Bhutan Travel Costs: See How Much You'll Spend on A Bhutan Tour
Considering global travel trends, Bhutan strikes most tourists as a sidelined destination. Yet, this likable Asian country sandwiched between India and Tibet is very delightful. Himalayan vastness, fortress-like temples and great festivals are some main features of this happy and friendly nation. So, it isn't surprising that many tourists have the time of their life in Bhutan, just like in other Himalayan countries.
Budget traveling is the term usually associated with the off-the-beaten-path destinations among tourists. This, however, doesn't stand for Bhutan. Yet, we could state at this point that Bhutan travel costs are worthwhile and reasonable. Continue reading to see how much you'll spend on a Bhutan tour.
Things You Should Know to Organize A Bhutan Tour
Going to Bhutan isn't as simple as for most other countries in the world. It requires more than getting packed and booking a flight ticket, to put it simply. Bhutan authorities have issued rules every traveler must meet before the approval for visiting the country is granted. Note that such a practice isn't intended to work against potential visitors. Rather, the main intent here is to ensure great traveler's experience, preserve the country's legacy and improve living conditions of its residents.
So, every traveler coming to Bhutan has to book a tour from an authorized tour operator. After you take care of that, you are free to apply for the Bhutan visa. The authorities usually process and grant the visa in 3 days. Visa is valid for the entire duration of your stay. Once your application is confirmed, you will receive the visa clearance letter. Don't forget to bring it with you when your trip begins. Upon the presentation of the clearance letter at the entry point to Bhutan, you will get your visa on site.
What Are The Costs of Traveling Bhutan?
Thanks to the predetermined set of rules, calculating the cost of your Bhutan tour is pretty easy. And the price of visiting Bhutan is $200 USD or $250 USD per day most often. But before you overrule this country as expensive from the start, know that the price covers everything a traveler needs. Or everything you need from the moment you enter the country until you leave it, to be accurate.
This means that for the total price you benefit of the accommodation, meals, private tours and else. Among other things included in the price, you have the equipment necessary for camping and entrance fees. Transport is also provided. And it is not some local mode of transport where you share space with many people. You get a personal driver that takes you wherever you wish.
Whether you pay $200 USD or $250 USD per day depends on the tourist season in Bhutan. The price of $200 USD applies during the low season. The higher price is the cost for a day’s stay in the high season. The low season in this Himalayan country takes place during winter and summer months. These are December, January, February (winter), June, July and August (summer) in the northern hemisphere. Thus, the high season spans March, April, May (spring), September, October and November (autumn).
Overall, the set price offers a tremendous value for money. If you still aren’t convinced, compare the price with those of safaris in Africa or for a city break in Europe. It wouldn't take you long to realize that the cost you pay for traveling Bhutan isn't much higher, if at all.
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Extra Costs And Discounts
As a visitor of Bhutan, you also need to pay the tourist visa, which costs $40 USD. This extra price is always included in the bill of your selected tour operator. Yet, if you are a resident of India, Bangladesh or the Republic of Maldives, visa is free for you.
Furthermore, the daily price is lower for certain categories of tourists. For example, students under 25 of age and children have the 25% discount on the defined price. So, let's say that you are a student traveling to Bhutan during the low season, when the defined price is $200 USD per day. With the 25% discount, you will pay $150 USD per day. Therefore, your expenses for a 7-day stay would be $1090 USD (7 x $150 + $40 for the visa).
Also note that the predetermined price applies to travelers visiting in a small group at least. If you travel solo, you will need to pay the surcharge of $40 USD per day. So, the 7-day Bhutan tour during the low season will cost you $1720 USD (7 x $240 + $40 for the visa).
As pointed out, you get everything you need for the Bhutan tour with the $200 USD or $250 USD price. And that includes a stay in a 3-star, or even a 4-star, hotel and diverse food among the above-mentioned features. Still, you can upgrade the accommodation you are staying at for an extra price. The same applies for expensive dining.
The daily cost, however, doesn't cover personal and non-mandatory expenses. In this regard, you will need to pay to have a drink, tip your guide and get some souvenir, for example. Travel insurance and costs of a trip from your outbound destination aren’t covered by the price, as well.
For extra costs, you should have cash at disposal. Foreign credit cards are of limited use in Bhutan. Even ATMs accept only cards issued by banks in Bhutan for the most part.
The local currency is Ngultrum, which has the same value as Indian rupee. Of foreign currencies, Indian rupees and the U.S. dollars are widely accepted as valid means of payment. You are free to import any amount of local or foreign currency into the country. The only thing you need to do when importing the latter is to declare it.
Finally, if your plans change for any reason once you start your Bhutan tour, you shouldn't worry. The Bhutanese guides are forthcoming and flexible people, and they wouldn't mind to reorganize the tour. After all, you pay the fixed price for traveling Bhutan, so changing plans, if it comes to that, is fine.