• Avisek Jung Thakuri Singh
  • Last Updated on Jun 30, 2024

Information travelers must know before flying to Bhutan. Rules and regulations, and everything travelers and passengers need to know before flying to Bhutan. After landing in Bhutan, a sustainable development fee is compulsory for all solo travelers and tourists. If travelers and tourists are going through a travel agency, the sustainable development fee is included in the package.

When flying to Bhutan, there are only two airlines that operate the flight: Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air. So, there is very little chance of getting a direct flight for everyone; hence, travellers sometimes have to wait or fly to a destination and get another plane to Bhutan due to the flight connection.

Table of Contents

Travel advice before flying towards Bhutan

  • A traveller's passport must have a validity of more than 6 months.
  • Check the immigration rules to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.
  • Check the restricted item list.
  • Travellers who violate foreign customs rules may be detained at the airport or fined.
  • Check the luggage to make sure it doesn’t contain the restricted items.
  • Make sure to check that the travel agency arranging the trip is reputable enough to conduct the journey, and make sure it covers the sustainable development fee.
  • Ask the guides for the local laws and guidelines of the places.
  • Lock the hotel rooms and meet the visitors in the lobby area.

Things to remember during check-in at the Bhutan airport

  • An odd-sized cabin bag not conforming to the specified dimension will not be allowed in the cabin. Such baggage will be removed at the gate or boarding point, affixed with a "Limited Release Baggage Label," and loaded into the hold.
  • If passengers are transferring to another flight at any point on their journey or destination or deplaning from the aircraft at a transit point, where they are required to go through security checks once again, duty-free liquids and gels exceeding 100 ml. and purchased in India will not be permitted. However, items purchased in that country at the airport of departure will be allowed as per the local laws.
  • Check-in counters open 180 minutes before flight departure. Guests travelling in groups (9 or more guests) are advised to report to the airport at least 120 minutes before the flight departure.
  • Check-in counters are closed 45 minutes before departure time for all classes. A passenger who has not reported to the airport by 45 minutes before departure will be offloaded from the flight and have their seats released for guests on standby.
  • To maintain schedules, the boarding gate will be closed 25 minutes before departure time. Passengers who do not report at the boarding gate will not be boarded.

Important things to know before flying to Bhutan

  • Drukair and Bhutan Airlines are the only two commercial airlines that fly to and out of Bhutan.
  • Always carry a hard copy of the visa and e-ticket number.
  • Travelers flying to Bhutan via Delhi require a transit visa for most nationalities.
  • Inquire with your bank and see if your card will work in Bhutan or not.
  • Carry cash (in US dollars or euros). Dollars and euros are exchanged easily in Bhutan.
  • Get the sim card after completing the immigration, or you can get a sim card at Paro or Thimphu as well.
  • Visitors are not allowed to fly drones without permission.
  • Don’t try to pet the dogs; they are going to follow you, and there is a large population of dogs at Paro and Thimphu.
  • Packs of dogs bark all night, so don’t forget to carry a pair of earplugs.
  • There are various restrictions on things that can be carried and restricted items that cannot be carried. So, let's dive deep into this and explore the restrictions on things and the things that are allowed.

Sustainable Development Fee

The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) is a daily fee collected by the Bhutanese government that is applicable to all tourists visiting Bhutan. This fee is applicable to all tourists who are over 12 years of age, except Indian nationals. It is a financial contribution to support the country's sustainable development efforts, which contribute to the preservation and conservation of its pristine environment, rich culture, and heritage.

(The current sustainable tourist fee is $100 per day for all nationals except Indian citizens who are over 12 years old.)

Things that are restricted and cannot be carried while flying to Bhutan

  • Flammable liquids and solid items
  • Illegal drugs or unprescribed medicines
  • Plants and plant products
  • Meat and meat products
  • Pets and animals
  • Religious or other cultural artefacts
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Pornographic materials
  • Bleaching powders, also known as oxidizers
  • Products containing organic peroxides
  • Gases, tear gas devices, or any gas-related items
  • Virus materials that can cause inflections
  • Batteries: wet cell car batteries
  • Instruments contain magnets and mercury.
  • Fireworks, non-safety matches, lighters, and matchboxes
  • Paint-related items, thinners
  • Poisons, arsenic, and cyanides
  • Materials that are considered radioactive, like acids and alkalis
  • Parts or things that contain fuel
  • Toys and replica guns, even children's toys
  • Blades, knives, and scissors longer than 6 cm are not allowed; however, if the lengths are below 6 cm, they're allowed.
  • Tools, darts, party pants,
  • Acid poisons, explosives

For electronic devices and batteries

  • Devices with lithium-ion batteries with a Watt-hour rating that does not exceed 100 Wh are permitted up to a maximum of 4 batteries per person.
  • A device with lithium-ion batteries with a Watt-hour rating exceeding 100Wh but not exceeding 160Wh is permitted with prior approval from the airline, up to a maximum of two batteries per person.
  • Portable chargers or power banks are prohibited in checked baggage.

Things that are allowed in the airport

  • Drinks
  • Food
  • Baby products
  • Electrical items (at some airports, electrical items need to be screened separately)
  • For cosmetics and toiletries (products must be in containers less than 100 ml and must be in a transparent, resealable, airtight bag), try to keep all the stuff in the same pouch.
  • Medicines and medical equipment (there is no limit for powder or pills; don’t forget to carry the prescription)
  • Smoking materials are allowed in the hand baggage lighters, and matches are not allowed in the hand baggage.
Avisek Jung Thakuri Singh

Avisek Jung Thakuri Singh

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