Is Bhutan open now for tourists

Presently Bhutan is open for tourism from 1st September 2021. Now it’s possible to travel to Bhutan with the Bhutanese government revising the protocol regarding the corona pandemic. There are several new norms for the incoming tourists to Bhutan. As per the new regulation tourists arriving in Bhutan need to stay for 14 days quarantine only if they are fully vaccinated. However, for those who didn’t have full vaccination they still have to follow the old quarantine regulation which is 21 days quarantine before their tour starts.

After the covid-19 was detected in Bhutan all travel to Bhutan was not allowed from 6th March 2020. Later on the same year, 2020 on 5th September visitors are allowed to enter Bhutan after producing a covid-19 negative certificate not earlier than 72 hours before their tour starts from their home country. Then the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) approved the entry of tourists to Bhutan under strict health guidelines and protocol on 7th December 2020.

Travel restrictions in Bhutan as of now for all inbound tourists who wish to visit Bhutan need to follow the below guidelines.

What are the travel restrictions for Bhutan?
1. All visitors should apply via a licensed Bhutanese tour operator for their Bhutan tour.
2. For the 14 days quarantine period, the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) per person per night will be levied.
3. Visitors should bear all costs for 14 days quarantine i.e. room & food.
4. All entries into Bhutan by air will only be facilitated.
5. After the mandatory quarantine the minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR) will be applicable for the entire tour duration
6. Visitors need to Bear the cost for all tests as per the COVID-19 requirement.
7. All visitors are required to Strictly follow COVID-19 protocol and TCB guidelines.
8. Insurance coverage is required.
9. Produce a COVID-19 negative certificate issued by a laboratory certified to carry out RT-PCR test, not earlier than 72 hours before starting the journey from the country of origin.

In addition, it is encouraged to have both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine and also to check for other travel requirements if transiting through another country.

Hotel quarantine & testing protocol
– Quarantine has to be in a government-allocated hotel facility.
– For fully vaccinated visitors is 14 days quarantine period.
– For unvaccinated visitors is 21 days quarantine period.
– Visitors are not allowed to leave the room/cottage or meet other people during the quarantine.
– Going out on a patio or veranda might be allowed in some facilities.
– Couples and co-travelers are allowed to share double/twin rooms.
– RT-PCR and antibody tests are conducted on the 3rd to 5th day, then on the 13th to 14th day and in the case of an unvaccinated visitor on the 21st day. In case of a positive result, further quarantining and testing might be required.
– Vaccinated visitors can leave on the 15th and unvaccinated on the 22nd day after getting a negative RT-PCR report.

Costs of quarantine in Bhutan
– Visitors are required to pay the quarantine hotel and the meal cost. The quarantine rate with 3 meals a day is fixed by the government.
– Visitors need to pay for any extra meals or drinks ordered from the hotel or from outside.
– Tests and other medical bills are paid by the visitors themselves. The cost of RT-PCR test is around US$ 40 and the antibody test around US$ 15. Two rounds of testing thus will be around US$ 110 and three rounds US$ 165.
– Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of US$ 65 per night per person is levied even for the time spent in quarantine to a maximum amount of US$ 715 per person.

After the quarantine in Bhutan
– Visitors are allowed to travel around Bhutan After the quarantine.
– Visitors should follow all mandated protective measures during their stay and travel in Bhutan.
– In case of a visit to “high-risk zones” around the southern border, travelers need to undertake 7 days quarantine.

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