Bhutan often revered as the "Land of the Thunder Dragon" or 'Druk Yul', is still regarded as one of the last "Shangri-La's" in the Himalayan region because of its remoteness, its spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and its unique ancient Buddhist monasteries. It is in the relatively unexplored pockets of Asia, which allows only a limited number of discerning travelers in order to preserve its fragile environment and culture in its magical purity.
Bhutan is country of rolling hills and towering crags certainly exudes charm. The mountains are magnificent, the forest are dense, the people are delightful, the air is pure, the architecture inspiring, the religion exciting and the art superb. Like timeless images from the past, the traveler encounters the full glory of this ancient land through its strategic fortresses known as Dzongs, numerous ancient temples, monasteries and stupas which dot the countryside, prayer flags which flutter along the high ridges, wild animals which abound in dense forests, foamy white waterfalls which are the ethereal showers, and the warm smile of its friendly people.
The kingdom of Bhutan shares with Nepal the world's greatest concentration of mountains and living heritage of Buddhism. Flight to Paro can truly be described as a flight into fantasy. During the flight, a first hand close up view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other famous peaks of the Himalaya range become a reality.
With its beautiful and largely unspoiled Himalayan setting, its rich flora and fauna and its vibrant Buddhist culture, Bhutan has become an increasingly popular destination for international tourists. In addition to generating hard-currency revenue, tourism is also providing impetus for the development of services sector and hence balanced and holistic development of entire region. In an effort to safeguard its rich natural and cultural environment, the country has consciously adopted a controlled tourism and development policy
How to Reach Bhutan
Reaching Paro by Air
Druk Air, the National Air Carrier of Bhutan, operates regular flights to / from Paro to Delhi (India), Kolkatta (India), Gaya (India), Kathmandu (Nepal), Bangkok (Thailand) and Dhaka (Bangladesh). Not too many airlines are available if you want to travel Paro from India, then Drukair is the only airline available. Paro is the only airport connecting Bhutan with rest of world through a well network of flights. Drukair is also regarded as one of the safest airlines in the world. However it is advisable to book your air tickets well in advance to avoid the tourist season rush.
Entry / Exit to Bhutan is also possible through Phuentsholing, the southern Bhutan frontier town. Bagdogra airport, in the state of West Bengal (India) is the nearest airport about 5 hours drive from Phuentsholing. Also Bagdogra (and its main town Siliguri) is the convenient point for visiting West Bengal region of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and touristically popular state of Sikkim..
Badrapur (about 5 hours drive from Phuentsholing) and Birat Nagar (about 7 hours drive from Phuentsholing) are two other nearby airports in Nepal, connected with regular flights from Kathmandu.
Immigration in Bhutan
Visitors are required to complete a passenger declaration form for checking by concerned officers on arrival. The following articles are exempted from duty :-
a). Personal affects and articles for day to day use by the visitor
b). 1 litre of alcohol (spirits or wine)
c) 200 cigarettes, on payment of import duty of 200%
d). Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use
e). Photogrphic equipment, video cameras and other electronic goods for personal use .
The articles mentioned under d). & e). must be declared on declaration form. If any such items are disposed in Bhutan by sale of gift, they are liable for custom duty. On departure, visitors are required to surrender their forms to the Custom authorities.
Import / export restrictions
Import and Export of following goods are strictly prohibited :
a). Arms, ammunitions and explosives
b). All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs
Bhutan Visa Requirements
Visa Requirement for Bhutan
Visa is required for traveling to Bhutan. Following information along with full tour payment shall be emailed / faxed / couriered to us about 4 weeks prior to date of arrival in Bhutan, to process visa with the concerned authorities : Full Name, Permanent Address, Nationality, Date & Place of Birth, Profession / Occupation, Passport Number, Date of Issue, Place of Issue, Date of Expiry, Nature of Passport : Diplomatic / Official / Ordinary / UN Laissez Passer
On the basis of these information, visa is processed in Bhutan and upon approval, Visa Clearance is issued by Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan and we email you the same copy. Tourists need to produce this Visa Clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight while those entering Bhutan by surface via Phuentsholing, they are required to produce this Visa Clearance at the Immigration counter. Actual visa is stamped at passport, on arrival in Bhutan.
Visa fee is US $ 20 and Tourism development fee USD 10 which are charged along with tour cost.
Tourists entering Bhutan by surface via Phuentsholing also need to carry 02 copies of passport size photographs and handover it to our representative on arrival while for those arriving by Druk Airways, photos are not required.