Print

Is Bhutan a safe travel destination?
Yes, the crime rate in Bhutan is very low and people are peace-loving and generous.

Best time to travel to Bhutan?
You can visit western Bhutan (Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Haa and Wangduephodrang) anytime of the year. Avoid central and eastern Bhutan during the monsoon months of July and August when the weather is sometimes a little wet for sightseeing and the roads bit disturbed.

Would we need travel insurance?
All visitors are advised to get their insurance coverage from their own country.

What about tipping standards?
Yes, tipping is a standard practice in Bhutan and it is part of a Bhutanese culture. All your service staff such as guide, driver, hotels staff will expect tips from you at the end of the service. Indeed, tipping practice have motivated a little extra efforts.

Tour guides of Bhutan?
All tour guides are required to undergo special trainings conducted by Tourism Council of Bhutan and are certified accordingly after successful completion of the specified course. In addition to English-speaking guides specialised guides on bird watching, flora and fauna are available. Language guides such as Japanese speaking guides, Chinese speaking guides, French speaking guides, and German speaking guides are available. Extra cost required to be paid by the clients for specialized guides and language speaking guides.

What is Bhutan’s electricity supply like? Can I use electrical appliances in the hotels?
Bhutan uses a 240 v system. Electrical supply is generally good, but can be less stable in the smaller towns. Some rural areas are still without electricity although some farms have solar electrification.Bhutan uses the Indian round pin sockets. You can find adaptors in many of the hardware shops in the towns.
 
Are there any internet cafes in Bhutan?
Yes, all most all the towns have internet cafes.

Can we buy antiques in Bhutan?
The export of antiques is prohibited by law. Tourists should buy only artifacts that have been certified for sale and for export. The government provides an official seal to certify that artifacts can be taken out of Bhutan

What advantage do I have in booking tours directly with Lonely Bhutan Tours.?
Lonely Bhutan Tours is a local operator in Bhutan, and you can safe a good deal of money by booking your trip directly through us.  The abroad agents are commission agents and you will have to pay commission on top of daily tariff,  hence the cost goes up.  Even if you book your trip through abroad agents, they ultimately need to deal with local operators in Bhutan, because tourist’s visas can only be arranged by the local operators.

Can Lonely Bhutan Tours conduct travel plans outside of Bhutan?
We operate tours in Sikkim, and Darjeeling. Our next extensions will be Nepal and Tibet.

Guide lines on taking pictures in Bhutan?
Bhutan is perhaps one of the most photogenic places in the world. The landscape, nature, architecture and the people make it a photographer’s paradise. People are generally happy to pose for pictures, but do ask before you do so if you are focusing on one person. Photography is not permitted inside the alter room of Dzongs, Temples, and Monastery.

What does it cost to visit Bhutan?
The International Tourist Tariff is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan and is valid for all inclusive packages. The tariff is divided into a high season and a low season rate. The rates are the same for cultural tours, treks or any other special interest tours.

For groups of three persons or more, the rates are as follows:

  1. High season tariff: US $250/- per person per night in March, April, May, June and September, October and November.
  2. Low Season Tariff: US$ 180 per person per night in December, January, February and June, July and August.

For a group of less than three persons, there is a surcharge to the daily tariff:

  • One person:  US $40 per person per night. 
  • Two persons: US $30 per person per night. 

Three persons and more: No surcharge applicable.

Is not included in the Package?
Airfares, airport taxes, visa fees, excess baggage, insurance, emergency evacuation, medical and all other personal expenses.

Are there any discounts?
Yes, the following discounts on daily rates are allowed:

The royalty for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years is exempted, while those between the ages of 6 and 12 years, accompanied by elders/guardians, will be given 50% discount on daily royalty

  1. Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years, holding valid identity cards from academic institutions, will also be given a 25 % discount on daily royalty.

The biggest question is how far can I trust Lonely Bhutan tours when it comes to Money that I am transferring to whom I am almost unknown?
Your payment is secured as it goes directly to a government account. Tour operators receive their payments only after the tour is completed. Read in  ‘about Us’ page, under ‘security’ column to get more idea.

What services are included in the cost of a tour?
The cost of your tour includes:

  • Hotel accommodation approved by government as tourist standard.
  • Three meals a day, tea and snacks
  • The government royalty
  • In-country transport with airport drop and pick up
  • Guide service
  • Tours specified in the itinerary, cultural programmes where specified
  • Entrance fees to museums and monuments

On treks it includes:   sleeping tents, dining tents, kitchen tents, and toilet tents. You will be accompanied by trekking guide, Trekking cook, helpers, pack horses or yaks.

When should I pay for my tour?
It is best to pay for your tour at least four weeks before the date of arrival. This will give enough time for the Royal Government of Bhutan to clear your visa formalities (which is done only after the full payment is received). For visits during the peak season in March, April, May, September, October, & November, it is advisable to make your payment 12 weeks in advance. This is to enable us to make a confirmed booking for you on the airline, since seats are in high demand during these months.
 
How should I pay for my tour?
The best way to transfer money is through wire or bank transfer to the Bhutan National Bank in Thimphu. Lonely Bhutan Tours will provide you with full instructions on how to transfer your payment once you confirm you tour.

Can credit cards be used in Bhutan?
Credit cards are accepted in many hotels and Handicraft shops. All credit card transactions take extra time and are cumbersome to use. For convenience, it is preferable to have travelers cheques and cash.

Is there ATM facility in Bhutan?
Yes, if you have visa, masters and Maestro with a pin code, you can encash money from all the banks in Bhutan.

What are the procedures for my Bhutan visa?
Lonely Bhutan Tours will bear the responsibility of obtaining your Bhutan visa. You will have to send us the scanned copy of your passports and your pass ports should have minimum 6 months validity at the time of issuing your Bhutan visa.

After we receive your full payments for the tour, the government takes about 3-4 working days to clear the visa applications. This approval is sent automatically to the respective Druk Air stations where your flight is booked for travel into Bhutan.  A copy of it will also be sent to you. Your Bhutan visa is stamped on your passport only arrival at Paro airport. All visitors should carry their visa approval letter with them to be shown at the Druk Air check-in counter and for immigration on arrival.

What is the best way of getting to Bhutan?
Bhutan can be reached via air travel or by road.  If you plan to fly into Bhutan, the national airline flies to Bangkok, Singapore, Kolkatta, Delhi and Kathmandu. The overland entry and exit points to and from Bhutan are from the two cities in the south of Bhutan -- Samdrup Jongkhar and Phuntsholing.

What is the schedule for the airline that flies into Bhutan?
Bhutan’s national airline, Druk Air operates daily flights from several destinations. 
Click here for the Druk Air flight schedule.

What about airport tax cost?
The airport tax is US $20/-.  This will also be included in the airfares. You will not not pay separately at the airport on arrival.

How to book flights into Bhutan?
Lonely Bhutan Tours can arrange your airline tickets on Druk Air flights into Bhutan. There is no commission fee for this service. However you can also buy directly from their websitewww.drukair.com.bt using your credit cards.Drukair does not issue paper tickets any more. Lonely Bhutan Tours will buy your e- tickets and send it to you through email prior to your scheduled visit. This is a legal travel docuement, which carries the same function as the paper tickets and you will have no problem in boarding Drukair.

What is the baggage limit on Druk Air?
Druk Air provides the standard baggage allowance of 20 kg for economy class travelers and 30 kg in business class. The allowance for carry-on bags is 5 kg.

What are the possibilities of delays in Druk Air?
Druk Air flights can be delayed in departure and arrival especially in the monsoon season.  It is advisable for passengers with onward connections to and from Bhutan to keep at least one day’s gap before the next flight.

Will I get a refund on my tour payment if I cancel my trip after confirmed booking?
Our tour cancellation policy that is favorable to both the parties as shown below:

  1. Full refund will be made for the tour cancelled 30 days or more prior to arrival date.
  2. 20% penalty on the total tour cost for the tour cancelled less than 30 days prior to arrival date. This is because by this time hotels would be already booked and company is subject to cancellation charges for rooms cancelled in less than 30 days.
  3. Duration lost or trip shortened due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund will be made - because we will already have paid for the hotels and other logistics.


Druk Air’s cancellation policy:
Drukair is a separate entity, they have their own cancellation policies.

  1. 100% refund permitted for tickets cancelled more than 30 days from the date of travel.
  2. 50% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 30-last 15 days from the date of travel.
  3. No refund permitted for missed connections or "no show" at the airport.
  4. Additional fee of US $10 is levied for every date change once the tickets have been issued.
  5. For every cancelled ticket, an administrative fee of US $25 is levied.


What kind of accommodation will we stay in?
Bhutan offers generally modest but clean hotels. There are none of the chain hotels in Bhutan although a couple of high end resorts have been opened in some districts. Lonely Bhutan Tours puts you up in the best available hotels that are classified and approved by the Royal Government. Visitors are advised not to expect luxury or five star hotel services. Bhutan’s local hospitality is, however, an insight into a society where tourism may be a new venture, but where visitors are greeted with true warmth and friendship.

Are standards the same throughout Bhutan?
Generally, tourist facilities and services are good in western and Central Bhutan, but the quality of service and facilities are more basic in east and south. However, in few years the tourist accommodations and facilities in those areas will improve as there is potential for Tourism development.

Can we get good foods in Bhutan?
Generally all the hotels serve good tourist food with different varieties and less spicy. Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, and Bumthang have choice of many restaurants apart from Hotels. We also have choice of Chinese and Indian foods available. Local foods at local restaurants can be arranged if the clients desire.

Non vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish.

Any immunizations required before visiting Bhutan?
There are no vaccination requirements for entering the country. You may, however, talk to your doctor about receiving immunizations against certain preventable diseases. The US Center for Disease Control has up-to-date travel information about which diseases you may want to immunize yourself against when traveling to Bhutan.

Is altitude sickness a common problem?
The altitude in Bhutan is higher than many people are used to. Though most visitors will have no problem adjusting, altitude sickness may be a problem for certain people. Signs of altitude sickness include headache, nausea, loss of appetite and fatique. If you are in higher altitude than you are used to, descend immediately until you begin to feel better.
Our cultural tours do not reach altitudes higher than 3,500 meters. All of our treks reach at least 3,500 meters, and some of our treks go as high as 5,000 meters. You can obtain more information on altitude sickness and prevention from the US Centers for Disease Control and from the International Society for Mountain Medicine
Ground transportation used for our tour?
For individual travelers we use Hyundai 2WD, 4WD Land cruisers; for groups of 3-7 persons we have Toyota Hiace mini buses; for larger groups of 8-20 persons we have Toyota Coaster Buses. The guide accompanies the tourist entire Bhutan trips.

Dress code in Bhutan?
Visitors are advised to be in proper dress as Bhutan is generally a formal place. Shorts, skirts and revealing tight clothing are to be avoided. Full sleeve shirts and full paints required to visit religious sites.

What is the best way to greet people, and what are some basic etiquette that I should be aware of?
Bhutanese people have a distinct manner of greeting people, sometimes with a slight nodding of the head or bowing slightly if we meet older, senior people. Guests are encouraged to observe the local etiquette and not to talk too loudly when meeting Bhutanese. A nod of the head is also appreciated when meeting people, particularly in villagers and towns outside Thimphu. Intimacy in public is generally not appreciated.

Greetings:
Here are some useful words and greetings in the national language, Dzongkha.
When addressing elders or anyone older than you, we use the term "Au" which is a respectful form of saying older brother, sister, or uncle…

Hello

Kuzu Zangpo

Thank you

Kadinche

Yes

Ing

No

Meen

Come

Shoo

Let us go

Joogee

Happy

Sem Ga Yee

Is women travelling alone safe in Bhutan?
There is no sexual harassment as Bhutanese women generally enjoy a good standing in society. Since all tourists have a travel guide, there is little chance of coming across unpleasant occurrences. Women are however, advised to take the same universal precautions when in crowded entertainment places at night, particularly when in discos or bars, or if walking to hotel late in the evening. Sometimes, the stray dogs could pose a problem on the streets at night.

Does Bhutan welcome gays and lesbians?
People’s sexual preferences are considered personal matters and do not bother most Bhutanese. The Bhutanese people are, however, not used to open intimate behavior. Sometimes, you come across people of the same gender holding hands but they are not necessarily gay or lesbian.

Best season for trekking?
 Spring and Autumn. March to May and Sept, to November.

What should I pack for my trek to Bhutan?
The following lists will be useful for all treks.

  • Two pairs of foot wear either trekking or running/ walking shoes
  • Camp shoes or thongs
  • Socks (polypropylene)
  • Down or fiber-filled jacket
  • Jumper or piled jacket
  • Hiking shorts
  • Waterproof jackets, poncho or umbrella
  • Hiking pants
  • T-shirts or blouses
  • Underwear
  • Sun hat

Other equipment

  • Rucksack
  • Light rain gears
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water bottle
  • Iodine (treatment tablets)
  • Torch, batteries and bulbs.

For high altitude trek

  • Footwear         
  • Mountain trekking boots
  • Socks or wool to wear with boots
  • Socks, light cotton for under wool socks
  • Insulated pants
  • Nylon windbreaker
  • Nylon wind pants
  • Long underwear
  • Woolen hat
  • Gloves
  • Long gaiters
  • Light rain gears
  • Water bottles
  • Iodine (treatment tablets)


Miscellaneous items

  • Toilet paper and cigarette lighter
  • Small knife
  • Sun block
  • Towel
  • Laundry soap
  • Medical and first aid kit
  • Sewing kit
  • Bandana or scarf
  • Goggles or Sunglasses
  • Sun block and salve for lips
  • Ear plugs


Is there a limit to the baggage I can bring along if I am trekking in Bhutan? 
One trekking horse can carry 30 kgs. Limited horses are used. So trekkers are asked to keep their baggage to a maximum of 15 kg each, which is a lot as it will contain only your personal belongings. All food and tents are provided by Lonely Bhutan Tours.
 
Where Can I leave my belongings that are not required on trek?
you have packed for your trek, your belongings left behind will be transferred to Lonely Bhutan Tours office for safe keeping. .

Will I be carrying the entire luggage myself?
You will carry only your basicthings in your back pack.  While heavier items will go into duffel bags which will be carried by horses.

Who else will be there on trek?
Your trekking entourage will consist of a guide, camp chef, assistant, one or two horseman and horses.

What types of meals do I get on trek?
For breakfast: 
Canned juice with choice of orange, mango, pineapple, apple etc. porridge / cornflakes / cereals, fresh fruits, sausages/bacon, toast, butter and Jam, eggs cooked to order and tea/coffee.

For pack lunch: 
Vegetable cutlet/sandwich/boiled potato, chicken roast/beef roast, boiled eggs, choice of fresh fruits, canned juice (orange, pineapple, pepsi /coke).

For evening tea:
Tea/coffee, cookies/sandwich and biscuits.

For dinner: 
Soup, salad, rice, noodles, 2 non-vegetable items, 2 vegetable items, desert and tea/coffee.

Camp Fire:
In most of the camps where dry fire woods are available nice camp fires are built. Once above tree line camp fire not possible unless we arrange the woods from down below at a cost.