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Budget Travel in Bhutan

Bhutan is a magical kingdom in the Himalayas, known for its stunning scenery, rich culture, and friendly people. However, it is also one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. This is due in part to the government's policy of sustainable tourism, which aims to limit the number of visitors and protect the country's natural and cultural heritage.

Despite the high cost, it is still possible to travel to Bhutan on a budget. By planning carefully and being flexible with your travel dates, you can experience all that this amazing country has to offer without breaking the bank.

Budget Travel in Bhutan

In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to budget travel in Bhutan. We will cover everything from how to get a visa to where to stay and eat, as well as how to get around and what to see and do.

Getting a visa

All visitors to Bhutan must obtain a visa in advance. This can be done through a registered Bhutanese tour operator. The cost of the visa varies depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. However, there is a minimum daily tariff of $200 per person, which includes your visa fee, accommodation, food, transportation, and a licensed guide.


Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses for travelers to Bhutan. However, there are a number of ways to save money on accommodation.

  • Stay in guesthouses or homestays: Guesthouses and homestays are a great way to experience Bhutanese culture and hospitality while saving money. Homestays typically offer a bed and breakfast for around $20-$30 per night.

  • Stay in budget hotels: There are a number of budget hotels in Bhutan, especially in the larger towns and cities. Budget hotels typically offer rooms for around $40-$60 per night.

  • Stay in a dorm room: Dorm rooms are the most affordable type of accommodation in Bhutan. Dorm rooms typically cost around $10-$20 per night.


Food is another major expense for travelers to Bhutan. However, there are a number of ways to save money on food.

  • Eat at local restaurants: Local restaurants serve delicious Bhutanese cuisine at very affordable prices. You can typically get a meal for around $5-$10 per person.

  • Avoid eating at tourist traps: Tourist traps in Bhutan tend to be much more expensive than local restaurants. If you are unsure whether or not a restaurant is a tourist trap, ask your guide or hotel staff for recommendations.

  • Cook your own meals: If you are staying in a guesthouse or homestay, you may be able to cook your own meals. This is a great way to save money and experience Bhutanese cuisine.


Transportation is another major expense for travelers to Bhutan. However, there are a number of ways to save money on transportation.

  • Take public transportation: Public transportation in Bhutan is very affordable. You can typically get around for around $1-$2 per day.

  • Share a taxi with other travelers: If you are traveling with other people, you can share a taxi to save money. Taxis typically cost around $20-$30 per day.

  • Rent a bicycle: Renting a bicycle is a great way to get around Bhutan on a budget. You can typically rent a bicycle for around $5-$10 per day.

What to see and do

Bhutan is a small country, but there is a lot to see and do. Here are a few suggestions for budget-friendly activities:

  • Visit the monasteries: Bhutan is home to some of the most beautiful monasteries in the world. Many of these monasteries offer free admission, and you can donate whatever you can afford.

  • Hike the trails: Bhutan has a network of well-maintained hiking trails that offer stunning views of the Himalayas. You can find hiking trails for all levels of experience.

  • Visit the markets: The markets in Bhutan are a great place to experience local culture and buy souvenirs. You can find everything from traditional handicrafts to handmade jewelry.

  • Try the local cuisine: Bhutanese cuisine is delicious and affordable. Be sure to try some of the local dishes, such as ema datshi (chili and cheese stew) and jasha maru (chicken or beef curry).

  • Interact with the locals: The Bhutanese people are very friendly and welcoming. Be sure to take the time to interact with the locals and learn about their culture.

Tips for saving money in Bhutan

Here are a few tips for saving money on your trip to Bhutan:

  • Travel during the shoulder season: The shoulder season in Bhutan is from March to May and September to November. During these months, prices are lower and there are fewer tourists.

  • Stay in guesthouses or homestays: Guesthouses and homestays are the most affordable accommodation option in Bhutan.

  • Eat at local restaurants: Local restaurants offer the most affordable and authentic Bhutanese food.

  • Use public transportation: Public transportation is the most affordable way to get around Bhutan.

  • Negotiate prices: It is common to negotiate prices for goods and services in Bhutan. Be sure to haggle with taxi drivers, vendors, and tour operators.


Bhutan is undeniably an exquisite and captivating country, but it can be quite costly to explore. Nevertheless, with prudent planning and an adaptable travel schedule, it is still feasible to visit Bhutan without breaking the bank. By adhering to the advice outlined in this article, you can make your Bhutan adventure economical.


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