How much money do I need to bring after I have paid for my trip? Do I have to carry cash, Travelers’ check or can I use my credit card for shopping in Bhutan? If yes, which credit cards are accepted? What currencies are used? Is India Rupees ok? How and where can I change monies? What denominations?

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Bhutanese currency called Ngultrum (Nu), is pegged with Indian rupees (Rs) and is therefore same is value and used as much. After your trip has been paid in full for Bhutan, all you need to bring money for really is for Souvenir, Tips, personal expenses not covered by the tour, such as the drinks, beverages, Laundry and those kinds. Your meals, accommodation, flight tickets, taxes visa fees, guides, transfers are all paid. The following are some rough estimates for different costs you’re likely to encounter, while travelling in Bhutan. I have deliberately over-budgeted on some items to provide a margin for error. It’s important to have spare cash. A large bottle of beer costs around $5-6 in the hotels and less in the local restaurants or shops. Bottled water in your hotel will cost around $2 and half or less outside. Wines are much more expensive in Bhutan as they are imported from overseas. Laundry will cost around $2-4 for a trouser. In general, the tip (optional) you are likely to pay is between $8-10 per day per guide in a group and so you split that cost between the members. May be a slightly higher if the duration is short and less if the duration is more. There is one driver through-out the trip and you can tip around half of what you tip the Guide. If you are trekking there are additional crews such as the cook and his assistants. During the treks, the cooks do most of the work and he is usually tipped as much as the guide or more and his assistants hope half. During the trek, there won’t be much place you can spend money on, unless some villagers show up, to try and sell their Yak wool or cheese. Even fruit juices and some alcoholic beverages are provided along the trek. So it is safe to say, budget around $20 per day in such expenses, if you not planning to make big souvenir purchases. Cash US Dollar is best form of money. You may also bring other popular currencies like Pound Sterling and Euro. If you must bring more money, then split them in half between travelers’ checks and cash for safety. Cash are easy to change or give, compared to travelers’ checks. If you are coming from India, you can also bring any remaining Indian Rupees, as they are used as local currency too. Please note that Indian denominations of 500rupees and higher are not easily accepted and in the past, it was once banned. Some people asked us what denomination they should bring their dollars. The answer would be bit of small denominations and more in $100 or $50. I don’t think you will need to bring ones and fives. Credit Card can only be used in some shops in Bhutan for larger purchases of handicrafts and so on. They may even charge additional processing fee for using credit cards; some we have heard of up to 5%. The local ATM in Thimphu does not accept overseas cards at the time of this time. There is an American Express travel service office in Thimphu, which can provide some cash advance with your Amex card, but takes too long for too little. If you are arriving by flight into Bhutan, you can change the money at the airport upon arrival. Traveler’s checks are best to change here and save cash for changing along the way. Some of the hotel may hesitate changing travelers’ checks. And if you go to the bank, it may take up your time. Most guesthouses will exchange money for you, but they often have a limited amount on hand. If the place is full of tourists, it is first come – first served until they run out of cash. Some of the places in the more remote parts of the country may not have much on hand at all, so you need to be prepared. Just ask your guide and he will advise you. Again US$ cash is much easier to change from. Even if you change too much into local currency, if you hold onto the receipts, you can change it back on your departure. Nepalese Rupee is not accepted in Bhutan.

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