Bhutan has just the one international airport in Paro and a few domestic airports like the Gelephu Airport in south-central Bhutan, Yonphulla in the East and Bathpalanthag Airport in central Bhutan. The only two airlines that you can take are Bhutan’s national carriers, Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. They operate regular flights to and from Paro to Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu, Dhaka, and the Indian cities of Gaya, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Mumbai. As you fly into Paro, you’ll be treated to some of the most breath-taking views of the country. There’s no better experience of reaching Bhutan. Beautiful ice capped peaks, dense jungles, running hills and then the most wonderful descent into the Paro Valley. Nowhere else in the world can you experience a flight like this. The journey into Bhutan by air is the perfect start to your visit to this other-worldly land. But remember, flying into such a mountainous place can be tricky. Which is why you should be prepared for any unforeseen delays or even perhaps a rare earlier-than-planned departure. Up here, the weather takes a call for you. And whatever it says, you must follow. Aside from the fixed regular flights to and from Bhutan, additional flights are scheduled in during the most popular festivals and celebrations, to accommodate for the extra influx of tourists. If you’re choosing air travel to visit Bhutan, plan well, yet leave a little room for the unexpected just in case. That’s the best advice for when you are figuring out how to reach Bhutan by air.
If you’d still prefer another mode of transport to make your journey, read on to see how to reach Bhutan by train. There isn’t any direct train route to the country. Bur you can easily take the Indian railways to one of the select stations that is close enough to Bhutan for you to then comfortably complete the final bit of your journey by road. Your best options would be Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri Station and Hasimara in West Bengal, which is just 17 km away from Phuentsholing! From the stations, you have the option of taking a direct or shared taxi as well as a bus, into Bhutan. Bhutan is fast becoming a global destination for a Himalayan experience like no other. Mostly because there’s still so much yet to discover. So much magic hidden in those mountains. And with such a variety of ways for you to get there, wondering how to reach Bhutan is just a part of the joy of visiting such a unique and spectacular country. SOTC has some great Bhutan tour packages that will open the doors to this wonderful kingdom for your leisurely exploration.
Over the years, reaching Bhutan has become increasingly easier and more convenient. Development has brought with it more connectivity. Now there are three official border entry points to choose from. You need not worry about how to reach Bhutan. Of the three entry points, Phuentsholing is the most popular and is located at the border between the Indian state of West Bengal and Southwest Bhutan. From there, it will take you another six hours driving 170 km to arrive at Thimphu. But there’s no need to rush it. There is much to see in Phuentsholing itself — the Karbandi Monastery, Bhutan Gate and Zangto Pelri Lhakhang to name a few. After that, it’s a scenic ride along epic Himalayan trails and postcard moments. The other option would be driving into Samdrup Jongkhar, on the border between the Indian state of Assam and the far Southeast of Bhutan. This would be the sensible choice if you were then planning to further travel around that region of the country. Or the other reason could be if you needed to access a more active airport than the one at Paro. Assam’s Guwahati Airport is a mere three-hour-drive away from Samdrup Jongkhar. But getting to Thimphu from here would mean a three-day journey across 700 km, albeit with spectacular vistas, twisting mountain roads and a distinctive glimpse into the everyday life of the Bhutanese people. It is a long journey but promises to be the most adventurous kind you could have, getting to Thimphu. The final border entry is at Gelephu, found in south central Bhutan and approximately 250 km from Thim-phu. This journey too, is a fascinating one, taking you through the sub-tropical and alpine regions of the country. While getting to Bhutan by road, you can choose to hire a car or private taxi or take a bus. Indian tourists can catch one of the buses run by the Royal Bhutanese government from Kolkata. The 18-hour journey from there to Phuentsholing is surprisingly comfortable. If not, you can also take the bus from Siliguri, which then cuts the journey down to a mere four hours. But whichever route or vehicle you choose, drive with caution as the Bhutanese roads are narrow, with a high number of bends and a low speed limit.