Bhutan - The Last Shangrila
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Useful Information

Tourist Visas

Visas to visit Bhutan are not issued by Bhutanese embassies abroad. Visas are issued only when you arrive in the country, either at Paro airport or (if coming by road) at Phuentsholing.

You must apply for tourist visa in advance and much before you purchase your airline tickets. You can either fill in the visa application form using Adobe Acrobat, fill it out and email with all information filled and form duly signed. We will take care the rest:  Important information required for visa application are:

 

  •   Your full name as it appears in your passport
  •    Permanent address
  •    Occupation
  •    Nationality
  •    Passport number
  •    Date of issue
  •    Expiration of passport
  •    Date and place of birth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Double check that the information is correct. If there are discrepancies in any important numbers when you arrive in Bhutan, there are delays and complications in issuing the visa. After the visa clearance is issued by the Department of Immigration, they send a visa confirmation number to Druk Air and a copy to us.   The actual visa endorsement is stamped on your passport when you arrive at Paro International Airport. You will then receive a visa for the period you have arranged to be in Bhutan. We will process visa extensions for you if they become necessary.  

Tariff

 The normal rate for travel in Bhutan is US$200 per day. The following surcharges are applied for small groups:

   Two people travelling together - US$30 per night per person

   One person travelling alone - US$40 per night per person

 The daily rate may sound high at first, but remember that this includes your accommodation, all food, guide, and transportation within Bhutan.  

 Payment Methods

Government regulations require that the 100% invoiced tour payments are deposited before the visa can be processed.  The Tourism Council of Bhutan receives your payment (not us) and as a result your payment is 100% secure. Once the payment is received, the Tourism Council issues authorization to us to process your visa, which we will apply and acquire from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Should your visa(s) be rejected by the MoFA, the Council is informed and your payment is immediately refunded. But this rarely happens once a tourist has made the payment.

 Tourism Council of Bhutan regulates all tourism related activities in Bhutan including regulating the daily tariff rates. Thirty-five percent of the daily tariff goes directly to the national treasury. These funds are used by the government for the socioeconomic development of Bhutan, and hospitals, schools, and roads are built and maintained with the income. The Tourism Council has released a travel information website at www.tourism.gov.bt detailing their role and the regulations by which we and all other travel agencies are governed.  

 Peak Seasons 

The Spring and Autumn months are the peak season. Spring is from April through June and Autumn from September through November. There are many festivals during these periods, and visitors come to take advantage both of the pleasant climate and the festivals. However, Bhutan has limited tourism infrastructure and during peak seasons facilities are packed. For more private visits, off-peak seasons are recommended. We can also offer attractive discounts for off-season visits. 

Accommodation

In the major towns such as Thimphu, Paro, and Phuentsholing there are comfortable hotels but in smaller towns, modest but still comfortable hotels are available. We will ensure that the best available accommodations are arranged for you. More information is available from the Tourism Council of Bhutan, which regulates hotel standards and all travel regulations in Bhutan. Accommodations in approved hotels are included in the daily tariff rates.

We also arrange luxury hotels and resorts that range from 250-1,300 US dollars per night and these hotels come with additional daily charges according to the hotel rates.

Food and Drink

Traditional Bhutanese food is hot and spicy. For our visitors, however, Chinese, Indian, and Continental fares are also served. The more adventurous can try hot Bhutanese dishes. For visitors on treks, we serve simple but nutritious and tasty dishes. Meals are normally served buffet style in the hotels. Your tour cost includes all meals.Your only extra expenses should be imported liquor, laundry, souvenirs and optional tips to the guide and driver. 

Transport 

We use comfortable and safe Toyota vans and cars to transport our guests. All local transport is covered by the daily tariff.

Guides

You will be accompanied throughout the time in Bhutan by a certified English-speaking guide and have a vehicle and driver at your disposal at all times.All of our guides are trained in programs conducted by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) and licensed by the Government. Our trekking staff undergoes an additional mountain guide training, including safety and first aid instruction, also offered by TCB. TCB has received assistance from the Austrian Government in the form of trainers and funds to establish the training programs. The cost of the guides and drivers is covered by your daily tariff. Tipping is permitted at your own discretion.

What to Bring

There is a 20 kg (44 lb) weight limit (30 kg or 66 lb in business class) on Druk Air. You should hold yourself to this allowance. Even if you pay for excess baggage, it still travels standby and may be offloaded. As with all travel, the less you carry the easier it is to move about and the less there is to misplace. Casual clothes are fine, but you would also do well to have a set of dress-up clothes (jacket and tie for men, dresses for women) for festivals or in the likely event that you are invited to a Bhutanese home or social function. Thimphu and other towns in Bhutan have a small-town atmosphere, and you might easily find yourself in the company of a high government official. If you have scheduled your trip around a festival, you definitely should carry a set of dressy clothing. Bhutanese people dress quite formally, and dirty jeans don't fit in on such occasions.   Even in the summer, it can be cool in Paro and Thimphu, and it's downright cold in winter. Days can be quite warm, especially in the lower regions such as Punakha and Phuentsholing, and you could start off driving in the cold of dawn and be uncomfortably warm by mid-morning. Use a layering system, starting with thermal underwear and adding a shirt, pile jacket and windbreaker or parka as necessary.

If you are not trekking, you will need:   Underwear (including thermals for cold weather) Swimming costume (for the hotel swimming pool in Punakha) Cotton trousers Cotton skirt for women Pile jacket or sweater - even in summer Down jacket - in winter; not needed in summer T shirts or short sleeved (not sleeveless) cotton shirts, sneakers or walking shoes and socks Sandals or flip flops Rain jacket - Gore-Tex if you can afford it, otherwise a poncho or nylon jacket. Dress-up clothes for festivals Sun hat All hotels provide sheets, blankets or quilt, and a pillow.

If you are trekking, you won't need to carry bedding or a sleeping bag. Most hotels also provide some sort of heating in winter, either an electric heater or a wood stove. The heating, plus the pile of blankets on your bed, should keep you warm. You will be outside a lot, and much of this time is at altitudes above 2,500 m (7,800 ft); so there is plenty of sun and wind. Bring a supply of sun cream and some lip protection, such as Blistex; these items are not available in Bhutan.  

Essential Extras

There are several things that you should carry to make a trip to Bhutan more comfortable.

All of the following items are essential:

    Pack a folding umbrella; especially if traveling during the monsoons. Rain is possible any time, and is almost certain from June through August.

   Carry ear plugs (and spares) to reduce the noise from the barking dogs at night. The Bhutanese are Buddhists and do not euthanize stray dogs.

   Carry a torch (flashlight) if you can, as power outage is not impossible in remoter parts of the country.

 Optional Extras

Pair of sunglasses (as protection from high altitude glare)

A Swiss army knife has many uses, such as cutting cheese and opening bottles.

A small clock with an alarm to help you wake up, because not all hotel rooms have telephones.

If you are on a cultural tour bring a hard suitcase, though a soft bag is more versatile and easier to pack into the luggage space of a vehicle.

A small rucksack or waist pack to carry your camera, water bottle and other essentials in the vehicle and when you are walking around town or visiting monuments.

 

Bon Voyage and see you soon !!! 

 

 

 

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