Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is Bhutan?

Bhutan, known as Druk Yul by the locals or the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” is a small landlocked country located in the South Asia region. Bhutan is located in the southern foothills of the Himalayan mountain range, sandwiched between two superpowers - the People's Republic of China in the north and the Republic of India in the south. Tibet is located on its northern border, while three Indian cities are bordering Bhutan with Sikkim to the east, Arunachal Pradesh to the east and Assam state to the south.

2. Can I travel to Bhutan on my own?

No, you are not allowed to travel to Bhutan without going through a licensed tour agency registered with the Tourism Council of Bhutan. All tourists who wish to enter Bhutan must book their trip to Bhutan through a tour operator such as Druk Asia.

3. How to go to Bhutan?

You can travel to Bhutan either by air or by land. Royal Bhutan Airlines (Drukair), the national carrier flies directly from multiple cities in Asian. Drukair currently offer direct flights to and from Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Kathmandu (Nepal), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and New Delhi, Kolkata, Gaya, Bagdogra, Guwahati (India).

There are also two gateways through the border of India. You can either enter Bhutan through Phuntsholing, the main trade city located in southern Bhutan or Samdrup Jongkhar located in the southeastern of Bhutan. Usually travellers will travel to Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar if they plan to visit the Eastern Bhutan region such as Trashigang, Mongar, Lhuentse and Trashiyangtse.

More information about travelling to Bhutan can be found here.

4. How and where do I apply for Visa?

You can only apply for a visa to Bhutan through an authorized and registered travel agent such Druk Asia. Your travel consultant will assist you with the visa application and processing. Tourists are not allowed to apply for a visa on their own and Bhutan embassies do not have any visa application services.

Find out the documents required to apply for a visa to Bhutan.

5. How long does it take to get my Bhutan Visa?

Visa is usually approved about 1 to 2 weeks before your arrival in Bhutan. This is to accommodate travellers who have to make last minute changes to their plans. We can arrange for your Visa to Bhutan within one week period. So, it is possible to book your trip to Bhutan this week and arrive in the Kingdom in 7 days.

6. My Bhutan travel visa is issued on my old passport which was close to expiring. Will there be any problems when I reach the immigration in Bhutan?

If your Bhutan travel visa is issued on your old passport, you will have to bring along your old passport with you to Bhutan. The Department of Immigration will need to verify your details on your old passport too. A fine of up to 10,000 Nu will be imposed if travellers fail to present both the traveller's old and new passport. Alternatively, please inform your Bhutan travel agent to update your visa if there's still a week to go before your trip.

You are required to ensure that you have a passport with at least six months validity at the point of arrival in Bhutan.

7. How much does it cost to travel to Bhutan?

Bhutan adheres to a strict “High Value, Low Volume” tourism policy. As part of the policy, the government has implemented a daily tariff (minimum package rate) for all tourists visiting the country. The cost of travel to Bhutan depends on the number of travelers as well as the month of travel to Bhutan.

High Season: March, April, May, September, October, and November
• $250 per person per night, for a group of three or more people.
• $280 per person per night, for a group of two people.
• $290 per day for single individuals.

Low Season: January, February, June, July, August, and December
• $200 per person per night, for a group of three or more people.
• $230 per person per night, for a group of two people.
• $240 per day for single individuals.
The visa application fee costs USD40.

Click here to estimate and calculate your travel cost to Bhutan.

8. What does Bhutan daily tariff (minimum package rate) cover?

The cost covers your accommodation, meals, tour guides, transportation, drivers, entrance fees to places of attractions, or camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours (if applicable) for your entire trip. USD65 per night also goes toward development funds for free health care, free education and infrastructure building in Bhutan.

If you book your trip with Druk Asia, you’ll be given a set of traditional costumes (gho and kira) where you can return at the end of your trip. A free SIM card will also be prepared for you.

9. Drukair departs early in the morning during my last day and I won't be visiting any attractions, will I be exempted from the tariff on the last day?

Yes. Drukair generally departs Paro Airport by 8am everyday. Travellers departing Bhutan by Drukair will be exempted from the daily tariff on the last day.

10. Do children need to pay for the daily tariff (minimum package rate) to Bhutan?

There shall be no charge other than visa fee of USD 40 for children below 5 years old. Children aged 6 - 11 years old are given a 50% discount on the daily tariff.. Full time students below the age of 25 years holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions are also given 25% discount on the daily tariff.

11. Is there a tourist quota to the number of people who can visit Bhutan every year?

There is no tourist quota set by the Royal Government of Bhutan. It is a misconception that there is a limited number of tourists that Bhutan can receive. Tourist quota was lifted in 1999 when Bhutan first welcomed the internet and tv.

Tourist numbers are limited largely due to the limited flights capacity by Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines. Therefore, it’s advisable for you to do your booking at least four to six months in advance.

12. What is the best time to visit Bhutan?

Bhutan is a year round travel destination.
Spring and Autumn are generally regarded as the best time to visit Bhutan for their favourable temperature and weather conditions. Also, spring is the time to experience the stunning blossoming of a wide range of flora in Bhutan, while Autumn is the perfect time to witness the ripening of rice crops and harvesting. Both seasons also have the highest concentration of local festivals called the Tshechus

*Spring and Autumn: March, April, May, September, October, and November are considered the high and peak season to travel to Bhutan.

Summer is a time of evergreen in Bhutan with light showers typically in the late afternoon, while Winter is a time to photograph the crisp blue sky with the beautiful snow-capped mountains. Bhutan experiences mild winter, with snowfall reaching the populated areas only once to thrice throughout the year. Summer and winter is also the time with the least footfall in Bhutan where it has the least crowd in Bhutan giving you a sense of exclusivity.

*Summer and Winter: January, February, June, July, August, and December are considered the low and non-peak season to travel to Bhutan.

13. Am I allowed to bring cigarettes & alcohol into Bhutan?

Yes, all foreigners are allowed to bring with them one liter of alcoholic spirit and up to 200 sticks of cigarettes OR 30 pieces of cigars. However, please be informed that you will have to pay duty taxes at the custom at Paro International Airport or any entry points in Bhutan.

Bhutan is the first country in the world to ban the sales of tobacco products in the world. Duty rates are 200 percent in total, roughly translates to USD30 per carton of cigarettes.

14. What is the Duty Free Allowance into Bhutan

a. Spirits: 1 bottle not larger than one liter
b. Cigarettes: 1 carton (containing 200 pieces) subject to 100 percent customs duty and 100 percent sales tax (nominally at 1,600 Nu per carton)

15. Am I allowed to smoke in Bhutan?

Bhutan is the first country in the world to ban the sales of tobacco products. It is advised not to smoke in open public places to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. Although smoking is not banned in Bhutan, it is advisable for travellers to pay duties on the tobacco products that are brought into Bhutan. Customs officers have the authorities to ask for duty paid receipts should they witness anyone smoking in public places.

Offenders without valid duty receipts can be fined.

16. What if there's a change of schedule for Druk Air flight? Or when the flight is delayed?

For passengers heading to Bhutan, Druk Air will ensure that you get on the next available flight to Paro International Airport. For passengers who missed their flight due to late check-in, passengers can pay Druk Air an admin charge of US$50 to get on the next available flight.

For travellers returning from Bhutan, Druk Air staff at Paro will assist you with all arrangements due to the flight delay. Staff of Druk Air will also attempt to contact your connecting flight airline to inform them of a delay. Should you not be able to take your connecting flight on the same day, Druk Air will try to assist you to arrange for your accommodation.

Any other fees and charges incurred will typically have to be borne by the travellers.

Travellers are advised to acquire their own travel insurance. For more information, please refer to Druk Air’s cancellation and change of schedule policy.

17. If I have a connecting flight to Bhutan, will my luggage arrive directly in Bhutan from my country of departure?

Your luggage will not be directly checked through to Bhutan. If you have a layover, you are required to retrieve your luggage from the country that you are transiting in and check-in again to your Druk Air flight as Druk Air currently has limited interline agreement with other airlines.

18. What's the cancellation policy for travel to Bhutan?

This is the cancellation charges for your tour packages, (for the land cost)

• More than 45 days before start of the programme, USD 140 flat rate per person.
• Between 21 - 30 days ~ 35% of rate
• Between 8 - 20 days ~ 50% of rate
• Between 4 - 7 days ~ 75% of rate
• Between 3 days or lesser ~ 100%

Please see below for the Drukair Ticket Cancellation policy

• No refund for special promotion tickets.
  1. 75% refund permitted for tickets cancelled more than 30 days from the date of travel.
  2. 50% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 10 - 29 days from the date of travel.
  3. 25% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 4 - 9 days from the date of travel.
• No refund permitted for tickets cancelled within 3 days from the date of travel.

There is a SGD 100 administration fee on each ticket cancelled.

19. Is altitude sickness common in Bhutan?

Altitude sickness is not common with visitors to Bhutan except for the very few cases. The first two days should get you acclimatised as most of the tour places have an altitude below 3000m.

If you are intending to go for trekking (which will be above 3000m), it is always good to set a reasonable pace, avoid overexertion, and keep yourself hydrated. Consult with your healthcare provider if taking acclimatisation medication is appropriate for you.

20. Is tipping expected in Bhutan?

Tipping in Bhutan is not compulsory and it’s not part of the Bhutanese culture. The tipping of your guide, driver and trek crew is purely a personal matter. Feel free to tip the guide or driver at the end of your trip should you wish to as they have been spending a significant amount of time accompanying you throughout your trip.

21. Can I get a specific guide who speaks foreign language in Bhutan?

Guide for the following languages are available if you book with Druk Asia: Chinese, Spanish, Portugese, Korean or Japanese. However, there will be an additional charge of USD150 per day. Please speak to your travel consultant should you require a guide who speaks those languages.

22. Are there any halal food in Bhutan?

There are currently no halal certified restaurants in Bhutan. However, the meat in Le Meridien Thimphu and Le Meridien Paro are halal certified. Additional charges apply if you’ll like to dine there. You will be able to find eateries that do not serve pork or lard. There are also many eateries that are vegetarian or vegan friendly.

23. What is Bhutan's local currency and how much should I bring for the trip?

Bhutan's currency is the Ngultrum (BTN). The Ngultrum is on par with the Indian rupee.

As your accommodation, transport and meals will be covered throughout your trip, you are only required to bring extra money if you wish to purchase any items or dine at other restaurants outside of your itinerary. Hence, expenditure varies from person to person.

24. Can I withdraw money from Bhutan's ATM?

You may not be able to withdraw any money from the local ATMs. It is advisable for you to bring along cash for out of pocket expenses.

25. Can I make payment by credit card in Bhutan?

Credit cards are not commonly accepted in Bhutan yet. It is still advisable that you bring along cash for payment. Most places might accept payment in major foreign currencies.

26. Can I do foreign currency exchange in Bhutan?

Yes, aside from the airport, you can also exchange for the Bhutanese currency (Ngultrum) at the Bank of Bhutan in Thimphu and Paro. However, they only accept 10 major currencies: U.S. Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Hong Kong Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Danish Kroner, Australian Dollar and Singapore Dollar.

The exchange rate varies according to your currency denomination. We will encourage you to bring larger denominations for the exchange.

Check out the latest exchange rate.

27. What can I buy from Bhutan?

Thimphu and Paro are the best places to quench your shopping thirst. You will be able to find exquisite traditional costumes, kiras and ghos, colourful masks, prayer flags, handwoven textiles, stoles, thangkas (Buddhist paintings) and traditional handicrafts in most of the shops. You can also buy popular products such as honey, cordyceps, yak cheese, lemongrass spray or get yourself a personalised postal stamp from the Bhutan Post in Thimphu!

Top 10 things to buy from Bhutan. Should you miss any Bhutanese products after you return home, you can check out online store to purchase the Bhutanese products.

28. Where can I go for shopping in Bhutan?

For souvenirs and high quality crafts by local artisans, you may wish to check out The Craft Gallery located opposite to Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) behind the Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC) in Thimphu. The Craft Gallery is an initiative by Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck to promote and preserve Bhutanese arts and crafts. By purchasing the handicrafts there, you are also helping to generate income for the local artisans and support the sustainability in preserving the Bhutanese crafts.

You can also find many shops and eateries along Norzin Lam street in Thimphu. Paro town is also a place that is popular for shopping. Check out the Bhutan Natural shop located in the heart of Paro town.

29. Who are Druk Asia's Customers?

Druk Asia has been serving happy tourists from all over the world. Some of our clients are from Russia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and more.

Besides working directly with the customers, Druk Asia also works with other travel agencies to assist them with their trip arrangement as we are the only representative of Drukair (Royal Bhutan Airlines) in Singapore.

30. Why should I travel to Bhutan with Druk Asia?

Druk Asia is one of the pioneer Bhutan travel agencies and the largest tour operator in the Kingdom. We’ve the experience of serving customers from different creeds and cultures and forged wonderful memories with all our guests. Click here to find out why you should choose Druk Asia as your tour operator to Bhutan.

31. Can I get a job in Bhutan?

If you want to work in Bhutan, you must have a job offer from Bhutan before you can apply for your work visa. Though paid jobs are not highly available, there are some volunteering opportunities in Bhutan to teach English. If you are looking to teach, the best time is to search for an opening three months prior to the beginning of the school terms (February to mid-July). Even though there are no formal requirements or qualifications to teach in Bhutan, you are recommended to have at least a university degree, TEFL certificate, and native English proficiency.