Travel Infomation to the Kingdom of Bhutan
Bhutan's national carrier is Druk Air, and it currently has a monopoly on flights in and out of Bhutan, except from Kathmandu. There is one airport at Paro, about an hour's drive from the capital, Thimphu (although there are some internal airports at the planning stage). You can fly in from Delhi, Kathmandu, Calcutta, Singapore or Bangkok. There are also occasional flights via Dhaka and Gaya and a route to Guwahati has also recently opened up. The Delhi flight runs three times a week and takes around two hours. Kathmandu flights are more frequent. Flight time from Kathmandu is just over one hour. Druk Air's Bangkok flight comes in and out daily via Calcutta, Dhaka, Guwahati or Gaya. For more information on the flight schedules see the Druk Air website or ask us and we will happily explain further.
The price of Paro flights is charged on top of the tour price. Current rates for return flights are US$405 (Kathmandu), US$430 (Kolkotta), US$700 (Delhi) and US$870 (Bangkok) but the seats are priced in local currency and paid for in US$ so the price fluctuates daily and the final price can only be confirmed on issuing the tickets. Discounts are available in off season. Druk Air flights can now be booked directly, but without the option to hold seats to secure them while you make the other arrangements for your booking, so it may be easier for you if we do the flight bookings for you. You will need to arrange your own international flights to your chosen point of entry to Bhutan. You should bear in mind that Druk Air schedules are subject to frequent change, and often at very short notice, so discuss with us before you make long haul bookings - if you can arrange flexible tickets it is advisable to do so.
It is also possible to enter or leave Bhutan by road via the Indian state of West Bengal, at Phuntsholing on the Indian border. This allows you to combine a trip to Bhutan with some time in Darjeeling or Sikkim. Phuntsholing is three or four hours' drive from the nearest Indian airport in Bagdogra, and about six hours' drive from Thimphu. You can also enter or leave the country at the south-eastern town of Samdrup Jongkhar. From here it is a short drive to Guwahati which has flights to a number of Indian cities.
There is also a fledgeling domestic operation that commenced test flights in December 2011. This will offer flights from Paro to Bumthang and to Yongphola in eastern Bhutan and return. You should also bear in mind that there are no vehicles or guides and drivers readily available in Bumthang or the east so all services have to be sourced from the capital, Thimphu. This presents logistical difficulties in arranging a tour which includes an internal flight and also leads to additional costs.
Passports and visas
Your passport needs to have at least 6 months' validity. You will also need to make sure that you have a spare page for a visa for Bhutan, as well as space for the visas for any countries you are visiting en route. If you need to get a new passport please do so well before your planned trip so that there is no delay in applying for your Bhutanese visa.
You will need to fill in a form for us with some personal information, and send us a scanned copy of the identity page of your passport, and then we will apply for your visa for you around a month before your trip and as long as your funds have arrived.
We will send you a copy of the confirmation showing that your visa has been authorised. Your actual visa will be issued on arrival at Paro or Phuntsholing. If you are entering via Phuntsholing you need to bring 2 passport photos with you. Visas can be extended for up to six months in Thimphu if necessary on payment of a further $15.
Don't forget to make enquiries about visa requirements for any countries you are passing through en route even if you are only in transit.