Bhutan has an air of mystery; the simple yet captivating land manages to touch your soul and soothe it with peace.
The cool climate, breathtaking views, and majestic monasteries dotted along the valleys may seem cliched to describe Bhutan’s beauty, but each word used to describe this stunning country is in its purest form.
While we believe that unplanned adventures are exciting, there is a fine line between planning and having the right information to ensure that your trip to this tiny kingdom goes as smoothly as possible.
So, do you want to partake in this unforgettable experience?
Let, Norbu Bhutan, help you plan your Bhutan tour from India, including how to book a Bhutan Visa for Indians.
The following is a step-by-step guide including how to process Bhutan visa for Indians and to guide you plan your trip to Thunder Dragon Land without hassle or confusion!
Do you need Bhutan Visa for Indians?
Do you need a Bhutan visa for Indians?
Let us start with the most important document, the Bhutan visa for Indians!
Thanks to the close relationship between the Government of India and Bhutan, there is no need to obtain a Bhutan Visa for Indians.
However, you will need a valid Indian passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or a valid Voter Identity card issued by the Election Commission of India.
To enter Bhutan, you will need entry permits, which you can obtain upon arrival or in advance through a travel agency in Bhutan like Norbu Bhutan.
What permits do you need instead of a Bhutan Visa for Indians?
Instead of obtaining a Bhutan Visa for Indians, you must get your regional permit to enter Bhutan.
The Government of Bhutan has launched the Online Permit System to streamline and facilitate smooth visitation by tourists from Bangladesh, India, and the Maldives.
Regional tourists can now obtain permits online through registered Bhutanese tour operators like Norbu Bhutan and TCB-certified hotels, rather than obtaining a Bhutan visa for Indians.
The facility is an optional channel for visitors from the region to process permits, and it is applicable for entry from Paro and Phuntsholing. Visitors who use this service can obtain clearances and route permits before arriving in Bhutan.
What documents do you need to process entry permits to visit Bhutan?
Permit documents instead of Bhutan Visa for Indians
While there is no need for a Bhutan Visa for Indians, you do need to obtain entry permits.
With entry permits, you can stay up to 15 days without Bhutan Visa for Indians, with the possibility of extensions subject to approval by Immigration.
Here are the documents required to process entry permits for Indian tourists:
- Valid Identification Card
- Duly filled entry permit application form
- 2 standard-size passport photographs
- Hotel booking voucher (you must confirm hotel bookings in Bhutan before applying for the permit)
- Tour Guide Details
It is important to note that the entry permit only allows you to enter Bhutan and visit the 3 popular districts, Paro, Thimphu, and Phuntsholing.
If you wish to visit other districts, you must apply for a Route Permit on arrival in Thimphu at the Immigration Office or you can apply and process in advance with your travel operator.
Here are the documents required to process Route Permit:
- Valid Indian passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or valid Voter Identity Card
- Duly filled route permit application form
- Copy of the Entry Permit
Note: The immigration check post en route to most places will check for this permit, and Indian tourists failing to apply for it will not be allowed to continue their journey.
What does Bhutan’s new tourism fee mean for Indian visitors?
Instead of a Bhutan Visa for Indians, you will have to pay a sustainable development fee (SDF) while traveling to Bhutan. Bhutan’s tourism sector has implemented a new sustainable development charge policy as it re-opens its borders on September 23, 2022.
The Last Shangri-La is so idyllic because of its natural beauty, rich culture, and heritage. The country has believed in ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism policy since the early 70s.
As of 2022, Bhutan will rebrand as “an exclusive destination,” attracting “discerning tourists” with access to a wider range of higher-quality services.
The increased tourist tax has been levied to offset the carbon footprint in tourism and enhance workers’ skills in the industry. The fees will go towards activities that promote carbon-neutral tourism and build a more sustainable tourism sector.
At the same time, the Minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR) has been removed. The rate refers to the minimum fee all tourists pay for an all-inclusive package tour to Bhutan.
The MDPR has in the past often limited the tourist experience, as travelers could only choose packaged tours provided by tour operators.
So, what does this mean for our Indian tourists?
Bhutan Visa for Indians: A complete guide
Previously stipulated sustainable development fee for Indians was $16, less than 10 percent of other overseas visitors pay. Now, Indian tourists will have to pay a fee of Nu.1200 per day.
Children between the ages of 6 and 12 years will also have to pay a fee of Nu. 600 while children below the age of 5 will be exempt.
The SDF has increased almost triple-fold, from $65 to $200 per person per day. But for Indian tourists, the SDF will remain the same at Nu. 1,200 as of now, with the stipulated fee being revised later.
So, check our website for Information for Indian Travelers before you plan your trip to Bhutan!
Can you use Indian currency in Bhutan?
There is no Bhutan Visa For Indians and the currency is also the same
Yes, you can use Indian currency in Bhutan because the Bhutanese currency, Ngultrum, has the same value as the Indian currency, i.e., INR 1 = Nu 1.
The Indian denomination notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 are widely used in Bhutan. The country has started accepting notes of Rs.500 and Rs.2000 in the market.
What are the COVID protocols for Indian tourists visiting Bhutan?
While there is no Bhutan visa for Indians, there are strict covid protocols that all tourists must follow.
As per the current Covid-19 protocol set by the Government of Bhutan, all international visitors traveling to Bhutan must produce a Covid-19 negative certificate upon arrival.
Here are the current Covid-19 protocols for Indian tourists visiting Bhutan:
- Pay the Sustainable Development Fees (SDF)
- Pay for all tests as per COVID-19 requirements.
- Strictly follow COVID-19 Protocol.
- Have valid insurance coverage.
How can you travel to Bhutan from India?
You can travel to Bhutan by three routes; air, rail, and road, without needing a Bhutan visa for Indians.
1. By Air
You will have to book a flight with either Drukair or Bhutan Airlines to fly in and out of Bhutan without a Bhutan visa for Indians.
These two airlines fly to Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport, from Delhi, Gaya, Bagdogra, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Guwahati.
2. By Rail
One of the most cost-effective ways to travel from India to Bhutan without a Bhutan visa for Indians is by train. The nearest railway station to Hasimara is in Jaigaon, an Indian town on the Indo-Bhutan border. Tickets and schedules are available on the IRCTC website of the Indian Railways.
3. By Road
Another way to travel to Bhutan without a Bhutan visa for Indians is by road via Jaigaon, West Bengal. It is only 4.3 kilometers from the border town of Phuentsholing in Bhutan. You can either hire a private cab or drive your private Indian vehicle to Bhutan.
Can you drive a private Indian car to Bhutan?
Apart from not requiring a Bhutan visa for Indians, you can enjoy a road trip to Bhutan!
You can travel to Bhutan in your car by applying for and receiving an authorization letter from the Royal Safety and Transport Authority of Bhutan (RSTA) upon arrival.
Here are the documents required to process the authorization letter from RSTA Bhutan:
- Vehicle insurance
- Vehicle fitness certificate
- Valid driver’s license copy
- Entry Permit Copy
- Copy of Passport/Valid Voter ID Card
- Duly filled authorized letter application form
- Authorized letter from the owner of the car
- Green tax for vehicle
You can take advantage of Bhutan at its best as it repositions itself as a luxury tourist destination by not having to apply for a Bhutan visa for Indians.
Applying for a travel visa is often the most time-consuming aspect of any trip. However, because there is no Bhutan visa for Indians, you can get right to planning your trip with our simple guide!
Want to stay up to date with all the travel information? Read Important Travel Updates before booking your trip with us!