Bhutan Visa, Passport and Money Advice
Every visitor to Bhutan requires a pre-arranged visa in conjunction with their land arrangements, and if you’re travelling via India or Nepal you may also require a visa for these countries. We also have some tips about money in Bhutan. See below for more information for a smooth and safe trip.
After you’ve booked your Bhutan holiday with us, we will arrange a tourist visa for you. Standard tourist visas for Bhutan are valid for 15 days – for trips longer than 15 days we can organize an extension for you. Once your visa is confirmed, we will send it to you one week before your departure. Upon arrival in Bhutan, you hand over your visa and passport and in return you will receive a stamp in your passport. We require a scanned passport copy for each traveller to Bhutan. You must also ensure that your passport will have 6 months worth of validity from the date you plan to enter Bhutan. It is also recommended to have 2 clear pages in your passport for when you arrive.
Visas for India, Nepal and Tibet
If you are combining your trip to Bhutan with a trip to India and/or Nepal, you’ll need to make sure you have visas for each country you are visiting. We are on hand to help and advise which visas you need and how you can apply for them in advance.
Your trip to Bhutan is an all-inclusive trip. All meals, excursions, transportation and accommodation are provided and included in the price. However we do recommend having some spending money on hand with you each day for souvenirs, small cash offerings at temples and monasteries and perhaps a drink at the end of a long day sightseeing or trekking. All meals are served with mineral water and tea/coffee. Alcohol and bottled drinks are not included in the price. Prices for alcohol are close to what you will pay in the UK. Throughout the country there are only a few ATMs where you can withdraw local currency. We therefore recommend you have some Dollars, Euros, Sterling or Indian Rupees with you upon arrival at Paro airport so you can exchange your money straight away. The currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum. The price of the Ngultrum is equivalent to the Indian rupee. If you are entering Bhutan from India, you can bring Indian Rupees into the country with you as they are widely accepted. Please note you cannot pay with 500 or 1000 Rupee notes.
Credit cards are accepted only in a few places. You can pay with credit card in some souvenir shops in Paro or in some markets in Thimphu. However, card payments are not common in Bhutan, so you will have difficulty using your card to pay for most things. The transactions take a long time and you’ll be charged a high commission. Where credit cards are accepted you can usually only pay with a Visa credit card.
The general custom in Bhutan is to tip your guide and driver at the end of your trip, rather than on a daily basis. If you are trekking in Bhutan, it is also encouraged to tip the porters but of course you should only tip if you are satisfied with their service. Tips are, however, an indispensable addition to their income, so keep this in mind as the end of your trip is approaching. The amount you give will depend on the duration of your trip, the number of you in the group and of course your satisfaction with the service you received. We’ll give you guidelines when you book your trip with us.