A budget tour to the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ Bhutan is possible if you plan your Bhutan trip some time before the actual visit.
Bhutan is one of the most travel-friendly countries in Asia. This small landlocked country is also known as the ‘Land of Happy People’. It is a favorite destination for travelers of every budget.
For the travelers with a limited budget, you can plan the Bhutan Budget tour. With this tour, you can explore Bhutan but with the least expense.
MDP During the Bhutan Budget Tour
For any kind of tours, treks or visits in Bhutan, tourists need to pay a minimum daily package (MDP) rate. The only tourists who do not need to pay this rate are the citizens of India, Maldives, and Bangladesh.
The Government of Bhutan has fixed this rate at US$250 and US$ 200 for peak and off-seasons respectively. Yet, there are also discounts, surcharges applicable depending on different factors.
The MDP rate includes almost all your daily expense. The MDP covers accommodation and meals (excluding liquor). It also covers ground transportation, entrance fees, a private guide, and driver.
Highlights of Bhutan Budget Tour
- Witness the extraordinary geographical diversity and a diverse climate in Bhutan.
- Explore the outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems of Bhutan.
- Stroll around some of the most breathtaking destinations in the world. This includes the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, one of the largest statues of Buddha, Punakha Dzong.
- One of the safest countries for travels in Asia for both solo and group travelers.
- Get to spot or meet the actual Royal couple of Bhutan.
- 100% organic farming (The first country to achieve this).
- Crisp, Clean and Less Crowded Himalaya areas
- Great Hospitality of the local Bhutanese
Peak Season for Bhutan Budget Tour
For Budget Tours, the best time to visit Bhutan is during the months of December – February, and June- August. The MDP rate is US$ 200 per day during these months. Hence, you will save US$ 50 per day.
December- February is winter in Bhutan. It can get quite cold with snowfall in some parts of Bhutan. June-August is Monsoon in Bhutan.
During these months, your visits can be awesome with the right clothes and supplies. You can also enjoy your tours to various places with few to no crowds.
What is the Effect of Solo or Group Trips on Bhutan budget Tour?
Traveling solo to Bhutan is more expensive than traveling in a group. For individual travelers, the daily surcharge is about US$ 40. While dual travelers can do it for US$ 30 per day.
Besides this, if you want an individual room, you have an extra surcharge. The surcharge is US$ 40 during off-peak season. While it is US$ 50 during peak season.
Traveling in groups of more than 2 travelers is budget friendly. For groups larger than 11 individuals, you can also apply for discounts.
If you don’t have a group to travel with, let the tour agency know beforehand. We can help you arrange the group for you.
Major Places to Visit During the Bhutan Budget Tour
The whole of Bhutan has something worth exploring. For first time travelers, some of the not to miss tourist attractions are:
Phuentsholing is the second largest town of Bhutan. It serves as the leading trade center of the country. For budget travelers, this can be a great place for entry and exit.
It falls in the SDF free zone. This means you get discounts in your MDP rate during your stay in this town.
The places to see in around Phuentsholing are –
Zangto Pelri Lhakhang: A place of worship with spectacular architecture. It is also home to eight life-size idols of different manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. Other things to see here are the statues of Bodhisattvas, paintings of Lord Buddha and statues of Avalokiteshvara.
Karbandi Monastery: You get the view of the entire town from here. Located at only 400m, it is a beautiful monastery worth a visit.
Bhutan Gate: It is the official gate at the international boundary between India and Bhutan. The architecture of the Bhutan Gate is worth checking out.
Paro is a charming townhome to the only international airport of Bhutan. This popular town has amazing religious sites, historic places, and a culturally rich vibe.
Some of the places to see in Paro are:
Paro Taktsang: The famous Tigers Nest monastery or Paro Taktsang lies in the high mountains of Paro. It is one of the most popular landmarks of Bhutan.
Rinchen Pung Dzong: Popularly known as Rinpung Dzong, the name translates to “Fortress on a heap of jewels’ in the native language. The fort was then used to defend Paro Valley from foreign invasions during the 16th century.
Chele La: At 3810m, Chele La Pass is one of the highest pass accessible by a motor in Bhutan. This pass separates Haa from Paro valley. A drive here gives you beautiful views of dense green forests as well as the surrounding landscapes.
National Museum of Bhutan: The Conch Shell shaped building has an impressive display that reflects the rich history of the culture of Bhutan. There is also a Natural and Heritage Gallery here.
The capital and largest city of Thimphu is a rich combination of traditional and contemporary culture.
Along with the traditional attractions, you can enjoy the cafes, nightclubs, and restaurants, here.
Places to include in your visit to Thimphu are:
Chorten Memorial: This large Tibetan religious structure is a place of daily worship for many. The chorten has richly painted annexes that face the cardinal directions. It has mandalas and statues crafted on it.
Tashichho Dzong: The current Royals of Bhutan live here. You can visit this magnificent place after 4.30 pm for 1 hour.
This Glacial Valley is an extremely beautiful place. During Winter it is home to the endangered Black Neck Cranes.
Places to visit around Phobjikha are:
Gangte Goemba: This large monastery consists of a central gompa, quarters for monks, a guesthouse and meditation centers.
Nyelung Dechenling: This temple is one of the 8 residences of Nyingma Dzogchen master Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa).
Popular Tour Packages for Bhutan Budget Tour
3 Days Bhutan Tour
This 3 days short yet fulfilling Bhutan tour is perfect for those on time and budget constraint.
In this short time, you will discover the hidden treasures of both Paro and Thimphu.
You will visit unique cultural settlements, architectures, and fortresses. You will also discover unusual high hill valley and Himalaya landscape. This tour gives you the perfect glimpse of the rich and diverse culture and landscape of Bhutan.
11 Days Bhutan Thimphu Festival and Trek
This visit to Bhutan allows you to witness the beautiful festival of Thimphu- Thimphu Tsechu. Along with this, you will trek and explore the rich country of Thimphu.
This trek gives you a first-hand look into the rich culture and lifestyle of the locals of Bhutan. You will also explore the beautiful town of Paro and the city of Thimphu.
This trek is the perfect combination of a nature tour along with a cultural one.
Paro Tsechu Festival Tour
This is another great combination tour of sightseeing along with a cultural tour.
The tour centers around Paro Tsechu. This is one of the most famous Tsechu (religious festival) of Bhutan.
You will get to see traditional masked dances during the festival. You will also witness the local festivities along with an in-depth look into the rich culture and tradition of Bhutan.
Along with this, you will explore the beautiful regions of Paro and Thimphu.
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek
This trek gives offers you mesmerizing views of the entire Bhutanese Himalayan range. You can also see Kanchenjunga- the world’s 3rd highest mountain.
This trek takes you to the less walked parts of Bhutan. Hence, you get an actual look into the lives of the Bhutanese people.
As the name suggests, you will see many, beautiful high altitude mountain lakes. During the start and end of your trip, you can also indulge in some sightseeing tours.
Week-Long Bhutan Journey
This journey takes you through 3 beautiful places of Bhutan- Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha.
During your tour, you will explore the highlights of this diverse kingdom.
You will explore ancient monasteries, famous museums. You will also explore the natural attractions like the Dochu La Pass and Gangtey Valley.
Planning and Preparation Tips for Bhutan Budget Tour
There are always ways to cut down expenses on your travels to many destinations including to Bhutan. Always remember that the priority of a trip is to explore and get to know a country or a place. It is not about spending a huge amount of money.
Planning: Devote a lot of time in planning your Bhutan budget tour. You will learn and have more clarity on ways to save money. This will include booking your flights and packages early and through the cheapest yet reliable means possible.
Travel in Groups: Avoid traveling solo. Opt for rooms included in the MDP rate. Traveling in groups offers discounts on MDP, flight tickets and others.
Avoid drinking alcohol: Enjoy the meals and drinks included in the MDP rate. Anything else is an extra expense.
Carry Cash: There are ATMs only in the main towns in Bhutan and aren’t completely reliable. Also, banks charge a surcharge on use in foreign countries.
Carry all your travel essentials: Make sure you have everything you need for your travels to Bhutan. This way, you will not have to buy any of these things in Bhutan.
Enroll in a volunteer program: One of the best ways to tour Bhutan on a budget is by enrolling for a volunteering program. The Government of Bhutan sponsors trips up to 100% for skilled volunteers. You can involve in High School Community Service or Film Makers without Borders.
Explore the Eastern Region of Bhutan: You can lessen your Bhutan tour cost if you travel to the Eastern Region of Bhutan. Some of the places that are in the Eastern Region are Mongar, Lhuntse, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse. Other places like Pema Gatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar also fall in this region.
This waiver is to promote tourism in eastern Bhutan. This region is also home to many ancient temples and pilgrim sites. There are also national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in this region.
Avoid asking for a native language Guide: Most guides in Bhutan speak English, a little Hindi, and the local language- Dzongkha. Unless you do not understand any of these languages, avoid asking for a native language guide. Guides that speak other foreign languages do come with an extra fee.
The happy land of Bhutan is travel-friendly for all kinds of budget travelers. Bhutan has an incredible travel policy of ‘high value, low volume’. This ensures Bhutan can preserve its traditions, cultural heritage and natural resources.
This policy also ensures that any traveler visiting Bhutan gets an authentic travel experience. You get a unique and enriching experience no matter how or when you travel.
Traveling in groups and during off-peak season is ideal for Bhutan budget tour.