How to Reach Bhutan?
BHUTAN TOURISM REGULATION
Tourism has not been that much widespread in Bhutan as we look after preserving and nurturing our culture and traditions. Bhutanese are immensely religious people, and therefore it would be a good idea to respect and understand the local customs and way of life, especially while visiting those places of religious significance.
Tourism Industry in Bhutan is founded with the principle of sustainability in mind, which means that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable, and also economically feasible.
Visitors may experience Bhutan only on all-inclusive package tours, for which a fixed daily tariff is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The most convenient way of entering Bhutan is by Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, the country’s national carrier. As flights can be delayed due to weather conditions (particularly during the summer months), it is advisable to allow 24 hours before any onward connection.
Drukair and Bhutan Airlines are the only airlines flying to Bhutan.
- Three Drukair’s A319 aircraft with 20 business class seats and 94 economy class seats.
- One Bhutan Airlines’ Air Bus 320.
- Two ATR Flight.
- We have only one international airport and it is situated at an elevation of 2,200 meters in Paro, Bhutan.
- Three domestic airport in Bumthang in central, Tashigang in east and Gelephu in south
The gateway cities into Paro, Bhutan are:
- Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Kolkata, India
- Gaya, India
- Bagdora, India
- Guwahati, India
- Katmandu, Nepal
Baggage weight limits are:
- 30 kg for Business Class
- 20 kg for Economy Class
- Extra luggage cost per kilogram is:
- US $5.00 / kg from BKK
- US $4.00 / kg from DEL
- US $2.50 / kg from all others
GATEWAY BY LAND
Arrival or departure by land is also possible through the southern border town of Phuentsholing. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, West Bengal, about 4 hours drive away. Phuentsholing allows entry/exit for travelers wishing to visit the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal along with Bhutan. It is possible to arrange land exit through the southeastern border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, which is approximately 3 hours drive from Guwahati, capital of the Indian state of Assam. You can also entry or exit by southern boarder Gelephu. Please check with Bokar Tours if you are interested in this route.
It would be very convenient if you arrive at Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi or Kathmandu, one day earlier to the flight departure for Bhutan. The Bhutan flights usually depart early in the morning. We cannot be held responsible if you miss the connection to Bhutan, though we will do our best to help you get on the next flight and to extend your visa. All additional costs incurred will be borne by you. Similarly, on the return journey, we would not advise you to book a flight which connects on the same day unless you have a ticket that allows some flexibility. Bhutan flight schedules are subject to weather conditions in the mountains and are often altered at the last minute.
FLIGHT FREQUENCY AND AIR FARES
Our national airline flies several times a week between most of its destinations, but flight timings and frequency vary according to season. Bhutan airlines website includes details of current flight schedules and airfares (airfare cancellation policy). Please check the drukair or bhutanairlines or contact Bokar Tours for the latest information when planning your travel arrangements. Please let us know if you would like the current flight schedule.
The magnificent mountain landscape en route is seen at its best in the winter months, when skies are generally very clear. While flying via Kathmandu to Paro you experience the most impressive view of the Himalayan Mountain Ranges, including the Everest region. Mountain Kanchenjunga is visible for some time on all routes when the weather is clear. Flying to and from Bhutan is a lifetime experience to be cherished.
Visitors have to complete a passenger declaration form which will be checked by custom officials at the exit point.
After collecting your baggage, you must decide which channel to take – Green Channel (nothing to declare) or the Red Channel (goods to declare).
As per international risk management practice, random checks on your baggage may be conducted by the Customs official, even if you are proceeding through the Green Channel.
The following articles are exempt from duty: –
- the visitor shall be allowed to import temporarily free of Customs duty his/her personal effects and articles required for the visit, provided that items imported are for personal use and that the items will be re-exported on their leaving Bhutan.
- 1 bottle of Spirits not larger than one liter.
- 1 carton of Cigarettes (containing 200 pieces) subject to 100 percent customs duty and 100 percent sales tax
- device, equipment or appliances for professional utilization
- photographic equipment, video cameras and other electronic gadget for personal use
- The articles mentioned under (d) & (e) must be declared on the declaration form. If these items are disposed of in Bhutan by sale or gift, they are liable for customs duty. Visitors are required to surrender their forms to the Customs authorities while departing.
Import/export of the following goods is prohibited
- Arms, ammunition and explosives
- All narcotics and drugs excluding medically prescribed drugs
- Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species
- Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be cleared on arrival.
Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items cannot be exported without a clearance certificate.