When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
All the seasons are best time for travelling throughout the country; especially spring and autumn are the ideal time for trekking, when skies are clear and the high peaks are visible. You may also arrange your trip during annual Tshechus (festivals). There are many regional and local Tshechus that are equally fascinating as well.
Most of our trips take place during peak season and major festivals. It is difficult to secure reservations on Druk Air and Hotels in every place. We request you to book as far in advance as possible to confirm the reservation you choose but do not hesitate to contact us at the last minute if free time suddenly comes your way.
Do I need a visa and a passport to visit Bhutan?
A visa is necessary for you to enter Bhutan but it is not issued abroad. You can travel to Bhutan only through all-inclusive package tours or treks for which the tariff is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan. Tourist visa applications must submit through a government-licensed local tour operator like Sorwa Bhutan Travels. Druk Air will not allow you to check in without a visa clearance. Before departing to Bhutan you must obtained Visa Clearance from Thimphu. Visas will be approved in advance with a reference number and will be stamped in your passport upon arrival in Paro airport or Phuntsholing (if you travel overland from Nepal or Indian cities).
Your passport should have at least 6 months validity. You must always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you in case of emergency (if your passport is incidentally misplaced)
Will Sorwa Bhutan Travels arrange my visa?
Yes, once we receive your completed trip reservation form, we will process your visa as per your information provided.
How do I get to Bhutan?
There are no direct flights to Bhutan. The best way to enter and exit Bhutan is by Druk Air (the national airline), and Bhutan Airline (only private airline) which links Bhutan’s only airport at Paro Valley with flights to:
You will have to buy international Air ticket and book hotel in any of the above gateway cities that you choose to connect to Druk Air.
You can also enter and exit Bhutan overland from Indian cities of Sikkim, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Siliguri or Guwahati using Bagdogra or Guwahati domestic airport in West Bengal (India). There are daily flights from Calcutta and New Delhi to Bagdogra and Guwahati airports. The car journey takes about 3 hours from Guwahati to Samdrup Jongkhar and about 4 hours from Bagdogra to Phuentsholing.
- Druk Air operation is totally dependent on weather conditions; sometimes flights can be delayed so avoid tight connecting schedules for your ongoing flights. We suggest you to spend a day or two in Bangkok, Kathmandu or Delhi, before joining the trip in Bhutan if time permits.
- Connect Druk Air from Bangkok (Thailand) and Singapore if you are coming from North America, Australia or Asia,
- Connect Druk Air from Delhi (India) if you are coming from Europe or the Middle East.
- Connect to Druk Air from Kathmandu (Nepal), Calcutta (India) and Dhaka (Bangladesh), but there are only a limited number of direct flights to these places.
- Spend a few days exploring a different culture in any of Bhutan neighbouring countries: Thailand, Tibet, India and Nepal to enhance your trip to Bhutan.
How do I buy Druk Air tickets?
We book Druk Air seats as soon as we confirm your reservation and we will buy and email you the e-ticket after you send us the payment.
Check out Druk Air website for more details – http://www.drukair.com.bt
Will Sorwa Bhutan handle my international air ticketing and enroute stopover hotel booking?
You will need to arrange international air tickets and hotel booking in whatever place you choose to connect to Druk Air flight. As most travelers like to use or book air tickets and hotel through their preferred agents or internet sites, we leave International air ticketing and hotel booking up to the guests to arrange on their own.
How do I pay for my trip?
Transfer the trip payment through a Citibank branch, Standard Chartered Bank Ltd or an international bank in your region/country.
Arrival at Paro International Airport in Bhutan
Your Bhutanese visa will be stamped in your passport. As soon as we receive the completed visa application form from you, we will process your visa. Therefore, your visa has been already cleared and the concerned Druk Air offices informed in advance.
You will have to fill out a customs declaration form listing all your electronic goods like cameras, Personal videos, personal computers, etc. and hand it over to the customs authorities on arrival at Paro airport. The carbon copy of the form will be given to you. Don’t lose this document as you will be required to present it to the customs official on the day of your departure from the country. Exports of antiques, plants or animal products are strictly prohibited.
Tour Guide and Driver through out your time in Bhutan.
You will meet your tour guide and driver just outside the airport exit door. They will accompany you throughout your time in Bhutan and back to the airport on the day of your departure.
Airport facilities charges are already included in your Druk Air ticket price.
Free Baggage Allowance
You will have to make sure that your baggage is within the allowable weight (Druk Air: 20kgs-economy class & 30kgs-Executive class). If you have excess baggage you will have to keep aside enough money for an excess baggage charge.
What kind of trips does Sorwa Bhutan Travels offer?
We offer both custom designed and pre-designed private tours and treks. All our trips are all-inclusive packages. You pay one price and everything is included for your complete trip within Bhutan.
Price of all our tour/trek packages are based on the tariff fixed by the government. All our trips are all-inclusive packages. There are no additional taxes and other surprises.
What is included in the price of Sorwa Bhutan Travels trip?
- All hotel and guesthouses accommodation
- All meals and sightseeing
- Specialist designed itineraries
- Services of knowledgeable, English-speaking local guides
- Excellent camping equipment, highly experienced trekking guides, support staff and porters for trekking trips
- All ground transportation
- All entrance fees
- Pre-departure information and extras listed on trip itineraries
What is not included in the price of Sorwa Bhutan Travels trip?
- International airfare and en-route stopovers
- Druk Air airfare
- Travel Protection Insurance
- Excess baggage charges
- Transfers, expenses and services outside of Bhutan
- Personal expenses like Beverages (alcohol, soft drinks & bottled water), gratuities to guides & drivers as appropriate, and laundry, mail, phone calls and cables.
Can I extend my trip?
It is possible to link two or more of our trips together. There are lots of opportunities to extend your trip by combining one of our cultural tours with a short trek. For more information, you can email us to get help and learn more of our Bhutan trip.
Very Useful Information
No particular inoculations are required to enter Bhutan, but you are advised to be advanced on all vaccinations such as tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A and B. Diarrhea and the upper respiratory infections (colds) are the most common illness acquired by travelers to Bhutan. It is basically due to change in diet or climate. Be self-sufficient with all your usual medicines in addition a thermometer, sleeping pills (altitude and time-change can hamper your sleeping), anti-nausea pills, anti-diarrhea pills, water purifying tablets, oral dehydration packets, eye drops, antibiotic ointment and anti-histamine ointment.
We will send you all the detailed information once you sign up for a trip.
Because of the different climate you may feel and experience different weather in one day so choose clothes which can be covered or can be worn in layers. Put on more clothes or take off layers depending on the weather. In general, all the season are warm during day time and chilly by evening, so bring warm clothes including long underwear and a warm coat. We extremely recommended comfortable sports shoes and mountain boots if you plan to hike or come on a trek. Remember to include an umbrella, rain jacket a sunscreen (you can get sun burnt quite quickly), hat, sunglasses and barrier cream for your nose and lips in your packing list.
We will send you all the detailed information once you sign up for a trip.
Dzongkha is the National language. However, most of the people speak English. The language of education in the schools is English, so most educated people speak it fluently. All over the country, books, signs, road signs, menus and even government official documents are written both in Dzongkha and English.
Bhutan’s unit of currency is Ngultrum, which is at par with Indian Rupee, which is also a legal tender in Bhutan.
American Express Credit Cards & Exchanging Money
Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted in Bhutan. Visa credit cards are accepted in few shops in capital and important towns. American Express Credit cards are accepted in few hotels and shops at a higher commission. Traveller cheques (American Express) and US$ cash is accepted almost everywhere. The money exchange counters at the airport, banks and hotels can exchange cash with traveler’s checks. Don’t forget to change money before you travel east or leave for a trek.
Tipping and Gifts
It is customary to bring a gift, if you are invited to a Bhutanese home. Small gifts are very important in Bhutanese tradition. Long angle socks, ready to wear garment, books, pen and pencils, reading glasses, key-chains and other small souvenirs are highly appreciated. At the end of your trip, your tour guide and driver will appreciate a tip. Beside some money, you may also leave some of your used garment and personal items that you do not wish to carry all the way back home.
Telephone, Internet, Email, Fax & Mail
Reliable all-digital telephone and fax services are available in all towns. International direct dialing services (both telephone & fax) are excellent. On cultural tours almost all the places you travel have some basic internet and email services. Until you get back to a town from trek you can’t be able to call or fax anyone.
Bhutan Post (EMS) and DHL provide efficient international courier service to and from Bhutan.
Shopping & Photo shop
Bhutan has very beautiful postage stamps and most attractive handmade products like Thangkha paintings, wooden masks and bowls, bamboo products, silver crafts and the most beautiful hand woven textiles-all made using ancient methods and skill passed down to generations. Buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in the country.
There are numerous photo shops in Bhutan, but they hardly sell equipment and the quality of their work is unreliable. Bring as much film as you think you will require. You will be unhappy if you run out of film in Bhutan.
The voltage in Bhutan is the same as in India (220/240), Thailand and Nepal: 230V, 50 cycle’s alternating current (AC). To use your U.S-purchased electric-powered equipment, bring a converter and an adapter. Wall outlets take either two flat prongs, like outlets in the United States or Continental-type plugs, with two round prongs. There are plenty of electrical shops in Thimphu that can make an adapter if you have trouble plugging in an appliance.
Bhutan Standard Time with only one time zone is:
- 15 minutes ahead of Nepal time
- 30 minutes ahead of Indian time
- 1 hour ahead of Bangkok time
- 2 hours ahead of Singapore & Hong Kong time
- 6 hours ahead of GMT
Driving Time & Distance between various places
The mode of transportation within Bhutan is by motor vehicles only. There are no domestic airlines or trains. Motor roads are well maintained and the main highway connects all major sightseeing places from west to east. The hilly terrain and snaky road restrict the average speed of vehicles to 40 km/hour.
Government and most private offices open at 9 am and close at 5 pm in summer and 4 pm in the winter, Monday to Friday.