FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Bhutan

International flights arrive and depart from Paro daily.  Carriers Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines operate daily flights to Bhutan from the main gateways of Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi and Kathmandu. Information on additional flights from India is available on the airline websites.

Bhutan is an incredibly safe country with crime and theft almost unheard of. It is also extremely safe for female, solo and LGBT travellers.

In order to appreciate at least three of the main tourist valleys, we would recommend 10 to 12 nights in the country.

Visa on arrival is issued by your local travel agent upon booking your trip and sent to you via email in advance to enable you to check-in at the airport for your inbound flight.

If you book directly with us we will introduce you to a trusted local travel company who will arrange your visa, guide, driver and other accommodation in different valleys.

Northern Hemisphere Spring and Autumn are normally considered the best times to visit Bhutan with beautiful warm days and cool nights.

However, winter has beautiful crisp sunny days perfect for walking. In  Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley, late October to mid-March are the best times to see the endangered Black-neck cranes that come to roost in the valley. 

Bhutan operates a ‘high-value low impact’ tourism policy to discourage mass tourism and avoid harming the environment and culture. As such, the government mandates that tourists pay a minimum daily package rate of USD$200 per person in low season and USD 250 per person in the high season. This rate includes a USD 65 daily sustainable development fee, your transportation, guide and driver,  and 3 star hotel accommodation  throughout your stay and is incorporated into your tour package price. The sustainable development fee goes towards providing free healthcare, education and poverty alleviation. 5 star hotels and lodges will be additional to this charge and incorporated into your package by your tour operator.

Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (BTN/Nu). Currency accepted in Bhutan are the American dollars and Euro. Please keep in mind that the exchange rate changes on a daily basis. American Dollars are widely accepted in all handicraft emporiums and the majority of Bhutan’s hotels.

There is no limit on the number of tourists permitted to visit Bhutan. However, flight seats and hotel rooms are limited and can be booked out months in advance in the high season.

You can travel to Bhutan independently, but must still be accompanied by a tour guide and driver arranged through a licensed Bhutanese travel agent.

The Bhutanese government has been very deliberate in their tourism policies to protect its local culture and environment  since opening up to foreigners in the 1960s. One of these policies requires all visitors (except those from  India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives) to be accompanied by a Bhutanese guide and driver.

Yes, it is a requirement of the Tourism Council of Bhutan that all tourists who book a trip pay a deposit before arriving in Bhutan. The Tour Operators are required to pay the advance payment for the entire service provider for the services that they have booked.

Our Lodge sits at the head of the valley at an altitude of 3000 m (10,000 feet). Some guests do experience symptoms of altitude sickness.  To avoid this, we recommend that guests spend 2 nights in another valley to acclimatise prior to their arrival in Gangtey. Since the acclimatisation process varies from person to person, it would be advisable to seek advice from your doctor before travel.  Gangtey Lodge does not stock altitude sickness medication.

Comfortable outdoor clothing, including jumpers and a windbreaker are ideal for Bhutan. In summer a light rain jacket is advisable, and in winter a puffer jacket, gloves and woollen hat are recommended for early mornings and evenings. And of course a pair of comfortable ankle-protecting walking shoes will complete all the equipment needed!  Insect repellent, sun cream and a lip balm are also essential. Sun at such a high altitude is very strong, even if not shining directly on us.

Visa, Maestro, Amex and JCB cards are accepted through a POS machine. Maestro, Visa and JCB cards can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs, but the process is erratic.  You can also use cards at handicraft shops and hotels, but the processing fees are high, ranging from 3% to 5% of the total amount. Because Bhutan is an unusual place for a  card transaction, your bank may reject or block the transaction for security reasons unless informed prior to travel.  We therefore recommend that you inform your bank of your travel to Bhutan prior to your departure.

No, tipping is not mandatory! However, if you would like to acknowledge the services, you may choose to tip the individual. There is no set tipping range; gratitude amount is under guest’s discretion.

Yes, you will have access to all basic necessities such as pharmacies and hospitals. However, please keep in mind that as you travel away from the capital city, all amenities and infrastructure become more basic.

Bhutan is the only country in the world that prohibits the sale and production of tobacco and, of course, smoking is prohibited in public places. But tourists are permitted to bring in 200 cigarettes for personal use only.

GANGTEY LODGE

Bookings of room nights only at Gangtey Lodge can be made directly with us by email. We will then connect you with a trusted tour operator (‘DMC’) to arrange your visa, flights, accommodation in other valleys, guide and driver, which is a requirement under Bhutanese Law.

You can get to Gangtey by car along a scenic drive through Paro, Thimpu and Punakha,  or via a spectacular helicopter ride.  When you travel throughout Bhutan, a guide will accompany you on your journey and be with you at all times on transfers from place to place. Gangtey Lodge is situated in the 4th of the 5 valleys that make up the Bhutan journey.

Gangtey is accessible via helicopter with Royal Bhutan Helicopters. The flight time from Paro to Gangtey is 30 minutes one way. The flight from the Lodge to Thimphu takes 20 minutes.  The Gangtey helipad is situated within 10 minute drive to the Lodge.

The usual length of stay for most tourists is 2-3 nights but a lot of people comment when they are leaving that they wish they had stayed longer. We recommend minimum of 3 nights, to allow for at least 2 full days, to truly experience all that the Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley and our Lodge has to offer you.

The room price is double occupancy and includes full board (breakfast, lunch dinner) or half board (breakfast, dinner), tea/coffee and a selection of beverages, complimentary WiFi, laundry and shoe cleaning service to name a few.  Please see ‘Rooms’ for the complete list of inclusions.

The hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property and is usually very reliable, with only occasional and brief dropouts in connectivity.

Gangtey Lodge is a 4 hour drive from the airport, but we normally recommend  5 hours to allow for photo stops and a bite to eat on the way.

Gangtey Lodge is ideally located to all the attractions in Gangtey.  The 16th century Gangtey Goenpa (Monastery) and Gangtey Village are 10 minute walk from the Lodge; a 5 minute walk up behind the Lodge is the Gangtey Shedra (Buddhist College).   The beginning of the famous Gangtey Nature Trail is just below the Lodge, leading to many of the walks and mountain bike routes.

Gangtey Lodge is a wonderful adventure for children above 5 years old. A short walk away there are farms with cows and we often see Yaks too.  We also have a couple of smaller mountain bikes suitable for 12 years and above. At the hotel we can offer instruction in Bhutanese darts and archery or traditional Bhutanese board games for cozy afternoons inside.  See our ‘Family Escapes’ for more information.

Laundry is available and complimentary for guest during their stay.

Winter evenings and early mornings often hover around freezing or minus 5 degrees centigrade. During the day, however, the abundant winter sunshine allows the temperature to climb to 10 – 15 degrees centigrade.

Our Lodge sits at the head of the valley at an altitude of 3000 m (10,000 feet). Whilst the majority of guests suffer no symptoms at all, some guests do experience symptoms of altitude sickness. To avoid this, we recommend that guests spend 2-3 nights in another valley to acclimatise before visiting Gangtey. We also advise drinking plenty of water, avoiding too much alcohol and doing non-strenuous activities on the first day in Gangtey. We recommend that you seek the advice of a doctor before travel, should you wish to bring medication. Gangtey Lodge does not stock altitude sickness medication.

Yes, the Gangtey Valley Clinic is a 30 minute drive from the Lodge, which has fully trained doctors and experienced nurses on standby: 24/7. Doctors are on call for medical emergencies. Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service is available for medivac emergency airlifts to nearby hospitals in Wangdue Phodrang District Hospital (road: 2 hour drive away) and Jime Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital, Thimphu (air: 25 min or road: 4 hour drive).

Visitors to the Monastery and Shedra are expected to wear clothes that cover the shoulders and neckline to show respect.  Short shorts and short skirts are restricted, but other than that, there are no other restrictions.  It is custom to take off one’s shoes before entry to the monasteries and various spiritual places.

No, not at all! The valley boasts a variety of hikes that are easy to moderate in level. 

Yes, there are local craftsmen in Gangtey village who present their various work in small village shops. Please note that most of them do not accept credit cards.

OUR ROOMS

We allow a maximum of three people per room.  For parents travelling with young children who wish to share a room, please contact the Lodge.

In addition to the roll top baths for you to soak in, all our rooms have an ensuite shower and toilet, as well as a large dressing room with double vanities.

The hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi in all the guest rooms and throughout the hotel.

There are no interconnecting rooms at Gangtey Lodge, however, as there are only 3 rooms per shared corridor, we place families in adjacent rooms which allows families to have greater privacy.

Please see our ‘Rooms’ page for all our inclusions.

Experiences

At Gangtey Lodge, we aim to disconnect children from their phones and reconnect them with the world around them. Children are naturally curious, and both our Lodge and our valley offer a wealth of authentic experiences.  From milking cows and making cheese at a farmhouse to exploring the ancient trails that meander through ancient pine forests past crane roosting grounds, experiences in Gangtey offer opportunities for children to learn and grow.  Our young guests love to learn how to shoot an arrow in our archery lessons or make momos in our cookery class.  End the day recounting adventures with homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows by the fireplace.

Gangtey is suitable for older guests who are still mobile and able to enjoy moderate walking, nature and culture.  

Gangtey Lodge is ideally located to all the attractions in Gangtey.  The 16th century Gangtey Goenpa (Monastery) and Gangtey Village are 10 minute walk from the Lodge; a 5-minute walk up behind the Lodge is the Gangtey Shedra (Buddhist College). The beginning of the famous Gangtey Nature Trail is just below the Lodge, leading to many of the walks and mountain bike routes.

Dining

Our team is experienced in creating delicious, creative dishes that are gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and practiced at following the special rules for preparing kosher meals. Due to our remote location, please let us know of your needs at the time of booking, so that we may prepare. We would be delighted to create dishes especially for you.

Yes, absolutely! At Gangtey Lodge we focus on healthy dishes that are seasonal and comforting, many of which are vegetarian.  Choose from Bhutanese, regional or classic home-style western favourites to make you feel at home.

THE AUTHENTIC & MEANINGFUL

LUXURY EXPERIENCE IN UNDISCOVERED BHUTAN