Wondering How To Enter Bhutan? : A Step-by-Step Guide

Planning a trip to Bhutan and wondering how to enter the country? Check out the comprehensive step by step guide on how to enter Bhutan.

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how to enter bhutan
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Bhutan the dreamland of all the people around the globe. Who doesn’t want to visit this unique and magical country right?

In this article, I will be sharing how to enter Bhutan from India and from other ways around.

Bhutan being as a spiritual landmark, natural exquisite nature, rich flora and fauna, pristine tradition and culture.

It’s in everyone’s bucket list to travel Bhutan.

The Kingdom of Bhutan is well known for its GNH (Gross National Happiness) and its beauty. Who doesn’t want to visit Bhutan, right?

A small country that’s submerged in the mighty Himalayas and sandwiched between two giant countries, India and China.

Bhutan is considered as the Last Shangri la and is still a unique country in terms of their culture and traditions. Unity and Peace is one of their tradition throughout the country.

Bhutan is also considered as the Happiest Place on Earth.

As of now, Bhutan is widely popular amongst traveller because of its easy entry and nature.

How to enter Bhutan?

Entering Bhutan is easy nowadays as compared to the old days when it was only accessible by foot from two main entry points until 1960.

But now Bhutan can be easily reached by air and by road.

Apparently, it depends on you on how to enter Bhutan.

Tourism in Bhutan has been strictly limited to preserve nature and traditional values. Being as a Buddhist country, Bhutanese people are religious and it is important to show respect to the culture they have preserved for such a long time.

The most common way to enter Bhutan is by road but I’ll be sharing you in details both the ways to enter the country.

There are two types of permits available in Bhutan:

1. Entry Permit

2. Route Permit

Entry Permit:  

Entry Permit or Entry Pass is a pass which can be obtained from the Paro Airport if you’re entering the Kingdom by air or at the border entry points if entering by road. It is a valid document to visit Thimphu and Paro.

I’ve discussed it below in detail.

Route Permit:

Route Permit is required when you’re having a plan to visit multiple districts or places like Punakha, Wangdue, Bumthang, etc., or in short beyond Paro and Thimphu. This permit is only be obtained in Thimphu.

How to enter Bhutan by Air?

Flying to Bhutan from India is easy as direct flights are connecting India and Bhutan.

These flights are also connected to Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal. So in case traveling from all these countries, you’ll easily find a flight to Bhutan.

How to enter Bhutan by Air?
Flights connecting to Bhutan | Image Source: www.bhutan.travel

Only Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are the two airlines taking care of all the passengers who want to visit the country having their main office in Thimphu and in the places they fly to.

Bhutan Airlines

New Delhi, Gaya, Bagdogra, Kolkatta, Mumbai and Guwahati in India are the places from where Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are servicing the passengers.

As India and Bhutan are known for their friendship so for Indian citizens Druk Air also provides a special discount when contacted directly.

Bhutan has only one international airport situated in Paro. Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan and Paro are at a distance of 1 hours journey by road.

Paro Airport is one of the world most dangerous Airport in the World because of the presence of the Airport in the valley and various factors are involved while landing and taking off when it comes to mountains.

how to enter bhutan
Paro Airport

The runway of Paro Airport is short so only a few trained Bhutanese Pilots are licensed to fly on this challenging route.

But after all this, it is one of the best view airports in the world.

We advise you to plan in advance while booking the flight tickets as more tourist tend to travel Bhutan in the peak season.

How to enter Bhutan by Road?

how to enter bhutan
Phuentsholing Entry Gate

Entering Bhutan via road is quite easy as Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar are the mainland borders open to travellers.

Phuentsholing border in the south-west of Bhutan is roughly 170 km from Bagdogra Air Terminal and takes around 4 hours to reach by taxi.

how to enter bhutan
Bagdogra to Phuentsholing | Image Source: Google Maps

People visiting Western Bhutan generally take this route where people visiting Central Bhutan generally prefers Gelephu Entry.

Gelephu border is in the south of Bhutan and is roughly around 250 km from Guwahati Airport. It is also almost 250 km from Thimphu and the journey from this entry points is through the sub-tropical areas.

how to enter bhutan
Guwahati to Gelephu | Image Source: Google Maps

Where Samdrup Jongkhar border is in the south-east of Bhutan for the people visiting Eastern Bhutan.

Guwahati Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 170 km from Samdrup Jongkhar but as per the latest announcement (August 2019) by Tourism of Bhutan, entry and exit through this point are only valid for Foreigners.

how to enter bhutan
Guwahati to Samdrup Jongkhar | Image Source: Google Maps

So it’s better to confirm it from your travel operator or the Tourism Council of Bhutan website.

India, Bangladesh and Maldives citizens are allowed to travel Bhutan with just the Entry Pass only.

Rest tourist from all over the world is requested to have a visa. These permits are obtained at the immigration office in Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Entry Permit/Pass works as a visa for India, Bangladesh and Maldives people and is asked to show it at every check post on the way.

Even the documents required for obtaining the Visa or the Entry Permit are also not much as compared to that of foreigners.

The common thing in all the entry points is about obtaining the permit. The process is almost the same more or less on all the entry points.

Tip: Indians can get the entry permit in advance from Bhutan High Commissioner’s Office at Delhi or Bhutan Consulate in Kolkatta.

Thank you guys for going through the article. I hope you find our article on “How to Enter Bhutan” useful. Have a safe and happy journey to Bhutan!

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