Bhutan has it all: an amazing culture, dramatic views, snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys
Here is our guide to help you plan your holiday to the last Shangri-La. Everything we do is tailor-made, so do contact us and we can plan an itinerary totally around you, but we hope this guide will help you in the initial stages of your planning.
March, April & May are among the most popular times to travel as temperatures are pleasant and the valleys are abundant in nature; especially as all the flowers start to bloom. Early April witnesses the Paro Tshechu, one of the most popular festival in Bhutan. Temperatures increase in May, bringing humidity as well as cloud over the mountains. The rhododendrons should also still be in bloom - ideal for photographers and nature lovers.
June to August (and sometimes into September) is monsoon season in Bhutan. However, fewer visitors and lower prices can make it a perfectly viable time to visit. Although showers can occur at night without spoiling daytime explorations, conditions aren't ideal for trekking. Sightseeing is still possible - just be prepared with a raincoat! Views are best in the mornings following night-time downpours.
September, October & November are ideal for hiking, seeing festivals (particularly the popular Thimphu Tshechu) and enjoying stunning views and pleasant temperatures. Expect it to be around 25°C in the sun, but there will be cooler temperatures in the evenings and at higher altitudes. Black-necked cranes migrate from the Tibetan Plateau to the protected Phobjikha Valley each year. They remain in the region from late October to early February. In Gangtey, a special festival is held every November to celebrate the arrival of the birds.
From December to February Bhutan is at its coldest; especially in the mountains, but lower prices and clear skies reward those who brave the low temperatures. The valleys are warmer and sunny with clear views of the incredible Himalayas. Due to colder temperatures, visitor numbers will be lower.
By Air: There are only two airlines that fly into Paro which has a short runway and can only handle smaller Airbus 319s. The main flag carrier is Druk Airways, operating modern Airbus 319s and Tashi Air (also known as Bhutan Airlines) which also flies an Airbus 319.
The main hub airports you can fly from are Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Singapore. There are also flights from Bagdogra in India, Kathmandu in Nepal and Dhaka in Bangladesh, giving the opportunity to combine your trip with one of these country. Do note that if flying via India, you would need to get a visa in advance, so most guests choose to go via Bangkok as it doesn’t require an entry visa.
By Land: There are 3 land borders open to tourists: Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. Phuentsholing is located approximately 170 km from the Indian national airport of Bagdogra. After crossing the border, you begin your journey to Thimphu, it takes about six hours for the 170 km stretch. Gelephu in south-central Bhutan is another entry point to Bhutan. It is approximately 250 kms from Thimphu and the ten hour journey go through the sub-tropical areas of Bhutan before entering the alpine zone and then finally into Thimphu.
The district of Samdrup Jongkhar in south-east Bhutan borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam and is approximately 150 kms away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will go through Trashigang, Monggar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang and then finally into capital, Thimphu. The journey is beautiful, but it takes approximately three days to reach Thimphu from this border point.
Bhutan is one of the few counties in the world where the daily tour tariff is strictly controlled by the Royal Government & Tourism Council and includes all services: hotels, meals, transport and entrance fee; visa fees however are not included. The standard tour and tariff price can be broken down as follow: US$250 per person per night in March, April, May & September, October, and November; and US$ 200 per person per night in December, January, February & June, July and August).
There shall be no charge for Children up to the age of 5 years (only visa fee & tourism development fee is payable) those between the ages of 5 to 12 years old shall be given 50% discount on the daily rates. There shall be a surcharge of US$ 40 per night for single traveler and US$ 30 per person per night for a group of 2 person only.
All travelers to Bhutan must have visa approved prior to arriving in the Kingdom of Bhutan. No foreign mission or embassies abroad has an authority to grant tourist visa. Your Bhutanese visa fee costs US$40 per person, plus there is a separate ‘tourism fee’ of US$3 per person.
Visa are processed through an online system by Bhutan Concierge on your behalf. Visa will be processed and approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan once the full payment of your planned holiday has been wired transferred and received in Tourism Council of Bhutan’s bank account. Visa clearance will be then issued within 72 working hours from the date the payment is received.
At your point of entry, you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
Bhutan is one of the few counties in the world where the daily tour fee is strictly controlled by the Royal Government & Tourism Council. It includes : accommodation in hotel or home-stay, meals, transport and entrance fee.
Accommodation: Standard 2-3 stars hotels are included in the daily. The hotels are providing basic facilities and services, they are clean and staff are always pleasant. Bhutan is home to some of the nicest boutique hotels such Como resort, Aman and soon Six Senses. We recommend upgrading your accommodation option to perfect your holidays. A surcharge applies if you upgrade.
Guide: An English speaking guide is provided for the length of your trip. All our guides are experiences and carefully picked. They welcomes you at the airport and remains with you for your entire holiday in Bhutan. In order to ensure that you receive high quality, professional service every guide complete a training course. Other languages are available (French, Spanish, Japanese), a surcharge applies.
Meals: all meals are included - at your hotel or in local restaurant.
Transport: all transport by land in private vehicle are included. International flight to/from Bhutan are excluded. A surcharge applies for domestic flights.
Trekking: If you are trekking, for two days or more, the price includes all meals & beverages on the trek, sleeping tents, sleeping bags, foam mats, toilet tents, dining tents, cook & trekking crew and pack animals for carrying supplies & baggage.
All sightseeing and activities
It also included all taxes and charges, as well as a sustainable tourism royalty fee of $65 per day, that goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, the building of infrastructure.
The daily fee excludes: international airfare, drinks ordered in restaurant or at your hotel, travel insurance, tips and any service not mentioned.