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Journeys in Bhutan

About Bhutan

Hotels & Flights

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Getting to Bhutan

The reason Bhutan remained isolated and avoided major development is because the Kingdom of Bhutan was accessible only by foot through the high passes of Tibet and the plains of India until in the late sixties.

The construction of a road in the late sixties connecting Thimphu and Paro with Phuntsholing (Bhutan-India border town in the southern plains) made travel by road possible. In1983, the first international airport was opened in Paro. It is 65km from Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Travel by Air
Bhutan’s only international airport is located in Paro Valley at 7,300ft.
The Paro Valley is surrounded by scenic hills in the range of 16,000 feet.
Landing and take off are both exciting. The only airline that service Bhutan is the national air carrier, Druk Air, Royal Bhutan Airlines. It operates flights to Kathmandu, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangkok. During the flight between Kathmandu and Paro, passengers can see spectacular Himalayan scenery including Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.

Current flight schedules for Druk Air are available at
Flights are booked through Tour Operators who also arrange the visas.

Travel by Land
The town of Phuntsholing in south-western Bhutan is currently the only land border access open for international tourists. Phuntsholing lies approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport Bagdogra and nearby Darjeeling. From here begins a mountain journey of almost unbelievable beauty. The road leads from the northern Indian tea plantations through endless turns, hair-pin bends and daring stretches carved into the mountain rock via Chhuka to Thimphu. The travel time for the 176 km stretch can be more than 6 hours.
A combination of overland and air travel is also possible. All overland travel requires an Indian visa.

Traveling within Bhutan
All major towns in the 20 districts of Bhutan are accessible by road. Despite high mountains, steep slopes, and the deepest of valleys, Bhutan has a relatively well developed network of roads. That said, rarely will one find a length of either straight or flat road. In some stretches one can encounter 6 to 7 bends per kilometre! Steep ascents and descents are characteristic of road travel in Bhutan and this can make travel much slower than one may be used to. Average speeds for road travel rarely exceed 40 km/h, with tourist buses making even slower progress. One is however handsomely rewarded for the long and sometimes tiring car journey, by the spectacular views of towering mountains, lush green jungle, ancient villages and majestic monasteries.

Majority of roads are sealed but can still be bumpy and are almost always single lane. Bhutan’s drivers know their land well and are cautious and careful drivers. The density of traffic is normally very low.

Tourist Buses
Tourists can travel in Bhutan with medium-sized buses (20-22 seats), small buses (8-12 seats) or hired cars. Road widths do not permit larger buses.



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