Travel documents requirement for Indian tourists visiting Bhutan
Indian tourists visiting Bhutan are required to carry either a valid Indian passport which has a minimum validity of six months or valid Voter Identity card issued by Election Commission of India. Indian tourists do not require tourist visa to visit Bhutan. However entry permits must be processed to enter into the country. The entry permits can be processed on arrival or in advance by a local travel agent in Bhutan.
Processing entry permits for Indian tourists visiting Bhutan
Indian tourists must process for an entry permit on arrival either at the airport or at the Department of Immigration Office at the point of entry if traveling by road. With the entry permits, Indian tourists can stay up to 15 days in Bhutan with possibility of extension subject to approval by the Immigration.
Documents required for processing entry permit for Indian tourists
- Valid Indian passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or valid Voter Identity Card
- Duly filled entry permit application form
- 2 standard size passport photographs
- Hotel booking voucher (hotel bookings in Bhutan must be confirmed prior to applying for the permit)
- Tour Guide details (Indian tourists must avail the service of a certified local tour guide)
- Processing the entry permit can take up to few hours and for Indian tourists travelling to Bhutan by road should note that the Department of Immigration offices are closed during the weekends and therefore must plan their trip accordingly to avoid unnecessary delays.
Indian tourists must note that the entry permit allows them to enter Bhutan and visit Paro, Thimphu and Phuntsholing district only. For Indian tourists wishing to visit other places which are not included in the list must apply for Route permit on arrival in Thimphu at the Immigration office.
Documents required for processing route permit for Indian tourists
- Valid Indian passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or valid Voter Identity Card
- Duly filled route permit application form
- Copy of the Entry Permit
- These must be processed and should not be ignored. The immigration check post en route to most places will check for this permit and Indian tourists failing to apply for it will not be allowed to continue their journey.
Procedures for Indian tourists wishing to drive private Indian car to Bhutan
Indian tourists wishing to drive private Indian car to Bhutan must apply and avail authorization letter from the Royal Safety and Transport Authority of Bhutan (RSTA) on arrival at the border town prior to proceeding to other places in Bhutan.
Documents required for processing the authorized letter from RSTA Bhutan
- Vehicle insurance
- Vehicle fitness certificate
- Valid driver’s license copy
- Entry Permit Copy
- Copy of Passport/Valid Voter ID Card
- Duly filled authorized letter application form
- Authorized letter from the owner of the car
Flights to Bhutan from India
The Royal Bhutan Airlines and Bhutan Airlines operate inbound flights to Paro International Airport in Bhutan from New Delhi, Kolkata and Bagdogra airport in West Bengal and Guwahati airport in Assam.
Flight duration from various Indian cities to Paro Bhutan
Traveling to Bhutan by road from India
There are three border entries from southern Bhutan. Phuntsholing town in the south western Bhutan links with Indian state of West Bengal. It is roughly 170 kilometers away from Bagdogra International Airport in West Bengal. Tourists can catch a taxi or local bus and drive to Phuntsholing town from the airport. It is about 5 hours’ drive from the airport to the border town. This is the most popular point of entry for tourists in Bhutan.
Gelephu town in south central region and Samdrup Jongkhar town in south eastern region connects to the Indian state of Assam. Guwahati International airport in Assam is roughly 105 kilometers away from Samdrup Jongkhar town. Tourists can catch a taxi or local bus and drive to Samdrup Jongkhar town from the airport. It is about 3 hours’ drive from the airport to the border town. This point of entry is recommended if tourists plan on exploring the eastern region.
Traveling to Bhutan from Kolkata by road
Tourists can take a bus ride from Kolkata to Phuntsholing Bhutan. The bus services are operated by Royal Government of Bhutan. It is an 18 hours journey to Phuntsholing from Kolkata.
Kolkata to Phuntsholing Bus Service schedule
|Kolkata to Phuntsholing
|07:00 PM (IST)
|Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
|Phuntsholing to Kolkata
|03:00 PM (BST)
|Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Traveling to Bhutan by train from India
There are no train stations in Bhutan. Tourists preferring to travel by train to Bhutan from India have to stop at Indian train stations that are closer to the Bhutan border. Tourists will need to get to one of the following train stations and catch a taxi or bus to the border town of Phuntsholing.
|Distance to Phuntsholing
|Drive Time to Phuntsholing
|Hasimara Railway Station
|New Alipurduar Railway Station
|1 hour 45 Minutes
|New Jalpaiguri Railway Station
Traveling to Bhutan from Kolkata by train
|Kanchan Kanya Express
|Sealdah (SDAH) Kolkata
|Hasimara Railway Station (HSA)
Indian tourists can get to Bhutan from Kolkata by boarding the Kanchan Kanya Express or the Karmabhoomi Express. Tourists will have to board the train from Sealdah train station (SDAH) in Kolkata and the final stop will be at the Hasimara Railway station (HSA) in Alipurduar district of West Bengal. From Hasimara Railway Station, tourists will have to take a 40 minute taxi or a bus ride to Phuntsholing Bhutan.
Traveling to Bhutan from New Delhi by train
Avadh Assam Express
|New Delhi Railway Station
|New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP)
To reach Bhutan from New Delhi by train, tourists will have to board the Rajdhani or the Assam Express from the New Delhi railway station and get off at the NJP station in state of West Bengal. Tourists will then have to take a taxi or bus to Phuntsholing Bhutan from New Jalpaiguri Raiway Station. It is around 5 hours’ drive from NJP to the Indo Bhutan border.
Tour options for Indian travelers
Bhutan honeymoon tour
Bhutan is the perfect destination for couples looking for some break time after a series of exhausting wedding programs because every couple deserves a beautiful beginning of their lovely journey for a lifetime of togetherness. Or for couples looking for a chance to reignite their love by spending some quite alone time away from home and a much deserved break from the kids and the families. Bhutan offers the best couple experience with tailor-made tours just designed for your comfort and likings.
For a memorable honeymoon couples can choose to stay in the most tranquil private resorts tucked away into the secluded beautiful mountains with the most beautiful views to wake up to. There are always the popular tourist attractions to explore together and if the pair is quite the adventurous type they can take a hike to the most amazing tiger’s nest or choose to camp at the most beautiful campsite under the stars and enjoy a mini night picnic gazing at the beautiful stars.
Bhutan family tour
Bhutan is the perfect holiday destination for your family as it offers a wide variety of group activities and provides a chance to explore this rich culture infused country with the people you love the most in this world.
Bhutan can be chance for your family to relax and breathe some fresh air by taking a break from the scorching heat. For the best experience as a family, you can choose to explore the popular tourist attraction of the country like the Buddha point which is considered the largest statue of sitting Buddha in the world. It’s very important that your kids also have the best memory of their tour, so the Motithang Takin preserve which is a mini zoo, centenary children’s park near the Changlimithang stadium and national museums can be great for your kids.
Bhutan nature & adventure tours
Bhutan is guarded by high Himalayan snowcapped mountains and blessed with glacial fed river navigating lush valleys across the country. The range of climatic conditions cramped in this small country has rewarded Bhutan with rich ecology and diverse natural environment. The mountainous terrain in most part of the country are accessible by motor roads and the stop at the mountain passes at over 3000 meters offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas and rejuvenating moments for all travelers. For thrill seekers, Bhutan offers river rafting and kayaking on some of the largest river basin passing few historic monuments. For the nature lovers, Bhutan offers photography and wildlife safari in some protected nature preserves and many hiking and trekking trails.
Bhutan motor biking tours
Cross country motor bike tour is getting popular among the Indian bikers. Bikers start their journey from southern western border of Phuntsholing town and ride north to the capital city. Bikers continue their journey to the extreme eastern region of Bhutan before descending to the southern eastern border of Samdrup Jongkhar district and exit to Indian state of Assam. The journey takes bikers through many districts in Bhutan including most popular tourists attractions and few secluded villages. Bikers will also come across four major mountain passes at over 3000 meters. Bikers will ride through the sub-tropical climatic region to the cold mountain passes which may be covered in snow depending on the travelling period. The journey is sure to offer an adventurous experience.
Bhutan cultural tours
Bhutan can be a paradise for history enthusiasts. Bhutan is considered a living monument. Its self-imposed isolation has helped Bhutan preserve and keep its ancient heritage relevant in the modern era. Tourists can explore the medieval fortresses across the country. Tourists can learn about its history and understand how these ancient fortresses still remain occupied and play a significant role in modern administration.
Visit to the country side offers a way to understand the Bhutanese traditional way of living. With the boom of the tourism industry, many scenic country sides offer authentic farm stay experience. It includes spending a night in a traditional Bhutanese house; enjoy Bhutanese cuisine, a hot stone bath and interaction with the local people.
For more details on tours and itineraries check out our Bhutan tour packages for 2018/2019.
Shopping in Bhutan
Shopping in Bhutan in itself is an amazing experience while traveling to Bhutan. Shopping in Bhutan is an opportunity to learn about exclusively authentic arts and crafts of Bhutan. Native to only some regions of Bhutan, some handicrafts are unusual and hard to resist. Bhutan has long been known for its rich cultural heritage and its efforts to preserve its unique traditions. Each and every handicraft piece has a history of its own as the art has been passed down for generations in an effort to preserve its significance. Tourists will not only be buying a gift but buying a piece of history. This article endeavors to make you acquainted with top souvenirs that must be collected as the best memories of your Bhutan tour.
Check out some must buy souvenirs in Bhutan.
Dos and Don’ts
- Few temples and monasteries maybe off limits to tourist, so asking permission before entering is a must.
- Remove your shoes and hats while entering temples and monasteries.
- It is very important to understand if photography is allowed in some areas as it is strictly prohibited to take photographs of the idols and murals in the monasteries and temples.
- Visitors should be modestly dressed while visiting important sites like Dzongs and monasteries.
- Do not wash, swim or dispose waste in lakes which may be considered sacred.
- Smoking in public area is strictly prohibited and violators will be penalized by authorities.
Bhutan trip cost from India
Flight from India to Bhutan and rates
|Druk Air (Royal Bhutan Airlines)
|New Delhi – Paro – New Delhi
|Kolkata – Paro – Kolkata
NOTE* the flight rates are indicative and subject to change. Please confirm with the airlines for updated rates.
Transportation services within Bhutan
Indian tourists on arrival to Bhutan can avail car rental services. Depending on the size of the group or tourists preference, the following vehicle options are available.
|Toyota Hiace Bus
|Toyota Coaster Bus
NOTE* the daily rates are calculated at minimum and may vary at the time of confirmation. Terms and conditions of hiring apply.
Popular tourist hotels in Bhutan
The Tourism Council of Bhutan regulates the hotel industry and mandates minimum criteria in terms of hotel infrastructure and service to be rated and eligible to cater to tourists visiting Bhutan. As per Tourism Council of Bhutan, the hotels are categorized in 5 star, 4 star, 3 star and budget hotels.
Luxury hotels in Thimphu
Le Meridien Thimphu: LM Thimphu is a 5 star hotel in Thimphu city. The hotel was opened in 2015. It has 78 rooms with modern contemporary design. The hotel has a fine dining restaurant specializing in pan Asian cuisine and a multi cuisine restaurant and a hip bar serving elegant sparkling cocktails. The hotel is centrally located in Thimphu town.
|Classic (Base Category)
|From US $ 260 Per Night
Taj Tashi: Taj Tashi is Thimphu’s first 5 star property. The hotel is centrally located in Thimphu. It has 66 traditional design rooms with modern amenities. The hotel has a fine dining restaurant specializing in Bhutanese cuisine and a multi cuisine restaurant. The hotel has a spacious lawn barricaded by walls to ensure guests privacy.
|From US $ 635 Per Night
Zhiwaling Ascent: Zhiwaling Ascent is a newly opened property in Thimphu. The hotel is beautifully located near an animal preserve area, away from the city. The elegant design of the hotel with reminiscence of ancient fortress perfectly blends into the nature. The hotel has 17 spacious rooms decked with huge windows that offer an amazing view. The open restaurant with floor to ceiling glass and the rooftop bar provides an amazing dining experience for the guest.
|From US $146 Per Night
Budget hotels in Thimphu
City Hotel Thimphu: City Hotel is one of the first hotels in Bhutan to have a shopping arcade connected to the hotel. It is centrally located in the heart of town. The property opened for business in 2017. It has 32 spacious rooms and a multi cuisine restaurant.
|From Nu 4500 Per Night
Hotel Bhutan Thimphu: Hotel Bhutan is a boutique hotel in Thimphu. The hotel is located in Chubachu, an area within the city center. The hotel has 24 rooms. It also offers fine dining, a bar and 24 hour front desk service. Hotel Bhutan is a vegetarian hotel.
|From INR 3600 Per Night
Luxury hotels in Paro
Le Meridien Paro: LM Paro is Marriot’s second edition in Bhutan and sister property of LM Thimphu. It is located along the bank of Pachhu River in Paro. All the rooms at the property offer a spectacular view of the river and the local community on the other side of the river. The property has 58 rooms with modern contemporary design. The hotel has a fine dining restaurant specializing in pan Asian cuisine and a multi cuisine restaurant.
|From US $249 Per Night
Zhiwaling Heritage Paro: The property nestled in the secluded area in Paro district is known for its architectural design and for its idyllic hotel premises. The extensive wood carved beams and intricate art work ceilings and walls are ubiquitous across the hotel. Ideal for a retreat, the complex has its own meditation center, in house temple, a beautiful tea house and lush lawns paved with footpath illuminated by street lamps. The property has 45 grand suites.
|Junior Suite(Base Category)
|From US $206 Per Night
Budget hotels in Paro
Hotel Olathang: It is one of the oldest hotels in Bhutan. The hotel is located on a hill amidst 28 acres of pine forest. It offers a great view of the Paro valley from the property location and tourists can enjoy the rejuvenating effect of nature during their stay. The property has 59 rooms.
|From Nu 3500 Per Night
Tashi Namgay Resort: The property sits beautifully next to Paro River across the airport. The 5 acre compound by the river offers you peace and calm environment to ensure a memorable stay for tourists. The property has unique blend of traditional architectural design with modern touches. The resort has 51 rooms.
|From Nu 3900 Per Night
Budget hotels in Punakha
Drubchhu Resort: This family managed resort takes pride in how the property is management. The entire resort is fed with spring water. The property manages its own kitchen garden to serve organic meals for the guests. The property is conveniently located next to the highway and the rooms offer an amazing view of the paddy. The resort has 27 spacious rooms maintained with excellent cleanliness.
|From INR 5000 Per Night
Zhingkham Resort: The name of the property translates to heaven. The property boasts its idyllic location perched on a hill overlooking the glorious Punakha fortress and the valley. The property rooms have an extended outdoor balcony that offers this amazing view. The property has 40 rooms.
|From Nu 4500 Per Night
Budget hotels in Phuntsholing
Hotel Lhaki: To cater to the hot and tropical weather of Phuntsholing town, Lhaki hotel offers air conditioned rooms with modern amenities. It also operates a multi cuisine restaurant. The property has 30 rooms and 6 suites.
|From Nu 3500 Per Night
Park Hotel: The property focuses on delivering comfortable stay for the travelling guests with customized services to help their guests unwind after their tiring journey. The property is located at the heart of Phuntsholing town. The convenient location provides easy access to shopping centers in the town. The property has 32 rooms.
|From Nu 2500 Per Night
Peling Resort: The resort is roughly 7 kilometers drive away from the town center en route to Thimphu. The property is perched on a hill overlooking the Phuntsholing town and the Indian plains beyond. For tourists preferring a quieter environment and away from the town, Peling resort is ideal. The property offers air conditioned rooms and the restaurant is known for its delicious Indian cuisine.
|From Nu 2500 Per Night
How much should Indian tourists budget for food while traveling to Bhutan?
The cost of meal depends on the profile of the restaurant. If tourists prefer to eat at the hotel or at a good restaurant catering primarily to tourists that offers good food and service, it will cost a minimum of INR 500 per meal per person. However there are plenty of cheaper places to eat, however tourists should manage their expectations on the quality and the cleanliness accordingly.
Attraction and monument entry fees
Most popular attractions in the country charge tourists an entrance fee. Charges of few attractions are shown below.
|Entry Fee Per Person
NOTE* 50% discount is offered to students and children below the age of 5 do not have to pay the entrance fee.
UPDATE ON REGIONAL (INDIAN, MALDIVIAN, BANGLADESHI) TOURIST SDF LEVY
The SDF Levy for regional tourists is set at Nu 1,200. However tourists visiting 11 of the 20 districts which are Trashigang, Lhuntse, Trashiyangtze, Mongar, Samdrupjongkhar, Pemagatshel, Zhemgang, Tsirang, Sarpang, Dagana and Trongsa will be exempt of SDF for both tariff paying tourists and regional tourists.
Entries via Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar will also be open to regional tourists.
Regional tourist children under the age of 5 do not have to pay the levy and those between 6 and 12 only need to pay 600.
The rule shall be effective from July 2020.