Bhutan (The Kingdom of)

History of Relations || Diplomatic Representation || Travel Info || Health Requirements || Climate Info || Currency Info || Trade Statistics || Visits and Meetings || Agreements || Interest Groups/ Organisations

History of Relations

The Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Bhutan do not have any diplomatic relations. Multilateral contact is maintained through the South African Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva. There is limited bilateral contact through the South African High Commission in New Delhi, India.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Bhutan


Bhutan Representation in South Africa


Travel Info

The Royal Government of Bhutan has adopted a very cautious approach to the development of tourism in the Kingdom in an effort to avoid its negative impacts on the culture and the environment. In 2014, the number of tourists who visited Bhutan was approximately 133,480, Visitors must either be guests of the government or travellers on an approved travel programme.

Visa Requirements for South Africans

With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors to Bhutan need a visa. All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior to travel to Bhutan.  Visas are processed through an online system by a licensed Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent.   Visitors are required to send the photo-page of their passport to their tour operator who will then apply for a visa.  The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment for the holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours. At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.

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For more information visit the web site of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Health Requirements

Visitors from South Africa are required to be in possession of a valid certificate of immunisation against yellow fever. The lowland areas are high risk malaria areas. Immunisation against hepatitis A & B as well as tetanus is recommended. Typhoid is present in some areas. Altitude sickness also occurs.

For further information go to Travelers' Health.

Climate Info

For up-to-date weather information click here.

Currency Info

The monetary unit is the Ngultrum (Nu). One Nu 1 = 100 chetrums.

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings


Bilateral Agreements

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at 012 351 1000.

Trade Statistics

South African imports from Bhutan are insignificant and in 2015 consisted of machinery and plastics and rubber products.

South African exports to Bhutan in 2015 only consisted of chemicals.

Bhutan has a very small economy and offers no comparative advantages to South African exporters. There is little heavy industry, apart from a cement plant, a chemical plant and a timber factory; most manufacturing is via small-scale local industries. The export of hydro-electric power to India is a growing industry and is the single most important source of revenue. India is by far the largest market for Bhutan's exports and is still a significant source of development assistance.

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Bhutan, visit the website of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information


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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa