Currency & Spending Money (Bhutan)

Bhutan’s unit of currency is the Ngultrum (BTN) and the symbol is Nu. 

Here is a reference table of approximate exchange rate (for up-to-date exchange rates, please check before you travel):

1 Unit of currency Ngultrum (BTN)
AU$1 54.68
NZ$1 50.87
US$1 83.38

Correct as of December 2023

Ngultrum is not available outside of Bhutan. It is recommended that foreign visitors take in US Dollars or Indian Rupee which are easily exchangeable for Ngultrum. 

USD - If you are bringing US Dollars (USD), ensure you have plenty of US$1 and US$5 notes for convenience, although larger US$ denominations (US$50 & US$100) do receive a better exchange rate if purchasing larger souvenirs, converting to local currency or tipping your guide & driver at the end of your journey.

INR - The Indian Rupee (INR) is also an accepted form of currency as the Ngultrum is fixed against the Indian Rupee. You may be given change in either Indian Rupee or Bhutanese Ngultrum. If taking in Indian Rupees, we recommend you do not carry 500 or 1000 rupee notes as they are rarely accepted, generally only notes under 100 Indian Rupee are accepted.

Exchanging Cash, ATM's and Card Payments

You will be able to exchange cash at Paro International Airport's foreign exchange desk and at banks found in Paro and Thimphu. Some hotels also offer currency exchange. 

Do not rely on ATMs in Bhutan as they are generally only for local card holders. Remote towns do not yet have ATM services. As tourism develops in the region this service may become more readily available and reliable. 

Visa card, Amex and Mastercard are becoming more frequently accepted in the larger hotels and established shops, however cash is still the main form of payment. When using your credit card a surcharge of up to 7% applies.

Plan ahead

Be prepared with enough cash in hand for the next few days and when travelling outside of Paro and Thimphu. Once you have started your tour, you will quickly get a sense of how often or how much you need to exchange money. 

Keep some of your exchange receipts

You can convert any unused notes at Paro International Airport's foreign exchange desk when you depart. You will need to present your passport, airline ticket and some receipts of the money exchanged/withdrawn.

Spending money

As we already include the cost of meals, entrance fee's and daily taxes for travel in Bhutan, you will only need to have sufficient funds to pay for personal expenses such as drinks, snacks, souvenirs, additional tipping and optional extras. On an average one week tour of Bhutan, we would recommend budgeting approximately AU$200-$400 per person spending money, depending on your needs and shopping plans.

As a guide on price, a bottle of water can be purchased for approximately AU$0.50 and a beer for AU$2-$3.