Bhutan Jewel Travel

Bhutan Tourism Relevant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What Visitors Should know About Bhutan

Answer: Bhutan is a destination can be visited the whole year. We have all 4 seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Spring falls in March and April with good sunshine and flowers starts to bloom. It runs through May too, as the temperatures are still low and the flowers are in full bloom during May month.

Summer starts from June till July but again continues through August and September. These are months when local vegetables are in abundance and forest products like the wild edible mushrooms are harvested, along with bountiful fruits like pears, peaches, apples, plums and apricot and more.

Bhutan is a lush paradise during summers with paddy cultivation and forest liven with the onset of the monsoon rains. Thus, Bhutan are still cooler due to the rains, a part of the Indian monsoon season hits Bhutan. During summer the Southern plains of Bhutan are hotter with temperatures around 30-35 degrees Celsius but the Western parts of Bhutan Thimphu, Paro and Haa are cool as they are on higher altitudes.

Autumn is September, October and November, these are when fruits and vegetables are still plentiful as the warmer regions still cultivate and grow them. Temperatures drop a bit in the warm Southern regions.

Winter months are December and runs through January and February. These are chill months but no rains and plenty of sun to bask in. One can visit the Southern regions of Bhutan like the Manas Park, even Punakha, Gelephug, Phuentsholing, as these would be absolutely pleasant.

Answer: Bhutan’s currency is called Ngultrum. It is at part with the Indian Rupee. Visitors can bring in Cash that can be exchanged at Banks or at a Licensed Money Exchange shop.

Australia – AUD

Switzerland – CHF

European Union – EUR

United Kingdom – GBP

Hong Kong – HKD

Japan – JPY

United States-USD

India – INR

Answer: The power and electricity voltage used in Bhutan is 220 – 240 volts so bring chargers for your gadgets and equipment that can work at these voltages. Bring along flat pin to round pin converters as some places in Bhutan still have the round pin plug sockets.

Three different electrical plugs are used throughout Bhutan: The British plug (three square pins, compatible with type G sockets), the European plug (two round pins, compatible with type C socket) and the Indian plug (three thick round pins, compatible with type D sockets). It’s a good idea to bring adaptors for all three.

Answer:  For telephone calls, Bhutan’s country code is +975. Make sure you add this to the beginning of any number if calling Bhutan from abroad.

Answer: Bhutan has its Customs Policy where goods are Taxable or Exempt from Taxes, or which Goods are Illegal and not permitted for import as all.

    1. Goods which are Tax Exempt from Tax and Duty:

One Litre of any alcohol, Daily Personal use goods, cameras and other photo equipment that will be used for normal photography and video, and other items that may have to be used professionally like some instruments that a tourist may need.

      2.  Goods That Have a ceiling on import and Taxable:

All Forms of Tobacco and CIGARETTES: Tourists can bring in 200 pieces of cigarettes on payment of 200% import duty (NOTE: Cigarette smoking is forbidden and BANNED in all PUBLIC places).

      3. Goods That are Completely prohibited For Import:

All Arms and ammunition, Antiques, Animal Products especially endangered species, and Narcotics and Drugs.

Planning Your Bhutan Trip

Answer: All visitors are required to obtain a Bhutan Travel Visa before coming to Bhutan. However, nationals from India, Maldives and Bangladesh can get a Visa on Arrival(VOA). Also nationals from Switzerland and Thailand holding diplomatic or Government official passports can get Visa on Arrival(VOA)

Answer: You can apply online through the Bhutan Immigration portal, OR your travel agent in Bhutan will do all the needful and get the Bhutan Travel visa for you. And nationals of India, Maldives and Bangladesh can get Visa on Arrival (VOA)

Answer: There are no nationals from any countries restricted grant of a Bhutan Travel Visa. All are welcome to Bhutan

Answer: To process a Bhutan Travel Visa will take 5 working days provided all documentation are done correctly.

Answer: When submitting the Bhutan Visa Application, a onetime Visa fee is paid US$40 per person.

The Bhutan Visa Fee of US$40 is usually paid at the time and along with paying the SDF (Sustainable Development fee)

Answer: A Bhutan Visa is given to a maximum of 90 days stay in Bhutan from the date of entry into Bhutan.

Answer: Yes, Bhutan Visa can be extended and this should be done a few working days before the previous Visa expires. The SDF (Sustainable Development Fee) will be applicable same as when the initial Visa was applied.

Answer: You can use your Credit card to pay the Bhutan Visa fee and the SDF (Sustainable Development Fee), but do inform your Bank about transferring money to Bhutan because sometimes the transfer doesn’t come through, as part of the Banks Security system. However, banks in Bhutan are absolutely safe for your money transfer.

Answer: Yes, it is mandatory to have a Travel Insurance when coming to Bhutan. Travel Agents in Bhutan can arrange for a Bhutan Travel Insurance if you do not have one but it must be secured before coming to Bhutan.

Nationals from India, Maldives and Bangladesh can avail the Travel Insurance at the port of entry if they do not already have a Travel Insurance.

Answer: Presently Bhutan Tourism is a direct booking where one can make their own travel arrangements but we always recommend using a local travel agent as they save you time and money, along with helping you get the best experience in Bhutan after all they are the locals and have many tourists so they easily know the best services and sites to visit depending on the tourist requirement and budget. Bhutan Tour Operators are reliable and safe to work with as each one is certified and licensed by the Royal Government of Bhutan. Of course the Tour Operators will charge some fee for their services which is okay after all they are managing your Bhutan tour.

Answer: One can drive in their own car or motor into Bhutan paying a Daily charge of Ngultrum 4,500.

Visitors driving their own car, must be accompanied by a Bhutanese Local Guide. Also, the vehicles must be in good running condition and must have a valid motor insurance, a driver’s license, environment pollution clearance certificate and other requirements as per Bhutan’s Roads Safety and Transport Authority.

Answer: The best advice is to book your trip through a local Bhutanese Tour Operator. You will only deal with one person and get a lot done, rather than searching for all the right information and there are so many websites sharing so many information that it might get confusing for you. You can contact us directly at

Answer: Bhutan can be entered by Air and by Road. Bhutan has one International Airport in Paro.We have two Carriers which are the “DRUK AIR” and “Bhutan Airlines”( Tashi Air). Bhutan connects with Delhi,Kolkata,Guwahati,Bagdogra and Bodh Gaya in India, Bangkok in Thailand, Kathmandu Nepal, Dhaka Bangladesh and Singapore.

Private Jets and Chartered flight can enter Bhutan after obtaining the permission to do so.

By Road, one can enter from Phuentsholing and Samdrupjongkhar

Answer: There are no more Covid19 restrictions, requirements or protocols in Bhutan. However, if a visitor tests positive during his travel to Bhutan, entry will be allowed, but they must wear masks until they recover and test negative of Covid19.

Answer: Taxis are available if you have not made any arrangements with your Hotel or Tour Operator.

Answer: On Road, you will have to book a vehicle from a Local Tour Operator, or Vehicle Service provider, or can use the taxies.

You cannot book a self-drive car. You must have the car with driver and book a Local Guide.

Bhutan has domestic flights to Bumthang (Central Bhutan) Yongphula (Eastern Bhutan) and Gelephug (Southern Bhutan). But again once you disembark, you will need a Vehicle with drive and a local certified Guide.

Answer: Not at all. It is mandatory to pre-book your treks in Bhutan with a local Tour Operator or a certified Trekking Guide.

Answer: A guide is required for visit to monuments but the other times you can go on your own, but we recommend that you have a Guide during your tours so that you have better experience of the local sites and avoid any mishap of losing your way, or getting sick with the wrong kind of food.

No route permit is required as long as you are accompanied by a certified Local Guide.

However, taking a guide does not mean that you will be intruded of your privacy, Guests can go on their own whenever they want to and enjoy their meals on their own.

Answer: There are Luxury Five Star Hotels, Boutique Hotels and Resorts, to lower starred hotels, and also the cosy home stays in Villages. All accommodation for Guests are certified by the Department of Tourism before they can operate and take in Guests.

Answer: Guests can stay in ONLY certified Home stays and Campsites. One CANNOT camp anywhere they like. Campsites in Bhutan are already set up, however if guests wish to camp privately, then you must make arrangements with a Local Tour Operator who will give you options of sites certified by the Government and the Tour Operator will set up a new camp site as per your preference.

Answer: Bhutan is a very safe place to travel, even for a Solo traveller and women too. However, keep your belongings safe as a caution.

For other issues like the weather, during rainy season which is usually from late June till late September, some days will have rains and some day will be dry. So during the rainy days, be extra cautious as Bhutan being a mountainous country is prone to landslides leading to road blocks.

Answer: You can check the following links for the different region sites, namely the four regions of Bhutan.


Answer: Bhutan is one of the very few Carbon Negative Countries which means Bhutan’s forests generates more Oxygen than it consumes. To sustain this same environment which is a sacrifice made by Bhutan to revive the heath of mother Earth and all living being on this earth, we need to have a source of income to survive too, thus Bhutan charges the SDF so that our lives are not impacted badly by trying to preserve the environment.

The SDF is used in projects that sustain the Bhutanese lives giving free education and health care. To preserve the environment and support all sustainable activities like the local arts and crafts, farmers.

Also by levying SDF, all visitors can be part of preserving the environment as an individual effort, after all its our earth that is dying from pollution created by humans.

Answer: Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) is US$ 200 per person per night for all country citizens expect India.

Indians have to pay a SDF of INR 1200 per person per night.

Children not yet 6 years of age are exempted from paying the SDF

Children between 6 years and not yet turned 12 years of age have to pay only 50% SDF

Children 12 years and above have to pay the full SDF

Day Visits (24 Hours) to the bordering towns with India, namely Samtse, Phuentsholing, Gelephug and Samdrupjongkhar are exempt from SDF, but cannot cross beyond a designated place in these bordering towns. Tourists will be charged SDF if they go beyond Gurung Basti in Samtse, and beyond Rinchending Checkpost in Phuentsholing, Aipoli Bridge in Gelephug and Pinchinna check post in Samdrupjongkhar.

For US$ SDF paying tourists, presently Bhutan has reduced the SDF by 50% which comes to US$100 per night.

Answer: Dollar US$ 200 SDF paying tourists will now pay 50% less,which means paying only US$100 per night.

This reduced SDF is time bound and will be effective for all Bhutan Travels between September 1st 2023 and will end by August 31st 2027.

The SDF of US$200 will be normalized therein after.

Answer: All guests who pay US$ 200 per night SDF rate are entitled to the 50% reduced SDF amount,which now reduces to paying only US100 per night.

Answer: No. The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) is fixed at US$ 200 per person per day and will remain so. The present 50% SDF reduction is only for FOUR years (September 1st 2023 till August 31st 2027). The reduction is treated separately on its own and can be stopped after its expiry.

Answer: No, it cannot be combined. Visitors wishing to explore border towns before or after the SDF discount
must apply for another visa.

Answer: An online tool to help calculate the total SDF payable per person is available to view on the Department of Immigration’s website at: OR you can ask us

Answer: The different SDF incentives cannot be combined; however, they can be repeated. For instance, for a long-stay guest cannot select a 4+4 and a 7+7 option in the same trip. However, they can select the 4+4 option twice for stays of 16 nights.

Answer: No. This incentive is not combinable with the SDF waiver for border towns.

Answer: w.e.f 14th April 2023, tourists visiting the bordering town of Samtse, Phuentsholing, Gelephug and Samdrupjongkhar for 24 hours and not wandering beyond the designated boundaries or borders will be exempt from SDF. The designated boundaries or borders being Gurung Basti in Samtse, and beyond Rinchending Checkpost in Phuentsholing, Aipoli Bridge in Gelephug and Pinchinna check post in Samdrupjongkhar.

So stay within the boundaries and exit within 24 hours of entry will not attract the SDF.

Answer: For Travel to Bhutan between September 1st 2023 and August 31st 2027, the 50% REDUCED SDF of USD 100 per night will apply for each day of extension in Bhutan.

The extensions must be made in person at the Department of Immigration and must be paid in US Dollars. 

For Indian Nationals, extensions can be made in person at the Department of Immigration and must be paid in INR.

Answer: The guests should cancel their visa application and apply again. Please allow at least five working days to process the visa application. The SDF that they have already paid can be used when applying again.

Answer: Yes, guests who have already obtained visa and booked trips to Bhutan can take advantage of the new Reduced SDF. They will need to cancel their existing visa application and re-apply. Please note that DoI (Department of Immigration) will forfeit their original visa fee (USD 40) and guest will be required to pay the USD 40 visa fee again when they process their new visa application. The SDF that they have already paid can be used when applying again.

Answer: YES they can avail the reduced SDF provided they are Dollar US$ paying tourists

Answer: Yes, the SDF will be refunded by the Department of Immigration for any cancelled or shortened trips; any bank charges will be deducted from the total refunded. Requests for SDF refunds should be submitted online using the visa portal. The refund will be processed after visitors leave Bhutan. Or if visitors have come through a local tour operator then the Tour Operator can handle the refund process for you after implementing their cancellation terms.

Answer: Any complimentary nights issued as part of the SDF incentive will not be refunded. However, if a guest pays the SDF for four nights (for example), and leaves after staying for three nights, they will be refunded the SDF for one night. If the guest pays the SDF for four nights and originally plans to stay for eight nights, but leaves after five nights, they will not be entitled to any refund. Or if a tourist has come through a local tour operator then the Tour Operator can handle the refund process for you after implementing their cancellation terms.

Answer: Air transport includes International flights and domestic flights to Yonphula, Bumthang and Gelephug. Weather can play a part here as due to bad weather flights do get cancelled.

Road conveyance can be done hiring a vehicle from a Service Provider in Bhutan, a car rental company. No self-driven conveyance is allowed. The vehicles will be having driver, and this is mandatory like having a local guide for visit to all monuments.

Answer: You can email Bhutan Department of Immigration or Directly email us ( ) to book organize your Bhutan tour and handle all your queries instantly.

Answer: Please email

We are Bhutan Government Licensed Tour operator.


Answer: Bhutan’s Department of Tourism has a dedicated visitor center at the Paro International Airport. Others may be found at the four border entry points. But this is relevant only if you are not traveling with a Local Tour Operator, otherwise your Tour Operator will make all your travels smooth from start to finish.

Answer: You can change your local currency for ngultrum, the Bhutan Currency, upon arrival at Paro International Airport or at banks, larger hotels and authorised currency exchange businesses in Thimphu.

Answer: You may bring cash equivalent to US$10,000 into the country.

Answer: ATM and banks accept Visa and MasterCard. International credit cards are widely used in urban areas of Bhutan, namely Thimphu and Paro. However, this service may not be available in other parts of the country. Visitors can download the digital wallet app goBoB launched by the Bank of Bhutan, which can be used with a local SIM card and is widely accepted throughout the country.  Another option is the MyPay digtal wallet app launched by Bhutan National Bank. Both apps can be connected to international credit cards and used widely.

Cash in US dollars, UK Pounds, European Euro and Indian rupees is also widely accepted. We advise bringing some cash in either of these currencies, or in Bhutanese ngultrum.

Answer: Most hotels have Wi-Fi in Bhutan, but we recommend obtaining a guest SIM card for more convenient access to data and a more reliable internet connection. Mobile data in Bhutan can also be expensive. You can find the B-Mobile SIM in mobile stores in larger cities, which you can easily top up using the Bank of Bhutan app goBoB. This app also facilitates other payments within the country. However, if your travel is organized by a Local Tour Operator, they will help you with these matters.

Answer: SIM cards can be purchased from the Paro International Airport’s visitor information center on arrival, or from branch offices of Bhutan Telecom and TashiCell, or from authorized agents in towns.

Answer: There are no rules about what visitors should wear. However, if you are planning to visit places of religious significance, respectful smart-casual clothing that covers your body from shoulders to knees is appropriate and appreciated.

Answer: Yes, a guide is required to enter monuments and Dzongs in Bhutan. While some of the monuments and Dzongs have no entry fee, others have a fee on arrival, which can be paid in cash or via the GoBob app.

Answer: There are plenty of places to shop for special objects, from high-end pieces to small mementos. Many visitors enjoy shopping at the Cottage and Small Industries (CSI) Market and the Centenary Farmers’ Market. The Textile Museum shop has a wonderful selection of artisan-made textiles and homewares, as do the nearby Tarayana and Craft galleries. Our OGOP shops are also excellent places to find food, drink and handcrafted products sourced directly from the country’s artisans and farmers.

Answer: Keeping important antiques and artefacts in Bhutan is a key part of how we preserve our heritage for future generations. We have a law that sets out which artistic, historic, cultural, religious, social, archaeological and technical objects you may not take with you when you leave. To ensure any items you acquire comply with the law, you will need an Export Permit for Non-Antique Artefacts. Find out more about the permit and how to apply for one with your Local Tour Operator or Tour Agent.

Answer: You can find a full, detailed list of prohibited, restricted or declarable items

Answer:  If you have come to Bhutan through our Compnay Bhutan Jewel Travel. Then, please let us know via our email or for more urgent matters call our local number at 17116808

Answer: For Tour Related urgent matters, call our local number at 17116808 or you can directly call on Department of Tourism on +975 1712 2257 (or 2300 within Bhutan).

If you require one of the emergency services, please telephone 110 for fire, 112 for an ambulance or 113 for police.

Answer: A permit, which must be applied for in advance, is required to fly a drone either recreationally or commercially in Bhutan. Please email us at to find out more about the regulations.

Answer: Yes. A guide is required at all times for all guests who drive their own cars to Bhutan. It is highly recommended to pre-book guides before arriving at the borders.

Answer: Route Permits are no longer required to move around Bhutan. However, anyone on a business visa or for an official purpose is required to have a Route Permit.

Answer: Yes, permits are required to enter National Parks in Bhutan. However, the process can be done online and the permit should be issued quickly. Please visit this link for more information: or contact us your Tour Operator at

Answer: While most monuments in Bhutan are free, some are chargeable. For the full list of monument fees, please click here for more information. Children below 18 years will have a 50% concession and children aged five years and below will be exempted. Most monuments are open from 9am – 5pm each day. In June 2023 it was announced that foreign visitors can now visit monuments whenever they are open to the general public, without any restrictions.