan?
It’s always important to ensure that you’re well-prepared before you head off on your trekking expedition in Bhutan. Here’s a little packing list that will guide you along.
- Trekking shoes with socks (camp shoes or thongs)
- Down or fibre-filled jacket (jumper or piled or waterproof jackets)
- Hiking shorts
- Hiking pants
- T-shirts or blouses
- Sun hat
- Self inflating sleeping mattress (this is optional, “normal” mats are provided by Bhutanese tour operators)
- Sleeping bag
- Water bottle
- Torch, batteries and bulbs.
- Photography equipment
- Insulated pants (nylon wind pants)
- Nylon windbreaker
- Long underwear
- Woolen hat
- Long gaiters
- Toilet articles
- Cigarette lighter
- Small knife
- Sun block / sun block for lips
- Laundry soap
- Medical and first aid kit
- Sewing kit
- Walking sticks
What are some of the biggest challenges faced when trekking in Bhutan?
Altitude sickness can be a serious problem at the altitudes hiked to in Bhutan. If you feel sick, dizzy or have a worsening headache, stop and drink as much water as possible. If the symptoms persist, go back down the mountain.
Bhutanese guides are trained to look out for altitude sickness and other ailments that can affect trekkers. They are expert walkers who have been trained as trekking guides and follow routes that have been walked for centuries. All trekkers are required to strictly follow trekking rules to protect the fragile environment at high altitudes.