Frequently asked questions
How to fly to Bhutan?
Bhutan’s international airport is Paro – and it perhaps one of the most traditional looking airports you’ll ever see. It’s beautiful!
You can start your holiday in Bhutan from any of the airports listed below, although we recommend Delhi, Kathmandu and Bangkok as these have the most regular departures and give you more flexibility with your itinerary. Guwahati airport is an option for those on a longer trip, or aiming to see festivals in the east who don’t want to back-track to Paro from Eastern Bhutan. From there you can return to Delhi.
View Drukair gateway airports in a larger map
- Dhaka, Shahjalal International Airport
- Bagdogra, Bagdogra Airport
- Delhi – Indira Gandhi International Airport
- Gaya – Gaya Airport
- Guwahati – Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport
- Kolkata – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
- Kathmandu – Tribhuvan International Airport
- Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport
Can I use my credit card in Bhutan?
Credit cards are really accepted only at high-end tourist shops and in hotels. However there is now an ATM in Thimpu in which you may be able to withdraw cash and it accepts Visa cards only.
When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
Bhutan is wonderful all year round! Of course we would say that. Largely it depends what you want to do.
Many people book their holiday in Bhutan around a festival that they want to see. It’s a great idea to do this, but just make sure you book way in advance if you want to secure the limited flight tickets and comfortable hotel rooms. See the provisional list of Bhutan’s main festival dates on this page. Paro and Thimphu tsechus are the busiest of all.
As far as climate goes, every season has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The most popular months to travel to Bhutan are in spring: March, April, and May, and the autumn (fall) months of September, October, and November.
In the post monsoon season, the skies are often crystal clear blue and the views towards the mountains are at their best. The rare dancing black-necked cranes arrive at their winter feeding grounds at this time. Around half of the total annual tourist numbers arrive between September and November, many for the Thimpu tsechu. It means there is high competition for flights and rooms at this time and prices can rise accordingly. This is the best season for trekking.
Winter is still a possible time to visit. The cold skies can give clear views, though there is always a risk of snow blocking the east-west roads for several days at a time. If you are planning a short visit of the western towns however, this could be an option.
By early March you generally need an early start to be able to see the mountains clearly from the high road passes you’ll cross. However you’ll start seeing the whites and pinks of cherry blossom and the rhododendrons beginning to bloom.
The monsoon months of July and August (and parts of June and September) are generally low season. However, the landscape is a thrillingly lush green, the light can be wonderful for photography. And of course, all of the usual aspects of Bhutanese life continue as normal and there are also a couple of festivals to experience.
Best would be to return to Bhutan again and again at different times of the year and experience the differences for yourself!
Do you have any tips or advice before my Bhutan holiday?
There are always some things that you’d wish you’d known before travelling. Below is a short and non-exhaustive list of tips we’d like to share with you:
- If you are flying from Kathmandu (or Delhi), check in very early to get a window seat on the left side (or the right on the return journey) – see the stunning view here.
- Book early for the major festivals to ensure flight tickets and accommodation. How early? Well the earlier the better. For instance, bookings start being taken more than 12 months in advance for Paro Tsechu. Additionally, certain places have limited hotel beds, for instance Phobjika. As a general rule, book at least four months in advance.
- Get a USB SIM stick and connect to the internet wherever the mobile network reached. Be warned it’s not the fastest connection, and sometimes it’s not there at all. And ‘with laptop’ is certainly not the best way to experience Bhutan, but if it means you can answer important emails while you are away, and perhaps stay a little longer, then go for it. Ask us and we’ll arrange. A few hotels now are getting connected. Ask us about this when booking.
- Do advise us beforehand if you are vegetarian otherwise it might be assumed you love the same foods that Bhutanese do!
- You may quickly pass through a range of altitudes and climates so bring layers of clothing that you can easy put on or take off.
- It can be very cold at nights. If you are cold sleeper, you may wish to bring your own small sleeping bag just in case.
What is the visa fee for Bhutan?
There is a visa fee or US$ 20 for visiting Bhutan, but many people confuse this with the minimum daily tariff for groups. This stipulation of a minimum tariff is why Bhutan has remained an authentic destination. Tourism has been well managed and the quality of services and accommodation have remained very high.
The actually daily fee you pay depends on the standard of hotel you wish to stay in, the size of your group and the kind of activities you wish to experience.
Some costs are not covered, for instance (alcoholic) drinks, laundry, internet access, donations made at the Dzong, or other things you might wish to arrange on the spur of the moment, such as a massage for tired legs in Thimphu. But otherwise, all your costs are covered and you can just relax and enjoy your experience.
It is good to know that from daily fee too a percentage goes to the government of Bhutan towards implementing its Gross National Happiness development programmes. So you know that your visit is also making a difference to the wonderful people you meet in rural Bhutan.