Until the early sixties, the Kingdom of Bhutan was accessible only by foot through the high passes of Tibet and the plains of India. The construction of a road in the late sixties from Phuntsholing on the Indian border to Thimphu and Paro made travel by car and bus possible. In1983, the first international airport was opened in Paro, 65 km from the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu.
Travel by Air with DRUKAIR
Bhutan’s only international airport is located in Paro, which is located in a deep valley at an elevation of 7300 ft above sea level. The Paro Valley is surrounded by hills as high as 16,000 feet, whereby making the approach of Druk Air into the Paro International airport entirely by visual flight rules.
The national air carrier – Druk Air, Royal Bhutan Airlines has two A319 and operates in seven cities in six different countries. It operates several times a week to Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, and Kathmandu.
- India: Delhi (DEL), Kolkotta (CCU) & Gaya (GAY)
- Nepal: Kathmandu (KTM)
- Bangladesh: Dhaka (DAC)
- Thailand: Bangkok (BKK)
The national airline carries passengers through one of the most spectacular flight paths in the world. A particular highlight is the stretch between Kathmandu and Bhutan, where one passes 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world. Weather permitting; passengers will be treated to intimate views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu und Kangchenjunga.
Flights are booked through Tour Operators who also arrange the visas.
Travel by Land
The town of Phuntsholing in south-western Bhutan & Samdrupjongkhar in South-Eastern Bhutan is land border access open for international tourists. Phuntsholing lies approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport Bagdogra and nearby Darjeeling. From here begins a mountain journey of almost unbelievable beauty. The road leads from the northern Indian tea plantations through endless turns, hair-pin bends and daring stretches carved into the mountain rock via Chhuka to Thimphu. The travel time for the 176 km stretch can be more than 6 hours.
Samdrup Jongkhar is in southeast, 110 km from Guwahati, India, which is nearest to the Guwahati Airport. From Guwahati, you may fly into other Indian cities like Delhi, Bombay or Kolkotta and to your onward flight connections. This exit is more convenient if the travelers do not wish to travel back the same lateral route to Paro for the flights and who would like to combine Assam trips with Bhutan.
A combination of overland and air travel is also possible. All overland travel requires an Indian visa.