For tours in Bhutan, tourists (except India, Maldives, and Bangladesh) need to pay a minimum daily package (MDP) rate.
The Government of Bhutan has fixed this rate at US$250 and US$ 200 for peak and off-seasons respectively.
There are also discounts, surcharges applicable depending on different factors.
To find out more about Bhutan Tour Cost, keep on reading.
Bhutan Tour Cost Rate for Peak and Non-Peak Seasons
The months of March, April, May, September, October, and November are peak months in Bhutan. These are the best months to travel to Bhutan.
March, April, and May are spring months and September, October and November are autumn months.
All these months have a peak season rate of US $ 250 per day person.
Rest of the year is off-season in Bhutan. These include the months of January, February, June, July, August, December.
December, January, and February are the local winter months. June, July, and August are summer (monsoon) months of Bhutan.
All these months have off-season rate of US $ 200 per day per person.
What Does the Daily Rate Include?
Once you know what your minimum daily package rate includes, the cost may not surprise you. The minimum daily package rate includes almost everything you need during your tours in Bhutan. The minimum daily package rate of US$250 or US$ 200 per day per person include the following:
- 3-star accommodation
- All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). This doesn’t include alcohol.
- All internal transport (except for internal flights)
- Entry fees (dzongs, museums, monasteries you visit)
- Camping equipment (if you need them for your treks)
Note: The minimum daily package rate doesn’t only cover your personal costs. US$ 65 of your daily fee is actually designated as a royalty fee by the Government of Bhutan. This money helps Bhutan’s infrastructure.
It helps pay for the government’s programs that include providing free education, health care, repairs, and more. By paying your daily fee, you’re contributing to the country’s overall development.
Surcharges in Bhutan Tour Cost
Some of the possible extra charges you may encounter in Bhutan are:
Single Room Surcharge
Most of the accommodation included in your MDP is on a twin sharing basis. Hence, if you want a room to yourself, you need to pay a surcharge.
This costs US$ 40 during the off-season and US $50 during peak season. This is per night per person.
Solo or Dual Travelers
If you are traveling alone or only with one other person, you will have surplus charges.
For solo travelers, you must pay a surplus of US$40 a day. This will bring your total MDP to US$290 during peak season and US$240 during the off-season.
For a group of 2 travelers, both of you must pay a surplus of US$30 a day. This will bring your total MDP to US$ 280 during peak season and US$ 230 during off-season per person.
Discounts on Bhutan Tour Cost
The Tourism Council of Bhutan has also made discounts available for the following:
- Children and students;
- Tour group size of more than 11 travelers;
- Tour duration exceeding 8 nights;
- SDF Free Zone
Children under the age of 5 years need to pay only for the visa. They do not need to pay the Minimum Daily Package rate (MDP).
Children aged 5-12 years get a 50 percent discount on the MDP or the Minimum Daily Package rate.
Tour Group Size Between 11-16
One member of this group can get a 50% discount on their MDP.
Tour Group Size of More than 16
One member within the group can get a100% discount on their MDP.
Tour Duration Exceeding 8 Nights
If a group has a tour duration of more than 8 nights, you have to apply for this discount. You can get 50% SDF discount.
If a group has a tour duration of 14 more nights, they are applicable for 100% SDF discount.
Full-time students below the age of 25 get 25% discount on their minimum daily package rate. This brings their daily minimum package rate at US$ 187.5 and US$ 150 per person.
These students need to present a valid student identification card from a recognized academic institution. Only then will they get the 25 percent discount.
SDF Free Zone
SDF refers to Sustainable Development Free Zones. Tourists who travel into and out of Bhutan via the land border crossings of SDF Free zones can get a special discount.
The SDF Free Zones are areas like Phuentsholing, Sarpang, and Samdrup Jongkhar. If you spend the first and/or last night in one of these zones, you get a 100% discount. This discount is for all nights spend in the SDF Free Zone.
In other words, you do not need to pay the MDP.
Cost of Luxurious Bhutan Tours
Luxury Bhutan tour costs between US$ 250- 1500 more than the daily minimum package rate.
The luxury Bhutan Tour cost includes the following perks:
- Luxury hotel accommodation in 5-star hotels
- Personal Guide and driver
- Tailor Made Itineraries
- 5-star cuisine meals
- Luxurious tents (if camping)
- Entry fees
Currency During Bhutan Tour
The local currency in Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). It is often as “nu”.
The average international exchange rate for US$1 is around 64 BTN.
The best way to get your local currency for Bhutan is to exchange your money in Bhutan. There are many small money exchanger shops. These give you a better rate than your home country.
Denominations of US$ smaller than US$ 100 has lower exchange rates.
You can also use Indian rupees in Bhutan. It has a similar exchange rate to the BTN or Bhutanese currency.
Bhutan Tour Packages
There is a wide range of Bhutan tour packages available. You can choose short, medium or long duration tour packages. There is also the option of luxury Bhutan tour packages. You can also choose packages that include trekking in Bhutan.
The cost of a Bhutan Tour Package depends on many factors:
- Group size
- Tour duration
- Inclusion or exclusion of treks
- Inclusion or exclusion of different cities, towns
- Inclusion or exclusion of citizens from India, Bangladesh, and Maldives
- Inclusion or exclusion of the cost of flights (internal)
- Inclusion or exclusion of the cost of the visa
- Season of travel
On an average, the cost of different Bhutan tour is as follows:
A short 3- 5-day Bhutan Tour for 3 or more can cost anywhere between US$600-1500 per person.
A 12-day trek to Bhutan can cost between US$ 2400- 3500 per person.
Bhutan Tour Costs: Miscellaneous Costs
Tipping concepts are not usually part of Bhutan’s culture. Yet, most of the people working in the hospitality sector do expect tips.
These include your tour guide, trekking guide, driver, hotel, restaurants, and others.
Tour guide and driver: During your Bhutan tour, you will have the same tour guide throughout your trip. The tour guide and the driver for the duration of the tour can also be the same person.
Do not hand tips out in open or make a big show of giving a tip.
Hand them the tip in individual envelopes the evening or morning before you leave. If the driver and guide are not the same people, you may not meet your guide when you leave for the airport. Be sure to tip them beforehand.
Trekking guides: If you are planning to trek in Bhutan, you may have to the local trekking staff that accompanies you. These include the trekking guide, cook and waiter.
Horsemen who carry your equipment and belongings also expect tips. Tip them according to your wish. There is no fixed guideline about tipping.
Hotels and Restaurants: Tipping is certainly appreciated everywhere. If you are really satisfied with the performances and services of your hotel or restaurant then you can tip well.
Bhutan has a lot of things on offer in souvenirs. These include felt items, Woven Bags, Stoles, Traditional Jewellery, metal products. It also includes handmade things like Kira & Gho, masks, paper, Hand-Woven Bamboo Items, and carpets. These can cost anywhere between US$5-1000 and more.
Tourists from all over the world except India, Maldives, and Bangladesh must apply for the visa to visit Bhutan. This is usually done by your tour operator. A one time Visa Fee to Bhutan is US$ 40 per person.
For the exceptions, you need to apply for an entry permit to Bhutan. This is generally free of cost for these countries.
Alcohol, Soft Drinks or Candies
These are not included in your MDP. So, depending on how much you want to spend on these, the cost will vary.
The local alcoholic beverages are relatively inexpensive. Tuesday is a dry day. So, the sale of alcohol is not allowed on this day.
Additional Activities to Indulge In
The activities mentioned below are ways to indulge in the culture of Bhutan. These activities are popular among the locals. Hence, these are different ways to enjoy different aspects of the local culture and lifestyle.
Most of these activities are not included in your MDP. However, you can ask your hotel or tour operator to arrange these for you.
Archery is the royal sport in Bhutan and also a popular pastime for the locals of Bhutan. It is locally known as “Da”, “Dzongkha” in Bhutan.
The traditional Bhutanese game of archery is quite different from that in the Olympics.
The target is 100-145 m away from the archer. The bows and arrows are traditionally made of bamboo and sharpened through the edges by skilled craftsmen.
You can try your hands in the local archery field.
Do you want to enjoy the local, cultural dances without attending any festivals? If yes, then local cultural programs are the best way to do it.
The cultural programs last between an hour or two. The cost depends on your group size. The average cost for a group of 2-4 is US$140 per person. The cultural programs do differ from place to place and between folk groups.
It generally includes:
- Folk dances in traditional costumes
- Religious cham dances including the mask dance
These private, cultural programs take place in open ground to hotel dining rooms.
A traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath should be a must on every visitor’s itinerary. This is the perfect way to relax after a long day of sightseeing or trek.
The process of traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath is quite unique. These baths use Menchu or medicinal water, i.e. fresh river water mixed with Artemisia leaves.
Stones from river beds are best used for this. These are carefully heated by roasting these on fire till they are glowing red. Doing so releases the key minerals into the water. This adds the water with medicinal benefits.
One can soak in the water for about an hour or more. Increasing or decreasing the number of heated stones in a wooden chamber via a chute, maintains the temperature of this chamber.
This chamber is also connected to the main tub (also made of wood) which contains the water. The holes in the chamber allow the heat to infuse into the bath waters. So, there is no danger of getting burned by the hot stones.
Hot stone baths are sometimes followed by a salt scrub to remove dead skin cells. After this, you usually get an oil massage to relieve tired muscles.
The cost of these depend on extra services, facilities included. The general range is between US$9-20.
Bhutan Tour Cost for Extreme Sports
Bhutan is a natural Mountain Biking Country. This is due to its diverse environment, landscape, villages, valleys, and mountain passes.
Mountain biking tours are quite thrilling activities. You can ask your hotel or tour operator to arrange it for you.
You can choose from a wide range of mountain bike trails and tour packages as well.
Mountain bike tours are of 3 types in difficulty: Moderate, Difficult and Extremely Difficult. The difficult and extremely difficult are for professional bikers and enthusiasts.
You can choose your own duration from short packages of 1-3 days and medium to long packages of 3-21 days. The cost depends on the duration, group size, and difficulty level. You can also bring your own bikes for this.
Rafting is an exciting and rejuvenating experience of cruising down the gushing river water in a raft or kayak using paddles.
Bhutan is home to different rapids of class 2-4. You can choose to do rafting in Pho Chu river or Mo Chu river. Rafting doesn’t require any experience and is suitable for anyone who is up for the adventure and experience.
You can also watch the natural wildlife, landscape, and dzongs around the river while drifting.
The cost for rafting depends on the duration, facilities and services included. It also depends on the months you travel in and the size of the group you go with.
Extra Tips for Bhutan Tour Cost
- ATMs are available mostly in major cities and towns. These accept MasterCard and VISA cards. For others, inquire with your issuing bank.
- In a group of three persons, if one member is a child of 5 years and below, the group will get treatment of 2 travelers. You will then face a surcharge applicable for only 2 travelers.
- In a group of two people, if one member is a child of 5 years and below, the group will get treatment of a solo traveler. You will face a surcharge of an individual traveler.
- For the tour group size discount, you cannot count in any member that is applicable for discounts of children and students. For e.g. In a group size of 11, if you count in a child or student as part of the 11 member group, you will not get the tour group size discount.
A tour of Bhutan can be a unique and enriching experience. Traveling here in groups is the best option for most.
The MDP (minimum daily package) rate could sound a bit overrated in the beginning. Yet, when one understands why it is there and what it includes, Bhutan tour cost is a good deal.
There are both short and long duration Bhutan Tours available. You will have a wide range of choices to suit your budget.
If you have any further queries or question about your tours and travels to Bhutan, feel free to contact us.