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How to Get to Bhutan

Tucked in the Himalayas between India and China, the Kingdom of Bhutan is both remote and a bit more complicated to visit than your average Boundless Journeys destination. The good news? It’s well-worth the extra effort! Read on for tips, tricks, and fast facts about this emerging destination.

Bhutan has one international airport (in Paro) and two airlines—Drukair and Bhutan Airlines.
When you reserve a trip to Bhutan with Boundless Journeys, we handle obtaining regional flights to and from Bhutan for you. Because flight availability is limited, it is important to reserve early! The following airports offer flights to and from Bhutan:

– Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok, Thailand (recommended)
– Tribhuvan Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu, Nepal
– Indira Gandhi Airport (DEL) in New Delhi, India
– Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport (CCU) in Kolkata, India
– Shahjalal Airport (DAC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh
– Changi Airport (SIN) in Singapore

Bangkok international airport terminalWe recommend flying to and from Bhutan from the Bangkok airport.
This is because there are multiple flights daily between Bangkok and Paro, whereas the other airports may only operate weekly flights. Similarly, because Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is a major international hub, travelers may find they have more options for getting there from North America.

Plan to spend a night or two in Bangkok before your flight to Bhutan.
We highly recommend spending at least one night in Bangkok prior to the start of any Bhutan tour. This is particularly useful in the event of a flight delay, but also allows you to begin to recover from the effects of jet lag. We also strongly suggest spending a post-tour night in Bangkok after your time in Bhutan in case your flight is delayed leaving Paro.

We handle obtaining your flights from Bangkok to Paro and from Paro back to Bangkok.
This is easiest and most convenient for our guests. Here’s why: The tour officially begins upon arrival at the Paro airport. If guests arrive at various times from different airports, it disrupts the first day of the tour and guests may miss some scheduled activities. Therefore, we do our best to reserve all guests on the same flights so they can begin and end the tour together. In addition, the Druk Air and Bhutan Airline websites are not usually up-to-date with seat availability or flight schedules. We work with an airline agent in Bhutan to facilitate booking and provide notifications to us about changes, so we can relay information to the guests more quickly. Once we have confirmed this regional flight, we give you the “okay” to book your international flights to and from Bangkok (or alternate Bhutan-connected airport).

You can’t check in for your Bhutan flight online.
For now, the Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines websites do not have this capability. The airlines are still very much paper-based and require travelers to check-in at the airport with their passport and a paper copy of their Bhutan visa letter. Our office in Bhutan will re-confirm your flights 72 hours prior to the flight on your behalf.

We can’t assign your seats.
At this time, there is no option to choose your seats prior to check-in. If you have a preferred seat or side of the plane (for mountain views), we recommend you check-in early and make your seat request with the agent at the check-in counter. If you are heading to Bhutan, the left side of the plane might have views of Mt. Everest. If you are flying out of Bhutan, it will be the right side of the plane. The pilots often announce when you can see it.

Patience and flexibility are key when flying to Bhutan.
As mentioned, the Bhutanese airlines are not as technologically advanced as other airlines to make the check-in process quick and easy. There are often long lines at the check-in counters, so we recommend checking in for your flight to Bhutan at least 2-3 hours prior to your departure time. Please also keep in mind that both airlines are operating flights in the mountainous Himalayas, so delays due to unpredictable mountain weather can occur. Accepting these realities as part of the experience will help you stay relaxed when it feels as though things aren’t moving as quickly as you might hope or expect. When booking flights, we also encourage you to schedule a time buffer in the event of delays or long check-in lines; if you are unable to spend a night in Bangkok before or after your time in Bhutan, we recommend at least a 3-4 hour layover.

 

If you’ve enjoyed reading and are inspired to join us or have questions about the adventures featured in this post, please give us a call at 1-800-941-8010 or send us an email at info@boundlessjourneys.com.

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