How to Reach Bhutan by Air / Road from Kolkata
The happiest country is now the busiest country with flocks of tourists heading towards this pristine virgin land of monasteries, clean roads and fresh mountain weather! Bhutan has the highest happiness index and has a very relaxed pace and simple lifestyle. Its natural beauty is breathtaking along with its holy shrines of Buddhist monks.
Bhutan lies northwest adjoining the state of West Bengal in the west of India. It is fairly near to the capital city of Kolkata from where multitudes of options are available to reach in ease. So it is best advisable to reach Kolkata if not a resident already. Bhutan is accessible via air, train as well as road easily. Fares are reasonable and frequency of transport is high thereby making transport convenient.
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and is just an hour by road from Paro which houses the only international airport and major train stations. The total distance is about 65 kms.
Reaching by air is the fastest of all three options. Regular flights leave from Kolkata Netaji Subhash International Airport (Dumdum) to Paro Airport in Bhutan. Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines fly regularly to and fro with a couple of flights daily from Kolkata airport only. The total time in air is about 45-60 minutes per side. Paro is also connected to other major cities of India and time varies with distance.
If you are in no hurry you can opt for train travel to visit Bhutan. But there are no direct trains to the country. There are several comfortable trains from Kolkata which run day and even overnight to Siliguri. With a total distance of 558 km, it takes about 9-11 hours to reach Siliguri. Trains further go to Falakata station which also is a location for further travelling to Bhutan.
From Siliguri/New Jalpaiguri station or Falakata you can hire a taxi or rent a private car from Siliguri bus terminus to Jai Gaon which lies on the border of India and Bhutan cross over junction reaching Phuentsholing. The road trip takes about four hours with a total distance of 157 km. From Falakata to Phuentsholing it takes approximately 1.5 hours with a distance of 52 km. From here you have to take a bus or car to Thimpu from Pheuntsholing border.
Alternatively direct trains are available to Hasimara from Kolkata with a total duration of 13-15 hours. From Hasimara you can reach Thimpu via shared jeeps, taxis or buses.
There are a few Bhutanese Royal Government buses which ply from Kolkata Esplanade bus terminus to Phuentsholing. These buses are comfortable and economical and take about 221/2 hours to reach the border. These buses ply from Kolkata every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Pheuntsholing Post office.
Buses are also available from Siliguri Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus to either Jaigoan or Pheuntsholing. From Pheuntsholing buses and private transport is available to Thimpu. There are daily buses from Pheuntsholing and roughly takes about 6 hours to reach Thimpu. Total time from Kolkata to Thimpu would be approximately 30 hours via Road/Train.
Travelling by air is the fastest and most direct way of travelling but costs of tickets may start from INR 7,000 to 9,000 per side for one person. Train varies are between 400-2.5k and buses are cheaper with a base fair of 600 or below. Private cars are generally on rental basis and prices vary.
No matter which way you choose to reach Bhutan, the valley’s four way highway has stunning vistas to offer and it is all worth the effort to take the long journey to reach this stunningly beautiful country!