Bhutan Journeys
P.O.Box:1615 Thimphu, Bhutan
Phone: (00)975-2-333890 Fax: (00)975-2-333891

Email: info@bhutanjourneys.com

Your Name (required) Your Email (required) Country

Tour

From To

Requirements

logo

Steps to arrange your trip

Idea:
Bhutan has captured your imagination. Use our website and other materials to get an idea of what you want to do and when.

Communicate:
Bhutan journeys will work with you. Email us at info@bhutanjourneys.com to gather your ideas and find the perfect solution.

Decide:
Decide on your trip and we will arrange the Itinerary, Visa, and Transport. Payment should be transferred in advance.

Get Ready:
We will send the check list and be on hand with any last minute questions.

Arrival:
Depart for Bhutan and you will be meet at Paro Airport by our representative for the realization of that dream.

Getting into Bhutan

Bhutan via Air
Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air servicing Bhutan’s international airport located in Paro, about one and a half hours drive from Thimphu. Their fleet includes modern Airbus A-319 and ATR planes. Druk Air flies in and out of Bhutan from: Bangkok, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Gaya, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Dhaka and Singapore.

Bhutan Airlines
It is a first Private Airline of Bhutan started its flight services on 10 October 2013, entering the international market. Bhutan Airlines fleet includes newly acquired Airbus A320 aircraft. Druk Airlines operates it’s flights in and out of Bhutan from Bangkok, Kolkata and Kathmandu at the moment and expected to expand it is flight operation to various other destinations.

The flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular in the world. Whether flying along the Himalayan range, or over the foothills from Kolkata, each flight is mesmerizing and offers an exciting descent into the kingdom. Please note that due to variable weather conditions, and the fact that the airport in Paro can only operate during daylight hours, flight delays can occur. It is advisable to keep lengthy connecting times with any onward flights.

Domestic Air Travel within Bhutan
Druk Air recently commenced domestic flights within Bhutan. The flights take place between Paro, Bathpalathang (Bumthang) and Yonphula (Trashigang). This air link will provide an excellent opportunity for those wanting to explore the western and eastern districts of Bhutan without the lengthy drive times. For prices and flight schedules, please contact us.

Getting to Bhutan via Road
If you wish to travel overland, you can enter and exit Bhutan through its southern gateway of Phuentsholing into the Indian state of West Bengal. It is approximately a five hour drive from Thimphu. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, located approximately four hours by road from Phuentsholing. This border point is an ideal junction for those wishing to combine their exploration of Bhutan with the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal.

For those who would like to journey across Bhutan, there is an exit only border crossing at Sumdrup Jongkhar in southeast Bhutan to India. The closest airport is 110 km away in Guwahati. From here you have a number of destinations you can fly on to including Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata and Bangkok. This is convenient for those flying into Paro in the west and touring across Bhutan without back tracking.

Toursim Policy

The Tourism Policy of the Royal Government of Bhutan is based on a concept of “High Value & Low Impact”. Founded on the principle of sustainability, tourism must be environmentally friendly, socially and culturally acceptable, and economically viable.
Tourists are kept to a manageable level through a government regulated tourist tariff. This all inclusive tariff covers all food, accommodation (excluding resorts such as Aman Kora, Taj Tashi, Uma Paro and Zhiwa Ling), transport and guide services. A portion of the tariff (currently 35%) helps to sustain the provision of free medical care and education for everyone in the country. All tour operators are subject to this all inclusive rate.
Bhutan Journeys is a licensed tour operator as certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, and the Association of Bhutanese Tourism Operators.
Tourists can book a package holiday to Bhutan through both International and Bhutanese tour operators. Information is available from travel agencies. The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan and this must be paid in US dollars prior to your arrival in Bhutan.

Daily Tariff
Minimum tariff for tourist visiting in groups of 3 persons or more are as follows:

High Season Tariff – US$ 250 per person per night halt(During the month of March, April, May, September, October & November).

Low Season Tariff – US$ 200 per person per night halt (During the month of January, February, June, July, August & December).

The minimum price includes:
All internal taxes and charges (including royalty)
Accommodation
All Meals
All travel with a licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide
All Internal Transport
Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours
The rates given above are applicable per tourist per night in Bhutan. The rates shall apply uniformly irrespective of locations and the type of accommodation provided.

Surcharges
Individual tourists and smaller groups of less than three persons shall be subject to surcharge, over and above the minimum daily rates applicable, as follows:
Single individual US$ 40 per night Group of 2 persons US$ 30 per person per night

Discounts
There shall be no charge for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by elders/ guardians shall be given 50% discount on daily rates. Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions shall also be given a 25% discount on daily rates.

Visa

All visitors to Bhutan require a visa and visa are issued from Thimphu. Applications for tourist visa will be submitted by Bhutan Journeys along with the scan copy of your passport and filled VISA Form. To process the visa, it takes about 10 days and scanned copy of approved visa will be sent to the clients via email. At your point of entry the visa will be stamped in your passport.

Cancellations

Tour Programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

Within 30 days of start of programme ~ no charges

Within 21 days ~ 10% of rate

Within 14 days ~ 15% of rate

Within 7 days ~ 30% of rate

Less than 7 days or without notice ~ 50% of rate

After arrival in Bhutan ~ 100%

Delayed Arrivals

There are no charge for delays in arrival and departure if it is due to bad weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must however bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, and other cost incurred.
Note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan.

Travel Tips

Before coming to Bhutan; make sure that you attend to the following: Travel/Medical Insurance.

The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Limited (RICBL) has initiated a travel and medial scheme solely for our visitors. Hence it is important that you get detailed information about the insurance scheme from your travel agents here in Bhutan. You may also visit the web site at www.ricb.com.bt

Money
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) that is at par with the Indian rupee. It is however recommended that you carry travellers’ cheque or cash, preferably American Express and US dollar instead, as the ATM facilities for foreign currency is limited to just few towns including the capital city Thimphu. Visa and American Express credit cards are also widely accepted.

Banking
Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that caters to your need. Some of the banks that you can avail services and facilities while in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan Limited (BoB), the Bhutan National Bank (BNB), the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank. Most of these banks now provide SMS and Internet banking services. There are also ATM facilities that you can avail; ATMS are located in a number of places where you can withdraw your money especially in Thimphu and in the border town of Phuentsholing. Traveller’s cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged into local currency. However, as you travel into the interior, ATM and internet facilities are almost non-existent and we suggest that you do your banking facilities while in Thimphu.

Electricity
All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.

Communications
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Almost every town has an internet cafe and IDD calling booths from where you can log on to and send messages home and to your loved ones. Most hotels in Thimphu and Paro have internet access. Mobile (cell) phone is also widely used with international roaming facilities.

Travelling Kits
Bhutan experiences a great variation in its climate. Summers are warm with average daily temperature ranging from 20 to 25 Celsius, while winters are harsh and cold. In winters temperatures drop below 15 Celsius. Warm set of clothes, thermals and shoes will come in handy to counter the Bhutanese cold. You might want to consider ‘what to wear’ for hikes, trekking and sightseeing, as well as for dinners, appointments and functions that we have for you. Other things that could come in handy are sunglasses, sun screen lotion and a hat; antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-diarrhoea pills, altitude & car sickness medicine; insect repellent, flash light (w/spare batteries) umbrella, camera, films and accessories (including spare camera batteries) etc.

Photography
Bhutan is an ideal place for photography. Trekking and sightseeing will provide you with a host of photography opportunities. However you may need to check with your guide for indoor photography as taking photographs inside Dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions are restricted unless you have special permission from the Department of Culture. One can however, capture images of the landscapes, mountain ranges, rural folk life, flora and fauna, Bhutanese architecture and the Dzongs and Chortens.

Shopping
For people who love shopping and taking home gifts, Bhutan offers a variety of goods that revolve mainly around textiles. You may shop for items like hand-woven textiles that are either in raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven cane and bamboo baskets, and wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted silver wares. You can also shop for thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamp. One will come across these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and also in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.

Gratuities
Tipping is solely personal choice. We do not have any tradition of giving tips and we leave it to you when it comes to tipping your guides and drivers

Customs
The following articles are exempt from duty:

Personal items for day to day use by the visitor
1 litre of alcohol (spirits or wine)
200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%
Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use
Photography equipments, video cameras and other electronic accessories for personal use.

You have to complete the passenger declaration form on your arrival before checking out. The last two articles mentioned, 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.

Import/export restrictions of the following goods is strictly prohibited:

(a) Arms, ammunitions and explosives
(b) All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs
(c) Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
(d) Antiques
Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival. Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may not be exported without a clearance certificate.

Language
Bhutanese speak a variety of languages but Dzongkha is the national language and one of the most widely spoken languages. English is also a medium of communication and most Bhutanese speak English. Communicating in English especially with the people in the urban areas and the towns will enhance your knowledge on Bhutan.

Clothes and other paraphernalia
With great attitudinal variations weather is quite erratic in Bhutan. So be prepared to brace the erratic weather as you step outdoor. We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other places where you see the national flag.

Time
Bhutan Standard Time (BST) is 6 hours ahead of GMT. The whole country falls under the same time zone.

Office hours
Office hours in Bhutan are divided into two timings – summer timing and winter timing. Summer timing begins at 9AM Bhutan Standard Time (BST) till 5PM in the evening. Summer timing is followed from March till the end of October. Winter timings begin from November till the end of February. Offices open at 9Am and close at 4PM. These timing is followed only by the Civil Servants who work under the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC). Corporate and private employees follow different timings. The timings are usually from 9AM till 5PM irrespective of the season.

Health: Inoculations
Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, it is advisable to have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations.
Tobacco/Smoking As buying and selling of tobacco products is banned in Bhutan, you may want to bring in your own stock. (200 cigarettes for personal consumption with payment of 200% import duty). It is strictly prohibited to smoke in public offices and in government premises. It is also sacrilegious to smoke near temples and any other religious site.

Accommodation
Over the years, many quality hotels have come up in Bhutan. Most hotels in Bhutan meet the recent standardization policy; most tourists accommodate in 5 star or 3 star hotels. The hotels are well maintained and have all basic amenities such as geysers and shower rooms and are properly maintained. Visitors can be assured of their warmth and comfort in the hotels and the ambiance and the hospitality offered by the hotels are incredible. 5 Star hotels are mostly located in Thimphu, and Paro.  Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang also have a variety of decent hotels that are cozy and comfortable. Away from town, you may find it tempting to camp outside in the forest or make a night halt at the purpose-built in cabins sprinkled along some main trekking routes.

Food
Most Bhutanese dishes are rich and spicy with a lot of cheese and chilli. It is advisable that visitors stick to the Chinese, Continental or Indian cuisine that is served in most restaurants. Visitors can also choose among the various vegetarian and non-veg food. You may also try out momo, the Tibetan dumplings and for those daring, you may try out the famous ema datshi served with cheese and chili and many other typical Bhutanese dishes.

Weights and measures
Bhutan has a standard system of weights and measurements in place and most weights are measured in gram (g) and kilogram (kg). With better and efficient measurement systems readily available, most of the shop keepers in the capital city make use of electronic and weighing scale. However, as you travel further east, you will find the ordinary weighing scale in place.

Safety precautions
While safety is not much of a concern, however it is good to come prepared for any untoward incidences. One need to avoid walking alone or after 9PM. The capital city has been seeing an increase in burglaries, pick-pocketing and an increase in drug abusers. It is advisable that you keep a safe distance and be in the safety of your rooms. Outdoor visits in groups or with your guides would be wise. You also need to ensure that your belongings especially your passports, route permits, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. There have been incidents where visitors found their important documents missing.

Guides or Escort of the trip
Bhutan has a good team of interpreters and guides that are well versed in history and possess good communication skills. They are all certified trainees who undergo training conducted by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB). There are also guides who speak fluent Japanese, Thai and other European languages.

Public holidays
Public holidays are declared by the government and a list of public holidays that we observe throughout the nation is listed below. However, each Dzongkhag has its own list of holidays that is observed especially during the tshechus (Religious festivals). For this you may contact your service provider or your travel agent.