How To Get To Bhutan (By Air And Overland)

Updated: April 19, 2023

Like many travellers looking for a new adventure, you may well have decided that Bhutan is your next stop.

Bhutan is one of the most remote and mountainous countries on earth and, as you have probably guessed, there are only limited ways of getting there!

Below, we have laid out the best ways to get to Bhutan by both air and road – enjoy!

How To Get To Bhutan Overview

Due to tourist censures by the government, below are the best and most common ways to travel to Bhutan. 

How to get to Bhutan by air

Because of its size, only two airline companies actually fly into Bhutan – these are Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Although they don't travel to Thimphu, the capital city, both airlines do fly into Bhutan’s second biggest city – Paro.

Anyone who has done the flight into Paro will tell you that you won’t forget it in a hurry! Because of Paro’s location in the mountains, pilots are forced to fly much lower over the mountains than normally required. Don’t panic though – the pilots are incredibly experienced at doing just that!

Due to the limited amount of people coming into Bhutan each year, only certain airports actually offer the Paro flight direct. These are Bagdogra, Kolkata, Delhi, Dhaka, Bangkok, Gaya, Guwahati, Kathmandu and Singapore. You can usually pick up a great deal to one these hubs by using a flight aggregator, like Flight Network, but you will then most likely need to liaise directly with the two airlines that fly into Bhutan.

For people wanting to experience one of the greatest flights in the world, we recommend taking the flight to Paro from Kathmandu. The flight passes over 4 of the 5 world’s tallest mountains, including Makalu, Kachenjunga, Lhotse and Everest!

Please Note: All the cities mentioned above do not offer daily flights to Paro. Generally, there will only be one or two flights a week. Because of this, flights tend to be booked up and we recommend booking as early as possible to avoid disappointment. There is also a new airport being built currently on the Gelephu and Bhutan border which, once completed, will widen the spectrum on international flights into Bhutan.

Domestic flights within Bhutan

Often, after landing in Paro, travellers will need to take a domestic flight within Bhutan to reach their starting point.

Please Note: Delays are common as Paro Airport is subject to Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Bad weather and mountain fog is frequent, and flights are often grounded for several days. Because of this, it is highly recommended that all travellers take this into account when booking their trip and try to add in a few extra days in Paro.

How to get into Bhutan by road

Because tourism is so strictly controlled in Bhutan, there are only two entry/exit points for travellers heading into Bhutan by road. The first is at Phuntsholing which lies in the southwest of Bhutan. The road enters Bhutan from India (West Bengal region) and travellers have the option to stay the night on either side of the border.

However, the Indian town of Jaigaon has fairly low-grade accommodation and we would suggest sticking to the Bhutan town of Phuntsholing for the night.

The second entry/exit point lies in the far southeast of the country at Samdrup Jongkhar.

The border separates Bhutan with the Indian State of Assam and is the perfect entry point for trekkers trying to reach the remote eastern part of Bhutan. Not only this, but the Indian airport of Guwahati sits just 3 hours from the border crossing and offers a good range of connecting flights.

Please Note: If you're driving, please be aware that roads in Bhutan are often narrow, windy and extremely dangerous. Speed limits are fairly low (around 35-40 kilometres) and we highly recommend sticking to them as many of the mountain roads have as many as ten sharp bends per kilometer!

About the author 

Burnham Arlidge

Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He is an expert on polar travel, having visited Antarctica, Patagonia and the Arctic multiple times. He has also hiked some of the most iconic and obscure trails across the planet, including in India, Bhutan and Nepal!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

We work with local guides to offer great value adventures at unbeatable prices.