Getting to Bhutan

Bhutan opened its doors to the rest of world only in the early 1960s and remained largely cut-off until then. Only two main entry points gave access to the country by foot, one in the North through Tibet and the second one through the plains of Assam and West Bengal. The high frozen mountain passes in the North were inaccessible during winters and the dense jungles in the south made it extremely difficult to enter the country.

However, carefully planned and sustainable economic development has made the country much more accessible and there are numerous networks of roads across the landscape along with multiple domestic airports apart from the only international airport located at Paro.

Everyone travelling to Bhutan requires to obtain a visa, except for passport holders from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, who obtain a free Entry permit on arrival upon producing their passports.

For all other passport holders, visas must be applied and paid for well in advance along with the booking of the tour itinerary.

Currently only two airlines operate out of Bhutan – Druk Air and  Bhutan Airlines, with departure points in Bangkok, Kathmandu, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Dhaka, Yangon and Singapore. It is also possible to travel to Bhutan by road from India, The main border crossing is at Jaigaon-Phuentsholing and two others are at Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Bhutan has a minimum daily tour cost, known as ‘Minimum Daily Package’ which is set and is designed to control tourism in the country and at the same time help protect the local environment. It is non-negotiable and a portion of it goes towards improvement of educational and health-care programs in the poorer region of the country.