How to save money when visiting Bhutan
Post-covid economic crisis is looming and the travelers might be forced to do some penny-pinching. While travel to Bhutan is hardly ever going to be really cheap, there are numerous options how to save. See some travel hacks suggested in this post!
Travel in the group
You can save considerable amounts by traveling in group of minimum 3 people. In group of 11 people, one person is provided 50% discount from minimum daily package and in case of 16 people, one person is provided free.
If you are just single or couple, how to find some co-travelers? Well, the best way would be to talk to your friends and relatives, since it is always better to share the tour with the close people.
Other option would be to log into some travel related discussion on the Internet or Facebook and try to find your companion there. It is probably better to start with the local travel forums in your own country so you get travel partners speaking same language and having similar cultural background. You can also check TripAdvisor Bhutan Travel Forum, which has large and widespread following.
If you are flexible with your tour program and period of travel, you can also ask us to try finding travel partner for you. We occasionally get such requests from singles or couples, and we try to help. Anyway keep in mind that in such case, the advance planning is the key as well as a flexibility with the program and the dates of travel. You can't expect we will be able to find travel partners for specialized program in exact dates if you ask us one month ahead.
Travel to Bhutan by land from India
In case you undertake at least one journey to or from Bhutan by land, you can save even few hundreds USD on the flight ticket cost. Although the travel by land from India invariably means long time spent in car or bus, you can visit a lot of interesting places on the way.
Overland travel is especially handy if you are also visiting Darjeeling and Sikkim or Guwahati and Arunachal Pradesh in India.
On the other hand, it is totally unpractical in case you are traveling to Bhutan from Nepal or Thailand.
Please mind that overland travel is good for the longer duration trips only. If you plan 3 days / 2 nights tour to Bhutan and you would like both enter and depart by land, you would basically spend two days traveling in car and just one day with sightseeing. And some more arduous drives in India just to reach Bhutan would also be necessary.
See Overland from India for some detailed information.
Be smart with the flight tickets
Flight tickets to Bhutan are expensive, especially on longer routes. Anyway if you make smart choices, you can save dearly here.
The cheapest flight tickets, costing usually around 250 USD for a round trip, are from Bagdogra or Guwahati in India. So if you first get your flight there with the low-cost domestic flight, you can save a lot compare to approximate 600 USD for a round trip flight from Delhi. Just, please mind that Bagdogra and Guwahati airports are not operated every day, so your travel dates will have to fit into the schedule.
Flights from Kathmandu, Dhaka and Kolkata (around 400 USD) are also quite reasonable, comparing to Bangkok or Singapore (almost 1000 USD). From Singapore or Bangkok you can get flights to Dhaka, Kathmandu or Kolkata easily for much less, so this is really no-brainer. Just keep in mind that due to flight schedule, you might need to transit overnight there.
For this reason, we recommend flying via Kathmandu, which has welcoming on-arrival visa policy, hospitable atmosphere, few interesting sights near to the airport and on top of that, we can arrange overnight in the excellent three-star Hotel Jampa for reasonable cost.And most importantly, on the flight from Kathmandu, you might experience stunning view of the highest mountains on the planet, value included. See the Flying to Paro – The ultimate mountain flight!
Travel in off-season time
Minimum package cost is slightly decreased from December through February and from June through August.
If you can stand a bit of cold, the winter is actually pretty nice time, see 10 reasons to visit Bhutan in Winter. Summer is affected by monsoon with frequent rains and clouds but it also has some plus points as you can read in Is summer Good or Bad time for Bhutan visit?
For more detailed information, check Climate and Season page.
Book the tour directly with Bhutanese tour operator
It is always good idea to book the tour operator in the destination country and in Bhutan it is no different. By avoiding go-betweens in Nepal, India or your home country, you can save on commissions and margins which these companies take for basically just forwarding e-mails.
Go for short visit only
Probably the most straightforward trick, how not to spend too much, is planning a brief visit only. You can check 3 days / 2 nights Paro & Thimphu Tour or 4 days / 3 nights Glimpse of Bhutan program to get idea about the shortest possible itineraries. Even on such a short trip, you will see most essential monuments including the hike famous Tiger's Nest monastery.
Your holidays are longer than that? No problem! The rest of it you can spend visiting Nepal or Darjeeling and Sikkim or other areas surrounding Bhutan! There you don't have to pay minimum daily package as in Bhutan, so the expenses can be kept under control.
Plan a tour to Eastern Bhutan
Tours visiting Eastern Bhutan districts (Mongar, Lhuentse, Tashigang, Tashiyangtse, Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar) are discounted till the end of 2020 to promote tourism.
Eastern Bhutan itself is quite easily accessible overland from Indian city of Guwahati, which has regular and reasonable connection from Delhi, Kolkata and other big Indian airport hubs.
See Eastern Bhutan Promotion tours for actual itineraries.
Check if you're not eligible for discount
There are various discount schemes for package cost:
- Infants below the age of 5 years pay only 40 USD visa fee
- Children between 5-12 year are eligible for up to 50% discount from minimum daily package.
- Full time students of school pupils below the age of 25 are eligible for up to 25% discount on minimum daily package
Please mind that actual discount is subject to tour viability.
Students and children are also eligible for discount on flight tickets.
In Firefox Tours we always try to give the best possible rates with the greatest services. So in any case please do contact us, we will be happy to come as near to your expectations as possible.