Like many trekkers 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! So what are these?
Below we have laid out the best ways to get to Bhutan by both air and road – enjoy!
Because of its size, only two airline companies actually fly into Bhutan – these are Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Although not the capital, both airlines 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. 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 that 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 book 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.
Often, after landing in Paro, trekkers will need to take a domestic flight within Bhutan to reach their starting point. Please be aware here that 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.
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 if 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.
If 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 stick to them as many of the mountain roads have as many as ten sharp bends per kilometer!
If you have any further questions about how to get to Bhutan, then please just leave a message below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has hiked some of the most iconic and obscure trails across the planet!