Frequently Asked Questions

"Know more before you travel to Bhutan"

Where is Bhutan?

Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Its landscape ranges from subtropical plains and forests in the South to subalpine forests and snowy mountains in the North. Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.

Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?

It is a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese tour operator to book your travel to Bhutan or one of their international partners.

How can a visitor find the best tour operator in Bhutan?

All the tour operators listed on Bhutan Tourism official website are licensed by the Government of Bhutan and guests can select the best tour operator based on their requirements.

Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?

All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry.

Nationals of Switzerland and Thailand holding diplomatic and official passports shall be eligible for a visa on arrival at the port of entry.

 Visitors from India will need a permit to visit Bhutan. This applies to anyone holding an Indian passport, or an Indian voter ID card. For Indian nationals aged under 18 years, a passport or a birth certificate will suffice, and they must be accompanied by legal guardians.

How can visitors process their visa or permit?

Visitors can process a visa or permit online from the website of the Department of Immigration. Visitors can also engage tourism service providers (see for more details) to process the travel documents and plan a trip. The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) will also offer customer service to help answer questions regarding visa applications and to answer questions about travel within the country.

Although visitors from Bangladesh and Maldives can process visas on arrival and visitors from India can process permits on arrival at the port of entry, it is recommended that these be applied online to reduce wait time and for faster clearance at the port of entry.

What are the documents required to process the visa?

A passport copy is required. The passport must be valid for six months from the intended date of departure from the Kingdom;

 Travel insurance valid for the duration of the trip; and

 A recent passport size photograph.

What are the documents required to process the permit (for Indian guests)?

Visitors from India can use a passport or voter ID card. Children under 18 years of age can use a birth certificate or passport, and must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Passport size photograph is also required.

Travel insurance is required and should be valid for the whole duration of the trip.

How can I extend a visa or permit while in Bhutan?

The visa or permit extension can be processed by the Department of Immigration before the expiry of the visa or permit, whichever is applicable. The applicable SDF and visa or permit extension fees shall be paid to the Department of Immigration.

How much does the Bhutan visa cost?

For International tourist visas, a cost of USD 40 is applicable. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives, there is no cost incurred.

How does one make SDF payment for visa or permit extension while in Bhutan?

Visitors can extend their stay via the online visa application portal, using the same log-in details that were used to process the original visa. The SDF payment can also be made via the same portal.

Is there a refund on SDF if the trip is cancelled or shortened?

Yes, the SDF will be refunded by the Department of Immigration for any canceled or shortened trips and any bank charges will be deducted from the amount that is refunded. A refund request of the SDF shall be submitted online using the immigration system. The refund will be processed only after the exit of the visitors from the Kingdom.

Is there a vaccination requirement to visit Bhutan?

As of now, all travellers to Bhutan aged 12 years and over should be vaccinated. Children aged under 12 years are not required to be vaccinated to enter Bhutan.

The COVID-19 vaccines should be approved for use by Bhutan Drug Regulatory Authority as per the published list on the website (

Is the Johnson and Johnson vaccination accepted?

Yes, a single dose of Johnson and Johnson is accepted in Bhutan.

Can unvaccinated guests enter Bhutan? If so, what is the procedure?

Yes, unvaccinated guests can enter Bhutan however they will be required to complete five nights quarantine at the guests’ expense. The SDF will be waived during the quarantine period.

If someone gets COVID-19 while travelling in Bhutan, what happens?

If a guest tests positive for COVID-19 during their stay in Bhutan, they will be required to quarantine in their hotel until they test negative. The cost for the additional quarantine nights and PCR tests will be borne by the guest. The SDF will be waived during the quarantine period.

Will there be any COVID-19 protocols for leaving Bhutan?

There will be no COVID-19 protocols to leave Bhutan unless they will be required by the country the guest is traveling to.

How do I get to Bhutan?

Visitors can travel to Bhutan by taking flights from Bangladesh (Dhaka), India (Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bagdogra), Nepal (Kathmandu), Singapore (Changi) and Thailand (Bangkok).

For now, there are two airlines that fly into Bhutan – namely, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines.

Private jets can fly into Bhutan after getting the relevant approvals from the competent authorities.

All visitors can also enter via land from Phuentsholing. Indian guests can enter Bhutan via other land entry points (Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar and Samtse).

All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator. A list of tour companies operating in Bhutan is available on this website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangeme

How much Bhutan tour package cost?

the Minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR) will be removed. The rate refers to the minimum sum paid by all tourists for an all-inclusive package tour to Bhutan.

What is the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)?

From our reopening on September 23, visitors to Bhutan will make an active contribution to Bhutan’s economic, social and cultural development. The Sustainable Development Fee enables investment in transformative programmes that preserve our cultural traditions, protect our heritage and environment, upgrade infrastructure, create opportunities for our young people, and build resilience. For more on the SDF, visiting Bhutan and our plans, visit

How much is the SDF and where do the funds go?

Guests from India are levied SDF of Nu. 1,200 or equivalent amount in INR per person per night, which will remain in effect for two years, following which time it may be reviewed and revised in keeping with the principle of the preferential rate after two years.

Visitors from all other countries are levied SDF of USD 200 per person, per night.

There will be a concessionary levy of 50% on the SDF for children between the ages of 6-12 years and exemptions of SDF for children aged 5 years and below.

The SDF funds go to the national exchequer and are allocated to various projects that enhance facilities, services and infrastructure for nationals and guests who visit Bhutan, as well as funding free healthcare and education.

How can the SDF payment be made?

The SDF must be paid during the visa or permit application via wire transfer or using a credit card.

The SDF must be paid in USD; however, Indians can also pay in INR.

A guest who is eligible for a visa on arrival, should also pay the applicable SDF in USD at the port of entry.

Will day visitors be levied SDF?

The SDF will be waived for visitors to the Bhutanese towns bordering India, until the first designated point identified by the Government. The SDF will be levied on visitors spending the night within border towns.

How to travel within Bhutan?

There are domestic flights to Bumthang (Central Bhutan), Gelephu, Sarpang (Southern Bhutan) and Yongphula, Trashigang (Eastern Bhutan).

Visitors can also book helicopter services for special itineraries.

The other option is to hire a local tourism service provider who can arrange all the internal transfer and tour programs.

Can visitors go trekking on their own?

It is mandatory to arrange trekking trips that require overnight stays through a local tour operator. The local tour operator can help you with all the logistical support for the hiking or trekking trip.

Do visitors need a guide?

A guide is strongly recommended for all visitors to Bhutan. This is to ensure that all visitors have a good experience while visiting our country, and see the best that Bhutan has to offer. Guides also help look after the safety and security of the visitors, as there are wild animals in the countryside, and the altitude and landscape can sometimes pose unique challenges. While the guides do not have to accompany visitors for all experiences (such as restaurants and shopping), it is recommended that guides accompany visitors for experiences such as visiting temples and local places of interest, and it is mandatory to have a guide for all trekking activities and for any journeys that extend beyond Thimphu and Paro. For any visitors who enter Bhutan via the land borders, guides are mandatory when the visitors leave the border towns.

If visitors follow the itineraries or journeys set by hotels, they will not need a guide as they will already have a guide who will be arranged by the hotel.

What is Surcharges?

Tourists travelling in a group of two (2) persons or less shall be subject to a surcharge, in addition to the minimum daily package rates. These are as follows;

  • Single individual – US$ 40 per night
  • Group of 2 persons only – US$ 30 per person per night

The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business study or promotional visit duly approved and cleared by TCB.

What currency is used in Bhutan?

Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is widely accepted in the country.

How to transfer money to Bhutan?

Prior to your trip to Bhutan, you will be asked to transfer the full payment for your holiday.
Beneficiary Name Bank: Bhutan National Bank
GPO Building,
Street name: Nordzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Ultimate Beneficiary BOOK BHUTAN TOUR
Account No: 0100021220001.
Street: Gongphel Lam Changzamtok,
Ashi Building No: 20
Postal Code: 11001
Thimphu, Bhutan

What is the Tour Cancellations Polices in Bhutan?

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

  • Up to 30 days prior to the date of travel: USD:150 administrative fee per person.
  • 29 to 21 days prior to the date of travel: 10% of the travel arrangement
  • 20 to 14 days prior to the date of travel: 25% of the travel arrangement
  • 13 to 7 days prior to the date of travel: 35% of the travel arrangement
  • Less than 7 days prior to the date of travel: 60%of the travel arrangement
  • After arrival in Bhutan or “no shows” at the airport: 100% of the travel arrangement

Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year?

There is no limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit in a year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment, the government has adopted a unique policy of “High Value, Low Impact ”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the visitors with an unforgettable one of a kind experience.

What’s the food like in Bhutan?

The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.

Rice forms staple Bhutanese diet. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are consumed most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.

What’s the best climate to visit Bhutan?

Autumn is from October to November when it’s generally sunny with some snow at higher elevations. Late November to early March is dry with pre-monsoon showers starting in May month. The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring months of March to May when the valleys come alive with flowers in bloom.

Where is Bhutan Airport?

Paro International Airport in Bhutan has renown of the most difficult international airport in the world. It lies in the elevation of two and half thousand meters from the sea label and it’s enclosed by almost five thousand meters high mountains. However, there is no reason to be frightened to fly to Paro Bhutan. Our pilots are very well qualified and they never take any dangers. In case of bad climate, there are probabilities of delays. In some cases, the flights can be diverted to other airports.

How can I book flight ticket to Bhutan?

Visiting to Bhutan by flying is by far the most relaxed way how to get into the Kingdom of Bhutan. Flights to Paro Bhutan International Airport are operated by the state-owned Druk Air Corporation and private Bhutan Airlines. There are also options to charter the flight to Bhutan, if you are looking for flights ticket and tour to Bhutan we will easily organize for you.

Does Bhutan has Domestic Airport?

Apart from Paro International Airport, there are three more domestic airports in Bhutan: Bumthang in central Bhutan, Yongphula in the east and Gelephu in the south. As of now, Bumthang flights are operated by DrukAir 3 times a week. Gelephu is getting 1 flight a week.

Which is the Best Travel agent in Bhutan?

Book Bhutan Tour is licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, which is the Government regulatory body for tourism; it is also an active member of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators. Licensed No: 1033320 and ISC Code: (ISIC-63040), e-mail: or WhatsApp: +975 17614054.

Why Bhutan tourism is high value low impact policy?

The Royal Government of Bhutan strongly follows to a policy of ‘high value, low impact’ tourism, which serves the purpose of creating an image of exclusivity and high yield for Bhutan. The principle of “high value, low volume” has been the overall tourism policy since 1974, which later changed to “High Value, Low Impact” in 2008.

Cigarettes and tobacco ban in Bhutan?

As per the latest amendment made to the Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan in 2014, the following tobacco products are permitted to be carried for personal consumption:

800 sticks of cigarettes 150 pieces of cigars 750 grams of other tobacco products . A person shall be allowed to import only one tobacco or tobacco product at a time as stated above. A proof or receipt of tax payment shall be valid only for one month from the date of payment of tax.

Tax on import of cigarettes and other tobacco products depend on the place of import: Place of Import Tax India      100% Sales Tax Other Countries 100% Sales Tax 100% Customs Duty. Note: While in Bhutan, visitors must retain the tax receipt to present to, if you encounter any checking by Tobacco Control Inspectors. Source: Tobacco Control Amendment Act of Bhutan 2014.

Duty Free Allowance in Bhutan?

A foreigner traveling to Bhutan is allowed to import the following (carried on person/accompanied baggage) items, free of customs duty: 2 liters alcohol 100ml perfume. Articles for personal use or as gifts and travel souvenirs up to a value of Nu. 10,000 (approx. US$ 150)

Prohibited Products in Bhutan?

Import/export of the following items is strictly prohibited: Arms, ammunition and explosives. All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species Antiques Import of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. 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.

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