Bhutan Visa for Indian/Bhutan Entry Permit: All Queries Answered

This blog post is to answer all the queries being asked by the people, planning to travel to Bhutan, in the forums, boards, bulletins and discussions related to Bhutan entry permit. I hope this blog post will answer all your questions and clear all the queries.

Question 1 :-  What is the Visa Policy of Bhutan for foreigners?

Answer:-  Visa policy differ for Different countries.

  1. Citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives don’t require a visa to visit Bhutan. No daily fees is charged upon stay in Bhutan. Details in this blog apply for Indian tourists. Citizens of Bangladesh and Maldives need to go with more or less similar process.
  2. Foreigners (except Citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives) are required to apply for visa. Once approved, they are provided with visa clearance letter and the visa gets stamped to passport upon entry to Bhutan. They need to book a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. A daily fee is charged for the stay. $250 a day during peak season and $200 during low season.

Click for more clarification related to Visa policy of Bhutan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Bhutan

Question 1 :-  What Travel documents are required by Indians for entry in Bhutan?

Answer :-  Indians need to carry any of the two valid Travel documents :-

  1. Voter ID card
  2. Indian Passport with validity of minimum 6 months.

Check the Anchor text for more clarification.

https://www.indembthimphu.gov.in/pages.php?id=52

Question 1 :-  How to process travel entry permit in Bhutan ? Need to do it in advance or on arrival to Bhutan?

Answer :- If you had booked travel package through local travel agent, your permits would be processed online prior to your arrival. If you are travelling by your own, you need to get the entry permit by your own from Immigration Office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing, located on the Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal on arrival to Bhutan.

Question 1 :-  Is Hotel booking mandatory for Bhutan entry permit by road ?

Answer :- Yes, Hotel booking for initial days of stay is mandatory for Bhutan entry permit. You need to show the booking confirmation received from hotel to the Department of Immigration. You need to book hotel for at least one day and get the confirmation from hotels. Some immigration officers even ask for the total tour plan. You need to submit supporting following documents, Hotel booking confirmation, travel plans and 2 passport photographs for processing of Bhutan Entry permit.

https://www.indembthimphu.gov.in/pages.php?id=52

Even there are many tour operators outside the Immigration office. You can get the bookings from there.

Travel Tip :- Book your hotels in advance to avoid delay in entry permit from the Department of Immigration as well as get cheaper prices.

https://www.booking.com/

Question 2 :-  Is Hotel booking mandatory for Bhutan Entry permit by air ?

Answer :- If you are reaching Bhutan by air, The Bhutan entry permit would be hassle free at Paro Airport. You can get the  entry permit from the Immigration desk.

Question 2 :-  For how long can I stay in Bhutan after collecting the Bhutan entry permit?

Answer :- With the permits availed, you can stay in Bhutan for for 7 or 14 days. If you need to stay longer , Then you have to get your permit renewed from the Department of Immigration in Thimpu.

More Info

http://www.mohca.gov.bt/index.php/about-department-3/

Question 3 :-  Can I visit every part of Bhutan after Bhutan entry permit is availed?

Answer :- The answer is NO. As the initial Bhutan entry permit from Phuentsholing allows you to travel the limited cities of Bhutan i.e. Phuentsholing, Thimpu and Paro for 7 or 14 days.

Question 3 :-  How to get permit for cities other Paro and Thimpu?

Answer :- If you want to travel to other cities such as Punakha, Haa, Bumthang etc. , you need to get special permit from the Department of Immigration in Thimpu.

Question 3 :-  What’s the process of extension of Bhutan Entry permit for Indian?

Answer :- You can get your Permit extended as well as Special permit(for visiting places other than Thimpu and Paro) both at the same time from the Department of Immigration in Thimpu. All you need to do is submit your documents mentioned above and fill the different forms for each.

Entry permit can be renewed for another 7 or 14 days.

Question 3 :-  I am planning to travel Solo to Bhutan. Any recommendations or suggestions?

Answer :- in order to preserve country’s rich and unique culture as well as to protect Bhutan from mass tourism, Bhutanese government doesn’t encourage solo travelling to Bhutan. You need to book the local travel operator with the personal travel guide and driver provided. You would be flying to Bhutan alone but will be accompanied by your guide and driver. This would even charge you hefty amount.

Tip :- If you really want to travel solo in Bhutan and save money in carrying personal guide and driver considering you not a filthy rich backpacker, I suggest you to find some solo traveler or the group outside the Immigration Office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing and get the entry permit with hotel booking along with them.

There are chances of Entry permit being rejected if you process your documents as a solo traveler. So, to be safe, find some group or solo traveler and get your entry in Bhutan. After the entry permit papers are in hand, you can travel solo in Bhutan .

I did the same. 😊

  1. Can I get an Bhutan Entry Permit in advance?

Yes. You can get Entry Permit in advance from Bhutan High Commissioner’s Office at Delhi or Kolkata Bhutan Consulate. This may save you from any uncertainty of getting Permit on last day but these offices usually take more than a week to give you a Permit.

Question 3 :-  Is Immigration Office at Phuentsholing open for seven days a week?

Answer :- NO. The office is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Many travelers forget to research online for these queries and end up reaching the border on Friday late evening or Saturday and Sunday. They have to wait for two days in Pheuntsholing hotels and get into long queue on Monday as the Immigration office is crowded with tourists on Monday.

So it’s advisable to visit Bhutan from Tuesday to Thursday to be on a Safer side.

Tip :- Please check online for the Bhutan public holidays before planning a trip as the Immigration office remains closed on Public holidays. The Immigration office timings are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 AM BST(Bhutan Standard Time) on working days i.e. Monday to Friday. There is no way to get the Entry Permit over weekend.

  1. Do I need to keep my Entry Permit with me all the time while travelling in Bhutan?

Yes, you need to keep your entry permit all the time as there are various immigration check points that check your permits while you travel between the cities.

Even some Dzongs including Punakha,Thimpu and Tiger Nest’s Monastery ask you to show your entry permit.

  1. Any fee charged for getting entry permit and extension thereafter?

No fee is charged to Indians for any of the following permits:-

  • Getting Bhutan Entry Permit
  • Extending the Bhutan Entry Permit
  • Permit extensions for restricted areas
  • Submitted permits at exit

Question 3 :-  What are the modes of Transport to reach Bhutan from India?

Answer :- There are two modes of transport to enter Bhutan.

  1. By Air
  2. By Road

By Air:- There are two options. First by Druk Airlines and Second by Domestic Airlines.

  1. Druk Airlines: – You can book the flights from the site https://www.drukair.com.bt/ . Please note that Drukair is the only airlines that will take you directly to Paro,the only airport in Bhutan. The Drukair airlines depart from selected cities: – Delhi, Bagdogra, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Mumbai. The journey through this airline is quite costly as compared to domestic flight rates.
  2. Domestic Airlines: – No Domestic Airline will land you to Bhutan. So best option is to reach Bagdogra, Kolkata by air. Bagdogra is the nearest airport to the Jaigaon/Pheutsholing border. After reaching Bagdogra, Take a cab to Jaigaon /Pheutsholing Border.But this route will cost you almost half the foremost one.

By Road:-

Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu are the only land borders open to world tourists.

Tourists may opt for the bus, private taxi or any other local transportation to reach Bhutan.

By Private Car/Taxi/Local Transportation

Phuentsholing is located in the south-west which is around 170 km from the Indian national airport at Bagdogra, West Bengal (India). It is the nearest airport which takes about 5 hours’ drive from Phuentsholing.

Gelephu is another entry point to Bhutan situated in south-central Bhutan. It is approximately 250 km from the capital city Thimphu. The journey to reach Thimphu is quite interesting. It takes the travellers through the sub-tropical areas and the alpine zone of Bhutan. Approximately ten hours travel goes through three beautiful dzongkhags (districts).

Samdrup Jongkhar has situated in south-east Bhutan and 150 km away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. It borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam. The journey from Guwahati to Samdrup Jongkhar is about 3 hours. The entering route, Samdrup Jongkhar takes travellers to various cities and then capital Thimphu.

By Bus :-

Indian tourists can take a bus, run by Royal Bhutanese Government, from Esplanade Station, Kolkata to Phuentsholing. The journey takes 18 hours to reach Phuentsholing.

Siliguri has frequent bus service that takes less than 4hours to reach Jaigaon/Phuentsholing Border.

By Train :-

There is no direct trains from India to Bhutan. There are train routes to Hasimara, New Alipurduar, Siliguri and Kolkata.

How I reached Bhutan: – From Delhi, I travelled to Kolkata by air, and then from Airport I took a cab to Sealdeah Railway Station where I started my railway journey to Hasimara station through Kanchankanya Express. The train departed from Kolkata station at 8:35 pm and reached Hasimara at 11:00 am the next day. From Hasimara Station, I took a cab to Jaigon/Pheutsholing border that took me almost 30 minutes to reach.

Reference for https://www.travelogyindia.com/bhutan/how-to-reach.htm

Question 3 :-  Any advice while travelling in Bhutan?

Answer :- Shorts are not allowed in Monasteries. So carry some cloth to cover the uncovered body part.

Smoking is not allowed in public

Inked Buddha tattoos are prohibited .In case, you had one, try to cover that body part.

Question 3 :-  Are Taxi fares cheaper or costlier than India?

Answer :- The taxi fares are a bit steep as compared to Indian prices. If you are travelling solo, you will find the local taxi prices exorbitant.

Tip :- If you are staying in some hotel or homestay, I would suggest you to ask the receptionist or owner to call the taxi driver and negotiate with the driver for the prices. Some negotiations can even land you with 30-50% discounts. I did the same when I was in Paro.

Bhutanese people are friendly, calm and kind by nature.

Question 3 :-  Any specific food items to taste ?

Answer :- Ema Datshi , Thukpa ,Chicken Maaru , Beef Maru ,Chicken Paa ,Chicken Bhak Thuk, noodles and Momos.

My experience of Tiger’s Nest Hike,Paro

The temple complex was first built in 1692 around a cave but it dates to the 8th century as a mediation site. According to legends, Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche flew to this cave at the back of the flaming tigress and, is believed that  he meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century.Tiger’s Nest is such an important site among Buddhists.

Legends aside, the scenic beauty will leave you speechless. It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen.

Need to know about my Tiger’s Nest Hike Experience.

Hope this article may have answered your questions and cleared your queries related to Bhutan Entry permit and Visa application requirement. In case i have missed anything, feel free to ask in the comment section.

I have shared the details in this post because Sharing is Caring. 🙂

Happy Traveling 🙂

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