The Tourism industry in Bhutan has been founded on the principle of sustainability and the concept of ‘High value, low impact tourism’. The number of tourists has been maintained at an environmentally manageable level by levying a fixed tourist tariff and enforcing certain regulations.
All tourists (except for Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals) are required to make their travel arrangements through an authorized tour operator on a pre-planned, pre-paid and guided package. Independent travel is not permitted in Bhutan. The tour operator is responsible for all land arrangements for the tourist including in-country travel/road permits, temple permits and special permits.
Getting to Bhutan via Air:
Bhutan has two airlines, Druk Air (national carrier) and Bhutan Airlines (also referred to as Tashi Air). The only international airport in Bhutan is located at Paro, about one and a half hours drive from the capital, Thimphu. One can fly in and out of Bhutan from the following locations:
Bangkok (Thailand) | Delhi (India) | Kolkata (India) | Bagdogra (India) | Gaya (India) | Guwahati (India) | Kathmandu (Nepal) | Dhaka (Bangladesh) | Changi (Singapore)
The flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular in the world and almost always include an exciting descend. The flight between Paro, Kathmandu and Delhi is particularly rewarding as it offers spectacular views of 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world- Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.
Getting to Bhutan via Road:
If you wish to travel overland, you can travel to Bhutan through its southern gateway towns of Phuentsholing (south-west), Gelephu (south-central), and Samdrup Jongkhar (south-east). Sharing the border with the Indian state of West Bengal, Phuentsholing is approximately a five-hour drive from the capital, Thimphu. The nearest airport is at Baghdogra, West Bengal, about 4 hours’ drive away. This border point is ideal for travellers who wish to visit the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal along with Bhutan. Baghdogra serves as the closest airport to the border town of Gelephu as well.
Located in the far South-east of the country, the town of Samdrup Jongkhar shares its border with the Indian state of Assam. The nearest airport is about 110 km away in Guwahati, the capital of Assam. This border town is a convenient for those wishing to combine their exploration of Bhutan with the Indian states of Assam and other North Eastern states of India.