Daily minimum tariff
The levying of a daily minimum tariff of USD 250* on tourists is a mechanism that the Royal Government of Bhutan has put in place to ensure that the tourism industry grows at a sustainable pace. This is in-line with the country’s tourism policy of “low impact, high value”. Contrary to what most foreigners believe, the daily charge of USD 250 is not the cost for a Bhutanese visa but instead the daily cost of an all-inclusive package that includes the following:
- Accommodation at 3-star properties as rated by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (stays at 4-star and 5-star accommodation facilities can also be arranged at a premium)
- All regular meals, and bottled water
- Services of a licensed Bhutanese guide
- Land transport
- All government taxes and charges
- Entry fees and permits to museums, exhibitions, national parks, etc.
- A sustainable tourism royalty of USD 65. This royalty goes towards the provision of free education and healthcare, poverty alleviation, and the building of infrastructure
*Please do note that the minimum daily tariff of USD 250 is for groups of 3 or more travelers. Couples and individual travelers will be charged a surcharge.
Best time of the year to visit
That depends on what you would like to experience and see. If you would like to attend a festival, then we would recommend that you visit during the months of March, April, May and September, October, November as a majority of Bhutanese festivals occur during these months. These months are also the best time for trekking as the weather is moderate and perfect for being outdoors. However, if you would like to visit the country during a less busier time when there are not as many tourists around, then we would recommend that you visit during the months of June, July, August and December, January, February.
You are on vacation, so you can wear what you like. However, you will be required to wear trousers and shirts with sleeves when you visit monasteries, temples, and museums. We would also recommend that you wear your clothing in layers. This is because the weather can vary tremendously over the course of the day and you can add on or shed layers depending on how the weather is.
Recommended books and movies if you would like to learn more about Bhutan
- The History of Bhutan by Dr. Karma Phuntsho – This is perhaps the most comprehensive piece of literature on Bhutan’s history. A great book for those that would like to learn more about Bhutan’s history.
- Lonely Planet Bhutan by Lindsay Brown and Bradley Matthew – A travel guide, part of the Lonely Planet series
- Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom – Tells the story of the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim. Provides great insight into the geopolitics at play during the 20th century in the Himalayan region.
- Beyond the Sky and Earth: A journey into Bhutan – A memoir written by Jamie Zeppa. It recounts her experiences of living in Bhutan during the late 1980s as an English teacher.
- Bhutan: Himalayan Mountain Kingdom by Françoise Pommaret – A travel guide written by renowned Tibetologist Françoise Pommaret. Unlike typical travel guides, this one places more of an emphasis on Bhutan’s history and culture.
- The Jesuit and the Dragon: The Life of Father William Mackey in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan by Howard Solverson – The biography of Father William Mackey, a Canadian Jesuit priest. He is credited by many as the man who was responsible for establishing the modern education system in Bhutan.
- The Divine Madman: The Sublime Life and Songs of Drukpa Kunley translated by Keith Dowman – The ‘secret’ biography of Lam Drukpa Kunley, a Tibetan yogi from the 15th century and perhaps Bhutan’s most-loved saint. Drukpa Kunley’s irreverent and unorthodox approach to Buddhism has had a profound influence on the lives of the Bhutanese which is still felt to this day.
Movies and Documentaries
- Travelers and Magicians (2003) – A Bhutanese feature film that tells the story of a man that attempts to leave
his homeland for the west in pursuit of prosperity (Available on YouTube with subtitles).
- Lost Land of the Tiger (2010) – A three-part nature documentary produced by the BBC that focuses on the status of the Bengal Tiger in Bhutan. The documentary has some stunning footage that showcases Bhutan’s diverse natural terrain and its bountiful ecosystems.
- The Other Final (2003) – This documentary focuses on a football match played between the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, the world’s lowest ranked teams at that time. The game was played on the same day as the finals of the FIFA World Cup 2002 (Korea-Japan) (This documentary is available for viewing on YouTube).
- The Archers of Bhutan (Early 2000s) – Archery is the national sport of Bhutan, and it plays an instrumental role in the communal lives of the Bhutanese. This documentary focuses on a female archer as she prepares for the Olympics (This documentary is available for viewing on YouTube).