If you are planning for an amazing trip to Bhutan – “The Land of The Thunder Dragon”, here are some tips for you.
1. Peak and off peak seasons
The peak seasons in Bhutan are spring – March, April and May and autumn – September, October and November. It is advised that you should book your tour and flight tickets at least three months ahead of your trip to Bhutan or even earlier. For festival tours, you may need to book four to five months prior to your holiday to ensure your reservation of hotels and flight tickets.
Spring and autumn are the perfect time for trekking with good weather. There are also some famous festivals which are often held during these periods like Punakha festival, Paro festival, Thimphu festival, and Bumthang Jamba Lhakhang Drup Festival, explaining for the mass tourists coming to Bhutan in these periods.
Off peak seasons are summer – June, July, August and winter – December, January and February. In summer, the rains turn the beautiful Bhutan valleys into a lush green colour. This is also a great time for mushroom picking as well. While winter may be cold and dry, it offers a clear blue sky which is ideal for the mountain views and photography opportunities. If you do not want to deal with crowds of tourist, it is a good idea to consider travelling during summer and winter.
Photo credit: AMAN
2. Daily tariff costs, surcharges and other expenses
Please note that prices are different between the peak and off-peak seasons.
The daily tariff cost for peak seasons is US$250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November. For off peak seasons of December – February and June – August, the cost is US$200 per person per night in Bhutan. The costs have included 3-star hotel stay, tour guide, all meals in a day, bottles of water during the trip, a sustainable development fee of $65, museum fees and other special entry fees and internal transportation with experienced driver throughout the trip. The prices are set following the Bhutan Government’s Minimum Daily Package.
In case you want to have a luxurious trip when travel to Bhutan by staying 5-star hotels and resorts, we can arrange your accommodation with an addition premium. Here is the list of the 5-star hotels and resorts in Bhutan: Amankora, Six Senses, Uma, Zhiwaling, Lemeridien, Taj Tashi, Gangtey Goenpa Lodge. Their high quality service and professional staff will ensure you a pleasant experience while staying. There are also other 4-star hotels to suit your request.
Surcharges are applied for travelers in groups of 2 or less:
US$ 40 per night for a single person.
US$ 30 per person per night for a group of 2 people.
Therefore asking your friends to come with you is a great idea. The more the merrier.
Other expenses for your Bhutan travel trip:
The visa fee is $40 per person. Only tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives will not need a visa to travel to Bhutan. Tourists from other countries all need to apply for a visa.
Our tour packages are all pre-paid. Therefore you should only bring money for buying souvenirs, tips for driver and tour guide and drinks.
Photo credit: AMAN
3. Clothes and what to bring with you
Warm clothes are very important, especially if your trip is between the months of winter and spring – from October to March with the cold and the strong winds. However, we advise that you should always have a jacket with you during your time in Bhutan, regardless of the seasons. This is because of the huge changes of weather you may experience due to elevation, with some valleys care colder than the others.
If you travel to Bhutan in spring and summer, you can wear light clothing during day time, and a sweater or jacket will be necessary in the evenings. From autumn through winter, down jackets, fleeces, hats and gloves are crucial to keep yourself warm as it will have snowfalls and strong winds in certain areas. Sports shoes are suitable for tours with mostly walking and light hiking. For trekking tours, we recommend to bring your hiking boots with you. Sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and hat may be needed for higher elevations. It is wise that you have spare batteries for phone and camera as well, especially for treks.
If you have motion sickness, do not forget to take travel sickness tablets with you as the roads in Bhutan are bumpy and winding and you will spend lots of time travelling by car.
Your Bhutan travel will not be complete without trips to dzongs, temples and monasteries. But make sure to wear long pants or trousers and collar shirts (full or half sleeved) when entering these places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps and sunglasses as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised and also when you cross a bridge.
You can bring some books and keep some movies in your laptop or tablet for entertainment during flights and the trip. You may find something to do while in Thimphu and Paro as they are quite developed, but in other places, nightlife is non-existent. Most hotels are not close to the main town either.
If you want to smoke, bring your own cigarettes to Bhutan, The country forbids the sale and consumption of tobacco, so you are not allowed to smoke in public areas. However, consumption is not totally banned in Bhutan so if you want, ask your guide to know where you can go and take a drag on your cigarette.
Other tips for your Bhutan trip:
- Most hotels in Bhutan have WiFi, but if you need more connectivity you can get a local SIM card from Tashi Cell or B-Mobile and top up with prepaid cards.
- You should be able to pay via credit card at most hotels and handicraft stores.
- You do not have to tip in restaurants and hotels. The guide will take care of tipping on your behalf. However, be aware that you have to tip your guide and driver.
- Bring with you a multi-purpose electrical plug and a universal travel adapter in case you have many devices you want to charge is a good idea.
- When taking photos or filming inside any religious institution like dzongs, temples, monasteries, do check with your guide in advance whether it is allowed because some areas may ban it. Do remember not to touch robe of monks, any paintings, murals and any other ritual objects at these institutions.