8 Reasons why you need Tour Guide in Bhutan

Bhutan, which was in isolation from the outside world until the 1970s, may have unlocked the way for tourists, but it remains a mystery to modern visitors. Located high in the Himalayas, the enigmatic aura of Bhutan stems primarily from the government. It has forced all tourists to participate in pre-planned guided tours to Bhutan to reduce the influence of the tourism industry on the culture and ecology of the country. All tourists (excluding nationals of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives) must be accompanied by a Bhutanese guide and driver. So, having a tour guide is not an option when visiting Bhutan.

Unfortunately, solo travel in Bhutan is not feasible (except for Indians, Bangladeshis, and Maldivians). To grant the visas to Bhutan, westerners must engage a tour operator. Furthermore, once in Bhutan, you are only permitted to travel openly around towns with your Bhutan tour guide. 

Tiger Nest Monastery in Bhutan; popular places that are easier to reach with the help of guide in Bhutan
Tiger Nest Monastery in Bhutan

We understand that some of you are put off by the necessity for a guide, but we encourage you to embrace the need for a guided tour to Bhutan with an open mind and soul. Your Bhutanese guides will educate you more about Bhutan than you could ever study from a literature or TV. Another advantage of hiring a Bhutan tour guide is that they will handle everything for you, leaving you free to rest and cherish the experience. Furthermore, they will provide a perfect Bhutan travel guide. On your journey to Bhutan, without any doubt, you’ll make a new buddy. 

According to local regulations, it is only possible to book Bhutan tours as part of a tour package with a minimum daily fee set by the government. So, Bhutan tour guide cost varies depending on the season and the number of travelers in the party. 

The compulsory need for a licensed and certified guide has left no other choices to travelers rather than hiring them. However, even if it wasn’t a compulsion, you would still need and desire one. The government is currently contemplating mandating tour guides for Bhutan for the excluded nations as well. The top 8 reasons to do Bhutan tour with guide are listed below:

1.  Easy Navigation 

You’d never be able to navigate the Bhutanese routes on your own as there are no single street signs on the roads. Also, many of the off-the-beaten-path in Bhutan sites are accessible only via lengthy and winding dirt roads. Moreover, when it comes to traveling to Bhutan, maps or GPS may not work accurately. So, if you are alone in Bhutan and taking assistance from some sort of device, then you wouldn’t get very far. That’s why a Bhutan tour guide is essential as they have fine knowledge about the short and safe route. 

Paro Valley is easier to navigate with guide; one of the reasons you need tour guide in Bhutan
View Point overlooking the Paro Valley

The construction on a highway expanding program has been ongoing; however, the majority of the roads are just 1.5 lanes wide. Furthermore, all the roads are zigzagging up and down the mountains with high concrete barriers and very few handrails. So, travelers always get confused in identifying the best ways and routes to get around Bhutan. However, they don’t need to worry as they may only visit Bhutan on a guided tour. So, your guided tour package to Bhutan will include a tour guide and driver to assist you in navigating the route. 

2.  Government Regulations 

The government of Bhutan is hesitant to allow visitors to enter the nation. Independent travel to Bhutan is becoming more popular, although the government does not promote it. In general, visitors to Bhutan must be either tourists or government guests. The only other way to enter the country is via invitation from “a person of some standing” or a volunteer group. All visitors must go on a pre-planned and prepaid guided package trip to Bhutan or custom-created travel program, except the Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldivian passport holders. 

Government Regulations in Bhutan mandate you to travel with a tour guide
Government Officials in Bhutan (By Steve Evans – originally posted to Flickr as Bhutan, CC BY 2.0)

On one hand, this government regulation is constraining; limiting fancy-free, carefree, personally preferred vacations. However, as a result of these limitations, one of the most intriguing cultures in the world has been maintained in a pristine alpine setting that has altered little over the ages.

3.  Cultural Experience

Unlike traveling in other nations, visiting Bhutan is more about cultural experience. Bhutan is the last Buddhist Kingdom in the world, which has a large collection of Buddhist art and culture. You’d never be able to handle the traditions and cultural intricacies or comprehend all the temple imagery unless you grew up as a Bhutanese Buddhist. Also, it is very difficult to understand the convoluted history and the current geopolitical position of Bhutan. So, the easiest way to understand most of the things is to ask a Bhutan tour guide. 

Gaining new Cultural Experience is another reason you need a tour guide in Bhutan
Popular Festival in Bhutan

After landing in Bhutan, lots of questions might arise on your mind such as what are the symbolic interpretation of various animals. When must we remove our footwear? Why do we constantly go around the temples in the same direction? In the dzongs, why do you dress up in a scarf? So, if you want relevant answers to these questions, it is best to have a guided tour of Bhutan. When you travel with a Bhutanese guide, they will show you around the communities and let you engage with the locals. It will provide you with an excellent opportunity to learn about their culture and tradition. 

4.  Hassle-Free Travel 

One of the reasons that may prevent you from enjoying a fantastic trip to Bhutan is the need to sort out little issues when traveling. How to obtain a visa? Where should I go? What are my options for getting around? Paths? When does the destination open or close? You won’t have to worry about it if you hire a guide for a Bhutan tour. They will assist you throughout the journey and help you obtain the required entry permit for Bhutan with the help of a registered tour operator. 

Himalayan Glacier provides hassle-free Nepal and Bhutan Tour by including sightseeing in Kathmandu valley and offering popular hikes to Taktsang monastery, Bhutan Druk Path trek, and so on. So, enjoy the two wonderful Himalayan Kingdoms on a single trip. 

Additionally, you also won’t have to worry about creating an itinerary. If you choose a guided tour to Bhutan, the tour company and guide will create one for you based on your tastes and interests. You may also personalize them by taking help from the experts. So, a tour guide in Bhutan will take all your responsibilities and let you enjoy every moment without burdening you with the tour plans and requirements. 

5.  Discover Lesser-Known Places 

Bhutan tour guides can take you to off-the-beaten-path locations you might not have discovered otherwise, as well as make customized recommendations on how to make the most of your vacation. There are several unexplored places in Bhutan like Phobjikha Valley, Rinung Dzong, Philatelic Bureau, Kila Nunnery, Lheunste, and so on. These destinations are less popular among travelers but equally stunning. 

Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Valley, One of the lesser known but beautiful places in Bhutan (By Phuentsho – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

With the assistance of a guide, you may explore all of these off-the-beaten paths and new locations that are outside the popular tourism destinations. Don’t you enjoy the excitement of discovering locations that aren’t evident and aren’t on regular tourist routes? You’d be surprised how off-the-beaten-path locations may be just as, if not more, spectacular than the main ones. So, to experience something different than those of regular travelers, you must choose your tour guide for Bhutan carefully.  

6.  Break the Language Barriers 

The primary language of Bhutan is Dzongkha, a Sino-Tibetan dialect. Even though Bhutanese people can comprehend and speak fluent English, they talk with a distinct tone of voice and accent than native speakers. As a result, it might be very hard for you to understand what they are saying. However, if you join the guided tour to Bhutan, then the guide will interpret for you. They will also help in breaking the ice with locals by teaching you a few Bhutanese words. 

Socializing with the local people in Bhutan; one of the reasons you need tour guide in Bhutan
Socializing with the local people in Bhutan

Moreover, traveling in Bhutan allows you to discover and see beautiful rural communities. However, the older generation and village residents may not be able to communicate in English since they never attended schools. During such cases, you won’t be able to speak and interact with locals if you are traveling alone. As a result, you must employ Bhutan tour guides to avoid language barrier issues. 

7.  Unique Experience 

You’d surely lose out on unique experiences if you didn’t hire a Bhutan tour guide. You can do things you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise if you had a guide. There are several activities in Bhutan which demand special permission or local networks. To have a smooth conversation with monks or organize the freshly made meal at the farmhouse, help from a guide is mandatory. Moreover, if you want to meet the popular sacred Buddhist astrologer in town for a reading, you would need the help of a guide as you can’t put this together on your own.

Experiencing the local communities of Bhutan
Experiencing the local communities of Bhutan

8.  Discover Unique Stories about the Destinations 

By far the biggest benefit of hiring a Bhutanese guide is the ability to pick his or her brain about anything. You may not only explore off-the-beaten-path locations in Bhutan with the help of a guide, but you can also learn interesting tales and facts about the places you visit. It is simple to retain information and check them up online. Hiring a Bhutan tour guide will provide you with much more, including local perspectives, customs, histories, and up-to-date factual knowledge about the places. 

You will have a better, fuller insight into the places you visit if you are with the guides. They will be able to give you the historical background of the places as well as answer any questions you may have about them. Bhutanese Guides make your travel much more fascinating and contribute significantly to the worth of your vacation. 

Why Book with Himalayan Glacier? 

To begin with, Himalayan Glacier is a licensed travel operator that has been operating 300+ private and group tours to Bhutan for decades. We have a 100% success rate in our decades of running a Bhutan tour. Moreover, all the itineraries are prepared by the destination expert team by keeping the customers in mind. Himalayan Glacier will manage your tickets and visa procedures, as well as assist you in planning a private vacation, group trip, or business trip to Bhutan. With us, you have the option of booking a small group tour or private trip. You have complete control over your Bhutan trip itinerary, tour duration, and excursions. 

Glimpse of Bhutan

Plan your trip with Himalayan Glacier and be ready to either join one of our scheduled trip departures or arrange a personalized trip to Bhutan on your schedule. We may modify our regular itineraries to meet your specific needs. So, hurry up and book your dates! 

Overall, if you are an independent traveler, you must know that tour guides in Bhutan are something to cherish rather than fear. Bhutan is wonderful in and of itself but discovering it with a guide is the cherry on top of an even more delicious cake. Understanding the meanings of the magnificent murals to witnessing monkeys in the branches is much more fun if you are on a guided tour to Bhutan. 

Make an extra effort to take a Nepal and Bhutan tour together on your next vacation. If you have any questions about your travel arrangements, please give us a call or email us so that we can provide you with the answers you want.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I join a group tour in Bhutan?

Yes, you can join a group tour in Bhutan. The Bhutan tour cost is expensive for solo travelers. So, for budget and price-sensitive travelers, it is best to join a small group tour to Bhutan. There are many trip operators that run group tours to Bhutan. These kinds of tours especially focus on travelers who find solo trips intimidating and not as fun as group tours. Moreover, there are many websites and online organizations that exist to connect people who like traveling to Bhutan. You’re likely to meet people you’d like to travel with through one of these ways. 

Himalayan Glacier also offers a popular group trip to Bhutan in addition to custom-made vacations. The itinerary is formulated for the first-time tourist, highlighting the attractions of the nation, from walled dzong to the popular Bhutan Druk Path trek. In addition to being reasonably priced, our group tour allows you to travel and share your story with a group of like-minded people. 

Can I travel to Bhutan without booking a tour package?

No, you can’t travel to Bhutan without booking a tour package. As per the Bhutanese government regulations, you must book your vacation to Bhutan through a certified Bhutanese travel operator or one of their foreign affiliates. To enter Bhutan, all international visitors must obtain a visa in advance via a certified Bhutanese travel operator or one of their foreign affiliates. You must receive a visa clearance document from your tour operator before flying to Bhutan. That’s why it is mandatory to book a tour package. Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldivian passport holders may acquire a visa on arrival.  

How much does it cost for a Bhutanese tour guide?

The government establishes the basic price of trips (called a “Minimum Daily Package”) to Bhutan to manage tourism and preserve biodiversity, and it is not negotiable. The basic price is inclusive of all lodgings, meals, transfers, Bhutan tour guide costs and porters, and other cultural activities. Also, this price varies depending on the season and the number of visitors in a group. So, there is no specific cost for Bhutanese tour guides as all the amount that travelers must spend per day is included in the Minimum Daily Package.

SeasonMinimum Daily Package
High Season (March, April, May, September, October, and November)USD 250 per person per day
Off-Season (December, January, February, June, July, and August)USD 200 per person per day

Note: Solo travelers need to add an extra USD 40, and a two-person private tour demands an extra USD 30 on the above-mentioned Bhutan guide tour cost. Also, the regulations of the Minimum Daily Package don’t apply to citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

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