While some of the shops and hotels in Bhutan accept credit cards, we highly recommend taking cash or travelers cheques with you for use in Bhutan for shopping, etc. as the fees associated with credit card transactions are quite steep and additionally, credit cards are not widely accepted. You can have your tour guide take you to a local bank as soon as you arrive in Bhutan to exchange your currency into the local currency (Ngultrum).
The currency in Bhutan is Ngultrum (currently at par with the Indian Rupee) and is used inter-changeably with the Indian Rupee everywhere in Bhutan. Foreign currency can be exchanged on arrival at the airport as well as at any of the banks in Bhutan. We recommend bringing cash or travelers cheques instead of just your credit card since credit cards are still not widely accepted in Bhutan. Additionally, you can avoid international usage fees related to credit cards by using cash or travelers cheques.
Druk Air is the national airlines of Bhutan. It is the only airlines operating in Bhutan currently. The Paro International Airport in Paro, Bhutan is the only international airport in the country. Druk Air currently has flights from and to the following places:
- Bagodora, India
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Gaya, India
- Guwahati, India
- Kathmandu, Nepal
- Kolkata, India
- New Delhi, India
- Mumbai, India
Druk Air also has domestic flights to Bumthang (central Bhutan) and Yongphula (eastern Bhutan) currently with plans to service Gelephu in the south as well. As the domestic flights are relatively new, the flights are not very consistent at the moment. As such, please check with us for the latest domestic schedules and news.
As your tour company, we can arrange for your tickets on Druk Air to save you time. The airfare will be the same whether you purchase from us or directly from Druk Air’s website. However, please note that when you purchase the tickets through an agent, you have the option to reschedule with a small documentation charge of $25 USD) which is not available when you purchase the tickets online directly.
On Druk Air, you are allowed checked luggage weighing no more than 20 kg or 44 lbs in the economy class and 30 kg or 66 lbs in the business class. For more baggage information and other essential information, please feel free to check the Druk Air website at www.drukair.com.bt or CONTACT US (make this a link to our contact us page).
Bhutan Airlines is a subsidiary of Tashi Air Private Ltd. Bhutan Airlines is the first private airlines in the kingdom. Bhutan Airlines launched international flights starting October 2013. It currently services the Bangkok (Thailand) and Kolkata (India) sectors with plans to add more sectors in the future.
Tipping is a purely personal matter. We do not have a tradition of giving tips but tips especially to your tour guide and driver will be much appreciated.
There is no set amount for the tips; the staff will appreciate any amount you choose to give. However, since we are always asked by our clients to give them an idea, we have listed the industry average.
- Tour Guide: $8-15 USD/day
- Driver: $5-10 USD/day
- Trekking Head Cook: $8-15 USD/day
- Trekking Asst. Cook: $5-10 USD/day
- Other Trekking Staff: $3-5 USD/day
Most people in Bhutan speak English so you will be very comfortable communicating in Bhutan as English is the medium of instruction in schools. The national language of Bhutan, Dzongkha is widely spoken along with Sharchogpa (eastern dialect) and Lhotsampa (Nepali).
IDD service is available widely in the country. You can bring a GSM 900 mobile phone and get a local SIM card during your stay in the country.
You are allowed to bring in 200 sticks of cigarettes, 400 sticks of bidis, 50 pieces of cigar
or 250 grams of other tobacco products (subject to 100% customs duty and 100% sales tax). Any excess in quantity will be subject to confiscation.
Foreigners are required to have a visa to travel to Bhutan. Visas for Bhutan unlike most other countries can only be applied for through a licensed travel agent. Once your booking is finalized and payment is made, we (as your travel agent) will process your visa for you. For the visa application, your passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Bhutan (for e.g. if you are departing Bhutan on Jan. 1st, then your passport will need to be valid until at least June 1st).
Visas are granted for a two-week period for a one-time fee of $40 USD per person. If you wish to stay longer than two weeks, we can apply for an extension of up to two additional weeks for an extra fee. In addition to the visa fee, there is also a Tourism Development fee of $5 USD levied by the government of Bhutan.
Bhutan uses 220-240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. You can use a step down transformer if you have things that use 110-120 volts. Most laptops, camera, and camcorder batteries are dual voltage and as such, you won’t need a step down transformer. However, you may need a plug adapter to plug into the outlets in Bhutan. Please check your product before plugging them in. If the voltage rating on your product states 110V or 120 V, it means that your product is single volt and as such, it will require a step down transformer. If possible, we recommend bringing the step down transformer with you. We also recommend bringing a worldwide plug adapter that is designed to accept two or three prong plugs accepted around the world.