7 TIPS TO NOTE WHEN PLANNING A TRIP TO BHUTAN

"Buddhism is not a Religion it's a Way of Life"

Take note of peak & non-peak periods

The peak tourist seasons are Spring: March - May and Fall: September - November. In particular, March, April, October and November are especially busy. If you're considering visiting during these months, it's best to book your tour package and flight tickets at least 3 months ahead to ensure your reservation.
If you want to avoid the crowd of the peak tourist period, consider travelling during the non-peak period.



Know the seasons

It really depends on what you want to see and do. If you want to trek, April, May, September and October are the best months with optimum weather. Although it is colder, the skies are generally clear and blue, and most importantly, it won't be muddy. Do note that the monsoon season in Bhutan is from July - August and during this time, light rain (1-2 hours) in the morning is typical. Heavy downpours are rare, but we generally do not recommend trekking, unless they are short day hikes.
Winter is a good time to catch the endangered black necked crane in their winter home, the Phobjika valley and summer is a wonderful time for mushroom picking (there's even a Matsutake Mushroom Festival) and to catch glimpses of (sometimes double) rainbows over the valleys. If you're there to seek solace or for spirituality reasons, anytime would be a good time to go.

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Time your arrival during a festival

There are numerous festivals occurring throughout the year in Bhutan, though the popular ones such as the Paro and Thimphu Tshechu happen during the high tourist season. Festivals in Bhutan usually showcase colourful dances in elaborate costumes, with Bhutanese in attendance dressed to their best and unsurprisingly, tend to be huge tourist draws.
Apart from religious festivals, there are a range of other festivals catering to other interests, such as the Rhododendron Festival, Black Necked Crane Festival, Royal Highlander Festival, Ura Matsusake Mushroom Festival and Haa Summer Festival, to name a few. If you're looking for a more intimate experience, consider going for a lesser known festival. *Friendly tip* These tend to provide better photo taking opportunities.

Consider a home stay

To be frank, this suggestion is often met with mixed response. Given the amount of money spent on the trip, many travellers want to unwind in the comfort of a hotel room. Others however, love the authenticity of staying with a local family and having the firsthand experience of what daily life is to a Bhutanese.
Some things to take note of if you're seriously considering this option: while some families have modern facilities, not all families have electricity or a hot shower - they may have to boil the water using firewood. What they lack in facilities however, they'll more than make up for with unparalleled hospitality.

How to Plan a Perfect Bhutan Tour from India?

There is something magical about Bhutan, the simple yet mesmerizing land somehow manages to touch your soul, balm it with peace, and even mend the broken heart. The salubrious climate, the breathtaking views, and the majestic monasteries may seem a cliched way to describe the beauty of Bhutan, but each word used for this gorgeous country is in its purest form. Visiting and exploring Bhutan can be a wonderful experience, something you will never forget. So, do you also want to have this unforgettable experience? Yes, well, then this blog is for you. Allow me to help you with the finest Bhutan travel guide that will let you plan your Bhutan tour from India in the best possible way. Below is the step by step guide that will help you plan your tour without any hassle or confusion to this land of Thunder Dragon. So, let’s get started!

Ways to Reach Bhutan From India

By Air

Flying to Bhutan from India is quite easy. There are two direct airlines, namely, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines that operate flights from Delhi, Gaya, Bagdogra, Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati to Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport. Indian travellers can be offered special fares in Drukair, if the airline is contacted through email.

By Road

The most common way to enter Bhutan from India by road is from Jaigaon town in West Bengal. It is only 4.3 kms from the border town of Bhutan, Phuentsholing. Private cabs are available between the two places. People getting down at Bagdogra (by flight) or at New Jalpaiguri (by train) can also avail cab services. The airport at Bagdogra have prepaid taxis as well. However, for those travelling on budget can hire the cab by directly cracking a deal with the cab drivers.

By Train

One of the cheapest ways to reach Bhutan from India is by rail. Hasimara is the nearest railway station to Jaigaon, an Indian town on Indo-Bhutan Border. It is situated at a distance of 17 kms from Jaigaon. There are trains to Hasimara from Kolkata (690 kms), Delhi (1663 kms), Ranchi (749 kms), and Kanpur (1197 kms). Another station that offers a decent connectivity is situated in New Jalpaiguri. The tickets and timetable is available on Indian Railway’s IRCTC Website. Though trains take longer but are quite cost efficient and are ideal for budget travellers.



List of Documents:

  • A duly filled form
  • Copy of Voter’s ID or Passport
  • An Itinerary on an A4 Sheet
  • Booked Hotel’s Voucher (It is mandatory to show hotel booking confirmation of at least one hotel in Thimphu/Paro)
  • Passport Size Photo
  • An Undertaking Letter (In case you are travelling solo)


What to Pack for Bhutan?

  • A shawl/jacket or a shrug: These are mandatory for both men and women when entering a place of worship.
  • Raincoat and Umbrella: In case you are travelling in the monsoon, these two things will be required.
  • Pack light clothes for summer and monsoon, and heavy woolens if travelling in winters to Bhutan.
  • Swimwear: If you wish to experience the traditional hot stone bath or hot springs.
  • Comfortable Flat Shoes and A Pair of Trainers/Hiking Shoes
  • Motion Sickness Medicine: For the country has winding roads


What to See and Do in Bhutan?

On a normal Bhutan Tourist Permit, you can visit three tourist destinations, i.e. Thimphu, Paro and Punakha, along with the exception of Phuentsholing, which you can explore without the permit as well. Let us discuss these four destinations and which can be visited on normal tourist permit.
Distance with Major Places in Bhutan

  • Phuentsholing to Thimphu: 164 kms
  • Phuentsholing to Paro: 160 kms
  • Phuentsholing to Bagdogra: 164 kms
  • Phuentsholing to Siliguri: 155 kms


Getting a Visa

Everyone traveling to Bhutan requires to obtain a visa in advance, except for passport holders from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives. Passport holders from these three countries can obtain a free Entry Permit on arrival, upon producing their passport with a minimum six months validity. Indian nationals can also use their Voters Identity Card.
For other passport holders, visas cost $40*. The visas must be applied and paid for in advance, from registered tour operators (not embassies), at the same time as booking the rest of your trip. You should try and make your travel arrangements at least 90 days prior to travel to allow time for all the formalities to be completed.
The visas are processed through an online system by the tour operators, and are approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan once full payment of the cost of the trip has been received. Tourists are issued with a visa clearance letter, to be presented at immigration upon arrival at the airport. The visa is then stamped in the passport.





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