How to Organize Your Trip to Bhutan and understand the quirky tourism rules.
People from Bhutan call their country Drukyul, which in translation means The Land of the Thunder Dragon. That name completely describes the surreal vibe this country has. Its rich biodiversity and surreal landscapes make it a traveler’s dream destination. There’s almost too much to see and do in this Himalayan paradise. This can mean only one thing: you have to organize the trip much more carefully than usual.
From my own experience, I found that getting enough information was necessary before landing in this country. That’s what I’m here for today – to share few hints that will help you organize your trip to Bhutan in the best way possible.
- Understand Bhutan’s Tourism Policy
Tourism is a vibrant business in Bhutan. The country is welcoming to tourists, but it does have a specific tourism policy, which means you’ll be expected to play by the rules. Bhutan’s tourism policy is founded on the sustainability principle. Tourism must be culturally and socially acceptable, economically viable, as well as environmentally friendly.
- Get Your Visa
Citizens of Bangladesh, India, and Maldives don’t need a visa to visit Bhutan. For everyone else, the visa is necessary. You’ll need to apply and pay for the visa in advance. The fee is $40.
You’ll have to organize this trip through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. That’s one of the rules. You can check out the list of registered tour operators at the website of the Tourism Council of Bhutan. The agency will take care of the visa process for you. It’s important to apply at least three months before you plan to travel.
- Learn about the Minimum Daily Package
The government of Bhutan controls the minimum amount that tourists spent per day. This is the so-called Minimum Daily Package.
What does this mean for you as a tourist? Simple: you’ll have to pay a fee for each day of stay. The daily fee is $200 during low season and $250 during high season. That’s the price for an individual of a group or more people. If you’re traveling as a single or as a couple, the fee will be higher.
Yes; it’s expensive. So this is not a trip you do on a whim. It’s something you plan and save for. It’s totally worth it, though!
With this package, you’ll get a minimum of 3-star accommodation, access to all internal transport (except for internal flights), a licensed guide, and camping equipment. Oh; all meals are included in the price, too! The package also covers all taxes, as well as the sustainable development fee. Children and students are lucky; their packages come with discounts.
- Get Some Cash Ready
One of the most annoying things for tourists is the lack of ATMs. There are ATMs in all main towns, but this will not be the kind of trip you spend in major towns. You’ll mostly explore remote areas. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll face in Bhutan. The use of credit cards is not encouraged. So you’ll have to bring some cash.
The currency of Bhutan is called Ngultrum. Its value is the same as the Indian Rupee.
- Put a Festival in Your Schedule
It would be a shame to go to Bhutan without attending a festival. There are plenty of festivals throughout the year, so you can easily fit one in your schedule. Thimphu Tshechu, one of the most important religious festivals, is held in honor of the great Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Bhutan to Buddhism in the 8th century.
In addition to religious festivals, Bhutan is home to festivals in honor of flowers (Rhododendron Festival) and wildlife (the Black-Necked Crane festival). Check out the Bhutan Festivals Calendar and you’ll see that there are few festivals to see each month.
- Make a Sightseeing Plan
This will be the trip of your life. It will cost quite a bit of money, but it has huge potential that you have to explore. Here are only few of the things you can (and should) see.
- Tiger’s Nest (Paro Taktsang)
This is one of the most impressive Buddhist temples in the world. It’s the place where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have stayed in a long meditation. It’s really hard to get to this monastery. It’s a demanding hike – you’ll have to climb for two hours from the valley floor. As you keep climbing, the temple will keep appearing and disappearing. I felt like it was giving me hope, only to take it away the next minute. It was a breathtaking experience that I’d enjoy again.
- Paro Dzong
This is another temple that you must see. The peace and serenity you feel at this place cannot be compared to anything.
- Royal Manas National Park
This is Bhutan’s oldest national park. Who doesn’t want to see Bengal tigers, elephants, rhinos, golden langurs? When you visit this national park, you’ll become one with Mother Nature.
- Blog about It!
Bhutan is a life-changing experience. It’s a hidden gem that not many travelers know about. That’s why it’s important to share this journey with the world. Start a blog before you even go there, and write about your plans. Then, write a short daily blog about your experience. At the end of the trip, you’ll sum it up in an elaborate travelogue that people will be excited to see.
The blog will serve as a testimony to your journey. Thanks to it, you’ll never forget about this adventure. Needless to say, it has to be great.
Are you ready for your adventure in Bhutan? You will be when you plan it well. Thanks to the tips above, you’ll be able to organize this trip in detail!
About The Author: Cathy Baylis just loves to write. Whether it’s sharing blogs and articles on little-known stories and facts, providing assignment help to students or writing on career related topics, she loves to spend hours upon hours at her laptop.