After doing some research, it sounds to me like it costs tourists ~$250/day just to be in the country, which seems kinda ridiculous. I've been to 52 other countries and have never heard anything like this before! Can anyone confirm this??
A: You need a visa
B: you can only get a visa of you book a tour
C: tour prices are determined by the govt. at $250/day/person (during peak season)
To further confuse the matter, these fixed priced tours include food and lodging, so if that's indeed the case, why are there hotels even listed with prices for the country? If I HAVE to pay $250/day just to visit the country, why the heck would I pay for a hotel on top of that when lodging is already included?!?! This just makes no sense to me.
From the countries tourism website (tourism.gov.bt/plan-your-trip/travel-require…)
Other than Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa; all visas are issued from Thimphu; visas are only issued to booked with a local licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent.
The minimum tariff for tourist visiting in a group of 3 persons or more are as follows:
High Season Tariff – USD$ 250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.
The minimum price includes:
All internal taxes and charges (including the royalty)
All travel with a licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide
All Internal Transport
Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours