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How to Reach Bhutan?

BHUTAN TOURISM REGULATION

Tourism has not been that much widespread in Bhutan as we look after preserving and nurturing our culture and traditions. Bhutanese are immensely religious people, and therefore it would be a good idea to respect and understand the local customs and way of life, especially while visiting those places of religious significance.

Tourism Industry in Bhutan is founded with the principle of sustainability in mind, which means that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable, and also economically feasible.

Visitors may experience Bhutan only on all-inclusive package tours, for which a fixed daily tariff is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan.

ACCESSIBILITY

The most convenient way of entering Bhutan is by Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, the country’s national carrier. 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.

Drukair  and Bhutan Airlines are the only airlines flying to Bhutan.

  • Three Drukair’s A319 aircraft with 20 business class seats and 94 economy class seats.
  • One Bhutan Airlines’ Air Bus 320.
  • Two ATR Flight.
  • We have only one international airport and it is situated at an elevation of 2,200 meters in Paro, Bhutan.
  • Three domestic airport in Bumthang in central, Tashigang in east and Gelephu in south

The gateway cities into Paro, Bhutan are:

Air Route map of Bhutan

Air Route map of Bhutan

  • Bangkok
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Kolkata, India
  • Gaya, India
  • New Delhi, India
  • Bagdora, India
  • Guwahati, India
  • Katmandu, Nepal
  • Singapore

Baggage weight limits are:

  • 30 kg for Business Class
  • 20 kg for Economy Class
  • Extra luggage cost per kilogram is:
  • US $5.00 / kg from BKK
  • US $4.00 / kg from DEL
  • US $2.50 / kg from all others

GATEWAY BY LAND

Arrival or departure by land is also possible through the southern border town of Phuentsholing. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, West Bengal, about 4 hours drive away. Phuentsholing allows entry/exit for travelers wishing to visit the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal along with Bhutan. It is possible to arrange land exit through the southeastern border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, which is approximately 3 hours drive from Guwahati, capital of the Indian state of Assam. You can also entry or exit by southern boarder Gelephu. Please check with Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks if you are interested in this route.

FLIGHT CONNECTION

It would be very convenient if you arrive at Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi or Kathmandu, one day earlier to the flight departure for Bhutan. The Bhutan flights usually depart early in the morning. We cannot be held responsible if you miss the connection to Bhutan, though we will do our best to help you get on the next flight and to extend your visa. All additional costs incurred will be borne by you. Similarly, on the return journey, we would not advise you to book a flight which connects on the same day unless you have a ticket that allows some flexibility. Bhutan flight schedules are subject to weather conditions in the mountains and are often altered at the last minute.

FLIGHT FREQUENCY AND AIR FARES

Our national airline flies several times a week between most of its destinations, but flight timings and frequency vary according to season. Bhutan airlines website includes details of current flight schedules and airfares (airfare cancellation policy). Please check the drukair or bhutanairlines or contact Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks for the latest information when planning your travel arrangements. Please let us know if you would like the current flight schedule.

The magnificent mountain landscape en route is seen at its best in the winter months, when skies are generally very clear. While flying via Kathmandu to Paro you experience the most impressive view of the Himalayan Mountain Ranges, including the Everest region. Mountain Kanchenjunga is visible for some time on all routes when the weather is clear. Flying to and from Bhutan is a lifetime experience to be cherished.

CUSTOMS

Visitors have to complete a passenger declaration form which will be checked by custom officials at the exit point.

After collecting your baggage, you must decide which channel to take – Green Channel (nothing to declare) or the Red Channel (goods to declare).

As per international risk management practice, random checks on your baggage may be conducted by the Customs official, even if you are proceeding through the Green Channel.

The following articles are exempt from duty: –

  • the visitor shall be allowed to import temporarily free of Customs duty his/her personal effects and articles required for the visit, provided that items imported are for personal use and that the items will be re-exported on their leaving Bhutan.
  • 1 bottle of Spirits not larger than one liter.
  • 1 carton of Cigarettes (containing 200 pieces) subject to 100 percent customs duty and 100 percent sales tax
  • device, equipment or appliances for professional utilization
  • photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic gadget for personal use
  • The articles mentioned under (d) & (e) must be declared on the declaration form. If these items are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift, they are liable for customs duty. Visitors are required to surrender their forms to the Customs authorities while departing.

IMPORT/EXPORT

Import/export of the following goods is prohibited

  • Arms, ammunition and explosives
  • All narcotics and drugs excluding medically prescribed drugs
  • Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
  • Antiques
  • Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival.

Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items cannot be exported without a clearance certificate.

How to Book Bhutan tour?

It is advisable to book your Bhutan Tour several months in advance, in order to ensure the smooth planning of your Bhutan Tour. Since Bhutan tourism started relatively recently in Bhutan (1974), tourist infrastructure is still limited. There are also a limited number of regional flights in and out of the country. This means that peak seasons  (March, April, May, September, October, November) can be quite busy, so the earlier you book, the better chance we have of securing flights and good hotel rooms for you. Some hotels are already filling up for March – May 2015 and September – November 2015. The festival times you need to book around four or five months ahead to get flights, especially if you are unable to be flexible and are tied to particular dates. Also it is not unusual to book your Bhutan tour one year ahead.

You have to tell us number of day you are interested to tour in Bhutan. We will suggest the itinerary based on your travel time frame. Once we set with your itinerary we will ask you email the information which are require for Bhutan visa application and Druk Air booking:

BHUTAN VISA

Your passport must have at least 6 months’ validity. You will also make sure that you have an additional page for a visa for Bhutan, as well as space for the visas for any countries you are visiting en route. If you need to get a new passport please do so well before your planned trip so that there is no delay in applying for your Bhutanese visa.

The visa is issued by the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs within Bhutan, as Bhutan has very few embassies abroad. No foreign missions abroad grant Bhutanese tourist visas. You may apply in advance through a tour operator, such as Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks & Treks & Travels, and receive confirmation that your application has been approved before you travel to Bhutan. You have to email below information:

  1. Scanned clear identity page passport copy (validity require minimum 6 months at the time of departure )
  2. Marital status
  3. Level of education
  4. Type of passport : Diplomatic / ordinary
  5. Professional/occupation
  6. Address & contact no

Once you send your personal information, Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks submits an online visa application. The visa is not issued until the TCB (Tourism Council of Bhutan) has checked that the full tour payment has been received into its bank account.

The confirmation and reference number is then sent to Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks & Treks, and a copy will be forwarded to you. You have to show this at the check-in desk for Bhutan Airlines. You cannot board the Bhutan Airlines flight without this document, so it is very important to have it along with your passport.

Upon your arrival in the country, either at Paro Airport or at Phuentsholing/Samdrup Jonkhar/Gyelephu (if you are entering by road) the actual visa is stamped on the passport.

Please keep in mind that the visa is issued for exactly the same number of days and dates as booked by you. If circumstances arise for a visa extension once you are in Bhutan, it can be arranged.

PERMITS

Route permits are required when moving between all districts in Bhutan, except from Paro to Thimpu. Bhutan Bokar Travels obtains a permit for the places mentioned in your itinerary, and this permit is checked and endorsed at the immigration checkpoints strategically located at important road junctions.

Tourists to visit the courtyards of dzongs and, where feasible, one designated lhakhang (temple) in each dzong but only when accompanied by a licensed Bhutanese tour guide. This provision is subject to certain restrictions, including visiting hours, dress standards and other rules that vary by district. Note that dzongs are open to all during the time of a festival. You may visit the courtyard, but not the inside of the temples, if your trip coincides with a festival.

HOW DO I CONFIRM MY BHUTAN TOUR?

Payment for your trip is made via a bank transfer to Bhutan, through the TCB (Tourism Council of Bhutan). We will provide you with bank details once your choice of the trip is confirmed. Please note that it is not possible to make payments by credit card, as the payment has to be routed through the government’s account, and is not paid directly to us. Payment should be made in advance to allow us to confirm Bhutan Airlines seats, and other necessary tour arrangements. Once we receive notification from the bank that your payment has arrived, we will send you a formal trip confirmation and receipt.

 PAYMENT SHORTFALLS

If your tour payment is sent in any currency other than US$, it is not uncommon for there to be a small shortfall on receipt of the funds. The reason for this may be that intermediary banks deduct charges en route, but also because your bank will work out the other currency equivalent of the dollar amount on sending, but the money is converted on arrival in Bhutan at the prevailing dollar rate, which may be different. If there is a shortfall we will confirm to you the exact amount received (and if requested, send you a copy of the receipt from our bank showing the dollar amount received) and will ask you to make up for the shortfall in US$ cash on arrival.

FLIGHTS

Once your funds arrive, we will instruct the bank to transfer the part of the payment which relates to flights directly to Bhutan Airlines on your behalf. Bhutan Airlines will then issue your ticket in the form of an e-ticket and we will forward this to you on receipt to print out and take with you when you go to check in.

SECURITY

The TCB (Tourism Council of Bhutan) will continue to hold the money you have sent for your tour until your trip has taken place. It will not be released to Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks until you have left the country on your return flight. This provides you with the security of knowing that your money is safe until your Bhutan tour takes place. If for any reason the trip doesn’t take place, then the government will not give your money to Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks but will return it to you (subject to any cancellation charges which apply if you have cancelled the trip). So, in the unlikely event that we do not run your trip for you, you would not be out of pocket.

CANCELLATION POLICY

Bhutan tour programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follow:

Before 60 days of start of the tour programme ~ no charges
within 60 and 45 days ~ 20% of rate
within 45 and 30 days ~ 30% of rate
within 30 and 25 days ~ 40% of rate
within 25 and 20 days ~ 50% of rate
less than 20 days or without notice ~ 100% of rate

DELAYED ARRIVAL

There are no charges for delays in arrivals and departures because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must however bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, and other services required.

Why Choose Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks?

Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks is one of the few Bhutanese tour and trekking agents committed to redefining your travel experience in Bhutan.

At Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks one thing we are certain about is that we have not had even a single guest who has gone away with any regret over his or her travel to Bhutan. We are determined to work hard and always provide the best that the Kingdom of Bhutan has to offer to our valued guests.

As one of the most committed and experienced tour and trekking agents in Bhutan, Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks believe that making your Bhutan tour a wonderful and unforgettable experience is the main priority and purpose of our existence.

Bhutan Bokar Tours & Treks specialize in almost all type of tour that Bhutanese tourism industry has to offer. Some the most popular Bhutan are cultural tours, day hiking tours, festival tours, nature/eco tours, photography tours, academic study tours, wedding / honeymoon arrangements, adventures, and trekking tours.

For any of these types of Bhutan Holiday, we do not impose a program on our guests like other agents, nor will we impose a guide when any of our guests prefers to be without one. Instead we communicate and consult with our guests in order to tailor or customise a tour program to match their own requirements and interests. Although this may take a little time the discussion, always results in a memorable an exciting tour for our valued guests and makes us feel happy and fulfilled to be able to deliver what we promise.

To make this happen, we offer all the information our valued guests want, paying attention to every detail, then finalize their Bhutan tailor or customise Bhutan tour program.

All of the Bhutan tours on our website are planned with flexibility in mind. Your requests and itinerary suggestions are welcome and departures dates are not fixed. We will customise any Bhutan tour to precisely fit your needs and are pleased to offer tailor-made Bhutan Holiday as desired. Please visit and explore this site for more information about our Bhutan Holidays and Bhutan Trekking, or contact us directly.