Are you planning to travel to Bhutan from the United States of America (USA), yet have no ideas on how to make the trip? No worries! This travel blog will explain all you need to know on how to make a holiday trip to Bhutan by Air or land and how to enter and get a tourist visa for Bhutan traveling from the US.
Thimphu – the capital city of Bhutan – The Land of Thunder Dragon or the Last Shangri-La
Bhutan is a small and predominantly Buddhist nation sandwiched between India to the South, west, and east and China to the north. Bhutan covers an area of 14,824 square miles (38,394 Square Kilometers) and has the highest mountain peak – Gangkhar Puensum (25,000 ft/7,570m above sea level), this is higher than any peak in the US, Europe, Africa, or Australia. The total population of this tiny nation is about 8,00,000 or you can imagine the average population of a city of one of the states in the USA. Bhutan is the only country that believes in Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product (GNP) and is popularly known as the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon‘ or ‘the Last Shangri-La‘.
Bhutan is closed to tourists until further notice due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Tourist restrictions in transit counties are another factor stopping travelers to enter the country. It is expected that we may hear some good news about reopening the country after this spring. Also, check the CDC’s recent travel updates and requirements before taking the trip.
There are multiple ways to travel to Bhutan from the United States of America. Bhutan can be traveled by both air and land. There are only five countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand that have direct flight connections to Paro International Airport, Bhutan by Druk Air, and Bhutan Airlines (Bhutanese-owned airlines). As you are planning from the US, you need to get connecting flights to one of these countries.
If you are planning to enter Bhutan by Land, you will need to travel to India and get the train/flight to the nearest train station/airport from where you can catch a taxi to the Bhutan-India border town.
Ideally, there is no direct flight from the USA to Bhutan. As being a tiny Himalayan nation and having only an international airport with difficult terrain that surrounds the airport, only a few certified experienced pilots take the flight only between sunrise and sunset. There are two airlines (Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines) that operate direct flights to Paro from Bangkok in Thailand, Singapore, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Kathmandu in Nepal, New Delhi, Kolkotta, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Gaya in India. Other than these airports, you will have to take a connecting flight to reach Bhutan. If you are planning to visit Bhutan from the United States of America (USA), all you need to do is take a connecting flight from the USA to the above-mentioned airports then take a direct flight to Paro International Airport, Bhutan. If you are flying from the east coast of the USA which includes the states such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Islands, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, North Caroline, South Caroline, it may be easier for you to fly to New Delhi or other airports in India or Kathmandu. If you are traveling to Bhutan from the west coast of the United States of America which includes Oregon, California, Washington, Alaska, it may be easier for you to travel to Bhutan via Bangkok or Singapore.
Check out the packages connecting from Kathmandu and New Delhi:
Or, let us know your connections, we will plan your perfect Bhutan trip including our connecting flight to Paro.
When you take the flight to Paro International Airport from Kathmandu or New Delhi, take the relevant window seat to enjoy the spectacular view of the Himalayan Vistas from your window.
Tourists can only travel to Bhutan by land from India through the borders of Jaigaon-Phuentsholing (the most preferred way to enter Bhutan), Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar. All these mentioned border crossings are from India. If you are traveling from Nepal, you will have to exit from the Kakadvitta border and take a bus or train to the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing border. Make sure you have an Indian Tourist Visa before the travel to Bhutan by land through Nepal. The closest airports of the Bhutan-India borders are Bagdogra airport in West Bengal and Guwahati International Airpot in Assam. Tourists can take a direct flight from these airports to Paro or drive to the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing border. Jaigaon town is about 150 KM away from the Bagdogra International Airport which takes about five hours to reach or you can also take a train from India to the nearest train station to the Bhutan border from where you can take a taxi to the border town of Jaigaon-Phuentsholing.
Check out the packages connecting to/from the Phuentshoing border:
At your request, we can also customize the itinerary according to your requirements.
Bhutan Tourist Visa can’t be obtained without a pre-booked tour so you must go through the tour operator to obtain the Bhutan Visa as you can not apply for it personally. Once you book the trip with the tour operator (local/international), the tour company applies for the Bhutan e-Visa clearance on your behalf using your color scanned passport copy. Bhutan e-Visa clearance can only be generated once you have made the full amount of the proposed trip including the Visa Fee. Before you travel to Bhutan, your tour operator will send you the Bhutan e-Visa clearance copy via email and the same copy will be forwarded to the airlines in Bhutan; Druk Air, and Bhutan Airlines, so you must have the Bhutan e-Visa Clearance handy before you check-in at the Druk Air/Bhutan Airlines counter. Once you reach Paro International Airport or any Land borders, you will need to show the Bhutan e-Visa Clearance to get an on-arrival visa that will be stamped in your passport.
Moreover, permits are required to travel within Bhutan that will be applied by the tour company and your tour guide keep all the necessary permits while you are on the tour as the permits are required to be shown at the various checkpoints across the country.
We already have many travel blogs that are related to how to travel to Bhutan, how to obtain a Bhutan visa and Bhutan Travel Information. Without knowing the general facts and information of any destination, you can not have a hassle-free trip, so we recommend getting the necessary information before your trip kicks off. We have prepared this travel blog especially for those who wanted to travel to Bhutan from the United States of America (USA) as an American or non-Americans.
Other articles you may also like;