Bhutan travel guide

Bhutan Tourism | Bhutan Guide

You're Going to Love Bhutan

Nestled in the Himalayas between Tibet and India, this tiny kingdom with its natural beauty and sense of culture and history draws visitors from far and wide. The Kingdom of Bhutan has protected its Buddhist culture at the same time as welcoming modern advancements.

What to do in Bhutan

1. Trek the Druk Path

Perhaps one of the better known routes, this 6-day trek through Paro Valley is famous for the remote monasteries hidden in the mountains, the alpine forests and the lakes.

2. Marvel at Taktshang Goemba

Constructed in the late 1600s, this Buddhist monastery is perched precariously on a cliff-face on the side of Paro Valley. Climb up the hill or take a horse-ride to get to the building, an important site for Buddhists worldwide.

3. Explore Royal Manas National Park

This national park in the south of Bhutan is home to many different animals, including water buffalo, elephants, civets and even some tigers.

4. Visit Thimphu

Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is home to historical Buddhist sites, such as the Tashichho Dzong Monastery and the Memorial Chorten, a Buddhist shrine. Don't miss the bustling Weekend Market, where traders sell their wares, or the Changlimithang Archery Ground.

5. Travel to Punakha

Punakha is located in a low-lying valley where two rivers meet. The main attraction is the impressive Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century palace that was built in the 1630s.

1. Trek the Druk Path

Perhaps one of the better known routes, this 6-day trek through Paro Valley is famous for the remote monasteries hidden in the mountains, the alpine forests and the lakes.

2. Marvel at Taktshang Goemba

Constructed in the late 1600s, this Buddhist monastery is perched precariously on a cliff-face on the side of Paro Valley. Climb up the hill or take a horse-ride to get to the building, an important site for Buddhists worldwide.

3. Explore Royal Manas National Park

This national park in the south of Bhutan is home to many different animals, including water buffalo, elephants, civets and even some tigers.

4. Visit Thimphu

Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is home to historical Buddhist sites, such as the Tashichho Dzong Monastery and the Memorial Chorten, a Buddhist shrine. Don't miss the bustling Weekend Market, where traders sell their wares, or the Changlimithang Archery Ground.

5. Travel to Punakha

Punakha is located in a low-lying valley where two rivers meet. The main attraction is the impressive Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century palace that was built in the 1630s.

When to visit Bhutan

The best times to visit Bhutan are in October and November or in the spring – April through June – when there is less rainfall and temperatures are pleasant. In spring, watch the flowers come to life on the mountains and in the valleys.

How to Get to Bhutan

Entry requirements

Apart from passport holders from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, all visitors to Bhutan will need a visa. Visas are organized by the tour operator in advance and will be placed in your passport upon arrival. Visas are usually included in the tour cost.

Plane

Paro Airport is the only international airport in Bhutan and receives flights from Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, which operate on routes from India and various Asian countries, such as Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh.

Bus

It is possible to take a bus, operated by the Royal Bhutanese Government, from various cities in India, such as Kolkota and Siliguri via the Phuentsholing land border, one of the three borders open to international tourists. It may be necessary to catch a connecting bus in Bhutan.

Car

There are only three land borders into Bhutan that can be used by tourists and they are all from India – Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar and Phuentsholing. Drivers will need a permit to drive in Bhutan, but the tour operator will be able to organize this.

Entry requirements

Apart from passport holders from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, all visitors to Bhutan will need a visa. Visas are organized by the tour operator in advance and will be placed in your passport upon arrival. Visas are usually included in the tour cost.

Plane

Paro Airport is the only international airport in Bhutan and receives flights from Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, which operate on routes from India and various Asian countries, such as Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh.

Bus

It is possible to take a bus, operated by the Royal Bhutanese Government, from various cities in India, such as Kolkota and Siliguri via the Phuentsholing land border, one of the three borders open to international tourists. It may be necessary to catch a connecting bus in Bhutan.

Car

There are only three land borders into Bhutan that can be used by tourists and they are all from India – Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar and Phuentsholing. Drivers will need a permit to drive in Bhutan, but the tour operator will be able to organize this.

Popular airports in Bhutan

PBHParo

Popular airlines serving Bhutan

Where to stay in Bhutan

As Bhutan has opened up more to tourism, there is a selection of hotels that will have to be booked by the local tour operator. The luxury hotels will attract an extra fee. The tour operator can also book homestays or farmstays, which will provide an idea of traditional living.

Where to stay in popular areas of Bhutan

Most booked hotels in Bhutan

Pemako
5 stars
Excellent (9.9, Excellent reviews)
C$ 856+
Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront
5 stars
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 453+
Le Méridien Thimphu
5 stars
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
C$ 453+

How to Get Around Bhutan

Public Transportation

The main method of public transport within and between cities is the bus service run by the government – Bhutan Post Express – and various private companies, such as Metho, which uses more up-to-date vehicles. Taxis are also available in the cities.

Bus

The bus network in Bhutan is extensive and used primarily by locals.

Plane

Druk Air operates domestic flights within Bhutan, flying between Paro and Bumthang and Yongphula.

Public Transportation

The main method of public transport within and between cities is the bus service run by the government – Bhutan Post Express – and various private companies, such as Metho, which uses more up-to-date vehicles. Taxis are also available in the cities.

Bus

The bus network in Bhutan is extensive and used primarily by locals.

Plane

Druk Air operates domestic flights within Bhutan, flying between Paro and Bumthang and Yongphula.

The Cost of Living in Bhutan

It is relatively cheap to live in Bhutan. Expect to pay around 349 BTN (2.50 USD) for a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs in a grocery store. Eating at restaurants is also cheap, with prices of less than 275.10 BTN (3.90 USD) per person to eat in a less expensive restaurant. ATMs sometimes accept foreign cards, but this is not a reliable way of getting money – it is better to change money at the airport or hotels. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, but there may be a surcharge.