Damchen Resort Kuruthang Punkaha, Bhutan Hotels, Bhutan Resorts, Hotels in Bhutan, Bhutan backpacking, Bhutan Travel

Bhutan Backpacking: Hotel Booking Tips

We  backpacked to Eastern and Central Bhutan and no doubt that Bhutan and Bhutanese people are awesome and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this beautiful country. However, we realized that there are limited accommodation options in Bhutan, especially for budget stay. Thimphu, being the capital city provides the maximum options otherwise other cities (Paro, Punakha, Khuruthang, Haa Valley) have quite limited options.

Please click here to read all blogs from our Bhutan Backpacking Trip.

A. Why does Bhutan have limited hotels? 

Bhutan has tourism policy which focuses on ‘High value, low impact’ and thus allows tourists only with a minimum daily tariff fixed ($250). All tourists except Indians can visit Bhutan only by booking through government approved tour operators who in turn take care of lodging, food and travel through the daily fixed tariff. Tour operators book stay in the hotels (usually high end ones). Government regulations too restrict putting daily budget travelers in budget hotels.

Only Indian/Bangladesh/Maldives travelers are allowed to plan their itinerary and travel on their own. So self-booking option of Bhutan hotels is primarily exercised by tourists from these countries or Bhutanese travelling within the country. That is the reason for limited number of budget hotels available in Bhutan. For the same reason, Bhutan hotel listings on websites like Booking.com, Agoda or  Airbnb are also very limited.

A.1 Are there any Backpacker Hostels in Bhutan?

For the same reason as listed above, you will also not find any backpacker hostels  in Bhutan (not even Youth Hostel). Bhutan does not encourage mass tourism and backpacker hostel culture does not fit in this philosophy. Thus rather than looking for hostels in Bhutan, we will suggest to visit in a group and share room at a good hotel so as to reduce expenses.

Bhutan Hotels, Hotels in Haa Valley Bhutan, Bhutan Travel and Tourism, Bhutan backpacking, Budget hotels in Bhutan, Bhutan homestays,
Haa valley has very less tourist flow and has only three hotel options

B. So, What to do to book Hotel in Bhutan?

Research well and book in advance by calling hotels

So, in case you are backpacking to Bhutan (most probably from India), do research well in advance online and keep the list of your preferred hotels ready with contact details. Please refer next section for a list of websites which can come handy for your research. Give a call to your selected hotels and book them on phone itself. Online booking options for Bhutan Hotels are almost nil, so booking on call would be the best option.

Book through travel agencies based in India (Jaigaon and Alipurduar)

There are few tour operators which focus only on Indian tourists and have contacts with Bhutan Hotels. They usually have negotiated rates and can quote lesser than what hotels themselves will quote. You may do a quick online search and talk to few. (We did not try this option our self but read few blogs where people tried this option)

Bhutan Hotels, Budget hotels in Bhutan, Paro hotels, Thimphu Hotels, Bhutan backpacking, Bhutan tourism, Bhutan Travel, Hotel Peljorling Bhutan, Bhutan Homestays
View of Town Square from our hotel window in Paro – Hotel Peljorling

C. Details about Bhutan Hotels

Following are few websites where contact details of Bhutan hotels and home stays are mentioned:

  1. http://www.tourism.gov.bt/directory/homestay
  2. http://www.tourism.gov.bt/directory/hotel
  3. http://www.hotel.bt/
  4. http://bhutanhotel.com.bt/

Also, based on our stay, following are few tips for booking hotels in key Bhutan cities. Hope this comes handy for your planning –

Thimphu Hotels

‘Norzin Lam’ is the central road and most of the hotels are located on this road, near Clock Tower, almost next to each other. When we reached Thimphu, we found that all good budget hotels were full. Even others had last few rooms left which we did not like much. We finally landed at ‘The Woods Hotel’ near Clock Tower. Rooms are big but management is completely unprofessional. Not recommended at all.

Paro Hotels

Compred to Thimphu, hotels in Paro are spread out (with some concentration around Town Square) and you may have to walk a lot in case you are planning to explore on the spot. We stayed at Hotel Peljorling in Paro and will recommend it for a budget stay.

Haa Valley Hotels

Haa Valley is very beautiful but not so frequented with tourists, thus stay options are also super limited. Only 3 hotels at the time of our visit 🙂

  • Hotel Tak Sing Ching Druk (Mobile: +975-77458274/77387134)
  • Ugyen/Chimi’s Homestay (Mobile: +975-17111116)
  • Risum Resort (Mobile: +975 – 17972992)

We stayed at Hotel Tak Singh Ching Druk. Location is great, just next to bus stand. Rooms are small but clean and accommodating. However, owner lady was quite indifferent and not hospitable.

Punakha and Khuruthang Hotels

Ahh! This was an experience. Very limited options – only 1 hotel in Punakha and 5 in Khuruthang. There are few resorts but they are good 7-8 KM drive from city. When we reached Khuruthang in evening, we found that these hotels too were all booked for National Book Fair that was going on in Punakha. Finally, we got a room in Damchen Resorts. This is an awesome resort with seating on river side. By the way, we also collected the contact details of the hotels, so that it can come handy for you –

  • Punaka:  Only 1 Resort (Zhingkham Resort, Mobile: +975-2584722/23/24/25)
  • Khuruthang: Only 5 hotels in the city. Most of the resorts are far from the city.  
    • Hotel Yeosel Rabtenling (Mobile: +975-17641733/16935149)
     
    • Hotel Zomlha (Mobile: +975-77656959)
     
    • Hotel Sher Ling/Shivalik (Mobile: +975-17110847/77110847)
     
    • Damchen Resorts (Mobile: +975-2584367/2584368)
     
    • Hotel Y.T. (Mobile: +975 -2376014)
Entrance of Damchen Resorts in Khuruthang, Punakha, Bhutan Hotels, Budget hotels in Bhutan, Bhutan backpacking, Bhutan Travel, Homestays in Bhutan
Entrance of Damchen Resorts in Khuruthang, Punakha

Hotel Update for getting Bhutan Permit: For Indian/ Bangladeh/ Maldives tourist, while applying for Entry Permit – you also need to show a confirmation of your hotel booking for initial days of stay in Bhutan. You have to carry the print out of email confirmation. Also, you need to present your itinerary for your stay in Bhutan. You may refer our blog here for more details about getting Bhutan Permit.

For booking your hotel in Bhutan, you may consider using Booking.com. They do not require any upfront payment or card details for booking you stay –

Booking.com

We hope that this information helps you plan your Bhutan trip. Do drop a comment if you need more information or have any additional information for fellow backpackers.

Happy exploration !!

10 thoughts to “Bhutan Backpacking: Hotel Booking Tips”

  1. PLEASE KINDLY TELL ME THE INDIAN MONEY PRICE OF HOTEL IN THIMPU ,PARO ETC PER NIGHT AND NORMALLY INDIAN FOOD PRICE FOR A WHOLE DAY MEAN BREAKFAST,LUNCH AND DINNER.

    1. Hi Chandrani, it will depend on the kind of hotel and restaurant you choose. However budget hotels will start from ~INR 700 per day and a basic meal (rice with Ema Datshi) will cost ~INR 150. Charges for meals and hotels are slightly higher compared to India.

  2. Hey.. thanks for all the information. They were very helpful. 😀
    Although I would like to point out something. If I am not mistaken, not just Indians, Bangladeshis and Maldivians can also travel in Bhutan WITHOUT guides or pre booked government tour packages.

  3. Fantastic review. Much needed information. Very very useful for the first time visitor. The review covers all the facts with prices and links and all that we need. Thank you …you made my work a load lesser as I would have spent lot of time researching and finding these facts from different places and sources.

  4. Hello, we are trying to help a young monk find lodging in Paro, Bhutan. He has very limited funds. Any suggestions? Right now he is in Paro and needs to find something soon. Thank you

    1. Hi Kelly, There are few monasteries in Paro (actually all across Bhutan) that can certainly help monk. Please ask him/her to reach out to any monastery and we are sure that he/she will get support.

  5. Hi! How safe and likely is it to find solo female traveler?
    What about all the hotels you descdides? Since many don’t have onlimo booking option so no reviews, it will be hard to figure out what kind of place it is.

    1. Hi Siipi, In general Bhutan is quite safe and it should not be an issue for you. Still would request you to be cautious in general. For Hotels, information we provided is in terms of contact details for hotels. We are not so sure about individual property.

Happy to hear from you