Q. How can I visit Bhutan?
To travel to Bhutan, you would require an entry visa and a pre-arranged land tour itinerary with a licensed and approved inbound operator and pay the appropriate nightly all-inclusive set Government tourist tariff.
Q. When is the best season to visit Bhutan?
Generally, Spring and Autumn is the best time to visit Bhutan, with March and October being the most crowded month.
However we believe less is best in Bhutan and there’s more to Bhutan than the peak seasons and festivals crowded with tourists.
If you are prepared to travel outside of the peak season periods (APR-MAY and mid SEP-NOV) there are fewer tourist visitors; you will save money and you will enjoy a far more rewarding experience. We especially recommend June–early July (Summer) and December-February (Winter). However if you are trekking you will need to generally travel in the peak season months for the most suitable conditions.
Q. Is their internet available?
Most of the standard tourist class hotels now have WiFi plus a business centre where you can use the hotel PCs. Generally speaking WiFi is free for at least a few hours use. All of the luxury resorts & lodges offer a wireless internet facility however not necessarily in guest rooms.
Some more remote valleys, like Phobjikha, have intermittent power and internet supply so please factor in for some inconsistency as you travel.
Purchasing a local SIM card for your smart phone or iPad will give you WiFi most of the way through the Kingdom for those who require consistent connectivity.
Q. What will the weather be like?
Bhutan, like many countries in the world, is experiencing some climate change. Broadly speaking Summers (June-mid-September) are warm, humid and wetter and Winters (Dec-early March) cooler and dry. Winter nights are cold, however the days are often clear, sunny and surprisingly mild in the valleys. The western valleys only average 2 snow falls per annum. The wettest period is August/early September.
Don’t let a little rain or cold nights put you off, Bhutan is no beach destination so a little rain doesn’t matter. In our humble opinion these periods are the best times to visit. Beat the crowds!!
Q. How many days do I need to visit Bhutan?
On average an 8-day tour is ideal to explore Bhutan. However if you’re flexible, then we encourage a 10-day tour for you to travel and explore the more remote villages in Bhutan.
Q. Can I travel independently in Bhutan?
Bhutan prohibits independent backpacker style visitors to maintain its strict cultural and ecological values. However please be aware you can enjoy a high degree of flexibility during each day to hike, visit markets and villages and interact with locals as you wish. You can take your own private tour and you do NOT have to join a group tour. It must only be pre-arranged and pre-paid.
Q. What airlines that connect Bhutan?
Bhutan has only two airlines that connect Bhutan to Nepal, India, Thailand and Singapore.
At the moment Bhutan Airlines operates only from Bangkok, Thailand.
You can catch a Drukair flight from Nepal, India, Thailand and Singapore.
* Advance booking are highly encouraged due to the limited number of flights flying into Bhutan each day.
Q. How can I buy air tickets to Bhutan?
SmileBhutan can help purchase your flight tickets on your behalf and forward the e-ticket to you once the trip is finalized.
Q. What are the things that I can do during my trip to Bhutan?
SmileBhutan can tailor our tours to suit individual needs and, where possible, avoid longer drives and offer more usable time in each valley than many competitor itineraries. We will handcraft the perfect itinerary for you. SmileBhutan strive to ensure the perfect balance between seeing as much as possible but at a realistic pace for maximum enjoyment.
Some of our tours include:
Hiking and Trekking
White river rafting
Homestay with a Bhutanese family
Hot spring visit
Art & Painting Tour
Q. How do I get a Visa to visit Bhutan?
SmileBhutan will organize the entry visa on your behalf when you make a booking with us.
We would require a scanned copy of your passport along with a dully completed visa application form that we will send to you.
Q. How long it takes to process visa?
It takes a maximum of 3 working days.
Q. When will my visa be approved?
Your visa will only be approved once the tour cost is paid in full into the Royal Government of Bhutan Tourism Board’s bank account.
* Please note your visa may be rejected if payment is not received in full.
Q. How can I book my trip to Bhutan?
Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 00975-17652016.
Q. How do I pay for the trip?
Credit cards are not accepted in Bhutan. The only means of payment for your trip is to do a wire transfer. We will provide you with the account details when your trip is finalized.
Q. How can I trust SmileBhutan if I send money in advance?
It is very safe as your payment is wired into the Government of Bhutan Tourism Board’s bank account. All tourists who visit Bhutan follow the same procedure.
Q. What are included in the tour package?
- Private Guide
- Private Vehicle
- Land package including all meals, 3-4 star hotel accommodation, sightseeing, entry fees, transfers, taxes and Government Royalties
Q. What currency do I take?
- The major banks now have ATM’s and you can withdraw local currency via Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards & Cirrus/Maestro endorsed bank debit cards. The ATM’s may not always work and usually you’ll only be able to draw at small amounts in any single transaction, so back up cash in USD on Indian Rupees is advisable.
- The local currency called Ngultrum (Nu for short) is pegged to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted throughout the Kingdom (except for 500 and 1000 rupee notes which are not accepted).
- As a more convenient alternative to taking in Indian Rupees we strongly encourage visitors to take in USD cash and/or travellers cheques which we recommend as a back-up in case ATM’s are not working. Take low denomination USD to cover any small daily purchases and use higher denomination USD for exchanging into Nu at local banks and also for guide/driver tips at the end of the journey.
- As at July 2014, and due to the strength of the Australian dollar, major banks in Paro and Thimphu will also exchange Australian cash (no coins) for Bhutanese Nu.
- Credit Cards are becoming more widely accepted too. Most hotels and many handicraft shops, except in central/eastern Bhutan, will now accept Visa and MasterCard and in some cases Amex. Please do note merchant fee surcharges on credit card purchases can be as high as 7% so it is wise to check this first before you use your card.