Bhutan is best known to the world today as the last Shangri-La. The visitors who make the rare journey into this extraordinary kingdom will discover that there is no other destination like this land of pure and exotic mysticism. In this country, known as Druk-Yul or 'Land of the Peaceful Dragon', the fortunate visitor will find a rare combination of harmony and accord amidst a landscape of incredible natural beauty.

The awe inspiring valleys and mountain passes, daunting heights, sprawling glaciers and huge moraines, stupendous waterfalls and crystal lakes, deep gorges, verdant slopes and vast undulating flower-studded meadows, dense forests and scrub jungles vividly illustrate the varying moods of mother-nature. As of now, this Himalayan wonderland is fast emerging as a favored destination for the discerning traveler, especially those interested in experiencing its unique and distinctive culture, hard and soft trekking, wildlife & bird watching , rural and eco-tourism. It is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers.

Being a Buddhist country, every facet of Bhutanese culture is distinct & exotic. Every aspect of Bhutan, whether its society, traditions, fairs & festivals , arts & crafts and even architecture is influenced by the religion.

Tourism in Bhutan is also unique. The Royal Government, since the inception of tourism in 1974, has adopted a very cautious approach to its growth and development. The Bhutanese tourism industry is based on the principle of sustainability and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable.

Organized Tours & Tariff

Accordingly to the Royal Government of Bhutan Tourism's policy, all tours to Bhutan are in the form of all-inclusive package tours for which the price is set by the Government. Independent travel is not permitted and tours need to be booked through a tour operator. The price is all inclusive of accommodation in the best hotels and lodges on full board (stay with all meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner) basis , transportation within the country by car, mini van and buss depending on the group size etc, services of an English speaking guides and museums fees. Now, there is no restriction on the number of persons traveling to Bhutan and even a single individual traveler is also welcome provided he/she has to pay (FIT surcharge), applicable , if the group size is below 3 persons.

Accessibility

Bhutan can be visited both by air & road. One can fly in & out of Paro, the only Airport in Bhutan, which is connected to Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Yangon and Dhaka by Bhutan's National Carrier called Druk Air. Druk Air operates daily flights to the above cities from Paro. As of date, no other airlines operate to & from Paro (Bhutan).

Please write to us, in case, you need information about the airline, schedules and tariffs, terms and conditions etc.

Besides the air, one can driving in & drive out of Phuentsholing, the southern Bhutan frontier town with India. Bagdogra Airport, in the state of West Bengal (India) is the nearest airport, which takes around 5 hours by road from Phuentsholing. Bagdogra is conveniently connected to different parts of India by air, road and rail. One can combine Bhutan tour with Darjeeling, Kalimpong , Gangtok etc in West Bengal & Sikkim besides rest of India.

Badrapur & Birat Nagar, about 6 & 7 hours drive from Phuentsholing respectively are other two airports in Nepal, connected by regular flights to Kathmandu.

One can also exit Bhutan from Samdrupjongkhar , the south east Bhutan frontier with Assam, which is around 6 hrs drive from Guwahati. Guwahati is again connected to different parts of India by air , road & rail.

Visa Formalities

Visa is must for traveling to Bhutan and the processing takes around four weeks. One needs to deposit the full payment of the tour for obtaining the visa, which is a must besides giving the following details like Full Name, Permanent Address, Nationality, Date and Place of Birth, Profession/Occupation, Passport Number, Date of issue, Place of issue and Date of expiry.

Visa is approved in advance and visa clearance number is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Govt. of Bhutan. Without visa clearance number, a traveler can not board the flight or enter the country by road. A copy of visa clearance number is forwarded to the concerned Druk Air stations and other entry points by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Travelers need to carry 2 copies of original passport-sized photographs, which are required on arrival into the country. A visa fee of US $ 20 per person is payable in cash on arrival, at the port of entry. The actual visa is stamped on arrival at the port of entry.

Best season

Every season up in the mountains has its own charm , however the best season to visit Bhutan is Spring (March, April & May) visually the best period and especially for photography. Although much depends on weather condition, even though, one can see fields of yellow, crimson & cobalt rose as rhododendrons start to bloom with astonishing beauty. There are good chances to see snow-covered mountains till early April.

Jun is summer month whereas July & August are the monsoon months and bring heavy rain to the kingdom. During the monsoon, rain delays the flight operation and also block road traffic due to landslide.

Fall begins in September and continue till late November. Usually, the sky clears from the beginning of October and temperature also start going down. Autumn is also the best time to see the high mountains and also snow capped peaks. Weather during these months is pleasant to warm , the sky is clear and valleys are blooming with different species of flowers. Importantly, most of the important festivals are held in these months.

Winter starts from end November and continue till early March. During these months . the days are generally clear & sunny with blue sky.

Altitude sickness

It is difficult to determine who may be affected by altitude sickness since there are no specific factors such as age, sex or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility. Some people can ascend to 2500 meters (8000 feet) with little or no effect..

The general altitude in Bhutan is higher than many people are used to it, however all the culture tours don't go above 3,500 m. Most visitors will have no problem in adjusting with the altitude, still we recommend to consult your doctor .

As all treks in Bhutan do cross 3,500 m & above , one need to be physically fit for trek in the mountains.

Credit card & ATM

Credit cards are not accepted in Bhutan nor ATM facility is available presently. All major foreign currencies in cash / travelers cheques are accepted in major hotels and restaurants in Bhutan. You can en cash your foreign currency into Ngultrum (Nu), which is the Bhutan currency on arrival at Paro airport or from Bhutan Bank . Hotels will be happy to en cash your foreign currency into Ngultrum.

Dress code

Although there is no particular dress code for the travelers, no shorts, hats/caps, short skirts are allowed while visiting the monasteries, temples and dzong, though they are good for trekking etc.

While attending the tsechu, which is essentially a religious festival and therefore a suitable & appropriate dress and conduct is expected from the travelers. Dress decently (not necessarily in formal dress) with full pants or long skirts, blouses with coat/jackets. Casual dress is permissible but avoid sorts, jogging suites, short skirts, skimpy outfits and sandals/Hawaiian slippers. Please remember, your host, the Bhutanese are invariable dressed in their best for the Tsechu.

Average Temperatures

PLACES JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
PARO 6-9 2-13 1-15 5-18 11-24 14-25 15-27 15-25 12-23 7-19 1-14 2-11
THIMPU 3-12 1-14 4-16 7-20 13-23 14-15 13-16 16-25 15-23 10-22 5-18 1-15
WANGDUE-PHODRANG 4-17 8-19 10-23 13-26 18-29 20-29 16-18 20-29 18-28 15-26 10-23 6-19
THONGSA 0-13 0-14 4-17 7-20 11-21 14-22 15-25 15-24 14-23 12-22 6-20 3-18
BHUMTHANG 5-11 1-10 4-16 4-19 10-21 14-23 11-14 14-23 12-22 6-20 1-16 2-12
MONGAR 8-16 8-16 12-20 14-23 17-25 20-26 16-16 20-25 19-25 16-23 11-20 10-26
TRASHIGANG 11-20; 12-22 14-25 17-28 23-30 23-31 23-32 23-30 24-30 18-29 14-26 12-23

*All Temperatures are in degree celcius

DISTANCE & APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME BETWEEN CITIES

PLACES TO DISTANCE (kms) DRIVINGTIMES (Approx)
THIMPU WANGDUE PHORANG 70 3 hrs
THIMPU GANTEY 133 5 hrs 30 min
THIMPU PUNAKHA 77 3 hrs
PUNAKHA GANGTEY 75 3 hrs
PUNAKHA WANDUE PHORANG 22 45 mins
PUNAKHA PARO 130 5 hrs
WANGDUE PHORANG TRONGSA 129 4 hrs 30 mins
THRONGSA BUMTHANG 68 2 hrs 30 mins
BUMATHANG MONGAR 195 7 hrs
MONGAR LHUENTSE 76 3 hrs
MONGAR TRASHIGANG 90 4 hrs
TRASHIGANG CHORTEN KORA 52 1 hr 30 mins
TRASHIGANG SAMDRUP JONGKHA 180 6 hrs
SAMDRUP JONGKHA GUWAHATI 110 3 hrs
SAMDRUP JONGKHA PHUENTSHOLING 380 9 hrs 30 mins
PHUENTSHOLING BAGDOGRA 175 5 hrs
PHUENTSHOLING SILIGURI 150 4 hrs

For more detail please Contact us:info@insightindiavoyage.com