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Passport and visa

Passport and visa are required for entry into Bhutan. Visa application forms are available with travel agencies who will process a traveller’s entry visa and clearance. This may be done directly or through a travel agent abroad.
Royal Government of Bhutan has a strong policy of low volume, high value people entering Bhutan. Independent travellers are not allowed into the country. Valid passports and an entry visa are essential.
Indians, Bangladeshis, and Maldivians may obtain a visa on entry.
A cost of USD 40 applies for international tourist visas. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent abroad.


Visa requirements

• All visas are issued from Thimphu by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)
• Visas are only issued to tourists who have booked tour packages with local tour operators, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Purchase and confirm you air-tickets on Drukair
• The tour operator submits applications for tourist visas. Clearance takes at least 10 working days.
• Bhutan government sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan and this must be paid in US dollar prior to arrival in Bhutan.
• Provide the information required as listed below
          - Full name as per passport
          - Occupation
          - Mailing address
          - Contact No. (cell number preferred)
          - Submit a scanned copy of your passport


Daily Tariff

A minimum daily package for tourists travelling in a group of 3 persons or more is as follows:
USD 200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.
USD 250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.
These rates are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan.
The minimum price includes:
          - All internal taxes and charges (including the daily royalty of USD 65)
          - Accommodation
          - All Meals
          - All travel with a licensed Bhutanese tour guide
          - All internal transport, entrance fees, camping equipment and expenses for trekking
Visitors who opt for more exclusive resorts will have to pay for their accommodation on top of the daily tariff specified. Royalty of USD 65 goes towards a development fund for free health care, free education and road building in Bhutan.


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: USD 40 per night
Group of 2 persons: USD 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.


Tariff exception

          - There shall be no charge for children up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6 and 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.
          - A discount of 50% on daily rates shall be given to one person is a group of 11 to 15 people.
          - 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
          - A 50% discount on royalty shall be provided after the 8th night and 100% discount on royalty after the 14th night.


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 is no charge for delays in arrival and departure because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must, however, bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, and other services required.
It is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance prior to travel.


Tourist allowance

All foreigners are allowed to bring with them one litre of alcoholic spirit and up to 200 sticks of cigarettes or 30 pieces of cigars. Note that all cigarettes shall be subject to 100 percent customs duty and 100 percent sales tax . Travellers should declare their dutiable items at customs counter and pay the taxes.


Travel tips

Electricity is 230 volts. Bhutan is plus six hours GMT, 30 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time and one hour behind Thai Standard Time. In spring and summer, light clothing is appropriate with warm clothing in the evenings. From autumn through winter, thick warm clothes are necessary. Sports shoes are suitable for light touring, while hiking boots are recommended for treks.


Getting to Bhutan

There are a number of airports from where you can fly into Bhutan – Bangkok, Thailand; Kathmandu, Nepal; Singapore; and Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya, Bagdogra in India; Dhaka, Bangladesh. You can fly with Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airline, or Tashi Air.
There are three land routes to enter Bhutan – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar.


Basic Dzongkha

Greetings/Good wishes: Kuzuzangpola
What is your name: Na gi tshen ga chi mo? (with respect), Choe gi ming ga chi mo?(for friends)
My name is: Nga gi ming…enn
Where are you from?: Choe ga tey lay mo?
How old are you?: Choe lo ga dem chi mo?
Goodbye: Laso, log jay gay