The good news to all international travelers is that Bhutan is planning to fully open for tourism / international Travelers from July 2022 onwards with no quarantine. Once the Government’s relevant authority and the Tourism Council of Bhutan release the notice about the same it will be confirmed that the quarantine will be lifted off from July 2022.
Previous quarantine rules in Bhutan were 14 days of mandatory quarantine which was brought down to 5 days presently. But the tourism sector felt that 5 days of quarantine will still discourage tourists from entering Bhutan. Looking into this the government is planning to amend the quarantine protocol in Bhutan by lifting the mandatory quarantine. However, travelers are still required to get full doses of vaccination and PCR test before arrival in Bhutan 72 hours before boarding.
What is the current covid situation in Bhutan?
Bhutan has the lowest number of death due to the Covid pandemic which is only 21. Bhutan followed a strict zero covid policy which resulted in very low number of death. This changed in March 2022 with the onset of the less dangerous omicron variant. After this Bhutan is going ahead with the live-with-covid approach and is constantly relaxing travel restrictions and other measures.
Is it possible to travel to Bhutan now?
Of course, but currently, you need to stay for 5 days quarantine upon arrival in Bhutan before you start your tour in Bhutan. But this applies to arrival by flights to Bhutan only, land borders are still closed. Soon the 5 days of quarantine are to be lifted from July 2022. But still, full vaccination and PCR negative report are required.
Are flights to Bhutan open?
Direct flights to Bhutan are soon resuming from cities like Kathmandu, Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi. Only two airlines fly to Bhutan, one is the national flag carrier ‘Druk Air’ and the other is the private airline company ‘Bhutan Airlines’. Bhutan has only one international airport at Paro which is known as Paro International Airport. Paro is connected with only certain cities in South Asia like Kathmandu, Delhi, Bangkok, Singapore, and Dhaka. If anyone is planning to fly to Paro, Bhutan then they need to connect their flight from their home country to one of these cities.
How to enter Bhutan?
Bhutan can be entered either by flight or overland. The most popular is a flight to Bhutan and land at the Paro International Airport in Paro town. It’s the only international airport in Bhutan. Entering Bhutan overland is from the Indian border town of Jaigaon and into Phuentsholing in Bhutan. Jaigaon can be reached from Bagdogra Airport via overland. One can fly to Bagdogra from New Delhi. Another entry point overland into Bhutan is Samdrup Jongkhar situated in the southeastern region of the country which shares borders with the Indian state of Assam.
Bhutan visa procedure
All travelers coming to Bhutan will require a visa to enter Bhutan except the citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives, and India. People from other countries will require a visa permit to enter Bhutan which is to be applied through a registered local travel agency or its associated agents abroad. No individual is permitted to apply for a Bhutan visa and needs to book a tour with the agents. Bhutan visa requirements need a clear copy of the passport (in JPEG or PDF format) along with a full tour payment before Bhutan’s arrival. Your travel agent will then apply for the visa and sends a visa letter. Upon submitting the visa letter copy at the Paro International Airport you will get your Bhutan visa. The same process is the same whist arriving in Bhutan overland i.e. from Phuentsholing located at the border town of India – Jaigon and Bhutan – Phuentsholing.
How much is the visa for Bhutan?
The Bhutan visa cost is US$40 per person. It’s a one-time visa fee and is non-refundable. Besides the visa cost, you will also need to pay the full tour cost before arrival in Bhutan as per the season rate you are traveling to Bhutan.
Bhutan travel cost
The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan. This price depends upon the time of travel, the low season and high season, and the number of travelers.
- The minimum daily package rate in Bhutan for 3 persons or more is US$200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.
- The minimum daily package rate in Bhutan for 3 persons or more is USD $250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.
There’s a surcharge for a single traveler or two travelers on top of these above minimum daily package rates which are:
• Single individual – US$ 40 per night
• Group of 2 persons only – US$ 30 per person per night
The minimum daily rate includes all accommodations (3-star hotels), food (breakfast, lunch, dinner), sightseeing, transportation, guide, and entrance fees as per below. Most of your travel fees will go toward health care, education, and environmental protection. The rate doesn’t include the visa fee (US$40 per person) though and is to be paid separately.
The minimum daily package Includes the following service during Bhutan Tour.
• Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
• 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
• Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
• All land transportation by private vehicle
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• Sightseeing as per itinerary
• Monuments entrance fees where applicable
• Drinking water
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
Excludes in the package during Bhutan tour
• Airfare & Travel Insurance
• Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
• Expenses occurred due to unavoidable Events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays, etc.
When is the best time to see Bhutan?
Bhutan is tucked high up in the Himalayas in South Asia in between China and India. The climate and weather in Bhutan vary according to the altitude, season, and place of visit. Though Bhutan is open around the year, the best time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November) which are considered the high tourist seasons in Bhutan. In spring the weather mostly remains clear and the climate is excellent. Monsoon will be from June till August. Autumn/fall (September-November) is another favorable season when the weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. The Winter season (December to February) is off-season and not crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons.
Tour package in Bhutan
A horde of Bhutan tour packages is available as per travelers’ needs and requirements. Bhutan is a beautiful country with spectacular Himalayan panorama, lush green nature, clean and pure air, and unique culture and traditions. The mainstream religion of Bhutan is Buddhism and in fact, Bhutan is the only Buddhist Kingdom in the world.
Countless Buddhist monasteries, shrines, temples, and monastery fortresses are scattered all over Bhutan. The most beautiful places in Bhutan are Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’, Paro Rinpung Dzong, Punakha Dzong, Buddha Point, Dochula Pass (3,050m), Phobjikha Valley, Bumthang, Trongsa Dzong, etc to name a few.
If you want the shortest tour then Paro and Thimphu Insight Tour – 3 Days is good which visit Paro town then go for the popular hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’. If you wish to visit Thimphu then Enter the Dragon Bhutan – 4 Days which revolves around Paro, Thimphu, and hike to Taktsang Monastery. For exploring three major places in Bhutan one can choose the Bhutan Highlights Tour – 6 Days which covers Paro, Thimphu- the capital of Bhutan, and Punakha – the old capital. Further exploring outside Thimphu will be a visit to Gangtey where the most beautiful Phobjikha Valley is located with the tour Best of Bhutan Tour – 7 Days. For a more in-depth tour of Bhutan Bumthang Valley Tour – 9 Days is the most ideal program which covers most of the important places in Bhutan like Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Gangtey then visit Bumthang valley. Bumthang is the cultural heartland of Bhutan where some of the oldest temples and shrines are located. Besides these tours, there are many other Bhutan tour packages to choose from that highlight Bhutan’s culture and traditions.