When we think of Bhutan, the first thing that comes to mind is its Gross National Happiness philosophy. It is the only country in the world that places importance on the collective happiness of citizens in harmony with nature and traditional values.
Bhutan, a predominantly Buddhist country, is a small, landlocked nation. This Himalayan kingdom is located between India and China and is also the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism. Bhutan boasts of a picturesque landscape ranging from subtropical forests and plains in the South to subalpine forests and snow-capped mountains in the North.
Here is all you need to know about Bhutan travel from India.
Philosophy of Tourism in Bhutan
Bhutanese are very proud of their culture, traditions and nature. In order to preserve this heritage, the government advocates a policy of ‘High Value, Low Impact’. In keeping with this policy, tourists are expected to respect the sacred Bhutanese culture and values whilst enjoying the scenic beauty and warm hospitality of the people.
Indians do not require a visa to enter Bhutan. However, you need to carry either one of the below-mentioned travel documents:
- Valid Indian Passport with a validity of at least six months
- Voter Identity Card, as issued by the Election Commission of India
Bhutan’s tourism policy rests on the principle of ‘High Value, Low Impact, ’ which enables tourists to contribute to its socio-economic development by way of responsible tourism. This philosophy allows the Bhutanese government to protect their unique culture and natural treasures. As part of this policy, all tourists are required to pay the daily tariff as implemented by the government during their visit to Bhutan. Thus, this will help you calculate the Bhutan travel cost.
The daily tariff varies depending upon the number of travellers and the month of travel to Bhutan.
- Peak season: $250 per day (includes the months of March, April, May, September, October and November)
- Non-peak season: $200 per day (includes the months of January, February, June, July and August)
On paying the tariff, tourists are offered a package that includes the following:
- a minimum of three-star accommodation
- meal costs
- transport and an experienced local guide to accompany you across the country
The above tariffs are also inclusive of a Sustainable Development Fee of $65 per day. This fee is utilised to provide Bhutanese citizens with free education and healthcare, thereby minimising poverty.
This is part of its Gross National Happiness ethos to ensure that all the citizens have access to basic education and medical care. It is advisable to organise your trip via a local tour operator who can arrange for these services on your behalf. Do check out the Bhutan Tourism website for a list of bonafide tour operators.
The currency in Bhutan is called the Ngultrum. The value of a Ngultrum is similar to the Indian Rupee, which is accepted across Bhutan. However, being a small country with mostly rural areas, it is advisable to carry cash as there are few banks and ATMs, and credit cards are accepted only in high-end hotels or boutiques.
Travel Insurance Policy
Being a landlocked country, the landscape of Bhutan is such that you need to travel long distances for any major requirements, including medical care. In order to avoid any such unfortunate experience, it is better to have a travel international insurance policy that protects you in case of medical and non-medical emergencies. You can check out the various traveller insurance options available in India or ask your local tour operator to recommend a travel insurance Bhutan policy and select the best travel insurance plan for your trip. In addition, you can buy travel insurance for Bhutan online.
Bhutan has earned a place of respect amongst tourists the world over for its steadfastness in preserving its natural beauty and age-old culture and providing its citizens with facilities, thus empowering them with equal and fair opportunities. The Bhutanese are a polite lot and reflect the serenity of their heritage. As a tourist, you will not only enjoy the authenticity of the country but will also contribute to its welfare and sustainable efforts. Visit Bhutan to enjoy the happiness in simple things and return with an enriched mind, body and soul. So, book your tickets and Tashi Delek to Bhutan.