Bhutan strongly believes in a sustainable approach towards tourism, in line with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness and therefore you will have to buy a minimum daily package to get a visa for Bhutan.
Visitors famously pay a minimum tariff of US$250 per person per day during Spring (March, April and May) and Autumn (September, October and November) and US$200 per person per day during Winter (December, January and February) and Summer (June, July and August), making it appear as one of the world’s more expensive destinations. You don’t have to travel in a large group either and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won’t find is backpacker-style travel in Bhutan. The minimum daily package tariff is not applicable for travelers from India, Bangladesh and Maldives.
If you are a solo traveler or if your group consist of only two people, you will have to pay a one/two people only supplement on top of the minimum daily tariff of USD 40 per day per person for solo and USD 30 per person per per day. Do note that your trip will be a private group and you will not be joining a group of strangers. To cut down cost, we recommend you to travel as a group of three and more.
The minimum daily package of USD 250/200 per day per person covers the following:
- Shared rooms at a three star hotel. If you are a solo travelers you will get a room all for yourself. Hence the additional supplement of USD 40 per day.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner. While breakfast will be at the hotel you stay at, lunch and dinner will be at a convenient restaurant or a hotel, depending on the Tour Operator.
- Certified travel guide. All travel guides have to undergo a training program and only upon passing their exams, they will be certified by the Tourism Council Of Bhutan to operate as a tour guide in Bhutan. Your guide will come to receive you at the airport and will be with you throughout the trip.
- Vehicle and driver. Depending upon your group size you will be assigned a private vehicle to travel across Bhutan. Solo travelers and groups of two people are usually assigned with a SUV.
- The USD 250/200 per day per person minimum daily tariff also includes a sustainable development fee of USD 65 per day per person. So in actual, you are only paying USD 185/135 per day per person to cover your travel expenses. This is also the reason why you should be careful with Tour Operators who offer you cheaper deals. You may think you are getting a cheaper deal but you may not get what other Tour Operators are giving their guest – the quality of hotel, meals, vehicle, guide and the over all experience of Bhutan.
- All museum and monument entrance tickets
If you wish to upgrade your hotel or if you wish to do multi day trekking or other activities that have additional cost, you will have to pay a supplement.
The Process of Booking A Trip with Breathe Bhutan
After you fill up the ‘book a trip‘ form, we will get back to you with an acknowledgement email and ask you for more information, if required. On receiving your email, we will customize an itinerary as per the information received through the booking form. The first draft itinerary with it’s package cost will be email to you within 48 hours.
We will further customize and revise the itinerary until you are satisfied with the itinerary. To confirm the trip you will have to deposit 50% of the package cost. The balance payment must be deposited two months before your arrival date. If you are booking your trip within two months before your arrival date, 100% of the package cost needs to be deposited. The Royal Government of Bhutan will not process your visa until the full payment is deposited in our tour operators account.
On confirming the trip, we will purchase your air tickets and book your hotel rooms and other travel logistics. Your travel visa for Bhutan will be processed after you deposit the full package cost and all travel documents will then be emailed to you. In order to book air tickets, a copy of your passport has to be emailed to us. To process your visa, the only document required is your passport copy.
As far as Breathe Bhutan is concerned, you can tweak your itinerary even after you confirm your trip and even while you are here in Bhutan, our guides will improvise the itinerary as per mood. The only thing that cannot change is your destination, as your rooms will have already been paid for. If you are willing to pay for the hotel rooms, you can change the destinations as well.
How to make a tour payment to Bhutan? Can I use a credit card to make the tour payment?
There are two ways of making a tour payment. One is by bank to bank wire transfer and the other one is through our banks online payment gateway. You can use your credit card if you choose to use the online payment gateway. If you make the payment by bank transfer, the transfer charges will be about USD 50. The bank charges for using the online payment gateway is more expensive and the bank charges 5% of the payment amount. Here is the link for how to make a bank to bank wire transfer.
Is it safe to transfer money to Tour Operator in Bhutan?
The account you will be transferring the money to is called a Tour Operator’s Account and it is controlled by the government. The Tour Operator will only get access to the payment after the guest have left the country. This also means that when you make a payment to a Tour Operator account, your money is safe and you can write to the Tourism Council Of Bhutan, if you wish your money to be returned. Make sure that the company you are paying is a licensed tour operator and you can find that out by checking if the company is listed on the Tourism Council Of Bhutan’s website.
What is Breathe Bhutan’s the trip cancellation policy?
For a trip booked and subsequently cancelled, the following apply:
1. More than 60 days before start of travel program, USD 150 flat rate/per person.
2. Between 60 – 10 days: 45% of the package cost retained as cancellation charges
3. Within 10 days of travel – 100% of the package cost retained as cancellation charges
For air tickets issued and subsequently cancelled, the following apply:
1. 75% refund permitted for tickets cancelled more than 30 days from the date of travel.
2. 50% refund permitted for tickets cancelled between 30 – last 10 days from the date of travel.
3. 25% refund permitted for tickets cancelled prior to 04 (four) days from the date of travel.
4. No refund for tickets cancelled within 4 days of travel date.
For air tickets issued and subsequently rescheduled, the following applies.
USD 40 rescheduling fee or equivalent local currency for every flight reschedule less than 72 hours prior to date of travel. No charges for business class passengers.