Getting to Bhutan
The main points of entry are through Phuentsholing in the south that links Bhutan with the Indian plains of West Bengal, through Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar that links with the Indian state of Assam and through Paro, where the entry is through Druk Air, the National airline of Bhutan and Bhutan Airlines (Tashi Air Pvt. Ltd), 1st private owned airline of Bhutan.
The country has only one airport that caters to the needs of visitors coming in through flight. However, an international airport is under construction in Gelephu that will eventually provide passengers with a choice of their entry to Bhutan.
The Bhutan’s only international airport at Paro, located at the height of 7,300 ft above sea level and surrounded by mountains and hills as high as 16,000 feet. Bhutan’s flag carrier, Druk Air, operates three Airbuses (A319) to New Delhi, Singapore, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Dhaka, Bangkok, Bagdogra, Guwahati, and Bodh Gaya. Bhutan Airlines, also currently operates two Airbuses (A319) to Bangkok (Thailand), Kolkata, New Delhi (India) and Kathmandu (Nepal)
The preferred ports of embarkation are: New Delhi and Kolkata in India, Kathmanu in Nepal, and Bangkok in Thailand.
The flight between Paro and Kathmandu is one of the most exciting ones as the aircraft passes over four of the five highest mountains in the world. In fine weather, you can witness the sublime grandeur of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.
During peak seasons (February, March, April, May, August, September, October, November), hundreds of tourists enter the country by road. By land, you will enter Bhutan through the border town of Phuentsholing in the west), Gelephu in the south, and Samdrup Jongkhar in the east.
If you are entering through Phuentsholing, our guide shall meet you at Bagdogra Airport in the Indian state of West Bengal, a four-hour journey from Phuentsholing. Phuntsholing is about 170 km east of the Bagdogra Airport. From Phuntsholing, your vehicle climbs several foothills and imposing mountains till you enter Thimphu. It takes about 7 hours to Thimphu.
Gelephu in south-central Bhutan is another entry point. It is approximately 250 kilometers from Thimphu and the journey will take you through the sub-tropical areas of Bhutan before entering the alpine zone and then finally into Thimphu.
Samdrup Jongkhar is the only entry point in eastern Bhutan. The town borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam, and is approximately 150 km away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The journey from Guwahati is about three hours. The distance from Samdrup Jongkhar to Thimphu is about 700 kms and will take you a minimum of three days.
You will be endorsed by the immigration officers upon your arrival before you are issued with a permit. Make sure you go personally. You may have to carry your passport (also some passport photographs) or voter’s registration card. If you plan to travel by road, the endorsement is done at the entry points in Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Gelephu. If by flight, you will enter from the Paro Airport.
Travelling within Bhutan
Despite the major hurdle posed by the inaccessible terrain and the high mountain passes, all major towns and important places of visit are connected by a good road network. However, an important feature of the road system is the innumerable curves and bends that one will have to negotiate. Besides the bends, another characteristic of the road network is the steep ascents and descents that slow down car travels. One is however generously rewarded for the long and tiring car journey by the spectacular views of the mountains, the lush green jungles, the ancient villages, the majestic temples and monasteries and the many roadside restaurants and inns.
We use Japanese coaster busses (20 seats) and other SUVs to transport our guests.