Important Information About Travel Arrangements to Bhutan
Druk Air flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Paro, Bhutan
On this AdventureWomen Bhutan vacation, roundtrip airfare from Bangkok, Thailand to Paro, Bhutan, MUST be bought and paid for at the time you register for this trip. We need to fly as a group on the national airline, DRUK AIR, due to the fact that our outfitter must arrange all of our visas and flights into and out of Bhutan. We can only pick up our visas at the airline ticket counter in Bangkok, as we check in for our Druk Air flight to Paro, Bhutan, early in the morning of Sunday, October 26, 2014.
When you register for this trip, in addition to the Trip Registration and International Passenger Information forms, and your $800 deposit, we will also need you to send us a color scanned copy of the first two pages of your passport (valid at least 6 months from the day of our departure from Bhutan), plus $940 for the airfare cost, roundtrip from Bangkok to Paro.
Upon registration, our outfitter will book your Druk Air reservation. Airline tickets on Druk Air need to be purchased well in advance because this is the ONLY airline that flies into Bhutan, and seats are limited. Hence, the airline requires payment at that time to secure your reservation. (Please see below for *Druk Air cancellation policies, round trip Bangkok, Thailand – Paro, Bhutan).
*Druk Air cancellation policy (for peak season of May, Apr., Sept., Oct., Nov.)
If cancelled 60 days prior to the departure date, there is a U.S. $25 cancellation fee.
- 31-59 days prior to departure date, 50% cancellation fee
- 30 days or more prior to departure date, 100% cancellation fee
For this particular trip, it is very important that you consider buying trip cancellation insurance!
Druk Air Baggage Allowance
Passengers are allowed to carry free baggage not exceeding 20 Kgs (44 pounds). Any excess baggage will be charged. One piece of carry on baggage is allowed, the size not exceeding 17.5 x 13.5 x 8 inches) and the weight not exceeding 5 Kgs (11 pounds).
300 BTN ($4.81 US Dollars) departure tax is charged at the Paro Airport.
(1 US Dollar = 62.18 BTN (Bhutanese Ngultrum) as of September 25, 2013)
International round trip flight to Bangkok, Thailand
For your roundtrip international flights to Bangkok, Thailand, we ask that you work directly with our travel consultants at Montana Travel to make your travel arrangements. Korean Air offers one of the best schedules to Bangkok and to our round-trip connecting flights to Paro, Bhutan.
After booking your trip, please contact Ciretta at Montana Travel in Bozeman, Montana, to discuss your air options for getting to Bangkok, from either the west coast or the east coast.
CANADIAN RESIDENTS, please call 406-587-1188
The earlier you arrange your air schedule the more options you will have!
Our flight from Bangkok to Paro, Bhutan, will depart at approximately 4:45 a.m. on October 26, 2014. We return to Bangkok from Bhutan on November 6 by approximately 7:30 p.m.. (NOTE: these airline schedules often change, so give yourself plenty of time between flights!)
Depending on your airline schedule to and from Bangkok, if you want a more relaxed schedule, you might consider staying overnight at the very comfortable Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, a 4 star hotel, only a 10 minute walk (or free shuttle) from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers 2 bars and 4 restaurants. With a 24 hour airport shuttle every 10 minutes from Gate 4 Level 2, there is no better place to stay. Having sampled their restaurants and rooms, AdventureWomen can highly recommend BOTH for a “transition” night between long flights!
999 Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
Moo 1 Nongprue Bang Phli
OR, you may choose to stay in Bangkok for more adventures on your own! It’s a very interesting and fun city, and there are some great hotels to choose from.
When calling Ciretta at Montana Travel, please identify yourself as an AdventureWomen traveler. If you leave a message on Ciretta’s voice mail or email, she will return your call or email promptly. She will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate. If you purchase your ticket through her, she can also help you with hotels and other arrangements, should you want to come early to Bangkok, or extend your trip.
Liability Form and Final Payment
Part of what AdverntureWomen, Inc. hopes to foster is the taking of more self-responsibility for our own lives, health, and safety. Please read the Liability Form carefully, sign it, and return it with the remainder of your balance due by JULY 26, 2014.
Travel Documents, Health Requirements, and Health Insurance
Citizens of the United States must possess a valid passport, which must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay in Bhutan. If you do NOT have a passport, get it now! Please don’t wait until the last minute. You should always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you in case of emergency (if your passport is stolen or lost.)
No special inoculations are required for travel to Bhutan, but you should be up-to-date on all vaccinations such as tetanus, typhoid, and hepatitis A and B.
This trip is rated as Moderate. While hiking is not extremely strenuous, you must be fit and in very good health. You should be able to walk/hike 5-8 miles at altitudes up to 10,000 feet, in hilly terrain and on rocky paths on day hikes, be able to climb flights of stairs to monasteries, and walk on sightseeing tours within the villages and cities.
On our last day's hike to the Tiger's Nest, hiking all the way to the top might be considered more than Moderate. You can stop at the overlook (lunch stop) and not go any farther, or you can continue at your own pace to the Monastery. This hike is also "optional", and therefore you can decide before going if you indeed want to do it.
You must have your own health insurance, and not have any physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by walking at higher altitudes and the rigors of international travel.
Bhutan’s unit of currency is the Ngultrum, which is at par with the Indian Rupee, also a legal tender in Bhutan. You can check the following website to find out the current rate of exchange: http://money.cnn.com/markets/currencies
Only Visa credit cards (not MC or American Express) are accepted in shops and hotels in Bhutan, but it is often accompanied by a bank charge of 5-7%. In Thimphu and Paro, ATM cards of Visa or MC are accepted, however the reliability of the ATM machines is unpredictable.
Cash can be exchanged at the airport, larger hotels, and banks. Therefore, it is probably easiest to bring U.S. cash to Bhutan, and not travelers checks. Make sure that any U.S. cash (bills) are a newer version from 2006 onwards, and in good physical condition.
In Bangkok, Thailand, you can pay for most anything with any credit card. If you have a long layover in the Bangkok Airport, you may want to exchange a small amount of U.S. money into Thai money for incidentals at the airport.
Although Bhutan is not the culinary capital of Asia, you WILL eat well on this trip. Most hotels and restaurants offer delicious Chinese, Continental, Bhutanese, and Indian Cuisine.
A few tips about the water. When taking a shower, keep your mouth closed, and use only treated water to brush your teeth. Do not accept ice cubes in drinks (unless your guide tells you it is OK at various hotels). Bottled mineral water is widely available for purchase at hotels, restaurants, and in towns (about $1 per liter).
Other useful Information
Dzongkha, which is similar to Tibetan, is the official language, but a growing proportion of the people speak English. Children are taught English as part of their education. Throughout the country, signs, books, menus, road signs, and even government official documents are written in both Dzongkha and English.
Special Gifts to Monks and Caretakers at Monasteries
Each participant is encouraged to bring 2 - 3 pair of woolen socks. Socks can be given as a “group gift” to monks at all the special temples that we visit. Unlike the large monasteries, most of the smaller sacred temples that we visit have just one or two caretaker monks.
You may also leave some of your used clothing and personal items like warm jackets, T-shirts, socks, shoes, and other things that you do not wish to carry home.