Arriving in Bhutan
The seamless experience begins before you even arrive
Our Travel Consultants and Reservations Team are here to take care of all preparations in arranging your trip to Bhutan, including all flights, permit and visa requirements. With Amulet, getting to Bhutan is easy.
Arriving in Bhutan via Air
The most common method of entering Bhutan is via air into Bhutan’s only International Airport located in Paro. Once your travel dates have been confirmed, they will book your flight and arrange all formalities required of entering Bhutan. This includes the Visa clearance letter. On arrival at the international airport in Paro, this letter will need to be endorsed by the immigration officers before you are issued with a Visa permit.
The national carrier of Bhutan is Drukair – Royal Bhutan Airlines. Drukair flights depart Bangkok in Thailand, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Gaya, Guwahati amd Mumbai in India, Kathmandu in Nepal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Changi in Singapore. Alternatively, you may choose to fly into Paro by private jet. We can easily organise all necessary ground arrangements to support this.
Flying into Bhutan’s Paro International Aiport is typically an exciting experience as the descent into Paro Valley brings you closer to the mountain tops than most other flights in the world. The flight between Paro, Kathmandu and Delhi is particularly rewarding as it offers spectacular views of 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world. In clear weather, as you soar higher up, you’ll be treated to amazing close-ups of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga at their best.
Please note that due to variable weather conditions, and the fact that the airport in Paro can only operate during daylight hours, flight can delays can occur. It is advisable to keep lengthy connecting times with any onward flights.
There is a regular domestic service from Paro to Bumthang (central region) and flights available to Trashigang (eastern region) and Gelephu (southern region). A second international airport is currently under construction in Gelephu along the southern border to India.
Arriving in Bhutan via road
If you are travelling by road, Phuentsholing and Gelephu in Southern Bhutan, and Samdrup Jongkhar in Eastern Bhutan are the only land border areas open for international tourists. We can easily organise transportation, and all cross-border travel formalities including the Visa clearance letter. On arrival at one of the land based border crossings, this letter will need to be endorsed by the immigration officers before you are issued with a permit.
Bhutan Tourism Policy
Bhutan’s is regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. The country enjoys a reputation for authenticity, remoteness and a well-protected cultural heritage and natural environment.
The Royal Government of Bhutan adheres strongly to the concept of ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism and forms it policy based on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. The Royal Government recognizes that tourism is a world-wide phenomenon and an important means of achieving socioeconomic development particularly for a developing country like Bhutan. It believes that tourism, in affording the opportunity to travel, can help to promote a deeper understanding among people and to strengthen ties of friendship based on a deeper appreciation and respect for different cultures and lifestyles.
Towards achieving this objective, the Royal Government, has adopted a very cautious approach to growth and development of the tourism industry in Bhutan. Its tremendous potential as a truly indigenous industry and the clear comparative advantages Bhutan enjoys, are compelling reasons to promote Bhutan as a high-end tourist destination in a manner which accords with the tenets of Gross National Happiness.
A tourist must pay a tourism levy known as the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of USD 200 per night, which may be revised from time to time by the Competent Authority. The Sustainable development Fee enables investment in transformative programs that preserve our culture traditions, protect our heritage and environment, upgrade infrastructure, create opportunities for our younger generations and build resilience.
Guests from India are levied SDF of Nu. 1,200 or equivalent amount in INR per person per night, which will remain in effect for two years, following which time it may be reviewed and revised in keeping with the principle of the preferential rate after two years.
The Minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR) is being phased out. Tourists will be able to engage service providers directly and pay for their services accordingly.
Visa Fee & Required Documentation
A passport copy is required. The passport must be valid for six months from the intended date of departure from the Kingdom.
- Travel insurance valid for the duration of the trip.
- A recent passport size photograph.
- The visa fee is USD 40 per person and it is non-refundable. While the process to issue the visa is usually quick, the visa can take up to five working days to process.
Exemption and Concessionary Levy
Subject to any conditions specified in the Rules, the Competent Authority may provide for an exemption or concessionary levy rate on the applicable Sustainable Development Fee:
- Day tourists who do not travel beyond the first designated point are exempt.
- Children aged 5 and under are exempt.
- Concessionary levy of 50% for children aged 6 to 12 years.
- Other exemptions or levy rates that may be deemed necessary.
Amulet is a licensed tour operator as certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, and the Association of Bhutanese Tourism Operators.