Until the early 1960’s, entering the Kingdom of Bhutan was only accessible by foot from two main entry points, one in the North and another from the South. The Northern route was through Tibet, crossing high mountain passes that were inaccessible throughout the winters. The second entry route was through plains of Assam and West Bengal. The high, frozen passes in the North and the dense, jungles in the South made it extremely difficult to enter the country.
However, development has made way for a network of roads entering and connecting the country, as well as one international and multiple domestic airports.
At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines.
There are flights to destinations that include, Singapore, Mumbai, Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Bagdogra, Kathmandu, Guwahati, The International Airport is situated in Paro, situated at a height of 2,225 m. A second international airport is currently under construction in Gelephu along the southern border with India.
There are domestic airports in Bumthang in central Bhutan, Yonphula in eastern Bhutan and Gelephu in southern Bhutan.
Flying into Bhutan’s Paro International Aiport is a thrilling experience the descent to Paro airport brings you closer to the mountain tops. The flight from Paro to Kathmandu, Nepal is one of the most thrilling ones, as the aircraft passes over Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga.
Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar are the only land border areas open to tourists.
The town of Phuentsholing in south-west Bhutan is around 170 km east of the Indian airport of Bagdogra. After crossing Phuentsholing you can travel towards the capital, Thimpu by road. The 170 km distance takes you a minimum of 6 hours by road.
Gelephu in south-central Bhutan is another entry point to Bhutan and is approximately 250 km away from Thimpu and takes approximately 10 hours of travelling. The journey to Thimpu takes you through the subtropical areas and transverses through three districts.
Samdrup Jongkhar is the southernmost border which passes through Assam. The journey from Guwahati to the border is about three hours. The distance between the two places is about 150 km away from Guwahati Assam. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will take you to Trashigang, and from there over the lateral route to Monggar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang and then finally into the capital of Thimphu.
The distance from the border to Thimpu is about 700 km and will take you a minimum of three days to reach Thimphu.