Travel Info

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Essential travel information: 

Visa

Visa:

1. All nationalities [with exception to the nationalities mentioned in the following section] must obtain visa before arriving Bhutan. 

The physical passport is NOT required to grant the visa. 

A scanned copy of the photo-page of your passport, with a minimum validity of SIX months, is required to process the visa.

The visa processing can be initiated and duly granted ONLY after the full payment of the tourist tariff is deposited and received in the bank account nominated by the local tour agency.

Upon fulfillment of the travel payment and tour arrangement conditions, an electronic copy of the approved visa will be issued by the Department of Immigration. 

You must carry the same passport you have used to obtain the visa when you enter Bhutan, during which the immigration officials will inspect to stamp the visa on your passport. 

Thimphu City

2. Nationalities of India, Bangladesh and Maldives: 

The visitors holding passports of India, Bangladesh and Maldives will be granted Travel Permit on arrival at the entry ports. Bangladesh and Maldives nationals MUST have the passport with validity SIX months. Indian nationals can use either the passport or Voters Identity Card to avail the travel permit. 

Accommodation:

COMO Uma living room

1. High-end luxury hotels

There are number of luxury hotels to arrange your accommodation. However, the visitors availing the luxury accommodation MUST make supplement payment in addition to the daily standard tariff to meet the cost. You can access the information on some of the high-end luxury hotels on the website links shared in the following list: 

– Uma, Zhiwa Ling, Taj Tashi, Amankora, Le Meridien, and Terma Linca

2. Three star and above rated hotels

It is a requirement by regulation that the accommodation of all tariff-paying visitors MUST be arranged in the Three Star and above rated hotels in Bhutan. 

No additional is needed for the accommodation EXCEPT for special request to arrange the accommodation in the above-mentioned high-end/luxury hotels.

Paddy Cultivation in Paro

3. Traditional farm houses

If you wish to experience the daily life and living of a rural Bhutanese communities and families, there is an option for an eco-lodge, farmhouse or a traditional house. These accommodation facilities are well maintained and regulated to ensure safety and standard requirements of the tourism industry. There will incur NO additional payment to have accommodation arranged in this category. 

Camping Tents

4. Camping tents 

The visitors booked for trekking will have the overnight halt arranged in camping tents. However, the visitors embarking on trekking are advised to carry your own sleeping bags including any other kits required for your personal use.

Food:

Bhutanese Meals

Steamed rice [red and white rice] with variety of curry options are predominantly Bhutanese traditional food. 

The vegetarian and non-vegetarian including vegan options can be arranged widely and easily. Anydietary restrictions/options must be informed during your travel booking. 

Continental food options are also widely available in all the hotels where your accommodation is arranged. 

Transport:

For smaller group of one to two persons, SUV cars will be used for transportation. Most of SUV cars in Bhutan are imported from Japan and South Korea.

Hyundai H-1 and Toyota Hi-ace buses will be provided for group of three to five people. AC Toyota coaster buses are used for more than five travellers in a group. 

Your transportation is included in the daily tariff and NO additional cost will be incurred. 

Alternatively, there are domestic flights to places such as Bumthang – in central, Trashigang – in Eastern and Gelephu – in Southern Bhutan. 

However, any flight travels are NOT covered by the daily tariff and therefore you will incur cost for any domestic flights you take. 

Alternatively, there are domestic flights to places such as Bumthang – in central, Trashigang – in Eastern and Gelephu – in Southern Bhutan. 

However, any flight travels are NOT covered by the daily tariff and therefore you will incur cost for any domestic flights you take. 

Communication:

Almost all parts of the country are connected with stable mobile connectivity. Except for areas you will cover in trekking along high mountains, mobile connectivity will be mostly unavailable.

International roaming facilities are available in Bhutan, so you might want to check with your network provider prior to travelling to Bhutan to opt for the roaming facility.

If you require, our operation staffs can assist you to get a local SIM card from airport and towns. 

Weather & Clothing:

If you are travelling in the months of October to February, places in Paro, Haa, Thimphu, Trongsa, Bumthang, and Trashigang will be mostly cold. You are advised to carry warm clothes for your travel destinations in these parts of the country. 

The months of June, July, August and September are mostly rainy conditions. You are expected to carry rain gears. 

Dress Code:

Bhutanese dress code

Smart casual is generally expected/accepted dress code in most places in Bhutan. While Bhutanese will wear formal traditional dress when visiting Dzongs/Administrative centres, temples and in festival events, the visitors are okay without formal dress but will be appreciated with long pants (even if jeans), shirts with full sleeves, and skirts below the knees. 

Wearing hats, shoes, and revealing clothes inside Dzongs and temples are NOT permitted.  

Courtesy & Etiquette:

Kuzu Zangpo is a general greeting in Bhutan, meaning ‘hello’. If you are greeting seniors and elders, it is a common etiquette to make a slight bowing of your head as you say Kuzu Zangpo.

Handshakes are commonly accepted culture. It is okay to handshake with an opposite sex!

Taking photographs of monastery / temple / Dzong exteriors are permitted but mostly restricted in the interiors. If you are walking around a temple or religious stupa, you ALWAYS do so in Clock-wise.

Generally, Bhutanese are happy to pose for a photograph, but it is always nice thing to ask for permission if you are taking their photos.

However, DO NOT take photo of a member of the Royal Family even if they are present at a festival or gathering. 

Electricity and fittings:

Electricity points in Bhutan are in 230 volts and uses three types of plugs: 

i. Three round pins arranged in a triangle
ii. Two round pins 
iii. Two parallel flat pins

Adapters are easily available in most of the shops. 

Money:

Bhutanese currency

The currency name is Ngultrum (Nu). ATM outlets are available in major towns but they cannot be always reliable for foreign cardholders. 

Most hotels and gift/souvenir shops accept credit cards but can charge 3 – 5% transaction fees. Credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Thomas Cook, Citibank or Barclays are accepted. You can also cash travellers cheques at any bank and foreign exchange counter at the airport. 

Most reliable option is to carry some cash in dollars. Indian rupees [except 1000 rupee notes] can also be used in Bhutan. 

Any unused Bhutan currency can be changed at a bank or the airport prior to your departure. 

Health:

There are no vaccination requirements for entering the country. Nevertheless, it is recommended that your tetanus, diphtheria and polio boosters be done. You may consult your travel doctors for any travel health information. 

You are advised to drink only bottled or boiled water, avoid iced water, and eat cooked and peeled foods to avoid stomach upsets.

In the event of any health issue, most places in Bhutan have health centres. Healthcare in Bhutan is free, including for visitors/tourists.

If you are trekking, prepare to acclimatise in the varying altitudes ranging from 2000m to 3000m high. You must immediately inform your tour guide in case of any altitude/sickness. 

Language:

The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. However, the English language is widely spoken by anyone who went to school. 

Some of the useful terms in Dzongkha are: 

i. Kuzu Zangpo – Hello 
ii. Choe gadebe yoe? – How are you? 
iii. Kadrinche la – Thank you
iv. Choe ming gachi mo? – What’s your name?
v. Ngi ming ….  – My name is ….

Other useful things/kits:

  • Anti bacterial hand gel for disinfecting hands 
  • Medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, cough drops, diamox, bites/burn cream and small bandage.
  • Lightweight toilet articles (shampoo, soap-travel size)
  • Sunscreen, lip screen and insect repellent
  • Water purification tablets (iodine or chlorine)
  • High calorie snacks and energy bar