Bhutan FAQ's

Please read through these frequently asked questions that provide specific information on how to prepare for your Bhutan Quest, including packing suggestions and other relevant information.  

What are the dates for the Bhutan Quest?

November 11 - 19, 2019 

1 Night layover in Kathmandu, Nepal

7 Nights & 8 Days in The Kingdom of Bhutan

What kind of pace can I expect on this Quest?

Our itineraries are designed to include plenty of mind-blowing experiences from a Bhutan insider's perspective, whether that means encountering culture, spirituality, people or pristine wilderness. Our quest will include activities such as hiking to Tiger's Nest monastery, inspiring conversations with Bhutanese wisdom keepers, meditation in Bhutanese temples, and executive education to design your next evolution of personal and professional impact. 

By the end of this Quest, it is our promise that you will learn skills to cultivate innovation, foresight, wellbeing, and meaning beyond what you previously thought possible.        

Who will be on the trip with me?

The group will include senior leaders and influencers from top organizations throughout the world. Expect high-net worth individuals, C-Suite execs, and partners at major financial institutions, emerging leaders and their families.

Will this trip be unique?

What makes Bhutan magical - beyond the natural beauty - is the generosity you see in the eyes of the locals combined with the powerful spiritual energy that is consciously cultivated by the monks and monasteries located throughout this tiny nation.

On your Abroad Quest you will stay in luxury accommodations and be guided by locals on how to experience the best Bhutan has to offer.

What's included?
8 nights stay in luxury hotels: Kathmandu, Zhiwa Ling Ascent & Nak-Sel Paro

  • ExecEd for self awareness, leadership, purpose and mindset development

  • Mind-blowing cultural immersion and selfless service experiences

  • Pilgrimages to ancient monasteries

  • Rejuvenation and spa treatments

  • Session with a senior executive coach to empower your personal mission

  • $250 daily Bhutan visa fee

  • All meals, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks

  • Community dinners with Bhutanese environment, Buddhism, and government officials sharing their knowledge and passion for Bhutan

  • Powerful professional networking and collaboration opportunities

  • Tips for 8 Bhutanese guides and drivers

  • 90-minute online group circle post the Quest

  • Dedicated local concierge

  • Put simply, once you arrive in Kathmandu, we take care of the rest

Are my flights included?

We include everything except flights. You will need to arrange your flights to Kathmandu (TIA), and we have held round-trip seats for you from Kathmandu to Bhutan to ensure we have seats.

When should I arrive in Kathmandu?

You need to arrive to Kathmandu sometime on November 11th, with a preference for morning or early afternoon, as we plan to have a small welcome dinner at the hotel. We have arranged accommodation at a nearby hotel for you to rest before our flight to Bhutan the following morning.

When should I arrange my return flight home?

On November 19, 2019, our flight will land in Kathmandu around 8.45am. We recommend leaving at least 4 hours of space between flights, and you may want to consider staying one night in Kathmandu. Sometimes weather can cause delays when leaving Bhutan on small planes that need to fly over large mountains. 

Furthermore, and we cannot stress this enough, please do your best to ease back into your work life. This is a powerful experience, so launching back into 10-12 hour workdays is not advised. You can work, just do so at a slower pace.  

What are our flight details?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Druk Air      

Departure from Kathmandu: 9.45am   

Arrival in Bhutan: 11.05am   

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 

Druk Air      

Departure from Bhutan: 7.45am   

Arrival in Kathmandu: 8.45am   

I wish to book additional nights stay in Kathmandu, how can I do this? 

Send us a message and we will connect you with an associate who will offer special rates for additional night stay.

Where will we be flying into?

We will be arriving in Paro in a deep valley on the bank of the river Paro Chhu.

Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?

Yes, all nationalities except for Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian Nationalities will need a visa. Our team will arrange a visa for you as it’s included in your package. All we need is a copy of your passport.

Do I need a visa to stopover in Kathmandu?

There is Visa On Arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport. To obtain a visa upon arrival in Nepal you must fill in an application form at one of their automatic registration machines, which will also take your digital photo. You can save some time by filling in the form beforehand online at www.online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa and uploading a digital photo, but you must do this less than 15 days before your arrival date.

A single-entry visa valid for 15/30/90 days costs US$25/40/100. At Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport the fee is payable in any major currency, but at land borders officials require payment in cash (US dollars); bring small bills.

SAARC countries can get a 30-day visa for free on arrival. Indian passport holders do not need a visa to enter Nepal.

What is the size of the cohort?

We limit cohort sizes to 15-20 participants, along with 5-7 staff. This ensures we have an intimate group where everyone experiences focused personal and professional transformation. This also makes it easier to form meaningful relationships with other participants. By the end of the Quest, it is our hope that you form friendships and professional collaborations that last a lifetime.

What should I pack for this Quest?

Druk Air allows checked baggage up to 30kg for free in Economy, and 40kg in Business. Carry-on luggage cannot exceed 5kg in Economy and 7kg in Business.

Dimensions can be found here.

Clothing:

November is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clear and fresh with sunny skies. Temperatures are cooler, and daily high temperatures decrease by 6°F, from 68°F to 62°F, rarely falling below 58°F or exceeding 70°F.

Dress in Bhutan tends to be casual and modest. Your clothing should be breathable, hand-washable, and quick-drying.

  • Thermal underwear

  • Long Woolen/Cotton trousers

  • Down jacket - especially for higher altitudes

  • Long-sleeved shirts

  • Sweater, jacket, windbreaker

  • Rain jacket and/ or rain poncho

  • Sun hat with brim and chin strap

  • Bandana (for dust, washing, etc.)

Footwear

  • Hiking or running shoes for hikes up the mountain

  • Hiking stick (optional, only if needed)

  • Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes, closed toe, preferably waterproof

  • Comfortable, breathable socks

You’re invited to bring a nicer outfit for our final ceremony dinner.

Baggage

  • Suitcase or duffel

  • Day pack for daily activities and easy access

  • Waterproof plastic bags for organizing gear and dirty clothing (ziplocs and garbage bags work)

  • Money belt, security pouch, document organizer

Electronics

  • Store electronics in sealed water-proof bags (double bagged if possible). Remember to set the date and time on your cameras.

  • Headlamp or flashlight, extra batteries

  • Camera / Video camera ~ however we will have a cameraman who will capture the trip beautifully so we can focus on the experience and teachings

  • Electricity converter/adapter

Toiletries

  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair gel

  • Hairbrush, mirror, hair ties

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss

  • Deodorant

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Lotion

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm with sunscreen

  • Shaving supplies

  • Insect repellent

  • Feminine products for women

Medications

Personal medication(s), if any

Other

  • Sunglasses

  • Eyeglasses, contacts/case/solution

  • Energy bars

  • Small umbrella, particularly useful in the rainy season or even for sun shade

What does a typical day look like?

A typical day begins with breakfast, followed by an excursion exploring Bhutan’s breathtaking cultural and physical landscapes. Some days we may hike up to a Buddhist monastery tucked deep into a pristine mountain valley, where we will blessed in an age old ceremony and witness peaceful and simplistic monastic life. Or sit in an outdoor forest classroom, learning and engaging with some of the most brilliant minds on the topics of mindset, purpose and ancient wisdom. Returning back to our hotels for rest or indulgent spa treatments, we will then reconvene for community dinner, some evenings graced by Bhutanese guest speakers, sharing their knowledge and passion for Bhutan’s policies on happiness, environment and wellbeing.

Every day will be filled with new discoveries, inward and out. Given the diversity of experiences, we advise always traveling with layers for the varying temperatures throughout the valley.

Are the hikes physically challenging?

We will be making two incredible hikes to Dodhedhra Monastery and Tiger’s Nest during our Quest, which will require an average level of fitness on moderate terrains. The hikes may takes between 2 to 3 hours depending on your pace, and there will be pauses along the way. As we will be at an elevation of around 10,000 feet, we will advise you to drink lots of water, eat rice and take Vitamin E to adjust to the altitude. The destinations are worth it!

Will there be filtered water provided?

Yes, it will. We advise you to carry your own reusable water bottle, to reduce the number of plastic water bottles that get thrown out daily in the country.

What about attire for monasteries and temples?

At monasteries, it is not culturally appropriate to wear hats, shorts or sleeveless shirts. Shoes are always taken off outside before entering the shrine or temple. Socks are allowed. Floors of these temples sometimes tend to be cold, so we recommend wearing warm socks. Smoking, consumption of alcohol or narcotics in and around temples/monasteries or religious monuments is a taboo, and so is shouting, yelling or laughing with loud voices in and around religious area. Do not point with your forefingers to a person, religious figures or statues. Instead a stretched palm is used as a reverence or respect to point to someone. When visiting a temples or monasteries, small donations are welcomed.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

Yes. Abroad requires that you personally purchase comprehensive travel insurance to participate in any Abroad Quest. We require all participants to provide us with evidence of your travel insurance policy number 2 weeks prior to the Quest. That way if anything occurs, that way if anything occurs we are happy to support you.

Do I need to worry about malaria?
According to the center for disease control and prevention, the estimated risk of malaria in Bhutan is and very low.

While you may encounter a rare mosquito or 2, malaria is not found in the areas you’ll be visiting in Bhutan. 

What is your deposit and cancellation policy?

Given we have limited spaces available, and we are traveling to Bhutan during the heart of high season, we require a 100% upfront payment to hold your space and demonstrate your commitment.  

We understand that life and business happens and you may need to cancel. In those cases, we will refund:

  • 75% of your trip cost 60+ days before the trip

  • 50% of your trip cost 30+ days before your trip

If you need to cancel within 30 days, we will do our best to work with you as we try to fill your spot. It's important to recognize that very few people travel to Bhutan on less than one month's notice, so we may not be able to fill your spot and many of our costs are fixed upfront.   

What about currency?

The currency in Bhutan is known as the ngultrum and is listed at exchanges as “Nu” or “BTN.”

Although Bhutanese Ngultrum is only in circulation in Bhutan, foreign currency is widely accepted. Hence, travellers can always opt to convert some of their foreign currencies to Ngultrum upon arrival, or at the banks of Bhutan. Indian Rupees are widely accepted in Bhutan.

Is there anything I should know about purchasing items in Bhutan?

When buying handcrafted goods or antiques from a local village you're may receive a paper receipt. During your departure, you may be required to show proof of purchase should you purchase antique goods in Bhutan.

When using currency exchange, banks and making larger purchases and receipts are issued, make sure to hold onto these documents. You may be required to provide the paperwork when exchanging the money back to the Indian rupee or another currency upon leaving the country.

At the end of my trip, if I have spare Ngultrum, where can I exchange it?

Since Bhutanese Ngultrum is only circulated in Bhutan, we suggest that prior to your return from Bhutan, you should spend your remaining Ngultrum!

Is tipping customary?

Tipping is not compulsory in Bhutan, however we like to show our appreciation for the generosity and conscientiousness of our 8 Bhutanese guides and drivers with a group tip at our final closing ceremony. A way of sharing gratitude for their stories about their people, culture and history.

We have included tips in the cost of your trip so you don’t have to worry about having cash with you. Should you wish to tip someone on the team who really touched you, or people you meet along the way, we advise you to change US$ to Ngultrum at the airport and offer to them directly.

I plan to not carry much cash to Bhutan, are credit cards widely accepted?

Currently, not all places in Bhutan accept credit card and at times credit card machine may fail during the transaction. Further, certain credit cards may not be accepted in Bhutan. Most international cards will not be able to withdraw money from Bhutan local ATM as well.

We suggest our travelers carry at least US$1,000 in cash during their travel to Bhutan.

Is there laundry service at the hotels we are staying at?

Yes, all hotels offer laundry services. We recommend bringing quick-drying clothing.

What does the dedicated local concierge do?

Our local concierge is responsible for making sure you don't have to think about anything other than your personal and professional growth. Everything from ensuring transfers arrive on time, to having all the best information on local restaurants, activities, and more. Your Abroad Quest is a high-touch seamless travel experience made possible by our local concierge and all the wonderful locals we work with. By the end of this trip, it is our hope that you express your sincere gratitude to Sophie, Lisa and our Bhutanese guides for all they are doing to give each of a memorable life experience. 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us at sophie@abroad.io. 

Last updated: 10 June, 2019