1. Who are the regional tourists?
Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivians are considered as regional tourists to Bhutan
2. Visa to Bhutan for regional tourists
Regional tourists do not require visa to visit Bhutan but are required to get a permit which they can process at the port of entry on producing their passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
Indian nationals can process their permit either by using their passport or voter identity card. Children can use their student ID card or birth certificate if they don’t have passports and voter identity cards.
All the travelers must carry at least two passport size photographs for processing their permit.
With latest development in tourism policy in Bhutan, regional tourists can process their permit to visit Bhutan prior to their arrival in Bhutan through a licensed Bhutanese tour operators or through a hotel registered with Tourism Council of Bhutan.
Unlike international tourist where their accommodations are arranged i 3 star government approved hotels or guest houses, regional tourists have the flexibility to choose their own accommodations either i star rated hotels or budget hotels.
Luxury hotels (4 stars and 4 stars) in Bhutan are limited to only few western districts but 3 star rated tourist standard and budget hotels are available throughout Bhutan.
4. Getting to Bhutan
Regional tourist can visit Bhutan either by air or road through India. Bhutan’s only international airport is located in Paro, one hour drive from Capital city, Thimphu. Drukair and Bhutan Airlines are the only two airlines that flies to international destinations.
|1.||Bangkok (BKK)||Thailand||Suvarnabhumi Airport|
|2.||Singapore (SIN)||Singapore||Singapore Changi Airport|
|3.||Kathmandu (KTM)||Nepal||Tribhuvan International Airport|
|4.||Dhaka (DAC)||Bangladesh||Shahjalal International Airport|
|5.||Kolkata (CCU)||India||Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport|
|6.||Delhi (DEL)||India||Indra Gandhi International Airport|
|7.||Guwahati (GAU)||India||Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport|
|8.||Siliguri (IXB)||India||Bagdogra Airport|
|9.||Gaya (GAY)||India||Gaya Airport||Seasonal|
|10.||Mumbai (BOM)||India||Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport||Seasonal|
For those entering via road from India have three entrance points; Phuntsholing bordering with Indian state of West Bengal and Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar bordering with Assam.
The nearest Indian airport to Phuntsholing is located at Siliguri, Bagdogra (4 and half hour drive) and the nearest railway stations are NJP junction, Siliguri (4 hours drive), New Alipur Daur (1 hour 30 minutes drive) and hasimara junction (45 minutes drive).
The nearest railway station to Gelephu is New Bongaigaon (1 hour 30 minutes drive).
The nearest Indian airport to Samdrupjongkhar is located at Guwahati, Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (3 hours drive) and the nearest railway station is Rangiya junction (1 hour drive).
5. Transportation in Bhutan
Unlike for international tourists whose transportations are arranged by their respective tour operators, regional tourists have the flexibility to choose their own transportation within Bhutan. They an use public transport arranged through local tour operators or Indian nationals can drive their own car.
Indian nationals driving their own car have to process for route permit from Road Safety and Transport Authority of Bhutan. Their offices are located just within few kilometers from the border towns.
Following documents must be produced in original while getting route permits to drive Indian cars in Bhutan:
- Valid Indian Driving License
- Original Registration Certificates
- Original Insurance papers
- Pollution under control certificate (PUC)
Tour guides in Bhutan
Unlike international tourists, hiring a guide is not mandatory. however, for those who arranged their visit permits through a licensed Bhutanese tour operators, english speaking guide is mandatory and it would cost between Rs. 800 to Rs. 1500 per day. Guides in general can speak Hindi.
Cost of visiting Bhutan
Cost of visiting Bhutan depends on the type of services they choose. Unlike international tourists, regional tourists are exempted from paying the mandatory minimum daily tariff of $250 during peak season and $200 during lean season.
Exchange rates for Regional Tourists (Bhutanese Ngultrum)
- Indian Rupee is pegged to Bhutanese Ngultrum (Rs. 1 = Nu. 1)
- Bangladeshi Taka (Taka 1 = Nu. 0.82)
- Maldivian Ruffia (Ru 1 = Nu. 4.49)
Do contact us along with your tour itinerary.