Bhutan Travel Information

Last modified: September 4, 2023
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.

Air travel

Druk Air (Royal Bhutan Airlines) is the National Flag carrier in and out of Bhutan. Normally, daily air services between Paro and Bangkok and Paro and Kolkata and weekly services between Paro and Kathmandu are also operated by Tashi Air (Bhutan Airlines), an independent Bhutanese airline. A domestic flight operated by Druk Air flies between Paro, Bumthang, Yongphula and Gelegphug. Flights can be subject to disruption due to weather conditions.

Phuntsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar in eastern Bhutan are the only land border areas normally open for international tourists. You can get more information on the Tourism Council of Bhutan website.

Road travel

Accidents are common, particularly in monsoon season. Observe the speed limit and make sure you have adequate insurance. Special care should be taken on highways, where conditions are often dangerous.

If you’re visiting Bhutan as a tourist, you should request temporary authorisation to drive through your tour agency. For longer stays, visitors can request a Bhutanese driving licence from the Road Safety and Transport Authority of Bhutan upon presentation of a valid UK driving licence.

  • A yellow fever vaccination is required by all travellers coming from infected areas planning on visiting the country.
  • All native water should be considered potentially contaminated and should be thoroughly boiled before being drunk. Travellers are urged to stick to bottled water where possible and should avoid swimming in any lakes, pools or other natural water sources. Milk is likely to be unpasteurised and all dairy products should be checked before being eaten. Meat, poultry, fish and vegetables should be well cooked and served boiling hot before being consumed and fruit peeled before eaten.
  • Travellers to Bhutan are advised to obtain routine vaccinations against Hepatitis A, E, Typhoid, Tetanus and Polio prior to beginning their journey and should exercise extreme caution when dealing with potentially contaminated food and water. Consumables served from vendors are not advised owing to the extra risk of infection. Tuberculosis is highly endemic to the region and all visitors to the region should submit to a skin test both prior to and immediately after visiting the country.
  • Malaria exists throughout the year throughout the southern belt of the country comprising the districts of Chukha, Samchi, Sandrup Jonkhar, Geyleg-phug and Shemgang. The disease is particularly active between the months of June to September but all travellers visiting at other times of the year should still exercise extreme caution. The disease is contracted via mosquito bites and all visitors to the country are urged to wear close fitting clothing that exposes little skin where possible and should buy plenty of insect repellent for defence. If bitten, travellers are urged to immediately seek out emergency medical assistance before serious symptoms develop. Additional insect based diseases present throughout Bhutan include Dengue Fever and Japanese encephalitis and all travellers should exercise great caution to prevent any potential risk of infection.
  • Hepatitis B is present throughout the country and all visitors are strongly advised to take considerable care when dealing with bloody/infected needles or when engaging in sexual activity during the course of their visit.
  • Two fatal cases of human rabies, both related to dog bites, were reported from Gelephu in July 2009 and all travellers visiting remote regions of the country are strongly advised to avoid any contact with wild animals whose bites might contain the disease. If bitten, visitors should immediately clean the wound before seeking out emergency medical assistance.
  • Acute Mountain Sickness can be an issue if travelling in some of the higher areas of the country. Symptoms can include nauseas, headaches, fatigue and dizziness and any traveller not used to high altitudes should immediately stop their activities and slowly make their way to a lower altitude until symptoms abate. Medical assistance should be sought if ill feelings continue to persist.

Basic security information for travelers to Bhutan

  • The buying and selling of Tobacco is illegal in Bhutan. Any traveller visiting the country will be required to bring in their own supplies. Smoking in government places is prohibited and considered sacrilegious if undertaken near any religious locations. Visitors to religious or administrative facilities are advised to remove their hats upon entering and to act in a quiet and respectful manner at all times.

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