Bhutan Visa & Travel Cost

Bhutan visa process may appear complicated, but is actually quite straight forward once you understand it. Most countries issue their visas from their embassies abroad and stamp it in your passport, but not for Bhutan. Bhutanese Embassies abroad cannot issue Visa for travel to Bhutan. Tourist must apply in advance through your tour operator such as Nomad-voyages and receive Visa before you travel to Bhutan. Tourist Visas are approved by Tourism Department and then by the Department of Immigration in Thimphu. Without this visa approval, you will not be allowed  to board the flight into Bhutan or enter by overland. The actual visa is stamped on the passport upon arrival in the country, either at Paro airport or (if entering by road) at Phuentsholing, Gelephu or Samdrup Jongkhar.  You need to provide your passport copy (physical passport is not required) to your tour operator. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond the travel dates.

Except Indian, Bangladesh and Maldives passport holders, all visitor require visa to enter Bhutan. Thai Diplomats and Official Passport holders can get visa upon arrival.

If you are coming as a Guest, on invitation of Government, NGO, Institutes etc, your host agency in Bhutan will apply for Visa through the Immigration Department, after passing through respective channels such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu.


Bhutan Visa fee is US$40 per person. For tourists, visa fee is paid along with your tour payment in advance through your tour operator. Guests on invitation in most cases pay visa fee upon arrival at the airport or point of entry.

Validity: Visa is granted for the exact dates of your visit as applied in advance. However extension of visa is possible after arrival in Bhutan.



All applications for tourist visas must be initialized by a Bhutanese tour operator such as Momo Bhutan.  The operator submits the visa application to Department of Tourism (Tourism Council of Bhutan) in Thimphu. It, in turn, checks that you have paid for the trip and then issues an approval letter to the tour operator. With this approval in hand, the tour operator then makes a final application to the Department of Immigration, which then takes about a week (with exception to urgent cases) to process the Visa Clearance Letter.

After issuing Visa Clearance Letter, Department of Immigration also sends the copy electronically to the port of entries such as Paro airport, Phuentsholing and Gelephu. Along with Visa clearance letter, Immigration Department will also issue route permit, that allows you to travel beyond Thimphu and Paro as per your pre-planned itinerary.  There is no form for you to fill, no need to send photos, simply send your passport copy, and rest will be taken care by your tour operator.

Without this clearance letter, you will not be able to board the flight in Bhutan. Momo Bhutan will send you copy of this Visa clearance letter in advance, so you can show it to the airline at the time of check-in or at the entry points if you are arriving overland. The actual visa is stamped on your passport when you arrive in Paro airport or at Immigration desk in Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jonhgkhar or Gelephu if you are arriving overland

It’s an amazingly efficient system considering all the time, distance and various levels of bureaucracy involved. Your Bhutan Tour operator will also obtain permits to enter Dzongs, monasteries and temples covered by your itinerary.



Bhutan Government sets minimum price per day per person. That cost varies by season. During the high season the minimum price is US$250 per night and during the lean season is US$200 per night.  Further if you are in a group of less than 3 members, there are additional surcharges of $30 per day per person and $40 per day per person. The high season months are March, April, May, September, October, and November.

  • Daily tourist fees, also called royalties.
  • Vehicle for transfer and land transportation
  • English speaking licensed Guide
  • Entrance fees to the regular tourist sites/ monuments
  • Accommodation in twin/double sharing room in 3 star hotels or best available where 3 star is not available or in tents if trekking. (Single room costs are extra)
  • All three meals at these hotels or tents on in local restaurants
  • If you are trekking, the cost includes camping equipment, pack animals (horses or yaks) for carrying your luggage and camping gears, camp staffs such as cooks and horseman.

In addition to the above, the each person pays  one time fee of US$50 for the entire trip as extra for Visa and TDF (Tourism Development fund).
Any cost of upgrading hotels is extra, which depends on the cost of  room and meals at that particular hotel. This may be necessary at times, because the regular 3 star hotels may not be available, or because the tour operator deems it appropriate to suggest, or you choose to upgrade yourself. Any other services you wish to available, including the costs of flights are extra.


The following categories of visitors are eligible for discounts on the daily rate:
Children below 5 years of age at the time of travel, if accompanied by parents can travel for free. Government part of fees are free (except visa fees). However any actual expenses for boarding, lodge, etc for the children if required must be borne.
Children between 5-12 years accompanied by elders/ guardians shall be given 50% discount on daily rates.  This Royalty is currently set at $65 per day.
Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years at the time of travel, holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions, are given 25% discount.
A group leader discount of 100% is  given for every 15 paying members travelling on the same itinerary or 50% discount for every 10 paying members.
Travel Agents: Tour companies intending to put Bhutan into their programs may apply for a discounted familiarisation tour. It’s unlikely that you can manage this arrangement unless you are already a serious player in the travel industry. Bhutan Tourism has an excellent network of connections worldwide and will check your bona fides beforehand. It also requires both a pre-trip and a post-trip briefing.