Getting to Bhutan
The best way to get to Bhutan is by air. Two carriers, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines, operate from country’s only international Airport in Paro valley and connect to Bangkok, Kathmandu, Singapore and Delhi and Kolkata in India.
Paro international airport is situated at an altitude of 2,225 m and surrounded by mountains almost 5,000 m high. The descent into Paro is an exciting if sometimes scary experience for first timers flying into the Himalayas.
Domestic air services were introduced recently connecting the eastern and central districts in half hour flights as an option to driving there which can stretch to eight hours and an overnight journey if going east.
More recently the government introduced helicopter services, which is used for emergency evacuation and tourist mountain flights.
It is also possible to enter Bhutan by road from India. Bhutan’s southern borders connect to the Gangetic plains of India.
The preferred point of road entry is the border town of Phuentsholing that shares borders with the Indian state of West Bengal. The nearest airport is Bagdogra, 150 kms from this border town. Phuentsholing is the nerve centre of trade with India, Bhutan most important trading partner. From Phuentsholing it is a five-hour drive up the hills to Thimphu and Paro.
Gelephu in south central Bhutan and Samdrup Jongkhar in southeastern Bhutan are two other border towns that connect to India by road.
Samdrup Jongkhar is often used as an exit point for visitors taking the west to east tour to fly out from the Indian city of Guwahati in Assam, 90 kms from the border town.