I have received many queries regarding my recent trip to Bhutan, on how the trip was, what are things to keep in mind and so on. So this is part of the series of articles regarding Bhutan Trip.
One of the most common queries is on how to get Visa/ permit.
Once you cross the border, what you are going to experience is an overwhelming amount of friendly people. So don’t worry too much, the process of getting a permit is pretty much straight forward, and officials will always help you in the way they can.
Prerequisites for visa application.
Valid Indian ID: original and copy
Photograph: you will only need one photo, but carry more just in case
Permit request form: which is available inside the office as well as the Xerox shop outside the permit office.
Phuntsholing is the border town, located on the Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal. If you are flying into Paro, you can get the permit at Paro international airport.
Permit office: You will find two counters, one in the ground floor – meant for a work permit and other in 1st floor, is intended for tourist.
Once you are there, you should start with a counter to the extreme right.
There you will find a verification counter; you need to submit the filled the form mentioned above, along with one photograph and ID copy. Once verified they return your application and will assign a counter for you, which will be written on your form.
In the next counter, they will take your fingerprint and photo for the entry. Once this process is done, you will be assigned to another counter.
You just need to submit the forwarded form here, and wait for them to call your name and you will be handed you permit.
Permit you receive here is only for Paro and Thimphu, and maximum validity is seven days. You can’t even enter HA, which is near Paro. If you want to travel to other places or if you want to extend your travel days, you will need to do that in Thimphu.
I.e. if you want to go to Ha or Punakha, you need to get a permit from Thimphu.
Remember Bhutan is very strict when it comes to tourist in their country. Hence our movements are monitored, so make sure you show your permit at the check post, they won’t stop you and ask.
Also, tourist won’t get a permit for all places, which you will be able to figure out once you are there.
Permit for solo traveler
Some days they won’t give the permit if you are travelling solo. In case, the best solution is to join another group or find other solo traveller and submit the form together.
Though you are submitting forms together, the permit will be separate for both individual, So you won’t have to stick together for the rest of the trip.
Here its better you don’t combine, here they give a single permit for a group. Hence apply as a solo traveller.
You will be asked to submit a Letter of an undertaking which says you take the full responsibility of your solo travel, also to make it stronger you can mention someone local, that they are guiding you (Assuming you have made friends with a local tour guide or someone from there.)
I hope this helped. Feel free to comment with suggestions or queries.
- This post is meant for Indians.
- This trip was made in DEC 2016, and rules might have changed when you are reading this.