Bhutan revised entrance fees for historical monuments and sacred sites

Aside from the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, tourists are now required to pay Nu. 1000 entrance fees to various sacred sites in the kingdom.

After the 14th meeting by the National Monument Committee that was held on the July 12, 2022, entrance fees to various national monuments in Bhutan were revised for all tourists with immediate effect. The fees revision include entry to the iconic Taktsang Monastery, Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu Memorial chorten, Changangkha Lhakhang, Kyichu Lhakhang, Rinpung Dzong, Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakhang (Fertility Temple).

Visitors entering Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) are now subjected to an entrance fee of 2000 BTN (~USD25) and the fees for the other monuments have been set at 1000 BTN (~USD12.50). As per the Director General of the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) Dorji Dhradhul, the fees have been revised and doubled due to inflation.

The notification also states that children below the ages of 18 will be granted a 50% concession on the fees and children ages 5 and below will be exempted from the payment of fees.

As of now, the fees will be payable directly to TCB and tourists will be charged accordingly to the itinerary of their visit to Bhutan. This arrangement will last until September 23, 2022, when the borders reopen. After September 23, the fees will be collected at the respective monument sites. Thereafter, 8 other national monuments will charge an entry fee of 1000 BTN (~USD12.50). These monuments include Jambay Lhakhang, Bumthang; Jantsa Dumtseg Lhakhang, Paro; Dobji Dzong, Paro; Rinchending Goenpa, Phuentsholing; Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu; Simtokha Dzong, Thimphu; Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa and Palden Tashi Choling Shedra, Phuntsholing.

Additionally, these monuments and sacred sites will only be opened to the locals on six auspicious dates in the Bhutanese calendar:

  • 5th of the 1st month (Chotrul Duchen),
  • 10th day of the 3rd month (Zhabdrung Kuchoe),
  • 15th day of the 4th month (Saga Dawa Duchen/ Lord Buddha Parinirvana),
  • 4th day of the 6th month (Chokor Duchen/ first sermon of Lord Buddha),
  • 22nd day of the 9th month (Lha Bab Duchen/Descending day of Lord Buddha) and
  • 10th day of the 5th month (Birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche).

TCB’s Director General Dorji Dhradhrul said that Bhutanese tend to visit these sites on these dates as they are national holidays which in turn leads to overcrowding and eventually leads to a lack of proper services available to tourists.

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The tourism industry has seen the hardest impact of COVID-19 pandemic, with airlines being impacted the most globally. Consequently, there has been a severe impact on Drukair’s overall revenue since the onset of the pandemic, with flight operations almost coming to a standstill and drastic reduction in passenger numbers.

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