Bhutan is the dreamland of all the people around the globe. Who doesn’t want to visit this unique and magical country right?
Planning a trip to Bhutan and wondering how to enter the country? Check out the comprehensive step by step guide on how to enter Bhutan.
In this article, I will be sharing how to enter Bhutan from India and from other ways around.
Bhutan being as a spiritual landmark, with natural exquisite nature, rich flora and fauna, and pristine tradition and culture.
It’s on everyone’s bucket list to travel to Bhutan.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is well known for its GNH (Gross National Happiness) and its beauty. Who doesn’t want to visit Bhutan, right?
A small country that’s submerged in the mighty Himalayas and sandwiched between two giant countries, India and China.
Bhutan is considered the Last Shangri la and is still a unique country in terms of its culture and traditions. Unity and Peace is one of the tradition throughout the country.
Bhutan is also considered the Happiest Place on Earth.
As of now, Bhutan is widely popular amongst travelers because of its easy entry and nature.
How to enter Bhutan?
Entering Bhutan is easy nowadays as compared to the old days when it was only accessible by foot from two main entry points until 1960.
But now Bhutan can be easily reached by air and by road.
Apparently, it depends on you on how to enter Bhutan.
Tourism in Bhutan has been strictly limited to preserve nature and traditional values. Being a Buddhist country, Bhutanese people are religious and it is important to show respect to the culture they have preserved for such a long time.
The most common way to enter Bhutan is by road but I’ll be sharing with you details on both ways to enter the country.
There are two types of permits available in Bhutan:
1. Entry Permit
2. Route Permit
Entry Permit or Entry Pass is a pass which can be obtained from the Paro Airport if you’re entering the Kingdom by air or at the border entry points if entering by road. It is a valid document to visit Thimphu and Paro.
I’ve discussed it below in detail.
Route Permit is required when you have a plan to visit multiple districts or places like Punakha, Wangdue, Bumthang, etc., or in short beyond Paro and Thimphu. This permit can only be obtained in Thimphu.
How to enter Bhutan by Air?
Flying to Bhutan from India is easy as direct flights are connecting India and Bhutan.
These flights are also connected to Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Nepal. So in case traveling from all these countries, you’ll easily find a flight to Bhutan.
Only Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are the two airlines taking care of all the passengers who want to visit the country having their main office in Thimphu and in the places they fly to.
New Delhi, Gaya, Bagdogra, Kolkatta, Mumbai, and Guwahati in India are the places from where Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are servicing the passengers.
As India and Bhutan are known for their friendship so for Indian citizens Druk Air also provides a special discount when contacted directly.
Bhutan has only one international airport situated in Paro. Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan and Paro are at a distance of 1 hour’s journey by road.
Paro Airport is one of the world most dangerous Airport in the World because of the presence of the Airport in the valley and various factors involved while landing and taking off when it comes to mountains.
The runway of Paro Airport is short so only a few trained Bhutanese Pilots are licensed to fly on this challenging route.
But after all this, it is one of the best view airports in the world.
We advise you to plan in advance while booking the flight tickets as more tourists tend to travel to Bhutan during the peak season.
How to enter Bhutan by Road?
Entering Bhutan via road is quite easy as Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar are the mainland borders open to travelers.
Phuentsholing border in the southwest of Bhutan is roughly 170 km from Bagdogra Air Terminal and takes around 4 hours to reach by taxi.
People visiting Western Bhutan generally take this route whereas people visiting Central Bhutan generally prefer Gelephu Entry.
Gelephu border is in the south of Bhutan and is roughly around 250 km from Guwahati Airport. It is also almost 250 km from Thimphu and the journey from this entry point is through the sub-tropical areas.
Where Samdrup Jongkhar border is in the southeast of Bhutan for the people visiting Eastern Bhutan.
Guwahati Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 170 km from Samdrup Jongkhar but as per the latest announcement (August 2019) by Tourism of Bhutan, entry and exit through this point are only valid for Foreigners.
So it’s better to confirm it from your travel operator or the Tourism Council of Bhutan website.
India, Bangladesh, and Maldives citizens are allowed to travel to Bhutan with just the Entry Pass only.
Rest tourist from all over the world is requested to have a visa. These permits are obtained at the immigration office in Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar.
Entry Permit/Pass works as a visa for India, Bangladesh, and Maldives people and is asked to show it at every check post on the way.
Even the documents required for obtaining the Visa or the Entry Permit are not much as compared to that of foreigners.
The common thing in all the entry points is about obtaining the permit. The process is almost the same more or less on all the entry points.
Tip: Indians can get the entry permit in advance from the Bhutan High Commissioner’s Office at Delhi or Bhutan Consulate in Kolkatta.
Thank you guys for going through the article. I hope you find our article on “How to Enter Bhutan” useful. Have a safe and happy journey to Bhutan!
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