Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary

Old Feb 6, 2024, 4:56 pm
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Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary



This property seems to get really great reviews, but I assume that the lack of airlines flying to Bhutan and the daily government imposed fees have limited the number of tourists that visit. The tourist fees have recently dropped to $100/day with a $40 visa application fee. There are direct flights from major cities like Katmandu, Delhi, and Singapore with one of the two national airlines (though they are on the pricey side. Award nights are typically 25,000 Hyatt points and room rates are typically $900-$1,000 per night after taxes and fees. It's also all inclusive of meals, activities, and daily spa treatments. A writer at the The Points Guy gave the property a glowing review. Live and Lets Fly also has a positive review, but 6 months later has not posted his detailed review.

We are looking at doing either four or five nights at this property in May. There are restrictions on how late flights can arrive and depart due to how difficult it is to land in Paro, so we'd arrived mid-day and on our departure date we'd be leaving early morning. It seems most who stay at this property do it as part of a tour and are there for a maximum of two nights. Curious if anyone has stayed longer and can give insight on what would be a good duration visit for this property.
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Old Apr 28, 2024, 3:01 pm
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Astrophsx did you end up booking here? I booked 2-nights in May as well and thinking if I should do more...
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Old Apr 28, 2024, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by pichalite
Astrophsx did you end up booking here? I booked 2-nights in May as well and thinking if I should do more...
Booked 5 nights. We are doing Delhi for two nights, Bhutan, and then Katmandu. Our flight from Delhi departs at 4am and leaving Bhutan at 7am. So I imagine 5 days for us will be needed to adjust to the lack of sleep.

I will tell you that obtaining the visa for Bhutan has been a bit of a hassle as I refused to use a travel agency. Seems like many travel agencies post online trying to throw people off into thinking they need to use one. You can pay by credit card, but the fees are not disclosed on the visa application page. If you try to click into a bank and choose not to use that bank it will lock up your application. One bank charges a 4.5% fee and the other is 5%. They have multiple banks for a wire transfer, but you are likely looking at a large fee to do an international wire transfer from your bank. When I glanced at the bank options they all seemed to have SWIFT, which uses intermediary banks that do not disclose their additional fee.

I used the Wise app as they charge $13 for sending a SWIFT international wire transfer. Either the bank of bhutan or an intermediary bank they use charged a $20 fee. They would not approve our visa unless someone physically walked into a bank in Bhutan and deposited the money for us. The other option they gave us is to reapply for one less day, upon arrival request a 1 day extension, pay the $20, and on top of that pay an additional fee. I've heard from multiple people that this is a very common issue. So it seems like maybe it's on purpose to drive people to go with a local tourist agency to keep people employed. Seems like their previous visa use to require you to hire local guides and what not. I can see why they have not seen an increase in tourism with the high cost of the visa and the complicated process.

The Spirit Sanctuary came to the rescue and said they'd have someone go and deposit $20 on our behalf!
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