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Bhutan Tourism

Bhutan Visa Information

Visas
Bhutan Travels & ToursAll visitors to Bhutan requires visas. In 1994 individual tourist visas for a period of up to two weeks cost US$20 and were issued on arrival at Paro Airport. All visa application must reach Bhutan at least seven days prior to the tourist’s intended arrival date. Tourists are remained to bring original photographs with them to Bhutan  as they will be required by the immigration authority at paro Airport.

Tourists who have not applied for a visa or who have not received the necessary clearances from Thimphu will not be allowed to board the Druk-Air flight to paro.

Thimphu is well connected by both telephone and fax. Any procedural problems regarding visa application can usually be quickly solved. Extensions to two-week visas can be obtained in Thimphu, the also cost US$20.

Customs   
The Bhutanese authorities strictly prohibit the export of any religious antiquity or antiques of any type from the country. Camera, video cameras, computers and personal electronic equipment may be brought into the country but must be listed on arrival  and  will be checked on departure. A reasonable quantity of  cigarettes and alcohol may be imported into the kingdom.

Money
Bhutanese currency is the ngultrum. In 1994 approximately 31 ngultrum exchanged for one Us dollar. The ngultrrum is linked to the Indian rupee. Dollars and dollar traveler cheques are acceptable in larger hotels and tourist shops. Ngultrum  will be needed for small purchases and expenses outside the capital. Local currency can be bought  (and sold) at the airport on arrival and at all of the bigger hotels in Thimphu and paro. Apart from more expensive gifts such as carpets and long lengths of material, expenses in Bhutan are cheap and should not exceed approximately US$10 per day.

Reservations
Travel Agent can make reservations for Bhutan with the closest Avitation & Tourism International (ATI) office, or directly with one of the many tour operators in Bhutan.

Some periods of the year are extremely busy and others are particularly quiet; to ensure availability of rooms and more importantly flights, bookings should be made as early as possible. As some travel arrangements can take some time to arrange, it is important to book early to ensure all requested services are arranged. This is particularly true if special permits are required for trekking.

Druk-Air
Maybe the smallest national carrier in the world, Druk-Air has a fleet of two BAE-146 aircraft. An international flight crew and hostesses trained by Thai Airways International give the airline its credibility and charm.

Druk-Air is the only airline that serves paro so all visitors to Bhutan are initiated into the paro is one of the most spectacular in the world. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Calcutta or Dhaka, each flights is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the kingdom. Delays do occur on account of the changeable Himalayan weather so travelers are advised to build  an extra day onto the end of their trip in case of hold-ups.

Druk-Air flies twice weekly to Delhi via Kathmandu and three times weekly to Bangkok via Calcutta and  Dhaka. For exact flight time contact your travel agent or Druk-Air. Schedules change between the summer monsoons and the winter snow.

Airline bookings should be made at the same time as booking your holiday in Bhutan. Your travel agent can schedule international connections to connect with the Druk-Air flight wherever you choose to meet it.

Accommodation  
Hotels vary in style and quality from town to town nut are generally considered to be one of the welcome surprise for visitors to Bhutan. All government approved hotels are clean and well maintained . During the colder months hotles are heated and extra blankets or comforters are provided in each room. Bathroom are reasonably modern with running hot water common in Thimphu and paro but found less often further east. Hotel staff are invariably exceptionally accommodating and will do whatever they can do make guest feel more comfortable.

In Thimphu, paro and central districts all hotels are equipped with telephone, fax machine and international dialing. Bhutan is surprisingly well connected to the outside world and it may appear something of a miracle to telephone New York or London from the Bhutanese heartland, but you can.

All hotels have their own restaurant and some also have a bar.

Most of the food eaten by tourist in Bhutan is eaten in the hotels. Three are some freestanding restaurants in Thimphu but few elsewhere.

Traditional Bhutanese food is very hot and spicy. The food given to tourist is tempered to western taste and even includes some western dishes. The Tourism Authority has imported the knowledge of some European hotel experts to improve the quality and quantity of food served is remarkable good. Evening meals are invariably buffet style and served in the dining room  of the hotels. Lunches are often pre-packed from the last hotel and eaten on the road. Bhutan adheres to strict environmental policies and refuse of any kind is never on the side of the road.   


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