How to Get Bhutan? By air or Land?

How to Get Bhutan? By air or Land?

Bhutan is a small landlocked kingdom sharing its neighboring borders with Tibet on northern Himalayas, Assam, and West Bengal of India on the southern part. Bhutan was close to foreigners until 1960.  Later the government carefully planned economic development and the country transportation network made much more accessible for both foreigners and Bhutanese. Currently, there are four airports including sole Paro International airport and three other domestic airports which are Gelephu, Bathpalathang, and Yongphulla airport. The road transportation is mainly linked with India’s West Bengal and Assam.  In Bhutan popular stations for road, transportations are located in Samdrup Jongkhar in the east, Gelephu in the central, and Phuntsokling in the south. 

Whoever travels to Bhutan must require a visa to enter the country before leaving for Bhutan except for its neighboring nationalities like India, Bangladeshi and Maldivian. And tour must be arranged through travel agencies. 

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Travel to Bhutan by Air:

Till now there is no railway linked with Bhutan from any bordering countries. So, taking a flight is the first option for International travelers. International travelers can reach Bhutan by flight from Kathmandu (Nepal), New Delhi, and Kolkata (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Bangkok (Thailand), and Changi (Singapore). Currently, there are only two Bhutanese national airlines that are operating to Bhutan from its international destinations. The names of the two national carriers are Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. Both airlines will drop you at Bhutan’s only International airport, Paro International airport.

Flight to Bhutan from Different nations.

S.No  From  To  Airlines 
  1  Nepal (Kathmandu)  Bhutan  Druk Air/Bhutan Airlines
  2 India (Kolkata & Delhi)   Bhutan Bhutan Airlines
  3  Bangladesh (Dhaka)  Bhutan  Druk Air 
 4 Singapore (Changi)  Bhutan Druk Air
 5 Thailand (Bangkok)  Bhutan  Bhutan Airlines


Paro is located at a height of 2,225 m (7300 ft) and an hour drive away from the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Within Bhutan, there are three domestic airports. Among the three Gelephu of south-central Bhutan is currently under construction which will be the second international airport of Bhutan.

Why many travelers choose a flight from Kathmandu to Bhutan instead of taking from other available international airports?

Tribhuvan International Airport is the sole international airport in Nepal which is 5 kilometers away from the heart of the capital city, Kathmandu. Flight from Kathmandu to Bhutan is the shortest way to reach Bhutan by air from all the possible international departure. This flight covers a total distance of 404 kilometers. This route will provide you incredible experiences as the aircraft fly over the world's highest mountains. This epic flight will offer you the vistas of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga at their best. And finally landing at Paro airport will bring you more closely to the mountains because of the deep valley.

Druk Air: Kathmandu and Paro flight schedule

From  To  Flight  Departure  Arrival  Schedule 
Kathmandu  Paro  Druk Air  2:30 pm  3:50 pm Daily 
 Paro Kathmandu Druk Air 7:40 am  8:40 am   Daily 


Bhutan Airlines: Kathmandu and Paro flight schedule

 From  To  Flight  Departure  Arrival  Schedule 
Kathmandu  Paro Bhutan Airlines   10:30am  & 11:55am 3:00pm & 4:15pm   Daily except for Mon & Wed  
Kathmandu  Bhutan Airlines  8:30am & 10:30am  9:20am & 11:15 am  Daily except for Mon & Wed


Travel to Bhutan by Land:

The second way to get to Bhutan is overland by road from India. Although there are several land transportation hubs in Bhutan, only Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar are open for tourists. Entering Bhutan by road is only possible from India. If you are traveling by land then you have to enter any of these three. Among all Himalayan, Wander Walkers suggest you choose the Phuentsholing border, the most popular and easiest entry or exit point for overland travelers.

1. Via Samdrup Jongkhar Border:

Samdrup Jongkhar is a district of Bhutan in the southeast border to India’s Assam. The travelers coming through this highway will drive you toward Thimphu bypassing the route to Trashigang, Monggar, Bumthang, Trongsa, and Wangdue Phodrang. The highway is about 700 kilometers which can be cover within a minimum of three days to reach Thimphu. If you are traveling from the Assam area then you can choose this border as an entry point to Bhutan. From India, you have to reach Rangiya by train and then you need to take a taxi to the Samdrup Jongkhar border which takes about an hour with a distance of 50kilometers.

2. Via Gelephu Border:

Gelephu is a town in the Sarpang district of south-central Bhutan. Gelephu is a popular place through which many visitors enter from India. It is also a gateway to Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park. The distance between Gelephu and Thimphu is 250 kilometers which pass through both the subtropical and alpine zone. If you are taking this border as an entry point then your last point of India will be the new Bongaingaun which can be reached by train and bus too. From Bonggaingaun you have to ride a private taxi to the Gelephu border which is about 60 kilometers and it will take approximately 2 hours.

3. Via Phuentsholing Border:

The town of Phuentsholing in the south-west is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport at Bagdogra. After crossing Phuentsholing, you begin your journey to Thimphu, the capital city with a travel time of about six hours for the 170 km stretch. If you want to enter Bhutan from the Phuentsholing border then you have to reach Hasimara which is the nearest train station, 20 kilometers away from Phuentsholing. Another option is to reach New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri by bus or train which 150 kilometers away from Phuentsholing are. From Hasimara you have to hire a taxi to Jaigaun which is about 30-minute drive from where the border of Phuentsholing is located. You may have heard of news regarding the railway's service in Bhutan with the cooperation of the Indian government. But currently, Bhutan doesn’t operate any train or rail within the country.

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