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1. What is the Minimum Daily Tariff and what’s included?

Commonly referred as daily tariff, it is actually the minimum spending per night in Bhutan that you have to meet in order to be granted Visa. This minimum spending (daily tariff) goes towards funding hospital, roads, government direct revenue, hotel stay, food, transportation and guide. By implementing daily tariffs, local economy benefits directly from visiting tourists. This also reduce the impact of mass tourism or over tourism and create more employment in the local economy.

New visitors often mistake daily tariff as fee you have to pay on top of your package. In fact, the cost of your tour package is usually the same as daily tariff. Exception is when you add or customize activities and are staying in 5 stars hotels.

The minimum tariff for tourist visiting in a group of 3 persons or more are as follows:

  • High Season Tariff: USD 250 per person per night halt (March, April, May, September, October & November)
  • Low Season Tariff: USD 200 per person per night halt (January, February, June, July, August & December)

Surcharges

Individual tourist 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: USD 40 per night
  • Group of 2 persons: USD 30 per person per night

The Minimum daily package covers the following services,

  • A minimum of 3-star accommodation (4 and 5 stars may require an additional premium)
  • All meals
  • All internal transfers and sightseeing.
  • Sightseeing tour will be provided as per the itinerary with English-speaking Bhutanese guide.
  • All entrance and monuments fees.
  • All current taxes as on date – subject to change as per hotel/airline/Government policy.
  • USD 65 per night also goes toward development funds for free health care, free education and infrastructure building in Bhutan.

What’s not included:

  • VISA Fees
  • Any Airfare
  • Tipping to guides and drivers
  • Any insurance or rescue of any form

2. How much does it cost to travel to Bhutan?

Bhutan adheres to a strict “High Value, Low Volume” tourism policy. As part of the policy, the government has implemented a daily tariff (minimum package rate) for all tourists visiting the country. The cost of travel to Bhutan depends on the number of travellers as well as the month of travel to Bhutan.

High Season: March, April, May, September, October, and November
• $250 per person per night, for a group of three or more people.
• $280 per person per night, for a group of two people.
• $290 per day for single individuals.

Low Season: January, February, June, July, August, and December
• $200 per person per night, for a group of three or more people.
• $230 per person per night, for a group of two people.
• $240 per day for single individuals.

The visa application fee costs USD40.

3. What is the weather like in Bhutan?

Bhutan is a country that enjoys all four seasons of the year. Spring and Autumn are the best time to visit Bhutan. Having said so, summer and winter have their own draws and attractions.

Spring (Months: March, April and May)

It is the favourite time to visit Bhutan. Nature lovers who are keen on local flora should consider visiting Bhutan mid of April or in May. Flowers will be in full bloom. Also, Festivals Like Paro Tshechu, Punakha Tshechu and the annual Rhododendron festival takes place in spring season.

Summer (Months: June, July and August)
The summer season sees a lower level of tourists as many have the misconception that Bhutan may experience a rainy season. This is not true. Though it dubbed the monsoon, Bhutan experiences relatively light rain with most rainfall confined to the late afternoon and does not affect most travellers’ itinerary. Summer often offers vibrant green foresting and flourishing paddy fields against a backdrop of the clear blue sky after the rain. If you like to avoid the higher tariff and the cold winter, consider travelling in early June or late August. Monsoon will be in its peak in July.

Fall (Month; September, October and November)

Fall is another high and crowded season for Bhutan. The mild weather in autumn makes it a perfect time to visit Bhutan for both cultural and active vacationers. Thimphu Festival usually takes places at the end of September or early October.

Winter (Month: December, January and February)

To avoid the crowd and catch the Black-Necked Cranes, winter would be the time to go. To catch Himalayan blue sky without paying the additional tariff, consider visiting Bhutan in December. The temperature will not be too cold yet as lowest temperature usually takes places near the end of January.

4. Can I travel to Bhutan on my own?

No, you are not allowed to travel to Bhutan without going through a licensed tour agency registered with the Tourism Council of Bhutan. All tourists who wish to enter Bhutan must book their trip to Bhutan through a local tour operator.

5. I would like to travel alone, backpack style and free-and-easy. Can I apply just the Visa without the accompanying tour package?

It is not possible to separate Visa application from tour package. Having said so you can still travel alone and free-and-easy. A guide and driver will be accompanying you and the activities within the day is really up you. You don’t have complete or follow the itinerary as long as you stay in the hotels mentioned in the itinerary.

6. Do we need travel insurance?

All visitors are advised to get their insurance coverage from their own country.

7. Do I need a VISA to visit Bhutan? How do I apply for a tourist Visa?

With the exception of Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian, all tourists visiting Bhutan must apply for a tourist visa prior to their arrival to Bhutan. Tourist Visa can be processed only through a local tour operator.

You will need to submit a duly filled Visa form, scanned copy of your passport (with at least a validity of 6 months). The Tourism Council of Bhutan approves your Visa upon the full payment for your trip.

8. What currency should I carry?

Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (BTN). The Ngultrum is on par with the Indian rupee.

Most currencies are exchanged by banks here. The most commonly accepted currencies are US dollars, Australian Dollars, Singapore dollars, Euro, Pounds, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Canadian Dollars and Indian Rupees. Most handicraft shops accept US dollar, Australian Dollar, Euro and Pounds. You can even exchange these currencies in some local shops. They give you a better exchange rate than the banks. 

9. Can I withdraw money from Bhutan’s ATM? Can I make payment by credit card in Bhutan?

You may not be able to withdraw any money from the local ATMs. Credit cards are not commonly accepted in Bhutan yet. It is still advisable that you bring along cash for payment. Most places might accept payment in major foreign currencies.

10. What if there is a change of schedule for Druk Air/Bhutan Airlines flights? Or what if the flight is delayed?

For passengers heading to Bhutan, both the airline will ensure that you get on the next available flight to Paro International Airport. For passengers who missed their flight due to late check-in, passengers can pay Druk Air an admin charge of US$50 to get on the next available flight.

For travellers returning from Bhutan, Druk Air staff at Paro will assist you with all arrangements due to the flight delay. They will also attempt to contact your connecting flight airline to inform them of a delay. Should you not be able to take your connecting flight on the same day, they will try to assist you to arrange for your accommodation in your transit port.

Any other fees and charges incurred will typically have to be borne by the travellers.Travellers are advised to acquire their own travel insurance.

11. If I have a connecting flight to Bhutan, will my luggage arrive directly in Bhutan from my country of departure?

Your luggage will not be directly checked through to Bhutan. If you have a layover, you are required to retrieve your luggage from the country that you are transiting in and check-in again to your Druk Air/Bhutan Airline flight as both the airlines currently has limited interline agreement with other airlines.

12. What’s the payment and cancellation policy for travel to Bhutan

Trails of Bhutan requires a deposit of 25% of the total booking amount to confirm.

The remaining 75% balance is required following the below:

Winter (December, January & February), Summer (June, July & August) and Festive Seasons  30 days prior to arrival
Spring (March, April & May) and Autumn (September, October & November) Seasons60 days prior to arrival

If flights are to be arranged by Trails of Bhutan, 100% of the total cost of the tickets must be paid at the time of booking.

Cancellation within 60 days or more prior to arrival10% Cancellation fee of the total invoice + cancellation fee on air tickets
Cancellation within 45 days of arrival25% of the total invoice + cancellation fee on air tickets
Cancellation within 15 days of Arrival100% of the package cost retained as cancellation charges

Trails of Bhutan reserves the right to cancel all services booked should full payment not be received as per the information provided above.

For air tickets issued and subsequently cancelled, the following apply.

  1. 75% refund permitted for tickets cancelled more than 30 days from the date of travel
  2. 50% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 10 – 29 days from the date of travel.
  3. 25% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 4 – 9 days from the date of
  4. No refund permitted for tickets cancelled within 3 days from the date of travel

For tickets issued and subsequently rescheduled, the following applies.
USD 40 rescheduling fee or equivalent local currency for every flight reschedule less than 72 hours prior to date of travel. No charges for business class passengers.

13. Is altitude sickness common in Bhutan?

Altitude sickness is not common with visitors to Bhutan except for the very few cases. The first two days should get you acclimatised as most of the tour places have an altitude below 3000m.

If you are intending to go for trekking (which will be above 3000m), it is always good to set a reasonable pace, avoid overexertion, and keep yourself hydrated. Consult with your healthcare provider if taking acclimatisation medication is appropriate for you.

14. Is tipping expected in Bhutan?

Tipping in Bhutan is not compulsory and it’s not part of the Bhutanese culture. The tipping of your guide, driver and trek crew is purely a personal matter. Feel free to tip the guide or driver at the end of your trip should you wish to as they have been spending a significant amount of time accompanying you throughout your trip.

15. Can I get a specific guide who speaks foreign language in Bhutan?

Guide for the following languages are available if you book with Trails of Bhutan: Chinese, Spanish, Portugese, German, Korean or Japanese. However, there will be an additional charge of USD 100 to 150 per day. Please speak to your travel consultant should you require a guide who speaks these languages.

16. 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. 

17. What is the Duty-Free Allowance into Bhutan

  • Spirits: 1 bottle not larger than one litre
  • Cigarettes: 1 Cartoon (Containing 200 pieces) or 30 pieces of cigars subject to 100 percent customs duty and 100 percent sales tax.

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