Bhutan

Getting there & around

Entry Requirements
The Royal Government of Bhutan requires, that foreign visitors travel with a prepaid and preplanned itinerary through a recognized Bhutanese tour company, and pay at least 200 USD for each day they spend in Bhutan (which can include you travel and accommodation costs whilst there). You can simply buy space on a group tour or arrange a custom-made program.
Both visas and flight tickets by Druk Air (the only airline, operating flights to Bhutan) are issued only in Bhutan and must be prearranged and authorized prior to travelling.
When you are planning a trip with us, it is advisable that you contact us well in advance, to save you unnecessary hindrances that arise otherwise.
Please fill in and sign this visa application form, attach a photo on it and send to us.
Please note, that we process visa applications exclusively for the customers, who have purchased our pre-arranged trips. 

The number, which we will then send to you, is essential in order to be allowed onboard Druk Air flights. The actual visas are issued on payment of 20 USD upon entry into Bhutan. You will also need two passport size photographs.
Note: Visas are not issued by Bhutanese embassies and missions abroad. Visas are also extended only in Thimphu by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreigners (apart from Indian nationals) may enter or depart the country only through certain towns such as Phuntsoling (by road) or Paro (by air), Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephug.
 
Certain areas may only be visited with a special permit. Prior authority is also required to visit some of the religious and administrative buildings (Dzongs).

Flights
There are two ways by which you can travel to Bhutan: Either by Druk Air or overland through Phuentsholing, a small town in south Bhutan, bordering Indian state of West Bengal. Overland entry from Phuentsholing is more convenient if you wish to tour Sikkim and Darjeeling before your tour in Bhutan.

Paro Airport (PBH) is the country's sole international airport and served only by the country's flag carrier Druk Air. Druk operates 2 planes (two airbuses), which fly routes to Bangkok, Kolkata, Delhi, Dhaka, Gaya, Kathmandu, Siliguri (Bagdora) and Yangon. Note that Druk Air will not issue tickets without a visa clearance number.
Bagdogra Airport (IXB). Serving the city of Siliguri in the neighboring Indian state of West Bengal, Bagdogra Airport is a four hour drive from the Bhutanese border town of Phuentsholing. Bagdogra receives frequent flights from major cities within India, and Druk Air operates flights from Bangkok on Sundays and Wednesdays (with outgoing flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays).
 
 
By car
Traffic drives on the left. The country has a fairly good internal road network with well over 3 000 km of surfaced road. The average speed is less than 40 km per hour. The main routes run north from Phuentsholing to the western regions of Paro and Thimphu, and west-east, across the Pele La Pass and Thrumshing La Pass to the central valleys and eastern regions. The northern regions of the High Himalayas have no roads.

By train
There are no railways in Bhutan, but a link to Phuentsholing from India is under the final stages of construction and may open in 2010. Until then, the nearest options (both in India) are:
Hasimara on the main Kolkata/Siliguri line to Assam is the nearest railway station to Phuentsholing, 17 km away.
New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) in Siliguri is a popular choice for travellers heading to Bhutan by land. Trains from NJP should be booked ahead, as it is a popular station amongst locals.

By bus
There are direct shared taxis from New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) to Jaigaon or there is the option of buses from Siliguri bus station.
Buses are often crowded and journeys slow due to the mountainous terrain. Yaks, ponies and mules are still a main form of transportation in remote areas. The main routes are from Phuentsholing to Thimphu, Thimphu to Bumthang, Bumthang to Tashigang, Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkar and from Tongsa to Gaylegphug.