Frequently Asked Questions
Browse this FAQ list to find answers to questions about dharma tours and retreats. We’ve tried to include everything, but if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Everyone here is eager to help out, so just send us a note or give us a call.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BOOK?
You simply need to book your own travel from wherever you live to Delhi International Airport, India:
For Bhutan & India 2019
Arriving November 15th, 2019 afternoon / evening
Returning November 27th, 2019 afternoon/evening
For Sikkim, India 2020
Arriving March 18th, 2020 afternoon / evening
Returning March 28th, 2020 afternoon/evening
Please let us know in advance of booking your travel arrangements to India.
On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to our hotel near the Airport.
WHAT ARE THE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCES FOR FLIGHTS WITHIN BHUTAN AND INDIA?
On international flights from Delhi to Paro, Bhutan and from Paro, Bhutan to Bagdogra, India, you can carry 30 kg checked in luggage plus your 7 kg hand luggage.
Please note that the internal flight from Dehli to Bagdogra (or back) has a limit of 15 kg for your checked in luggage plus a limit of 7 kg for you hand luggage.
Therefore, we recommend arriving with 15 kg in Delhi (unless you are willing to pay overweight fees).
IS TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIRED?
YES.Travel insurance is MANDATORY for all dharma tour travelers and should be taken out right after booking.
WHAT SHOULD MY POLICY COVER?
At a minimum, your travel insurance should be ‘comprehensive,’ providing coverage for cancelation of your trip, loss of luggage, personal items, personal accident, medical expenses, and personal liability (with a minimum coverage of US$200,000).
In the U.S. http://www.travelguard.com/intrepid/
Worldwide through American Express or any other travel insurance company you usually use.
WHICH DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO TRAVEL TO INDIA AND BHUTAN?
Your passport must have at least 6 months validity left from the time of travel to apply for an Indian Visa. If your passport expires before this date, please renew as soon as possible and forward a copy to us.
Indian Visa: It is your responsibility to apply for your e-Visa 30 days ahead of travel to India, we will remind you how to apply for one in September. You need to apply for a MULTI-entry visa. as you will re-enter India from Bhutan.
Bhutan Visa: We will process the visa for Bhutan for you. We are required to make this application 8 weeks ahead of travel.
Please send us per email a scanned copy of your passport to process your Visa for Bhutan.
Please carry with you an additional 4 passport photos, a photocopy of your Indian-visa and a photocopy of your passport
WHAT WEATHER CAN I EXPECT?
Bhutan: The weather in Bhutan varies significantly depending on the elevation and where you are in Bhutan. In general the South of Bhutan is more tropical, the East is warmer than the West and in the higher regions of the Himalayans, you can expect snow.
In November day time expect warm weather, up to 60's and 70’s F. (15-21 Celsius) depending where we are.
Mornings and evenings will be cooler and warm clothes are advisable, expect 40’s F (4-8 Celsius).
Sikkim, India: Like Southern Bhutan it is very tropical. In March as well in November with short sleeves during the day and a sweater and blanket for the night are common.
One advantage of traveling in the month of November is the clear, crisp blue sky that you witness. The sky would be cloudless, and the Himalayan range can be seen clearly.
One advantage of traveling in the month of March is the blossoming of the extensive nature in Spring time.
WHAT CLOTHES SHALL I BRING?
Bring your most comfortable, warm and cooler weather clothes.
Pack lightly for dressing in layers:
Assortment of short sleeves, light long sleeve tops – comfortable for walking
Light weights trousers - comfortable for walking
Heavier trouser for evening
Sweaters/hoodies/fleece for evenings
Light jacket for evenings
Hiking boots/sport shoes – the most important item of all! Choose boots that are reasonably light and suitable for walking as opposed to heavy mountain boots. Terrain may be stony and uneven or perhaps muddy and wet in places. Make sure your boots have good ankle support, good grip and are broken in and comfortable before you leave!
Comfortable shoes or sandals for lighter days
Spare shoes for evening
Light rain coat (just in case)
Small lightweight backpack to carry bits and pieces – water bottle, sun cream, camera, wipes etc.
A warm light shawl
Sunglasses, sunscreen, comfortable hat
Small packs of tissues & disinfectant wet wipes
All Personal hygiene items you may require
Do not bring a hair dryer, high heels, dressy outfit!
WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL AND VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS?
All participants must take full responsibility for getting all the necessary vaccinations for India and Bhutan, obtaining malaria medication if you choose to take it and bringing adequate supplies of any existing medication.
You will need to attend your own GP or a travel medical specialist in this regard as we are not qualified to provide vaccination information.
You will need to get shots approx. 6-8 weeks prior to departure.
If you choose not to get shots or take medication or prefer to use alternative medications that is your personal choice and we can bear no responsibility. If you have any health problems, please have a doctor’s check-up before leaving.
Mosquito repellent any product containing deet e.g Autan, Jungle Formula
Painkillers e.g. paracetamol
Allergy/Insect Bite Cream e.g. Anthisan
Antihistamine tablets for insect bites or allergies
Electrolyte Sachets in case of diarrhea or dehydration
Immodium or Arrete tablets for diarrhea
Motilium tablets (nausea, stomach upset)
Wet wipes (for freshening up)
Antiseptic Hand Gel / Spray
Any personal medication you take. Make sure you bring a supply.
WHAT ELSE IS USEFUL TO BRING?
Adaptors for India and Bhutan are the same, if you are bringing electrical items or mobile phone. Don’t forget rechargers!
Torch for evenings in the mountains
Camera as there are incredible opportunities to take stunning photos
Field glasses if desired for checking out the amazing scenery
You won’t need a mosquito net.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING?
Once you arrive in India, all your air and ground travel, your overnight hotel stays, all your meals, your entrance fees to all holy sites and taxes, throughout the tour – are included.
You may want to shop, buy souvenirs, clothing, and memories of your journey or have any additional drinks in the evenings or additional food or massages and the traditional Hot Stone Baths! (highly recommended at the end of your day).
We will have opportunities to exchange currencies – and credit cards are welcomed in virtually every place we go. We recommend that you bring approx. US$350 (Euros €300)to cover tips and any additional shopping throughout our journey.
In general, it is easier to exchange cash onsite then drawing money with your bank card from an ATM (sometimes they do not have enough cash). Feel free to bring extra cash in US $ OR €'s as you desire.
A credit card is recommended for hotel extra's.
We recommend bringing a bank card as a backup.
Indian Rupees cannot be exchanged in your home country (only in India). You can change money in India and Bhutan after arrival. Please note: Bhutan accepts Indian rupees as well, however only in smaller denominations, nothing larger than 1000 RS Notes
HOW DO I TIP?
It will not be necessary to tip hotel staff etc. during the trip.
A group tip will be collected as you leave the hotel, staff receive very low wages, this is an easier system than having to tip individuals repeatedly. Please allow Approx. 500 Rs per person(approx. €6/$7) for hotel staff.
We also make a collection for our drivers and guides at the end of the program. Please allow Approx.1,000Rs (approx.€14/$15)
Please take tipping into account when budgeting for your trip.
Cash is King! Credit cards are accepted in several places though not always working or have enough cash available.
WHAT ABOUT LEFTOVER RUPEES?
Indian Rupees and Bhutanese Ngultrum or BTN cannot be exchanged at home. For this reason, try to budget as well as you can so you are not left with a lot of foreign currency at the end of the trip.
SHALL I BRING ANY FOOD?
If you wish you can bring some snacks from home e.g. cereal bars, crackers, etc.
DO NOT DRINK TAP WATER in India and Bhutan!
It is recommended to brush teeth with bottled water also to avoid picking up digestive infections. Bottled water and soft drinks are widely available. We will supply bottled water during the trip.
Important Note: Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. It is also helpful to add electrolyte salts to your drinking water to replace lost body salt.
Mobile phones: Check with your network provider about the roaming agreements for India & Bhutan.
Emails: Usually most of the hotels have Wi-Fi/WLAN, though be aware that reception can be weak or intermittent in some of regions/areas.
Hotel phones: Any calls made by you on hotel phones must be paid for by yourself at reception on check-out.
India is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT (UK)
Bhutan is 15 minutes ahead of India.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BE AWARE OF REGARDING THE DRESS CODE IN INDIA AND BHUTAN?
Religion and tradition make India and Bhutan both far more conservative societies than the West. Visitors must bear in mind if you want to avoid causing offence, please obey a conservative dress code.
You can wear shorts, vests etc. for walking and hiking.
Conventional Dress Code:
Women: keep shoulders/legs/midriffs/cleavage covered
Men: keep shoulders /lets/upper body covered i.e. no shirtless excursions!
While visiting temples or any other religious sites, please make a respectful effort to cover up. Thank you.
If you’re traveling with a preferred companion, each traveler may register and pay separately, or together. Let us know the name of your companion.
If you do not have a companion but would like us to pair you with one, please pay at the double occupancy rate and we will pair you with another available traveler.
We know this is a trip of a lifetime – one you will dream about, talk about, and reflect on for decades. Both India and Bhutan’s rich culture, remarkable history, breath-taking natural beauty and impressive landmarks combine to make them some of the top vacation destinations on Earth. We want to help you do it right and so you can plan and prepare to ensure your trip is easy & etched in your heart forever.