Visitors must come through one of registered tour companies in Bhutan such as Absolute Bhutan Travel with entire land arrangements provided by one and the same operator.
Checklist on arranging a visit to Bhutan:
- Choose a tour program from the option listed in our website or contact us for a tailor made program with the areas and places of interest, dates and duration of the visit.
- After reviewing your interest and needs, we will work out a suitable itinerary and forward the same to you along with tour invoice.
- You will then be required to fill up the visa form which can be downloaded by clicking HERE.
- Email us the duly filled visa application form along with two scanned passport size photographs and tour payment. This is required as per Tourism Council of Bhutan's (TCB) rules without which we are not authorized to process for your visa. Your payment will be withheld by TCB and will be released to us only after your visit is over.
- We will make all your travel arrangements and email you a copy of your visa clearance letter along with all the information you will need to travel to Bhutan, practical information on Bhutan, health risks, etc.
Best Time to Travel
Visitor can choose to visit anytime of the year, depending on one’s interest. Spring or March-May is considered the best time to visit Bhutan for touring and trekking when magnificent wildflowers are in bloom and birdlife is abundant. Summers & Autumn or May-Sept also attract visitors with the pleasant weather. Late-September to late-November is the ideal time for high altitude trekking going over 4000 meters when skies are generally clear and the high mountain peaks rise to a vivid blue sky. However, shorter treks such as Druk Path, Bumthang and Gangtey can be undertaken throughout the year. Winter is also good time for touring in western Bhutan, bird watching in the subtropical jungles in the south, and white water rafting.
Fly by Air
The most convenient way of entering Bhutan is by Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. Druk Air operates flights from Bangkok, Singapore, Bagdogra, Delhi, Kolkata and Kathmandu to Paro but flight timings and frequency vary according to season. Druk Air’s website includes details of current flight schedules and airfares. Please check the website for the latest information when planning your travel arrangement or contact us for information. The spectacular mountain scenery en route is seen at its best in the winter months, when skies are generally very clear. The flight between Kathmandu and Paro gives the most extended view of the Himalayan ranges, including the Everest region. Given suitable weather conditions, Mt. Kanchenjunga will be visible for some time on all routes. Flying in and out of Bhutan is an unforgettable experience, whichever route you take!
As flights can be delayed due to weather conditions (particularly during the summer months), it is advisable to allow 24 hours before any onward connection. There are no charges for delays in arrival and departure because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The clients must, however, bear the cost of food, accommodation, transport and other services required.
Travel by Land
Arrival/departure by land is also possible, through the southern border town of Phuntsholing. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, West Bengal about 4 hours drive away. The travel time for the 175 Km stretch from Phuntsholing to Thimphu can be more than six hours. Phuntsholing is a convenient entry/exit point for travelers wishing to visit the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal along with Bhutan. It is sometimes possible to arrange land exit from Bhutan through the southeastern border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, which is approximately 3 hours drive from Guwahati, capital of the Indian state of Assam. Please check with us if you are interested in this route out.
Tour programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
- Within 60 days of the start of the tour program- Free
- Within 45 days - 10% of the rate
- Within 30 days - 15% of the rate
- Within 21 days - 30% of the rate
- Within 14 days or cancellation without notice - 50% of the rate
- Within 7 days - 100%
With the exception of travelers from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa. Absolute Bhutan will apply for the visa after receiving the required information about the travelers, which takes a minimum of five working days to process. The Airline will not issue tickets without the clearance and no visa is entertained upon arrival. The visa clearance number is forwarded to the Airline station at which the flight originates. Travelers without a visa clearance number on record will not be permitted to board their flights. The visa will be stamped at the port of entry upon payment of the fee of US$ 20. Two passport photos are required for the visa. The visas can be extended in Thimphu, for up to six months, at a cost of Nu. 510. (US $ 1 = Nu 63.65 as of April 2015). No foreign mission abroad grants Bhutan tourist visas.
For travelers entering the country by land from India, through the southern border town of Phuentsholing, the visa is stamped on arrival, as per visa clearance number. Travelers without a visa clearance number on record will not be permitted to enter the country.
All information as mentioned on the visa application form must be forwarded to us for processing with the concerned authorities at least three weeks prior to date of travel, but note that for all FITS/GITs traveling during festivals, details should be sent at least 6 weeks prior to date of travel, as this is the peak time for tourism.
The visa application procedure is very simple. Just email us the following information:
Name/Date of Birth/ Address
Passport Number/Date of Issue/Date of Expiry.
Or you download the visa application form by clicking HERE.
Please note that we have to purchase the air tickets 30 days after booking to secure the flight. Please submit the above required information by fax or email. Bhutan visa application data form is included at the end of this section. We do not require any additional photos or visa forms in advance.
Tour Reservation & Payment
For any tour to Bhutan, early reservation is advisable to secure flight bookings or hotel rooms. Booking arrangements must be completed 4 weeks in advance, but for cultural tours during festivals, arrangements must be completed 6 weeks in advance. The spring and autumn festivals are our peak times for tourism, and without early reservations it can be difficult to confirm flights and hotels. For trekking groups, booking arrangements should be completed at least 8 weeks in advance, as this activity requires detailed forward planning.
Advance payment in full for the entire tour must be sent to Absolute Bhutan Travel by bank transfer, within the specified time frame. Services are confirmed subject to advance payment only. We will provide full information on remittance of tour payment when we cost your requirements. For high season travel (January, February, March, April, May, June, Sept, Oct, Nov & Dec), it is advisable to remit payment for Druk Air flights 3 months in advance. This will help us to obtain confirmed seats on the requested flights.
The payment maybe remitted to the following account:
City Bank NA 111 Wall Street 19th Floor
New York, NY 10043, USA
Swift Code: CITIUS 33
ABA No. 0210-0008-9
Chips Routing No.008
Account of: Bhutan National Bank, P.O. Box 439, Thimphu Bhutan
Account No. : 36023474
Ultimate Beneficiary: Absolute Bhutan Travel
Please remit the payment in favor of Bhutan National Bank indicating ultimate beneficiary as Absolute Bhutan Travel and kindly fax or email remittance copy for us to trace the payment.
All visitors are required to complete the passenger declaration form upon arrival at Paro Airport. The following articles are exempted from customs duty:
- Personal effects for daily use.
- 2 liters of alcohol; 400 cigarettes; 150 gms of pipe tobacco.
- Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use.
- Photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods.
Those articles described in section (c) and (d) must be declared on the declaration form. If these items are disposed off in Bhutan by sale or gift they become liable for customs duty. On departure, visitors are required to surrender their forms to the Customs authorities. Import and export of arms, ammunition, explosives, narcotics and drugs and wildlife products are strictly prohibited.
Import/export of the following goods is strictly prohibited:
- Arms, ammunitions and explosives
- All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs
- Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be declared on arrival. Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance as customs authorities will not allow any old/used items to be taken out of the country if they have not been certified as non-antique. Our advice should be sought before committing to such purchases.