1. Why should I choose Bhutan Expeditions? a) Bhutan Expeditions is a small family-owned business. We are more concerned with customer care and personalized services than with handling a large volume of tourists. b) Our tours and treks are not only sightseeing trips, but also cover spiritual and cultural aspects of Bhutan. Therefore, most of our tours are education-oriented. c) We have the best tour/trek guide/leader in the country, Tsewang Nidup, who topped the Cultural Tour Guiding class in 1997, Trekking Guiding class in 1999 and Assistant Tour Leaders Examination in July 2002. Tsewang is always enthusiastic to share his experiences and knowledge with visitors, including international consultants working in Bhutan, who always appreciate his ability as a guide and a tour leader. d) Our visitors are accommodated in comfortable hotels/guest houses. Bhutan Expeditions has good quality trekking equipment, backed by knowledgeable guides and cooks, who can create various Indian, Chinese, Continental and Bhutanese cuisine.
2. How can I book a package tour to Bhutan? Choose any of the tour programs or ask us to customize an itinerary for your trip and send us your passport copies (JPG format) as e-mail attachments for enabling us to book your seats on Drukair or Tashi Air.
3. What is the minimum tourist tariff for Bhutan? The minimum tariff for tourists visiting in a group of three persons or more are as follows: High season tariff - US$ 250 per person per night (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov). Low season tariff - US $ 200 per person per night (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec)
There is a supplement fee of $ 40 for single traveler and $ 30 each for a two member group.
4. Can I travel as a free individual in Bhutan? Tourists are not permitted to travel freely without a guide in Bhutan. Tours to most parts of Bhutan can be arranged for an individual tourist and small groups of less than three persons in accordance with the travelers' interests and desires. Such tours are subject to a surcharge, over and above the minimum daily rates applicable, as follows: Single individual - US$ 40.00 per night. Group of two - US $30.00 per person per night.
5. Are there any discounts? Yes, the following discounts on daily rates are allowed:. a) There will be no charge for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years, while those between the ages of 6 and 12 years, accompanied by elders/guardians, will be given 50% discount on daily rates. b) Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years, holding valid identity cards from academic institutions, will also be given a 25 % discount on daily rates.
6. How can I process my VISA for Bhutan? Fill out your visa application form and submit it to us as e-mail attachment. It is needless to sign or paste your photo on your visa application form. Bhutan Expeditions will apply it on your behalf, and after approval, your visa clearance copy will be sent to you by e-mail. You have to print out the visa clearance copy along with your Airline tickets and carry it along to the airport for check in. The actual visas will be stamped on your passports upon your arrival in Bhutan.
7. Why is there a fixed cost for travel to Bhutan? And why is it relatively more expensive than neighboring destinations? The fixed cost that you pay is not just a fee for entry to Bhutan. This cost is a package that covers all your accommodation, meals, land transportation, guides, sightseeing, inland permits and fees. In case of trekking, this sum covers all expenses , such as the cost of pack animals for carrying your camping equipment, food provisions, cooks and transport. The fixed tourist tariff is set by the government and is applicable to all tour operators in Bhutan. The government controls the cost in order to manage tourism in a sensible and sustainable way, avoiding negative effects on both the environment and the culture. The major share of the tariff that goes to the government is used for providing health and education services as well as maintaining the infrastructure for tourism. Working directly with Bhutan Expeditions will provide the greatest flexibility at the lowest possible cost. The only way for visiting Bhutan is by purchasing a package tour from a reliable and licensed tour operator at these rates. For the last 20 years, Bhutan has marvelously preserved its age-old traditions, sacred monasteries and temples. The pristine air and environment, without large cities and slums, add more value to Bhutan as a tourist destination. For many visitors, Bhutan is refreshing; since they find here something that many other countries lost years ago, and will probably not be able to retrieve it again. Therefore, it would be best if you support our government's noble goal of sustainable low-volume, high-value tourism, which all of our visitors enjoy when they come to Bhutan.
8. What is not included in the Package? Airfares, airport taxes, visa fees, excess baggage, insurance, emergency evacuation, medical and all other personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, beverages, etc.
9. Can I find cheaper rates for travel to Bhutan? Yes, but any other rates, other than the tariffs set by the government, are illegal and you would be taking a serious risk. The tourism authority strictly checks any kind of undercutting, and will impose severe sanctions on anyone found guilty, such as revocation of business license, disruption of tours, and even deportation of visitors. In any case, cheaper rates would inevitably lead to poorer customer service, as tour operators or tours would herd as many guests as possible in large groups, put them up in sub-standard hotels to cut expenses, and hire unqualified guides to haul their visitors around.
10. When do I make the tour payment? Tour payments must be made at least one month before the start of the tour. The visa process will begin only after receipt of the full tour payment.
11. How do I cancel my trip? Tour programs booked and subsequently canceled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows: a) 30 days or more prior to start of the tour - No charge b) 30-21 days prior to start of tour - 10% of the rate c) 14-21 days prior to start of tour - 15% of the rate d) 7-4 days prior to start of tour - 30% of the rate e) Less than 7 days prior to start of tour, or cancellation without notice - 50% of the rate f) After arrival in Bhutan - 100% Cancellation should be notified in writing directly to the tour company.
12. What happens in the case of delayed arrival/departure? There shall be no charge for the number of days of delay in the departure of visitors due to bad weather conditions, Druk Air problems or road blocks. However, you will be charged any actual expenses for accommodation, food, transportation and any other services required.
13. What kind of vehicles are used for tours? For individual travelers and a group of less than four persons, we use cars such as Toyota and , Hyundai SUVs. For groups of 5-9 persons, we have Toyota Hiace buses. For larger groups of 10-22 persons, we use Deluxe Toyota Coaster buses.
14. What kind of hotels will we stay in? We normally put our visitors in the best hotels available in each valley. These may not be comparable with multi-star hotels in developed countries, but will be clean and comfortable, with proper bathroom facilities and a good range of food.
15. What is the best time to be in Bhutan? Spring and fall are usually the best times in Bhutan as far as weather is concerned. You will get good views in winter and the best diversity of fauna and flora in the summer, when the rates are also the lowest.