Getting to Bhutan

The way to Bhutan: travel by air and travel by land.

All visitors to Bhutan require a visa to enter the country. Visa clearance must be obtained before coming to Bhutan and travel must be booked through a Bhutanese tour operator or international partner. Citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives can apply visa on entry and it is not necessary for them to book travel through a tour operator. Passport or voters cards are necessary documents on entry. However, for convenience, we recommend to plan your visit to Bhutan through a registered Bhutanese tour operator.

Travel by Air

Bhutan’s national airline “Druk Air” connects Thailand, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Singapore.

Bhutan’s only international airport Paro is situated at a height of 2,225 m (7300 ft) above sea level. At present Druk air is the only airline operating flights into and around the country with a fleet of Airbus A319’s. It services Bangkok in Thailand, Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya, Guwahati in India; Dacca in Bangladesh; Kathmandu in Nepal; and Singapore. There are domestic air services from Paro connecting Bumthang (central region), Trashigang (eastern region) and Gelephu (southern region). Currently the domestic air port is being upgraded to second international airport.

Flying into Bhutan’s Paro International Airport is typically an exciting experience as the descent into Paro valley brings you closer to the mountain tops than most other flights in the world. The flight between Paro, Kathmandu and Delhi is particularly rewarding as it offers spectacular views of the highest mountain peaks in the world. In clear weather, as you soar higher up, you’ll be treated to amazing close-ups of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga, Jhomolhari and many other unnamed unconquered peaks.

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Entry by Land

Phuntsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar are all located along the southern border of India and are the only overland border entries open to international tourists.

Today the main roads entering the country are through Phuntsoling 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.

The town of Phuntsoling is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport Bagdogra. After crossing Phuntsoling, 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.