For most visitors planning on a trip to Bhutan, the question they struggle with is how long they should stretch the trip.
The Royal Government and the Department of tourism and have fixed Land cost/Government fee of US$ 100 per person per night as Sustainable Development Fund(SDF) which goes towards social benefits like education and healthcare. No doubt, the amount is still higher than most visitors would normally spend when traveling on their own but it has been crafted by the government to encourage Bhutan’s stand of a sustainable high value, low volume tourism policy. And also, Bhutan is worth the money as it is a country like no other.
The minimum daily package of tour cost is USD 250 per person per night (couple Travelers) and Daily Packages tour cost will varies depending upon the group size (Note: Excludes of SDF/Government fee)
The amount one has to dish out every day is not exactly backpacker friendly and it is important to note that this minimum daily package fee covers all your expenses in Bhutan including accommodation, food, transport, camping equipment, and a licensed guide all of which will be provided to you by the tour operator (such as Little Bhutan) that you book with.
It is better to book your tours with a tour operator
Please note that it is not possible to travel around Bhutan independently, this is to ensure your wellbeing during your stay. This of course can be a deterrent to those used to planning and organizing their own trips, but, however, the good news is that you can draw up your own itinerary with your tour operator with considerable liberty. Little Bhutan can customize your tours to suit your needs and also provide suggestions and recommendations.
Once you determine where you want to go and what you want to do, get in touch with Little Bhutan to review your itinerary and provide suggestions. Our staff will get back to you promtly and let you know of all the possibilities including 3 star accommodations or farm house stays in the places of your interest. All this will be included in the minimum daily package.
Obtaining a Visa
It is mandatory for all tourists (other than Indian, Bangladeshi & Maldivian nationalities) to obtain a Bhutan visa clearance before traveling to Bhutan. Visitors can process a visa or permit online from the website of the Department of Immigration https://visit.doi.gov.bt/ or tourism service agents such as Little Bhutan to process travel documents and plan a trip.
To apply for a visa, you will need:
- A digital copy of a valid passport
- A recent digital passport photo
- Arrival and departure dates
- Valid travel insurance for the duration of your travel
As soon as we receive these, we will send you the tour invoice so that you can make payments following which we will forward the same to the Department of Immigration (DOI). These agencies will process the visa online. Payments for your tour package and Air tickets has to be made in advance through wire transfer. On receiving full payment, we will send you the visa confirmation code. The cost of a visa is USD 40 and your visa will be stamped onto upon your arrival in the country.
Flights are booked by the tour operators. Arranging flights in and out of Bhutan at short notice is next to impossible and flights are usually booked months ahead, so tour operators like Little Bhutan need some time to do the bookings. Usually cancellation may or may not entail additional costs.
Druk Air, Bhutan’s national carrier and Bhutan Airlines fly to India, Thailand, Nepal, Singapore and Bangladesh.
Planning your Itinerary
Bhutan can be divided in Western Bhutan, Central Bhutan and Eastern Bhutan. The only international airport is in the western part and this is the most visited region especially by those with short itineraries. But if the duration of your stay is longer, you can talk with your tour operator to plan tours to different regions of the country.
What you can expect
Tours to Bhutan are much more comfortable in terms of transport and accommodation when compared to your usual style of travelling, so usually there are no complaints in that department. Your biggest accomplishment will be experiencing the pristine beauty of a country as yet untouched by globalization and the great warmth of its happy people.