Thanks to His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan, also known as ‘Father of Modern Bhutan’ that he brought road network, education, telecommunication, postal services and many more in the 1960s. Prior to his reign, entering the country was only by foot or horse across the high Himalayan Mountains in the north and dense forest in the south.
Entering Bhutan now is much easier by road or air. There are three entry points by road in the south; Phuentsholing (southwest) linking with West Bengal, Geleyphu (south-central) and Samdrup Jongkhar (southeast) both linking with Assam, state of India. The only International Airport in Paro brings you in from various destinations. Domestic air service is also available to Bumthang, Tashigang and Geleyphu central, eastern and southern Bhutan respectively.
Traveling by Land
Phuentsholing: the town in the southwest bordering to West Bengal, India serves as one of the main entry points to the country. One can feel the difference in a step entering Bhutan from Jaigoan, West Bengal. Indian National Airport, Bagdogra is located approximately 150km away from Phuentsholing, and Phuentsholing 175kms from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.
Gelephu: another entry point, Gelephu gives one a visit to three districts before entering to the capital city distancing about 250kms. A drive from Gelephu to Thimphu makes an experience of dramatic change of vegetation from sub-tropical to alpine.
Samdrup Jongkhar: this is the eastern most entry point to Bhutan bordering to Assam, about 110kms away from Guwahati Airport, capital of Assam. This point takes one to the eastern region where there is ethnic group of people of Bhutan. This region is the farthest from the capital city, approximately 700kms away.
Travel by Air
There are two airbuses flying to destinations including Kolkata, Delhi, Bagdogra, Bodh-Gaya, Guwahati, Mumbai, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Bangkok and Singapore.
Currently, two carriers are in operation; Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Flight to Bhutan is always an interesting experience, getting closer to the high mountains while descending to the Paro Airport (2250m). Flying especially from Kathmandu to Paro is the best journey to see world’s highest mountains; Mt Everest in Nepal, and Mt Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Lhotse in Sikkim.
Nevertheless, these carriers provide domestic air service to Bumthang, Tashigang and Gelephu as well. Another international airport is being built in Gelephu, southern Bhutan bordering India.