Bhutan Travel Preparing Info
Immigration Requirements: It is your responsibility to arrange visas before you travel. You need a passport to enter Bhutan and its neighboring countries. You should ensure that it has sufficient empty pages for stamps, especially if you are travelling via India or Nepal. If your passport has less than six months of validity left, it is worth getting a new one, because many countries in this region will not issue visas to persons whose passports are about to expire.
Keep your passport safe. No country other than India has the facility for issuing a replacement passport in Bhutan. If you lose your passport, you must travel ‘stateless’ to another country to get it replaced. You should carry some additional form of identification and a photocopy of your passport to help in such an event.
Once programmed is booked clients are requested to send us the following details 3 weeks before you arrival to Kathmandu.
Full Name as Passport:
Passport issue Date:
Passport Expiry Date:
Date of Birth:
Passport photo copy:
4 copy of passport size photos
Land: Unless you are an Indian national, the Department of Tourism rules require that you either enter or exit Bhutan on a Druk Air flight. This limits the overland option to travelling one direction by air and the other by land, perhaps visiting Darjeeling and Sikkim en route.
Border Crossings: The two border crossings from India into Bhutan that are permitted to foreigners are at Phuentsholing, on the border with the Indian state of West Bengal, and at Samdrup Jongkhar, on the border with the state of Assam. At the time of research, foreigners could only use the Phuentsholing border crossing for entering Bhutan. Foreigners could depart but not enter via Samdrup Jongkhar.
To and from Phuentsholing: If you are travelling to or from Bhutan by land, all roads lead through Siliguri, West Bengal, the major transport hub in northeast India. Heading into India, you can make road connections from Phuentsholing or Jaigaon (just across the border) to the train station in Siliguri (169km, six hours) or the airport in Bagdogra. From Siliguri there are convenient connections to Kolkata, Delhi or the Nepali border at Kakarbhitta. You can also travel on to the Indian hill stations of Kalimpong, Gangtok and Darjeeling. Bhutanese vehicles may travel freely in India and a Bhutanese tour operator can easily arrange a vehicle to any of these destinations. There are also taxis and shared hire cars available in both Phuentsholing and Siliguri.
Permit to enter Restricted Area: All of Bhutan outside of the Paro and Thimphu valleys is classified as a restricted area. Tour operators obtain a permit for the places on your itinerary, and this permit is checked and endorsed by the police at immigration checkpoints strategically located at important road junctions. The tour operator must return the permit to the government at the completion of the tour, and it is scrutinized for major deviations from the authorized program.
There are immigration checkpoints in Hongtsho (east of Thimphu), Chhukha (between Thimphu and Phuentsholing), Rinchending (above Phuentsholing), Wangdue Phodrang, Chazam (near Trashigang), Wamrong (between Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar), and in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Visa: A passport and visa are required for entry into and exit from Bhutan. Visa applications are available from selected travel agencies. Travel agencies will usually arrange for a traveler’s entry visa and clearance. Most visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, should obtain visas prior to entering the country. Independent travel is not permitted in Bhutan. Visitors are required to book travel through a registered tour operator in Bhutan. This may be done directly or through a travel agent abroad.
Royal Government of Bhutan adheres strongly to a policy of low volume, high value people entering Bhutan. Independent travelers are not allowed in Bhutan. Valid passports and an entry visa are very much essential. Everyone who enters Bhutan needs to have received approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu. So make sure you register early. Upon receiving your filled up form, we will process and apply for your Bhutan visa. Upon approval if Bhutan visa, we will send you a copy by e-mail or fax. Your visa will be stamped upon arrival in Bhutan.
Your actual visa is stamped only on arrival in Bhutan with the approval of a Visa clearance, which will be sent to you in advance.
* A visa clearance number is also required when issuing Druk Air tickets.
* Two copies of original passport size photographs are required on arrival.
Visa Extensions: A visa extension for a period not exceeding six months costs Nu 510. Since tourist visas are issued for the full period you have arranged to stay in Bhutan, it’s unlikely that you would need a visa extension.
All are open from 5am to 9pm daily.
Permits to enter Temples & Monastery: Tourists are allowed to visit the courtyards of dzongs and, where feasible, the tshokhang (assembly hall) and one designated lhakhang in each dzong, but only when accompanied by a licensed Bhutanese guide. This provision is subject to certain restrictions, including visiting hours, dress standards and other rules that vary by district. Permits are issued by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs and all the necessary paperwork will be negotiated by your tour company. If you wish to know which Dzongs and goembas are included in your itinerary, or you wish to make specific requests, contact your tour company well in advance. If you are a ganizati Buddhist, you may apply for a permit to visit certain dzongs and religious institutions usually off limits. The credibility of your application will be enhanced if you include a letter of reference from a ganizati Buddhist ganization in your home country.
Dzongs are open to all during the time of a tsechu, when you may visit the courtyard, but not the lhakhangs.
Travel Insurance: Travel Insurance is mandatory for all the clients who are going to participate in any of our adventure activities. We would also strongly recommend other travelers who come for any other recreational activities. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability.
Before your departure to the trip, our tour leader will need to see your insurance policy. However, we would already have asked a copy of your insurance policy during your booking with us. Please ensure you have your policy number and emergency telephone number for your insurance company. If this is unavailable please ensure you provide us with the necessary information required by your Insurance Company in case of an emergency. Having good travel insurance will not only guarantee you peace of mind while you travel with us but also provide you with complete cover for anything things that may go wrong
We recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers repatriation and evacuation in case of a medical emergency, cancellation and curtailment as well as baggage and valuables. If your tour involves certain adventurous activities (i.e. Mountain Biking) you will need to make sure your policy specifically covers these activities. You may also need specific cover for expensive camera
Medical & Health: Anyone who enjoys out door life and is physically fit can participate on our treks and tours. How ever some treks maybe rigorous and difficult because of high altitude and therefore a good training of fitness for at least a month at home is required for treks going to an altitude in excess of 4000m. There are no compulsory vaccinations for Travel to Bhutan or within the continent. However it is recommended that you be protected against Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A, Malaria, especially if you are traveling out of Bhutan. If you have heart condition, please check with the doctor to ensure that it is ok to undertake high altitude treks.