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Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a trip is no small decision and you may have a lot of questions and uncertainties. We are here to make the process as easy as possible for you. We have been doing this for quite a while, and we believe we have the answers to all that you need to know and we are here to help you in any way possible. Just click on the questions below to learn about the most common queries. If your query is not answered below or you need more information, just drop in few lines in the ‘get in touch’ tab on the right side.

  • Why is the Bhutan tourism sector undergoing a revamp?

    The revamp is part of a nationwide transformation initiative that is happening across sectors, from the civil service to finance. Anchored in the nation’s longstanding tourism policy's guiding principles – “High value, Low volume” – the transformation looks to upgrade infrastructure and services, professionalise the skills of all those working in the sector, and elevate the travel experience of tourists. The long-term goal is to build a competitive tourism sector that is both innovative and professional, and that generates highly-skilled and well-paying jobs for Bhutanese.

  • Why is the tourism sector’s revamp happening now?

    Tourism was adversely affected by the pandemic. While some level of uncertainty and unpredictability remains, the gradual re-opening of borders around the world provides hope that normalcy will soon return to the sector. A careful decision was made to reopen Bhutan’s borders in September to ride on the global momentum. This reopening will provide a much needed opportunity to reset the sector. The gradual return of tourists will allow for the progressive upgrading of infrastructure and services.

  • How will the tourism sector be upgraded?

    The standards and certification process for service providers, including hotels, guides, tour operators, and drivers, as well as other businesses such as handicraft shops will be revised. The new requirements will be more robust and ensure a minimum quality standard across the tourism sector. Persons employed in the industry will be required to undergo skills training where necessary. Government support will be provided for infrastructure upgrades. Details on the training platforms and certification process will be shared with the industry at a later date.

  • What is the rationale behind lifting the Minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR)?

    The MDPR had its limitations. Tourists, for instance, often had to choose from packaged tours offered by tour operators, which controlled the travel experience for them. By doing away with the MDPR, greater flexibility will be afforded to both tourists and service providers. Tourists will be able to engage their desired service providers directly, and pay for their services accordingly. This will also open up new opportunities for service providers to offer innovative new products and programmes. Overall, this will raise the travel experience enjoyed by tourists, and the service standards of the industry.

  • Why is the Sustainable Development Fee being raised?

    Bhutan is a carbon negative country. The country also sequesters 9.4 million tons of carbon against its emission capacity of 3.8 million tons. With climate change, it is imperative that Bhutan continues to conserve its environment. Based on our careful calculations, we believe the current SDF will put us in good stead to mitigate climate change and maintain carbon-neutral tourism. The SDF will be channelled towards activities that offset carbon footprint and maintain the carbon sinks in Bhutan through the replanting of trees. It will also be used to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels by, for instance, enhancing its hydropower capacity and electrifying its transport sector. Beyond protecting the country’s natural environment, the SDF will be directed towards activities that preserve Bhutan’s built and living cultural heritage, including architecture and traditional values. These include well-managed community-led projects that promote the sharing of authentic experiences and understanding of Bhutan’s traditions and culture.

    The SDF will also ensure viable, long-term economic operations, which provide socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders. This includes the development of tourism activities that help local communities thrive economically, and the creation of stable employment with fair wage and working conditions.

  • Are there any tourists who can be exempted from the SDF?

    The SDF is applicable to all tourists. However, tourists from India will at present pay a previously stipulated fee, which will be revised at a later date.

  • What makes Yangphel Adventure Travel stand out from rest of the DMCs in Bhutan?

    We are one of the  pioneering and leading tour operators in Bhutan with more than 30 years of experiences in arranging just the right kind of trips for our valuable travelers. From cultural and historic landmark to trekking through some of the world's most rugged mountains and trails, customising luxury trips on helicopters to offering comforts in world class resorts, meeting historic and public figures to offering philantrophic works, from engaging with local comunities, visiting remote temples to venturing into wilderness; birding, fishing, rafting, camping, ultra runnning, from organising your MICE Events to arranging the right kind og retreats, from solo to group travels, you can think of anything, we make it happen! With our diverse knowledge and experiences on the group, our team just know the kind of adventure and experiences you look forward in Bhutan!

    While you book your trip through us, we make everything possible for you and at convenience and being flexible as much as we can and to maximise your trip experience with us. Your itinerary will be flexible and personalised to suit your personal needs and interestes. Our Guides and Drivers have been with us for more than decade and some decades, who unerstands and knows just the right thing to arrange for you. 

     

  • When should i make my tour payment?

    It is advisable that we receive your payment upon confirmation of your Bhutan trip, one month prior to Bhutan Departure. This will give us enough time to apply and apply and clear your visa formalities (which is done only after the payment is received). Also we will need to reconfirm with other land arrangemens such as hotels, guide, car, etc. 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.

  • Do i need to produce Covid-19 Certificate to travel to Bhutan?

    All international visitors wishing to travel into Bhutan are required to produce a COVID-19 negative certificate on arrival into the country. The test should be carried out by RT-PCR from a certified laboratory not earlier than 72 hrs (3 days) before embarking or initiation of journey from the country of origin.

  • Do i need to check up for Covid-19 upon arrival in Bhutan?

    All visitors entering the country will mandatorily go for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) upon arrival in Paro International Airport. You will bear about USD7-8 for PCR testing.

  • What if i am detected with Covid-19 while entering or touring in the country?

    If your PCR test detects Covi-19 in you, you will be escorted and to a government certified quarantine facility where you will strictly isolate for five days before you are eligible for another test and based on the result will decide on continuing the tour. Kindly note you will need to bear the additional cost for quarantine (not more than USD50 daily). 

  • When is the best time to visit Bhutan ?

    The busiest times of the year for tourist traffic are the spring months of March, April, and May and the fall months of September, October, and November. These time periods draw the largest number of foreign travelers to Bhutan and when many of the festivals are taking place. However, we believe, Bhutan is a year round destination. The winter months start from Dec till Feb, but the typical sky then is clear with blue skies & bright sunshine. The monsoons start from June through August with only light showers mostly during the evenings & nights. Many savvy travelers are discovering the advantages of lean season travel to Bhutan during the winter months of December through February and the summer months of June and July.

  • How much doest it cost to visit Bhutan?

    The Royal Government of Bhutan has revised the Tourism Bill; with effect from 23 September 2022, the country officially reopens its door to toursim after 3 years due to Covid pandemi. The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF or Royalty) is now increased from US$ 65 to US$ 200 per night per person. This mean travelers will need to pay US$200 per night as SDF to the Government and incur additional expenses for other actual travel cost such as government certified hotels, vehicle, guide fee and meals.

    The old Minimum Daily Tariff of USD 250 (season) and USD200 (lean season) per person per night is no longer valid.

  • Is it true that we have to pay USD 200/250 per person per night stay to visit Bhutan ?

    Yes, it is true - a visitor has to pay USD 200 (regular season) and USD 250 (peak season March / April / May /Sept / Oct / Nov ) per person per night stay in our Kingdom. However, there is nothing to be alarmed as this amount charged is inclusive of all services once you are in Bhutan. It includes services like 3 star hotel accommodation, all meals, all ground transportation, English speaking guides and trekking staff services, all trekking arrangements and above all government tax and the sustainable development fee (SDF) is included. You do get your money's worth. The four star and five star services are offered at a surcharge that can be discussed with your operator. www.aboutbhutan.com

  • How about accommodation? What are the hotels like?

    Bhutan now has a host of variety of hotels. You can get standard hotels with all the basic necessities, clean and hygienic. There also a number of luxury hotels offering the best of facilities matching any international 5 star property like Zhiwa Ling Heritage www.zhiwaling.com You can also choose to camp or try out the home stays in villages that are now becoming very popular with guests. Yangphel offers glamping (Deluxe camping services).

  • What is the weather like?

    The weather varies across different parts of Bhutan. Depending on the altitude, the climate varies from semi-tropical to alpine. In Thimphu, the capital city, the temperature ranges from -2.5°C in winter to 25°C in summer. In Southern Bhutan, the climate is tropical in the monsoon season and may range from 15°C in winter to 30°C in summer. The east is also warmer than the west. The centre enjoys sub-tropical climate with very cool winters while the northern parts of the country have harsh climate including snowfall two to three times every winter.

  • What flights are available and which airports can I depart for Bhutan ?

    You may depart for Paro International Airport (Bhutan) from Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bagdogra or Guwahati airports. At present two carriers operate to Bhutan - Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. We can help secure reservations on either of the airlines. Ticket purchase can also be taken care of by us and sent across to you, as all tickets are E-tickets. Reconfirmation, changes etc can all be routed via our office.

  • Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel ?

    It is a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator to book your travel to Bhutan.

  • Will I pay more if I book a private trip to Bhutan through your global partners ?

    No, whether you choose to book directly with our Thimphu office or with our trusted partners abroad, you will pay the same land cost for a privately arranged trips.

  • Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan? How hard is it to obtain one ?

    All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and visitors from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry. There is a misconception that obtaining visa to visit Bhutan is very difficult. This is not the case. Visas can be obtained in about three working days, if all papers are in order. All forms and paperwork will be processed by the local tour operator and the following items are the only things required of you, to process visas for Bhutan

    • Passport copy - color scanned copies can be sent via email
    • Full payments for the trip with Tourism Council of Bhutan account
  • What currency is used in Bhutan ?

    Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. It's value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as a legal tender. Most tourist hotels and few shops also accept international currencies like US dollar and the Euro and major credit cards i.e., VISA and Master card are accepted. Major convertible currencies and travelers' cheques can be exchanged at banks in all major towns. The current exchange rate is US$ 1 = Nu. 75

  • What is the food like in Bhutan ?

    The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillis are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy. Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are the meats that are eaten most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.