Five Indian guests entered Bhutan via Samdrup Jongkhar paying the Sustainable Development Fee in the last three days. Samdrup Jongkhar, Gelephu and Samtse have been identified as additional entry points when Bhutan reopened for tourists on Friday. But these entry points will be for Indian visitors.
Lalrosanga and his family from Mizoram are the first Indian guests to visit Bhutan via Samdrup Jongkhar after the district was identified as an entry point for Indian visitors.
They entered the country paying the Sustainable Development Fee of Nu 1,200 per person per night. The group headed to Trashiganag today.
Lalrosanga said he paid more than Nu 20,000 in a day including the SDF, accommodations, and other expenses. But, he added, it is worth the experience.
“This is a foreign country for me, we want to visit a foreign country in our car. In another place, we can go by flight by doing every paperwork from our table. But in this country, we have to do it on the spot, it is a very good experience for my family and myself,” he remarked.
Visitors are allowed to travel to Pinchinna, which is four kilometres from Samdrup Jongkhar town as day visitors without paying the SDF.
The SDF is levied on guests planning to go beyond Pinchinna or spend a night in Samdrup Jongkhar. And visitors travelling beyond a designated point driving their vehicles have to pay additional Nu 4,500 per night.
Since the opening of the borders on September 23, more than 100 people from both countries have been crossing the gate every day in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar
Edited by Phub Gyem