The Kingdom of Bhutan remained largely cut off from the rest of the world up until the early 1960’s. Entering the country was difficult as it was only accessible by foot from two main entry points, one in the North and another from the South. The Northern route was through Tibet, crossing high mountain passes that were inaccessible throughout the winters.
The second entry route from the South came through the plains of Assam and West Bengal. The high, frozen passes in the North and the dense, jungles in the South made it extremely difficult to enter the country.
However, carefully planned economic development has made the country much more accessible and there are now a network roads entering and traversing the country, as well as one international and multiple domestic airports.
Today the main roads entering the country are through Phuentsholing in the south, linking Bhutan with the Indian plains of West Bengal, through the border towns of Gelephu, in the central region and Samdrup Jongkhar, in the east, that link with the Indian state of Assam.
All visitors to Bhutan require a visa to enter the country (see visa under the plan tab). Visa clearance must be obtained before coming to Bhutan and travel must be booked through a Bhutanese tour operator or international partner. Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can receive a visa on entry and it is not necessary for them to book travel through a tour operator, however it is recommended. In the case of Indian nationals a passport or voters card are acceptable on entry.
TRAVEL BY AIR
All the visitors entering to Bhutan requires to booked their travel through a Bhutanese tour operator like us and we will help you to obtain visa clearance before coming to Bhutan and your actual via will be stamp on your passport on arrival at Paro, thus you must carry the visa clearance letter along with you every time. But for getting visa clearance from the government, you have to pay the advance to process further.
For the Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals, they didn’t require obtaining visa clearance and not necessary for them to book travel via a tour operator. They can receive a visa on entry, however we strongly recommended that coming through us will make your holiday worth and exiting than traveling yourself alone. In the case of Indian nationals a passport or voters card are acceptable on entry.
Paro International Airport (PBH/VQPR) is the only entry point to Bhutan by air. We have two air lines operating within and outside to and from Bhutan. E-tickets have been in use since April 1st 2008. Druk air operates four planes (three airbuses and an ATR-42) which fly routes to Bangkok in Thailand, Delhi, Kolkata, Bodhgaya and Bumbai in India, Kathmandu in Nepal; Dhaka in Banglades and Changi airport-in Singapore.
Whereas the Bhutan airline (Pvt Airline own by Tashi Company) operates from Bangkok in Thailand and Kolkata in India, they will extend their service over the time.
There are two domestic airports. Yongphulla Airport is located in Trashigang in the east and Bathpalathang Airport is located at Jakar in the Bumthang district – however both of these airports are currently operational. Soon the domestic Gelephu Airport will go into operation. It is located in the southern central region, close to the Indian border.
Visit www.drukair.com.bt or www.bhutanairlines.bt for more information.
TRAVEL BY LAND
Phuntsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar are all located along the southern border of India and are the only overland border entries open to international tourists.
The town of Phuntsholing is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport Bagdogra. After crossing Phuntsholing, your will begin a mountainous climb through hair-pin bends until you enter Thimphu, the capital city. The 176 km journey usually takes around 6 hours. Travel sickness tablets are recommended for young children and adults who may not be accustomed to the mountain roads.
Gelephu in South-Central Bhutan is another entry point to Bhutan. It is approximately 250 kms from Thimphu. The journey will take you through lush sub-tropical jungles and pristine alpine forests before finally bringing you into Thimphu. You will traverse across three districts with a travel time of approximately ten hours.
Samdrup Jongkhar is the only entry point in eastern Bhutan. The town borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam and is approximately 150 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The journey from Guwahati is about three hours. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will have to travel through Trashigang, the largest district in the country, and from there east through Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa and Wangde Phodrang to reach the capital city, Thimphu. The distance is about 700 kms and you should allow three days journey time.