In South Asia lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, a country full of ancient culture and intriguing charm. Once you set foot in this great tourist destination, the first thought that might cross your mind is how the country looks out of this world. In fact, with its mountains, convents, citadels, and amazing landscape, Bhutan looks straight out of a George R. R. Martin book! So if you are seeking an unmatched adventure and have decided to give Bhutan a go, you should know how you can get there. Simply check the next few tips so that you can easily prepare for your trip.
One of the easiest ways to reach Bhutan is by plane. Nonetheless, here’s the trick; Bhutan is actually a landlocked country, meaning that you cannot directly land at Paro International Airport. Instead, you must take a flight to a transit country, then go to Bhutan from there. Thankfully, there are five transit countries to choose from: Nepal, India, Thailand, Singapore, and Bangladesh. Keep in mind that there are only two airlines, Drukair and Bhutan Airline, which plan flights to Bhutan. If you choose to travel to Bhutan with Druk Asia, you will enjoy the more scenic route, as this route involves flying over the Paro Valley. Also, if you live in Sydney, Australia, then you are in luck because Drukair has direct flights from there, which is an exclusive offer that you cannot find anywhere else.
Still, the cost of traveling to Bhutan by plane can be steep, as it can amount to $450. Due to Bhutan’s mountain nature and unpredictable weather, flights can sometimes be delayed or canceled. So you should frequently check the status of your flight to make sure that everything is going according to plan.
If you are not a fan of flights and want to see the beauty of the Asian continent, while you are traveling to Bhutan, then you should go by bus. However, this will require a bit of a detour. First, you need to get to India and pass through three of its districts. Your first stop will be Kakarbhitta in Nepal, then you need to take a bus from there to Darjeeling. In Darjeeling, you can find buses that go to Phuentsholing. Finally, you can take another bus from Phuentsholing to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and this trip will take about six hours.
So, as you can see, it is quite the journey, but it is totally worth it because you will get to spend some time in these locations, as well, before you reach your final destination. Remember to carry a copy of your visa confirmation letter to enter Bhutan. In Bhutan’s immigration office, you will not be able to leave without a guide; thus, it is better to plan everything thoroughly to avoid any mishaps.
How You Can Obtain Your Visa
As mentioned above, you will need a visa to access Bhutan, so you may be wondering how you can procure yours. Lone travelers from any country, other than Bangladesh, India, and the Maldives, are not allowed to enter without the help of a travel agent certified by the TCB, the Tourism Council of Bhutan. To avoid any trouble, you must plan your trip beforehand and pay all the expenses in advance. Nevertheless, the process of issuing your visa itself is not complicated because your guide will take care of everything once you pay for the trip.
The interesting thing is that you will not get your visa before you arrive in Bhutan; instead, you will only get a confirmation letter from your travel agent. Once you reach your destination, you can show the letter to the immigration officer to receive your visa. Also, you will need a permit to move freely in Bhutan. Again, your travel agent can get it for you, but you must have it on you at all times because you will need to show it to officials every now and then. At the end of your trip, you must return your permit to be allowed to leave the country. It goes without saying that if you lose your permit, you may encounter many problems during your departure.
Bhutan, one of Asia’s hidden gems, is an excellent travel destination; its beautiful terrains and epic vibe can make even the most seasoned travelers gasp in awe. Despite its beauty, the process of getting to Bhutan can be a bit complicated. So before you choose your route, do some research to know what you can expect. Also, don’t forget to contact a certified travel agent to help you obtain your visa and permit to enjoy the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” to the fullest!