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Bhutan Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Bhutan travel guide?

Then you’re in the right place!

Nestled in the Himalayas between East India and China’s Southern border is the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan.

This nation of roughly 750,000 people has become a highly-coveted travel destination in recent years for its incredible mountain views, breathtaking monasteries and fortresses, and well-preserved culture.

Most importantly, the people of Bhutan value happiness over economic growth, focusing on living in a more holistic and environmentally-conscious way.

As such, Bhutan has become a rather exclusive destination for Western travelers.

The nation’s tourism council imposes limits on the number of international tourists entering the country and requires all travelers to book a minimum daily tour package for roughly $250 USD per day.

This may seem steep, but the package includes meals, hotels, tour guides, transportation, and other trip essentials.

Read on to learn more about the minimum daily package and visa requirements for Bhutan.

The costs are absolutely worth it as there is so much to see in this country that’s just a bit larger than the state of Maryland.

A few ideas:

Trek the majestic Himalayas — even if you’re not a pro climber — or attend one of Bhutan’s many vibrant festivals celebrating the country’s culture and history. With dozens of festivals happening throughout the year, your travel dates will likely naturally align with one of them.

And you can’t miss visually impressive sites like Tiger’s Nest and the Buddha Dordenma statue.

Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to Bhutan.

Note: This guide to Bhutan travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Bhutan Map

Use this Bhutan travel map to begin planning your trip!

Bhutan map

Click here for an interactive version of the above map.

Best Places To Visit In Bhutan

Learn about the top places to visit in Bhutan.

Bhutan Travel Tips

This Bhutan travel advice can help you explore the country smarter.

Bhutan Trip Reflections

Thoughts after traveling Asia on a trip to Bhutan.

Asia Travel Tips

This Asia travel advice can help you plan the perfect trip.

Bhutan Travel Video

Learn what makes the Buddhist kingdom unlike any other place in the world in my Bhutan travel video.

Top Bhutan Tours

Book a Bhutan tour and get to know the culture through a local.

  • 8-Day Happiness Bhutan Cultural Tour
  • 6 Nights Bhutan Hiking & Cultural Tour
  • 11 Days Jomolhari Loop Trek in Bhutan from Paro

Bhutan Hotels

Click here to browse hotels in Bhutan!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Bhutan Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a Bhutan tour. When visiting Bhutan — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Bhutan itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Bhutan Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling Bhutan.

Q: How much does it cost to travel to Bhutan?

In an effort to curb excessive tourism to this small nation, the Bhutanese government requires visitors to the country to purchase a minimum daily package of roughly $200 to $250 USD per person per night, depending on the time of year. This package includes 3-star accommodations, all your meals, a licensed tour guide for your entire stay, ground transportation within the country, any camping equipment and hauling costs for trekking, and a $65 USD sustainable travel fee.

This fee covers most of the expenses you’ll face on your trip aside from alcoholic beverages, souvenirs and tips to your drivers and guides (don’t for get to tip!).

If you’re traveling alone or with only one other person, you may be subject to surcharges. Those looking for more luxurious accommodations should also expect to pay more.

The limited number of flights into the country (which only has one airport) can also increase your cost of travel. Round-trip flights from the US to neighboring India cost about $700 USD on average, depending on your departure destination; round-trip flights from New Delhi to Bhutan (offered daily) cost around $364 USD.

You will also need to obtain an entry permit to visit Bhutan. Visas cost $40 USD and payment must be transferred when you pay for your minimum daily package.

Q: Is it safe to travel to Bhutan?

Bhutan is quite safe for travelers. It’s actually one of the top destinations for visiting Asia solo.

While in the country you will likely be traveling with a guide and likely with a group, and there is always safety in numbers. Crime is relatively low and pickpocketing is only occasionally reported. Car accidents are quite common on the roads, so be sure to wear your seatbelt!

Vaccinations for certain diseases, while not required to visit Bhutan, are highly recommended. The Bhutanese government highly recommends that travelers obtain vaccinations for typhoid, hepatitis A and tetanus before visiting the country.

You should also be up to date on all vaccinations recommended by your country’s health department before your trip.

Q: Can you go to Bhutan without a tour?

No. Only citizens of India, Bangladesh and The Maldives can enter Bhutan independently. All others must visit as part of a tour or by personal invitation of someone in the country.

Q: What are the top things to do while visiting Bhutan?

One of the main reasons people visit Bhutan is to trek the Himalayas. This iconic mountain range is high on the bucket lists of many hiking and climbing enthusiasts, but you don’t have to be a master climber to enjoy this part of the country. More casual hikers can enjoy a two-day trek through the mountains with a guide or group.

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery (aka Taktsang Monastery) outside Paro is an absolute must-visit and is one of the most breathtaking sights on Earth.

This beautiful Buddhist monastery is located 1000 meters above sea level and built right into the side of a cliff. It takes just a few hours to climb up to Tiger’s Nest and is considered one of the most sacred sites in the country.

The city of Thimpu is also worth a visit. Explore the National Memorial Chorten, the city’s dzongs (or fortresses), and the towering Buddha Dordenma. And of course, try a round of archery, Bhutan’s national sport.

Q: Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?

Yes. All international visitors to Bhutan aside from citizens of India, Bangladesh and The Maldives require a visa to enter the country. In addition, travelers will need to book a minimum daily package through a tour group to travel through Bhutan.

It’s recommended to view your country’s Bhutan International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements. You can also contact the Embassy of Bhutan.

Q: How do you get to Bhutan?

International airlines that fly to Bhutan’s Paro International Airport include Druk Air, Bhutan’s national carrier, and Bhutan Airlines.

Typically, a tour operator or guide will pick up tourists from here and drive them to their beginning destination, which is often Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Q: Are credit cards accepted in Bhutan?

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas of Bhutan, with Visa and Mastercard being the most widely accepted cards. Even when you bring a credit card with you, it’s also wise to carry a bit of cash.

Q: What is the local currency in Bhutan?

The local currency in Bhutan is the Bhutanese ngultrum (Nu).

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