How to Reach Bhutan
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 :
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).
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.
3. By Train
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.