Until 1960, it was too difficult to enter into the Kingdom of Bhutan. The dense jungles in the South and high frozen passes in the North made the entry extremely difficult. However, now it is much more accessible through many international and multiple domestic airports due to planned economic development.
Bhutan can be easily reached by air, train and road from various countries. Many countries have direct flights to Bhutan. By land, there are two entry roads through Phuentsholing and Gelephu, linking with the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam respectively. Read here about How to Reach Bhutan easily by Air, Road and Train:
Paro International Airport is the one and only international airport to enter into Bhutan by air. Paro is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a height of 7300 ft above sea level. Other domestic airports include Gelephu Airport in south-central Bhutan, Yonphulla in eastern Bhutan and Bathpalanthag Airport in central Bhutan. However, Yonphulla and Bathpalathag airports have closed their operations.
The National Air Carrier of Bhutan, Druk Air is the only airline, operates regular flights to and from Paro to Kolkata (India), Delhi (India), Gaya (India), Bangkok (Thailand), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Dhaka (Bangladesh).
There are international flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok, Bagdogra, Dhaka, Bodh Gaya, Kathmandu, Singapore, Guwahati and Mumbai.
Bagdogra Airport is the nearest Airport of the Indian state of West Bengal and it takes a four-hour drive to the Bhutanese border town Phuentsholing. Bagdogra Airport receives many flights from major cities within India, as well as, Bhutanese Druk Air operates flights from Bangkok frequently.
Bhutan’s Paro International Airport brings an exciting experience while travelling by plane. A spectacular scene of Paro valley will definitely make you amaze as the mountain tops are closer than most other flights in the world. The flight between Kathmandu and Paro is one of the most exciting experiences for any traveller as the route covers four highest mountains of the world. In fine weather, one can enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, and Kangchenjunga.
1. By Car
Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu are the only land borders open to world tourists. Tourists may opt for the bus, private taxi or any other local transportation to reach Bhutan.
Phuentsholing is located in the south-west which is around 170 km from the Indian national airport at Bagdogra, West Bengal (India). It is the nearest airport which takes about 5 hours’ drive from Phuentsholing.
Gelephu is another entry point to Bhutan situated in south-central Bhutan. It is approximately 250 km from the capital city Thimphu. The journey to reach Thimphu is quite interesting. It takes the travellers through the sub-tropical areas and the alpine zone of Bhutan. Approximately ten hours travel goes through three beautiful dzongkhags (districts).
Samdrup Jongkhar has situated in south-east Bhutan and 150 km away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. It borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam. The journey from Guwahati to Samdrup Jongkhar is about three hours. The entering route, Samdrup Jongkhar takes travellers through Trashigang, Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang and then capital Thimphu.
2. By Bus
Indian tourists may take a bus journey from Kolkata. One can take a direct bus from Esplanade Station in Kolkata to Phuentsholing. The bus journey takes about 18 hours to reach Phuentsholing from Kolkata and it’s comfortable. The buses are run by the Royal Bhutanese Government.
Siliguri has the frequent bus service to Phuentsholing/Jaigaon. It takes less than four-hour journey.
Are you looking for a road trip to bhutan ? Choose an itinerary that cover the popular destinations of Paro, Thimphu, Punkha, Gangtey, Trongsa, Bumthang etc
There is NO DIRECT TRAIN ROUTE in Bhutan. Tourists have to reach at the defined station and then take a cab or local transport to reach Bhutan. Convenient and best options from India are New Alipurduar, Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri Station and Hasimara.
Hasimara situated in West Bengal is only 17 km away from Phuentsholing. Indian Railway operates the train from here.
'New Alipurduar' railway station is 60 km away from Jaigaon. Bus and taxi services are available from New Alipurduar to Jaigaon. The trains going towards Guwahati stop at this railway station. Tourists can stop here and catch the bus or taxi to reach Bhutan.
One of the convenient options for travellers heading to Bhutan by land is New Jalpaiguri Station in Siliguri. Direct shared taxis and buses from Siliguri to Jaigaon are available.
How to Reach Bhutan From India
The Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the sought after tourist destinations in the world. This heavenly Himalayan country was once so underdeveloped that travelling here was a far fetched dream. But with proper planning and economic development undertaken by the Bhutanese Government, the country has become easily accessible.
It is easily accessible from many Indian states and cities through air, train and road transport. Given below is the way to reach Bhutan from some of the major Indian cities:
How to Reach Bhutan from Delhi?
By Air : Delhi has always been one such city, which has good connectivity to many other Indian cities as well as international destinations. Similarly, Delhi has many international flights flying to Bhutan. You can catch an international flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport to Paro International Airport in Bhutan. Flights from Delhi are also available to Gelephu Airport in South-Central Bhutan. Two airlines namely, Druk Airlines and Bhutan Airlines provide carrier services in Bhutan. Druk Airline is the National Carrier of Bhutan and operates regularly. However, Bhutan Airlines operate only few days a week. One can also fly to Guwahati or Kolkata and board a connecting flight to Bhutan.
By Train : Delhi has well connectivity through trains as well. There are not any direct train services from New Delhi to Bhutan. However, New Delhi has trains to the city of Kolkata, Guwahati, Siliguri, and Hasimara. The rest of the journey can be done by road by bus or car. Government run buses of the Bhutan Government run regularly from Kolkata and Hasimara to Phuentsholing town in Bhutan. It takes around 22 hours to reach Phuentsholing.From Guwahati and Siliguri, the road journey to Bhutan takes around 12 hours.
By Road : Bhutan can be reached via two routes through cars. The most preferred route is the route via NH 27 to Phuentsholing, which takes about 28 hours.
How to Reach Bhutan from Kolkata?
The city of Kolkata is well connected to many Indian cities and towns, however remote it is.
Air : Kolkata has both direct and indirect flights flying to Paro International Airport. Hence, there is not much hassle in the journey.
Train : There are numerous train options available. One can board a train from Kolkata to Siliguri or Falakata or Hasimara. From there, shared jeep or taxis can be taken to reach the border town Phuentsholing.
By Road : Travelling via road from Kolkata to Bhutan is a very easy task. The Royal Bhutanese Government runs several buses from Kolkata to Phuentsholing. However, the journey is quite long taking about 22 hours.
How to Reach Bhutan from Mumbai?
By Air : There are direct flights from Mumbai to Paro International Airport operated by Druk Air. The journey takes around 3 hours 10 mins. This is the most preferred mode due to its comfort and time saving feature.
By Rail : There are no direct trains from Mumbai to Bhutan. You first need to travel from Mumbai to Kolkata by train and board the next train to New Jalpaiguri. From there, a bus or taxis are easily available to Bhutan border.
By Road : Travelling by road comes with its own disadvantages and dangers. The distance from Mumbai to Bhutan is around 2849 kilometers and takes about 56 hours.
How to Reach Bhutan from Bangalore?
By Air : The city of Bangalore does not have any direct flights to Bhutan. So, one can fly to either Kolkata or Delhi and board a flight to Paro from there. Kolkata and Delhi have direct as well as indirect flights to Paro as well as Gelephu.
By Rail : There are not any direct trains from Bangalore to Bhutan, so travelling by train means wasting around 3-4 days in just travelling one way. If you wish to travel by train, you first have to board a train to Kolkata. From Kolkata, you need to board another to either New Jalpaiguri or Hasimara. From there, buses or cars are easily available. Government run buses are also available from NJP and Hasimara.
By Road : The approximate distance from Bangalore to Bhutan is 2875 kilometers. There are many disadvantages such as high fuel cost, accommodation and eating in between and tiring journey.
How to Reach Bhutan from Chennai?
Air : The best option to reach Bhutan from Chennai is by boarding a flight from Chennai to Kolkata, then board a flight from Kolkata to Paro. Indirect flights viaBagdograare also available to Paro.
Train : Trains are also available if one wishes to travel to Bhutan. However, there is no direct train. One can board a train to Kolkata and then to New Jalpaiguri. From Jalpaiguri,a cab or local transport mean can be taken to Phuentsholing border.
How to Reach Bhutan from Hyderabad?
By Air : The easiest way to fly from Hyderabad to Bhutan is first fly to Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata. Kolkata seems the best option from where you can board a direct flight to Paro. The whole journey would take more than 4 hours.
By Road : To travel from Hyderabad to Bhutan by road, it will take a huge amount of time. Plus the efforts and money will be another disadvantage. That is why it is less preferred.
By Rail : One must first catch a train to Kolkata and then a train to Hasimara. Hasimara is located around 17 kilometers from the Indo-Bhutan border from where shred jeeps and taxis are easily available.
How to Reach Bhutan from Siliguri?
By Road : The trip from Siliguri to Phuentsholing is of about 157 km. It takes only around 5 hours and there are many options available like buses, private taxis or shared jeeps. The whole journey is filled with picturesquescenic beauties. From Siliguri, there are two routes to travel to Phuentsholing. The first is via NH 31C. The second route is through Siliguri-Guwahati National Highway, which is a little longer. But it is well maintained, hence the journey is comfortable.
By Train : The alternative option is by train. You can board a train from Siliguri to either Falakata or Hasimara. From there, you can get on a vehicle to the border.
How to Reach Bhutan from Pune?
Pune is a busy city in the state of Maharashtra. Every year many travelers from Pune embark on a journey to Bhutan. The mode of transport from Pune to Bhutan are as under:
By Air : Travelling from Pune to Bhutan by air is one of the most preferred methods by travellers. However, there is not any direct flight from Pune to Bhutan. So, one can fly to Mumbai or Kolkata or Delhi and board a flight to Paro from there. Kolkata and Delhi have both indirect and direct flights to Paro as well as Gelephu. Mumbai has direct flights to Paro. One can even travel to Mumbai airport by road to from Pune. This is a better option.
By Rail : There are not any direct trains from Pune to Bhutan, so travelling by train is a little lengthy process. If you wish to travel by train, you first need to board a train to Kolkata. From Kolkata, you can board another to either New Jalpaiguri or Hasimara. From there, buses or cars can be opted. Government run buses are also available from NJP and Hasimara.
By Road : The road journey from Pune to Bhutan is the least preferred one, which is a distance of around 2858 kilometers. Despite taking 56 hours long, there will be added cost of stoppage and accommodation in between, fuel cost as well as chances of damage to the vehicles.
How to Reach Bhutan from Guwahati?
By Air : There are no direct flights from Guwahati. If one wishes to travel by air, first fly to Kolkata or Baghdogra. Kolkata and Baghdogra have direct flights to Paro International Airport. However, from Kolkata and Baghdogra again road journey has to be done. The distance from Baghdogra to Bhutan is stheame as Guwahati to Bhutan. But the road from Guwahati is much developed and makes the journey comfortable. The road journey from Kolkata to Bhutan takes about 26 hours. Yet again, Guwahati is a better option.
By Rail : There are no direct trains from Guwahati to Bhutan. However, if one wishes to travel to Bhutan via train, must board a train to Hasimara. Hasimara to Bhutan takes about 7 hours via road. But the train journey to Hasimara would take you another minimum of 7 hours (travel duration changes as per trains), which will ultimately increase the total travel time. Hence, traveling by Road from Guwahati to Bhutan is the best option.
By Road : Travelling by road from Guwahati to Bhutan is the best option from any other mode. The journey takes about 12 hours and the road is full of beautiful hills, mountains, and picturesque natural sceneries. The journey takes you through the national highway 27. There are two entry points to Bhutan from the Assam border, namely, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu. One can choose to opt for a booked cab or privately owned vehicle to reach Bhutan.
How to Reach Bhutan from Nepal?
Interestingly, the closet points of Nepal and Bhutan are separated by just about 65 km. Yet, one has to resort to other means to cross the borders of each country due to border regulations of course!
By Air : Traveling to Bhutan from Nepal is easiest by air. Direct flights are available from Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport to Bhutan’s Paro International Airport. The journey takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Paro International Airport is considered to be one of the most beautiful airports in the world.
By Road : To travel to Bhutan via road from Nepal, the journey takes you through the Indian state of West Bengal via Siliguri. In this case, the entry to the Bhutan border will be through Phuentsholing town.
How to Reach Bhutan from China?
By Air : There are no direct or indirect flights from China to Bhutan. Yet, traveling to Bhutan from China is possible. There are many other countries from which run daily flights to Bhutan. Some of these countries, which are located very close to China are Nepal, Bangkok, Singapore, and India.
If one wishes to fly to Bhutan, he or she can fly to these countries and board a flight to Paro International Airport. The best option is Nepal from which it takes only 1 hour and 30 minutes.
By Road : Traveling directly from China to Bhutan is not possible. Yet for those who want to seek the fun of road trips from China to Bhutan can fly to India for the same. You can fly to Guwahati and opt for a thrilling road trip to Bhutan through the road engrossed with picturesque hills and mountains.
Note : All foreign citizens except Indians, Bangladeshis, and Maldivians require a visa to enter into Bhutan. The visa application procedure of Bhutan is considered as the strictest procedure in the world. This visa cannot be obtained through embassies or consulates. You are advised to consult an experienced registered Bhutanese tour operator to get it done.