Travel Documents

Passport
You need a passport to enter Bhutan and its neighbouring countries. You should ensure that it has sufficient empty pages for stamps, especially if you are travelling via India or Nepal. If your passport has less than six months of validity left, it is worth getting a new one, because many countries in this region will not issue visas to persons whose passports are about to expire.

Keep your passport safe. No country other than India has the facility for issuing a replacement passport in Bhutan. If you lose your passport, you must travel ‘stateless’ to another country to get it replaced. You should carry some additional form of identification and a photocopy of your passport to help in such an event.

Tickets
Because there is no competition with other airlines for flights to Paro, Druk Air fares are expensive. Check the latest fares at www.drukair.com.bt. There are no discounts or student fares except for citizens of Bhutan. The Druk Air rules say that if fares are increased after the ticket is issued, they may collect the difference when you check in.

Thai International can issue tickets on Druk Air; the Bangkok offices know how to do this, but most of the overseas offices are not familiar with the procedures. Once your Bhutanese agent has confirmed the flight and the visa authority has been issued, allow another week for the reservation information to make its way to Thai International’s computers. You’ll probably still have to communicate several times with your agent in Thimphu to get Druk Air to send a confirmation message to Thai.

Many overseas agents that arrange groups to Bhutan have the tickets issued in Kathmandu, Bangkok or Delhi. A local representative waits at the Druk Air counter to deliver the tickets and check you in for your flight. If you have booked directly with a Bhutanese tour operator, you can send payment for the air fare directly to the agent in Thimphu as a separate bank transfer, not as part of the payment for the tour. The agent can then issue the Paro ticket and mail or courier it to you.

You will need to buy a ticket to and from the place where you will connect to Druk Air. Bangkok is the best place to connect if you are coming from North America, Australia or Asia. Delhi is the best place to connect if you are coming from Europe or the Middle East. A connection via Kathmandu will give you a taste of the Himalaya and of Tibetan Buddhism before you fly to Bhutan (but you might find all the window seats taken by passengers who embarked in Delhi). Other connections via Kolkata or Dhaka are possible, but these are off the routes of direct flights for major airlines, and few discounted air fares are available to these places. The airport tax on departure from Paro is Nu 500, which is included in the price of the ticket.

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