Tourism has been strictly limited in Bhutan
so that traditional culture can be preserved and nurtured.
The Bhutanese are highly religious people and therefore it
is important to show respect and understanding for local customs
and way of life, especially while visiting places of religious
The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded
on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must
be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and
culturally acceptable, and also economically viable. For these
reasons, tourism is carefully monitored and the number of
tourists visiting Bhutan is kept to an environmentally manageable
Visitors may experience Bhutan only on all-inclusive
package tours for which a fixed tariff is set by the Royal
Government of Bhutan. This tariff covers the following services:
accommodation & all meals, transport, guide, entrances
fees to museums, monuments and cultural sites, and additionally
a cultural program for visitors traveling in a group of three
* All tours must be booked through a recognized Bhutanese
Tour Operator with entire land arrangements provided by one
and the same operator.
* For Cultural Tours, booking arrangements
must be completed 4 weeks in advance, but for Cultural Tours
during festivals, arrangements must be completed 6 weeks in
advance. The spring and autumn festivals are our peak times
for tourism, and without early reservations it can be difficult
to confirm flights and hotels.
* For Trekking groups, booking arrangements
should be completed at least 8 weeks in advance, as this activity
requires detailed forward planning. Our associate in Bhutan
has built up impressive resources over the last 20 years,
and can offer your clients a choice of the finest and best
organized trekking experiences in the entire Himalayas.
* Visas are required for traveling to Bhutan, and applications
are processed through our associate in conjunction with tour
booking. The visa fee is US$20 for unlimited duration of stay,
paid on arrival. No foreign mission abroad grants Bhutan tourist
* All information as mentioned on the visa
application form must be forwarded to us for processing with
the concerned authorities at least three weeks prior to date
of travel, but note that for all FITS / GITs traveling during
festivals, details should be sent at least 6 weeks prior to
date of travel, as this is the peak time for tourism.
Please submit the required information by
fax or email. We do not require any additional photos or visa
forms in advance.
* Whether entering Bhutan by land or by air,
each client should bring two passport size photographs with
name/ passport number printed clearly on the back, and US$20
(in cash) for the visa fee. Visa applications are cleared
in advance, and visa clearance numbers issued, and clients'
passports are stamped on arrival at the port of entry.
* For travelers entering Bhutan by Druk Air,
visa clearance is required for the issuing of Druk Air tickets.
The visa clearance number is forwarded to the Druk Air station
at which the flight originates. Travelers without a visa clearance
number on record will not be permitted to board their flights.
* For travelers entering the country by land
from India, through the southern border town of Phuentsholing,
the visa is stamped on arrival, as per visa clearance number.
Travelers without a visa clearance number on record will not
be permitted to enter the country.
The INTERNATIONAL TOURIST TARIFF is set by the Royal Government
of Bhutan and is valid for all-inclusive packages.
Advance payment in full for the entire tour must be sent to
Etho Metho by Bank transfer, within the specified time frame.
Services are confirmed subject to advance payment only. See
under Department of Tourism Regulations for full information
on remittance of tour payment.
For high seasons (March, April, May, Sept,
Oct, Nov), it is advisable to remit payment for Druk Air flights
3 months in advance. This will help us to obtain confirmed
seats on the requested flights.
The most convenient way of entering Bhutan is by Druk Air,
the country's national (and so far only) carrier. As flights
can be delayed due to weather conditions (particularly during
the summer months), it is advisable to allow 24 hours before
any onward connection. As flights can be delayed due to weather
conditions (particularly during the summer months), it is
advisable to allow 24 hours before any onward connection.
Druk Air flies regularly between Bhutan and
the following countries:
Bangladesh (Dhaka); India (Calcutta, Delhi);
Nepal (Kathmandu); Thailand (Bangkok)
Arrival/departure by land is also possible,
through the southern border town of Phuentsholing. The nearest
airport is at Bagdogra, West Bengal, about 4 hours drive away.
Phuentsholing is a convenient entry/exit point for travelers
wishing to visit the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal
along with Bhutan.
Flight Frequency & Airfares
Druk Air flies several times a week between all destinations
except Bangladesh, for which the service is more infrequent.
The timetable varies according to season, so please check
with us for the current schedule when making your tour arrangements.
Airfares given below are current at time
of printing, but subject to change without notice. Prices
are in US dollars, for a round trip journey. One way travel
is half the cost of the round trip fare. Please check with
us for latest rates when making your tour arrangements.
Delhi / Paro: $760 / $630 (J class / Y class)
Bangkok / Paro: $880 / $720 (J class / Y class)
Calcutta / Paro: $460 / $380 (J class / Y class)
Dacca / Paro: $460 / $380 (J class / Y class)
Kathmandu / Paro: $460 / $380 (J class / Y class)
The spectacular mountain scenery en route
is seen at its best in the winter months, when skies are generally
very clear. The flight between Kathmandu and Paro gives the
most extended view of the Himalayan massif, including the
Everest region. Given suitable weather conditions, Mt. Kanchenjunga
will be visible for some time on all routes. Flying in and
out of Bhutan is an unforgettable experience, whatever route
Visitors are required to complete a passenger declaration
form for checking by concerned officers on arrival. The following
articles are exempt from duty: -
(a) Personal affects and articles for day
to day use by the visitor;
(b) 2 liters of alcohol (spirits or wine);
(c) 400 cigarettes, 150 gms of pipe tobacco, 2 boxes of cigars
(or 50 pieces);
(d) Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional
(e) Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic
goods for personal use.
The articles mentioned under (d) & (e)
must be declared on the declaration form. If any such items
are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift, they are liable
for customs duty. On departure, visitors are required to surrender
their forms to the Customs authorities.
Money: Bhutan's currency
is the Ngultrum (Nu.), with 100 Chetrum = 1 Ngultrum. The
Ngultrum is fixed to the value of Indian rupee. Tourists are
advised to carry their money in the form of traveler's checks
(preferably American Express) with some cash (US dollars would
be best) which might be used for incidental purchases/expenses.
There are bank branches in all major towns.
Accommodation: There are
comfortable hotels, lodges and guesthouses at our tourist
destinations. Generally speaking, hotels in western Bhutan
are better appointed, while accommodation establishments in
the central and eastern part of the country are more modest,
with fewer amenities. There is no star categorization of hotels
and five star luxuries are not available.