Bhutan (Kingdom of Bhutan)
Where is Bhutan? Bhutan lies in the eastern Himalayas, between Tibet to the north, the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal, to the south and east, and Sikkim to the west . Bhutan is a tiny country has a total area of about 47,00 square KM. Bhutan is loacted in the heart of the high Himalayan mountain range, Bhutan is a land-locked country like Nepal surrounded by mountains.The sparsely populated Greater Himalayas, bounded to the north by the Tibetan plateau, reach heights of over 7,300 meters (23,950ft.), and extend southward losing height, to form the fertile valleys of the Lesser Himalayas divided by the Wang, Sunkosh, Trongsa and Manas Rivers. Monsoon influences promote dense forestation in this region and alpine growth at higher altitudes. The cultivated central uplands and Himalayan foothills support the majority of the population. In the south, the Duars (the gates or doors; the traditional 18 points of access into Bhutan from the Indian plain.) drop sharply away from the Himalayas into the large tracts of semi-tropical forest, savannah grassland and bamboo jungles. Bhutan has remained a hidden Kingdom by choice for many years. Today, it has opened its door to visitors, and a small number of people are welcome to explore the Kingdom.
Bhutan - People and Culture:
Bhutan, often referred to as the Land of Thunder Dragon, is a land where the chief state religion is Mahayana Buddhism, meaning greater wheel. The locals are seen in their traditional costumes. Short cultural trips of one week to Bhutan can be added on to your holiday in Nepal.
Bhutan Cultural Tour :
Bhutan is locally known as Drukyul - the Land of Thunder Dragon. Trips in Bhutan includes visit to old forts, palaces, monasteries, farm house and National museum sightseeing of Satsam Chorten, Taktsang Monastery, Memorial Chorten, National Library, Handicrafts emporium and Tashichho Dzong. Drive to Punakha, across the Dochula Pass and visit. Punaka Dzong. Visit a typical farm house where traditional buttered tea with "Zaw" (puffed rice) will be served. See our sponsor's website for more details about Bhutan trip. They will give you a reason to get up early. Check out their programs to find out how.
How to get there?
Druk Air flies every Monday and Thursday between Kathmandu & Paro- Cost for one way trip is US$ 190 per person & US$ 380 for round trip.The national airline of Bhutan/Druk Air operates with connection from Calcutta, Delhi, Dacca and Bangkok. You may also enter/exit Bhutan by overland transportation, stopping in route at Silkkim & Darjeeling (India). (Air fare schedules & price are subject to change at short notice) Diplomats (holding passport) accredited to Bhutan shall be offered 25% discount in tour cost-minimum 2 Pax and above required. Visitors must book their passage through one of the 80 registered tour operators in Bhutan. They can either approach the operator directly or contact their counterparts abroad.
The minimum daily tariff is set by the Department of Tourism, Bhutan and can not be negotiated. (these rates can be higher, depending on the nature of services desired beyond the set entitlement). The rate is the same for both cultural tours and treks. Photography in some of the Monasteries & Djongs are not allowed. Don't take 16 mm film camera with you which is prohibited in Bhutan.
Our sponsors have different package tour programs to this unique land. They will give you a reason to get up early. Please check out their Programs to find out how. A trip not be missed in this lifetime!
Visa Information Nationals from India and Maldives do not need a visa.
All others will need a visa before arriving.
To obtain a Bhutanese visa, you need the following:
- Bhutan visa application form x 3 copies duly filled
- 2 passport-size photographs
- Photocopy of the passport
- For private visitors, a sponsorship certificate form must be filled in by the sponsor.
- A fee of US $70 a day should be paid directly to the Department of Tourism for private visitors, except for family members.
- Visa processing time: 1 month.
- When entering Bhutan, you receive a visa for only 2 weeks from Paro airport.
- Visa extensions can be granted if you stay longer. Except for SNV employees, the visa extension fee of Nu. 510/- for each passport should be paid.
Bhutan Entry Procedure
Tourists visiting Bhutan must travel through an authorized local tour operator on a pre-planned, pre-paid, guided package tour. Independent travel is not permitted. The government stipulates an all-inclusive entry fee per day. Concerned local tour operator is responsible for all logistical arrangements during your stay in Bhutan.
Arriving / Departure by Land
The only land entry point for tourists is through the town of Phuentsholing, on the southwestern border with India. If prior arrangements are made it will be possible to exit through the town of Samdrup Jongkhar in the southeast region, which makes an easy entrance point to northeastern India.
Getting Around the Country: There are two ways to travel within Bhutan, by car or on foot, if trekking. There is a basic, but usually well maintained, network of motorable roads across the country. Your tour operator is responsible for arranging all necessary modes of transportation. Tour vehicles are comfortable buses, vans and cars.