Getting To Bhutan

Getting To Bhutan

By Air:

The country has so far 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, is located at a height of 7300 ft above sea level and surrounded by mountains and hills as high as 16,000 feet. Druk Air is the national air operating with two A319.  It flies to destinations that include Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya, Dacca, Kathmandu and Guwahati in Assam and Plans are also underway to invite other private airliners.

The flight between Paro and Kathmandu is one of the most exciting ones as the aircraft passes over 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world. In fine weather, as you soar higher up, you can enjoy the spectacular display of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu und Kangchenjunga at their best.

 

By Land:

Phuntsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar in eastern Bhutan are the only land border areas open for international tourists. The town of Phuntsholing is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport Bagdogra. After crossing Phuntsholing, your journey then begins its mountainous climb through endless turns and hair-pin bends till you enter Thimphu, the capital city. The travel time for the 176 km stretch can be more than 6 hours.

Gelephu in South-Central Bhutan is another entry point to Bhutan. It is approximately 250 kms 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. One will have to traverse across three Districts and the travel time will be about 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 away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The journey from Guwahati is about three hours. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will take you to Trashigang, the largest District in the country, and from there over the lateral route to Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangde Phodrang and then finally into capital, Thimphu. The distance is about 700 kms and will take you a minimum of three days to reach Thimphu.

 

Entry Permit:

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.

 

Visa:

Other than Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa; all visas are issued from Thimphu; visas are only issued to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator. Visa clearance from Thimphu must be obtained before coming to Bhutan. Visa clearance takes at least 10 days to process. Air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. At your point of entry the visa will be stamped in your passport on payment of US$20, two passport photos will also be required. Visas are issued for a 15day period; extensions can be obtained in Thimphu at a cost of Nu.510.

Tour in Bhutan

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