Bhutan is a place where many people have a thousand and one questions about. For instance, why is Bhutan so expensive? Is the visa US200? How do I go to Bhutan? We have debunk the Bhutan myths and shared some facts of Bhutan. Here are 10 other things that are in the Bhtuan FAQ.
When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
Every period has its own little charm, be it nature lovers, festive parties, trekking enthusiasts or seeking spirituality, you can be sure to find a season that is perfect for you.
Ideal Time: September to November.
The air is clear and fresh with sunny skies. It is perfect for treks, learning about the culture and you can even participate in festivals like Thimphu Drubchen, Thimphu Tshechu and Black Necked Crane Festival.
To see the rare black-necked cranes: Phobjikha Valley between late October and mid-February
Colder temperature: January and February
Escape the intense heat in Singapore, Hong Kong or Thailand! Experience cold Christmas in the Himalayas and find snow and in the mountains and glaciers.
For flowers and dry weather: April to late spring
The famous rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the valleys with colour. Sakuras are everywhere, from Hyde Park in London to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and not forgetting Japan. Why not celebrate spring with the unique rhododendrons blooms in the Lamperi Botanical Garden?
Check the festivals dates on Official Bhutan Tourism Board to plan your trip!
How much is Bhutan? Why is it so expensive?
Great question there, probably one of the most asked. The Royal Government of Bhutan sets a minimum daily expenditure for people travelling to Bhutan. This is to sustain the country and also to protect the national parks so you and I have fresh air to breathe.
The prices are different for high season and off season:
- High season: March, April, May, September, October, November.
- USD 250/night/pax
- Low season: June, July, August, December, January, February.
Other Fees for Bhutan
- Bhutan Visa Fee: USD40/pax
- Cost of Round Trip Flights: about USD1,030/pax from Singapore
Detailed Breakdown of Fee in Bhutan
There is a minimum spending in Bhutan, either $200 during the low season or $250 during the high season.
The amount is split accordingly:
- Sustainability fund: 33%
- Hotel: 30% (3-star hotels. We provide free upgrades to 4* and 5* accommodations.)
- Professional English-speaking Guide: 7%
- Private car with chauffeur: 15%
- Food: 11%
- Road permits: 2%
- Entrance to attractions: 2%
The sustainability fund goes into the preservation of Bhutanese culture, environment and reforestation of the Himalayan forests.
Okay, so that’s the price (200 or 250USD). What is included?
- Airport transfer in Bhutan
- Hotel accommodations
- Three meals per day
- Bhutanese, licensed English-speaking tour guide
- Private car and driver
- Mineral bottled water
- Entrance fees to all attractions
- Wearing Gho and Kira (traditional Bhutanese clothes) when visit Tiger’s Nest
- Road permits
- All internal taxes/charges/sustainable tourism royalty fees
What’s not included in the daily minimum expenditure?
- Tips for driver in Bhutan (min USD5/day/pax) and Bhutan tour guide (min USD7/day/pax)
- Personal expenses (shopping, laundry, etc)
- Travel insurance
- Flights to Bhutan (About USD1030)
- Bhutan visa (USD40)
Is it a direct flight to Bhutan? What is the flight schedule like?
Yes, there is a direct flight. The only flight between Singapore and Bhutan is by Drukair. It has a 35-min stopover in Kolkata. Basically just sit on the plane while the plane picks up some people.
- Singapore-Bhutan: every Tue, Thu, and Sun; depart at 6:30AM and arrive at 10:45AM.
- Bhutan-Singapore: every Mon, Wed, and Sat; depart at 7:20AM and arrive at 3:35PM.
From Bangkok, Nepal and India, you have daily flights to Bhutan!
I have a Singaporean passport. Do I need a visa?
Yes, you do. Except of India, Bangladesh, and Maldives passport holders, all visitors need a visa to visit Bhutan. Simple send the tour operator a clear photo of your passport ID page and make the payment. The visa will be done in 3-5 working days.
What kind of accommodation will I be staying in?
- Depending on your tour operator, you get a 3*, 4* or 5* accommodation.
- Other non-hotel options: local farm house, guest house in monasteries
Trevellers’ personal recommendation:
- Thimphu: Namgay Heritage Hotel. Namgay is a 4-star hotel built on the concept that every traveller experience the authentic Bhutanese culture, history and way of life. It is not the modernisation in the “western-way”, but in the authentic Bhutanese way. In this hotel, you will be able to immerse in the true culture and traditions that are not eroded by globalisation. The rooms are huge and there is even a sitting area in the room. There is a bathtub and separate shower.
- Punakha: Drubbchu Resort. This resort is located in the valley of Lobesa. Imagine waking up to the paddy fields and farm houses. It is well located within walking distance to Chimi Lhakhand and the village. The rooms are large and spacious. There is also a yoga room if you are interested in some yoga or meditation! I love this place because the view of the rooms look straight out to the paddy rice fields. Sunrise is exceptionally lovely here!
- Paro: Naksel Boutique Hotel and Spa. 5-star hotel with traditional hot-stone bath spa if you are interested in relaxing and enjoying the luxury that a 5* hotel provides. The place is also modernised in the Bhutanese style, so expect to see lots of wooden architecture and traditional designs. This hotel is also situated amongst the mountains and you wake up to the view of the highest mountain in Bhutan!
Why do I need a tour guide? Can I do a tour on my own?
Tourism in Bhutan is highly regulated by the government. You need a licensed Bhutanese tour company and guide. This is to ensure that you can be fully immersed in the culture and environment that have been carefully preserved. It is also to protect the culture and environment to make sure that people do not destroy it.
How many days should I stay in Bhutan?
That is a very valid question. You can stay as many and as little days as possible, but I would suggest at least 5 days. Air tickets to Bhutan are very expensive so you should stay longer in Bhutan.
I would recommend 5-days, 6-days and 7-days trip. You should visit Thimphu, Paro and Punakha (optional) during your stay!
What’s the food like? Is there any problem if I’m a vegetarian?
The food is one of the greatest experiences when you travel to a different destination. You will have a variety of cuisines to choose from, including Bhutanese, Indian, Tibetan, Continental, and Chinese. The main staples of the Bhutanese diet are rice (red or white) and chilies.
One dish favoured by most Bhutanese is called “Ema datsi,” which is chilli and cheese. Meat is widely eaten in Bhutan, as are vegetables. Bhutanese food tends to be spicy, since many dishes are made with chilies, but the spiciness can be reduced to your liking. I am not a huge fan in particular of the chilli cheese dish, but some people love it!
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, that’s also not a problem. Just let your guide know and they will prepare a vegan option for you.
How is the Internet like in Bhutan?
In general, the Wifi is stable for cities like Paro and Thimphu. Sometimes you have to be at the lobby of the hotel to get strong wifi for emails and calls, but in general, it works well.
On the phone, Tashicell works well. For a usual cultural tour, it connects well. I was on the mountains, 3900m above sea level and received some signal. I sent pictures and videos with the low signal in the mountains.
- Average Download (Thimphu): 15 Mbps
- Average Upload (Thimphu): 23 Mbps