Everything You Need to Know about Bhutan Daily Fee
Before starting to plan your Bhutan trip, you should know the tourism policy of Bhutan. The Tourism Council has set up official policies to regulate tourism industry in Bhutan regarding visa, tour, tourism charge, etc.
Bhutan’s Tourism Policy:
1. Tourists have to visit Bhutan with a guided tour, either regular sightseeing holidays or some serious treks, which doesn’t mean the lessening of flexibility of your trip. You can still choose the places to go, pace of itinerary, types of hotels, tour guide, restaurants. On the contrary, a guided tour only makes you Bhutan trip more enjoyable and reward you with a lot of chance to explore local people and culture.
2. A Bhutan Visa is required to travel in Bhutan, and only the licensed travel agency approved by Bhutan Tourism Council (like us) can apply for the visa for tourists.
3. Each traveler has to pay a minimum charge (Daily Fee) of USD250 in peak season and USD200 in off season per night. This charge would cover most expenses in your Bhutan trip, such as hotel, food, tour guide, transfer, etc.
What is the Daily Fee?
According to tourism policy of Royal Bhutan Government, international tourists (excluding Indian, Maldivian and Bangladesh) have to pay a minimum charge per day per person (eventually charged by night). Official name of this charge is Daily Fee. It covers most of expense of your Bhutan trip, such as tour guide, meals, hotels, etc.
● USD 250 per person per day for the months of March, April, May, September, October and November.
● USD 200 per person per day for the months of January, February, June, July, August and December.
Why the Daily Fee Is Charged?
Bhutan adhere to a sustainable tourist policy which is “High Value, Low Impact”, meaning they want each traveler to enjoy the best possible from the holidays in the county while still preserves the primitiveness of its culture and nature. How to achieve this goal? Set a compulsive charge over tourists.
With a tiny GDP around 2.5 billion in 2019, Bhutan is listed as 164 out of 189 countries in the world in term of global GDP ranking, one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 90% of Bhutanese are farmers. The government tax is levied only from 20% of its population. The rest 80% are not capable of paying government tax. However, the country has so many heritages of culture and nature to preserve, also has to establish tourism facilities, such as airport, road, hotel, etc. to support save and enjoyable travel, at the same time afford free education, healthcare and infrastructure for its people. Also, Bhutan’s government doesn’t want Bhutan become a massive tourist market like Nepal, Thailand and some Southeastern Asian countries whose travel quality have been receded largely due to overdevelopment of tourism. Instead, Bhutan rather keeps a sustainable tourism industry to ensure travel quality for all tourists as well as keep the primitiveness of its culture and nature, by maintaining a very limited numbers of travelers (less than 300,000 annually). The easiest way to do so is by regulation through price.
As a good result, you will not be sharing your holidays with thousands and thousands of other tourists. Even in the most popular sites in its two biggest cities Thimphu and Paro, you will not meet crowds of tourists. This helps to reduce pressures on infrastructure, nature and culture of Bhutan too. It’s important to realize that your travel in Bhutan is not only making contribution to preserve Bhutan’s heritage, but also help improve the living of Bhutanese people.
3 Reasons Bhutan Is Worth the US$250 Daily Fee
1． Bhutan might be one of the few countries that can offer you an entirely authentic experience. It’s a refreshing trip to a beautiful but isolated country where you will not be hassled by annoying tourist groups.
2． You travel with an all-inclusive tour package which covers private tour guide, private driver, fancy hotels, pleasant food, attractions tickets, etc. It’s an absolutely worry-free vacation. If you do the research, you will find it even cheaper than those private tours in developed countries.
3． Your Bhutan tour is making your own contribution to Bhutan and its people, as $65 of $250 is paid to the foundation of Royal Government which is used to preserve the authentic culture and nature of Bhutan, but also help improve the education, healthcare, infrastructure, environment protection, etc.
Most Recommended Bhutan Tours:
Tiger's Nest Temple in Paro
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Beautiful Punakha Dzong in April
Meeting local Bhutanese
What’s Covered in the Daily Fee?
1. Private licensed Bhutan local guide from a licensed travel agency who is friendly, helpful and informative;
2. All internal transportation in your tour. Usually, this means a private driver and a comfortable vehicle (4x4 or medium-sized bus, based on your group size);
3. Accommodation of 3-stars hotel which are clean, spacious and cozy for regular tour; Camping for high altitude trekking. Higher standards of hotels may require extra charge; learn more about Bhutan hotels in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, etc.
4. Meals (breakfasts, lunches and dinners) in your trip and non-alcoholic drinks. Usually provided in your hotel. You can also request to eat at local restaurants;
5. Admission fees for all attractions in your itinerary;
6. Trekking tour (camping gears, chef, porters, etc. )
7. Travel agency service fee;
8. Government tax;
9. USD 65 of Sustainable Development Fee paid directly to the Royal Government of Bhutan as found to help Bhutan’s infrastructure, including country’s education, health care, repairs, and more.
What’s Not Covered in the Daily Fee?
1. Flights to/off Bhutan;
2. Internal flights in Bhutan (fewly used);
3. Bhutan Visa;
4. Personal expense, such as souvenirs, alcohol, cultural shows, etc.
5. Tips for guides and drivers
3-Stars Hotel in Thimphu
Hospitable Bhutanese Tour Guide
Meals Provided in Bhuan Hotels
If you travel solo, or your group has only 2 travellers, you have to pay a surcharge, in addition to the minimum daily fee as following amounts:
Solo tourist: Daily fee+ USD 40 per night
Group of 2 Tourists: Daily fee+ USD 30 per person per night
If tourists are eligible for below situations, a discount shall be given:
a) Kids below the age of 5 is free of Daily Fee charge; Kids between the ages of 6~12 years accompanied by adults can enjoy a discount of 50% on Daily Fee;
b) Full time students below the age of 25 holding valid identity cards from their school can enjoy a discount of 25% on Daily Fee;
c) One member in the tourists group with 11~15 people can enjoy a discount of 50% on Daily Fee; 100% discount shall be given to one member of group exceeding 16 tourists;
d) A 50% discount on Sustainable Development Fee after the 8th night, and 100% discount on Sustainable Development Fee after the 14th night shall be given;
e) It shall be free of charge of Sustainable Development Fee on the first/or last night for groups with night halt in Phuntsholing, Sarpang and Samdrup Jongkhar .
Delayed Arrivals and Departures
If your arrival and departure are delayed due to extreme weather conditions or road blocks, you don’t have to pay the Daily Fee, but have to bear the cost of food, hotels, transfers and other services required. You are suggested to buy a travel insurance prior to your tour.
Usually the Daily Fee and other cost of your Bhutan tour can be refunded, depending on the cancellation policies of the tour operators. Fully refund or partly refund usually depends on when your subummit the cancellation request. Check details carefully with your travel agency.
How to Plan Your Bhutan Tour
STEP 1. Choose the best time to visit Bhutan
Lower-altitude area, such as Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, are suitable for travel all year around. However, the best time for most of Bhutan tours, including trekking, photography, etc., is spring (March to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is most mild and pleasant. June to August is the rainy season with continuous rainfalls, and better be avoided. If you want a bird-watching tour, you can schefdule your tour in November and December.
STEP 2. Plan your itinerary and book a tour with a Bhutan Travel Agency
Bhutan tours usually range from 4 days to 30 days, depending on the travel style you prefer. Classic Bhutan tours usually start from Paro in the west where Bhutan's only international airport and famous Tiger's Nest are located in, then go eastward to visit the capital Thimphu and beautiful Punakha Dzong, which usually takes about 5~7 days. It is strongly recommended to spend 2 or 3 more days to countinue your tour to Phobjikha and Bumtang where the most beautiful valleys and authentic local culture awaiting your exploration. For further in-depth tour, you can go to enjoy a trek or a festival tour. Find recommended Bhutan tours here >
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Bhutan is usually visited with its two great Himalayan neighbors - Nepal and Tibet. We are specialized in providing tailor-made Nepal Tibet Bhutan tours of all kinds. Find recommended Nepal Tibet Bhutan tours here >
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STEP 3. Take an international flight or drive overland to Bhutan
You can take flight to Bhutan from Nepal, India, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh, which reward you with a visual feast of Himalayan peaks from the plane. Among all gateways, Nepal is mostly chosen by travelers. If operate 1 or 2 daily flights to Paro International Airport everyday. You could also enter Bhutan overlanding from India. Currently, there are three ports connecting India with Bhutan, namely Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu in Bhutan. Learn more about how to get to Bhutan >
STEP 4. Prepping and Packing for Bhutan
After confirming your tour, you should start to prepare required travel documents for your Bhutan tour. First, you should have a valid passport. Send the clear and complete photo of your passport to your travel agency; Next, let your travell agency apply for Bhutan Visa for you. A visa clearance letter will be mailed to you. You presents the visa clearance letter when checking in the immigration offices of Bhutan, either at Paro Airport or other border ports. The Bhutan Visa will then be stamped on your passport page, and you are all good to enjoy your Bhutan vacation. It usually takes about 7~10 working days to receive the visa clearance after the application request is received by Tourism Council of Bhutan. Learn more about Bhutan Visa >
If you are planning to do some serious trekking, such as Jomolhari Laya-Gasa Trek, Snowman Trek, etc, you should visit your doctor to check your physical condition, sort out any required medications and get up-to-date advice. If your current fitness levels are not strong enough, you should do some training before departure, such as strength exercise, endurance activities, cardio, etc.
The last thing is to start packing. Bhutan has four different seasons. You should pack and dress properly and accordingly. Dress in layers that are easy to put on and off. Warm clothes are necessary for winter travel and high-altitude areas. Also Bhutan is a religious country. Travelers should wear long pants and long sleeved cloth to show respect when visiting dzongs and monasteries. As for trekking, there is a special packing list >
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Recommended Tour PackagesFollowing are some of our most recommended Bhutan tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our tour packages are classic itineraries, and can be tailor-made to meet your personal requirements. You can get more Bhutan Nepal Tours, or contact us to customize a trip if you want.
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