If a visitor comes for a sightseeing tour, trekking, etc. the full package which includes standard accommodation, guide, transportation, meals, and the REVISED SDF will cost approximately as follows:
- Organized groups: 300 to 350 USD per person per day
- Couples: 350 to 375 USD per person per day
- Solo travellers: around 400 USD per day
Prices as above are our rough estimates and might differ depending on many factors, especially hotel rates, distances are driven, etc. Price is subject to free market competition.
Tourists might also just come to Bhutan after paying 200 USD per person per day and then staying in 3-star hotels certified by the Department of Tourism (DoT), Royal Government of Bhutan. For transport, they might travel by taxi or bus and use a guide only when it is totally necessary, especially within Thimphu city. We can’t really say exactly how much you can save by traveling like this, perhaps you can press the cost down to 250-300 USD per person per day. However, the Bhutanese infrastructure is not really ready for this. Without the expertly and individually crafted tour package, visitors will most likely experience considerably less in a longer time compared to what is possible with the fine-tuned program, private transport, and professional and friendly guide. In the end, there will be no or very little savings on cost while experience will be compromised.
With the tour organized by Bhutan Signature Tours, there was always flexibility and freedom. What we did was to work hard on every guest’s individual needs and wishes and seamlessly make them into reality whenever possible. Without tour operators’ support and knowledge, visitors will often miss opportunities they even don’t know to exist. And while you have the liberty to choose your service provider for cultural tours, please note that if you are coming for trekking then it’s mandatory that you have to avail the services from Tour operators only.
Regional tourism from India, Bangladesh and Maldives
While international tourism is now heavily curtailed, regional tourism remains mostly untouched by the current reform.
The uncontrolled inflow of regional tourists was considered a huge problem before covid. Regional tourists could come only after getting a travel permit and then travel freely. However, from the 1st of July 2020, a new policy was supposed to come in place requiring regional travellers to arrange travel permits from the Bhutanese Tour Operator, and also get the hotel, transport, and guide travel package. They were also supposed to pay SDF of 1200 Rs/Nu (15 USD) per person per day. Unfortunately, this policy was never tested, since COVID-19 stopped all tourism on 5th March 2020.
As per the new policy, Indian travellers still have obligation to arrange the transportation and guide, but they will not need a tour operator for their permit processing. Also, they will have to pay an SDF of 1200 Rs/Nu per day. No discounts on that, even toddlers have to pay the same.