` Good Karma Travels

Getting into Bhutan

There are now two airlines that operate flights in and out of Bhutan. Drukair is Bhutan’s national carrier and Tashi Air (also known as Bhutan Airlines) is a private airline which started operating in 2013. There is one international airport at Paro, about an hour’s drive from the capital, Thimphu. There are also some new domestic routes in operation with domestic airports at Batpalathang in Bumthang, Yongphula in eastern Bhutan (close to Tashigang) and Gelephu in the south of the country.

You can have a look at the schedules on the Drukair website and the Tashi Air website to help you plan your trip.

Both Airline’s flights can now be booked directly yourself online, but it is usually preferable for you to ask us to make the booking for you and we don’t charge for this service. If you buy the tickets from the airline websites you have to pay for them on purchase, whereas we can hold the seats for you for a period without commitment while we discuss your itinerary with you and you take the time to finalise your travel plans. Also, if we book the seats for you we get advance notice of timing changes, we can assist you with ticketing changes and we will also reconfirm your flights for you automatically as long as we have made the booking for you. Finally we often have access to discounts which are available only to agents and not for direct bookings – we will let you know if these are on offer at the time of your trip.

You will need to arrange your own international flights to your chosen point of entry to Bhutan. You should wait until we have confirmed your reservations with Druk Air/Tashi Air before you make long haul bookings. Bear in mind also that the airline schedules for Bhutan flights are subject to frequent change, and often at very short notice, so if you can arrange flexible long haul tickets it is advisable to do so. We advise that you leave 5 to 6 hours connection time if possible and if you can plan an overnight stay each end of your trip before and after flying to Bhutan then so much the better.

These airlines do not take any responsibility for the impact of timing changes or cancellations on any other flight reservations, and we also cannot do so, which means that you will have to bear the cost of any changes to your travel plans caused by changes to the Bhutan airline schedules.

The main international routings used to fly in to Paro are Delhi, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Singapore and Calcutta. There are also flights from Dhaka, Gaya, Bagdogra and Guwahati and Mumbai.

Druk Air uses an airbus which seats 114 passengers with 20 business class seats and an ATR that seats around 40 passengers with no business class available. Tashi Air has two airbuses with 122 seats (8 Business Class, 36 Premium Economy and 78 Economy Class).

Flight timings
Timings vary depending on whether the flight is direct or has a stopover but are broadly as follows:

Bangkok – Paro: 3 hours 30 minutes
Bagdogra – Paro: 35 minutes
Calcutta – Paro: 55 minutes
Delhi – Paro: 2 hours 20 minutes (or 3 hours 20 minutes with stopover)
Dhaka – Paro: 55 minutes
Guwahati – Paro: 45 minutes
Kathmandu – Paro: 55 minutes
Singapore – Paro: 5 hours 55 minutes (with stopover)
If you would like more precise information about flight timings or options please ask and we will be happy to explain further.

The Ticket cost of Druk Air and Tashi flights is charged on top of the tour price. Current rates for return flights with a special excursion fare are around US$450 (Kathmandu), US$600 (Delhi), US$750 (Bangkok), US$20 (Calcutta) and US$1135 (Singapore). However the seats are priced in local currency but must be paid for in US$, The price fluctuates daily on the Rate of Exchange and the final price can only be confirmed whiling issuing the tickets. As a result the initial quote we give you for the flights will always be indicative only. Discounted fares are available at certain times of year. There will be special discount for Childs and Students.

Travelling overland
if you wish to enter Bhutan by road, It is also available by road via Phuntsholing on the Indian border or at Samdrup Jongkhar in the south-east, or Gelephu in the south. This allows you to combine a trip to Bhutan with some time in Darjeeling or Sikkim or Assam. Phuntsholing is three or four hours’ drive from the nearest Indian airport in Bagdogra in West Bengal, and about six hours’ drive from Thimphu. From Samdrup Jongkhar it is about a two hour drive to Guwahati which has flights to and from a number of Indian cities and Paro.

Baggage allowance
The baggage allowance is usually 30 kg in economy class and 40 kg in business class for both the Airlines.