Flights from Nepal to Bhutan - Get to Bhutan from Nepal
Many travelers to Bhutan choose to fly in through Nepal, as it is the easiest connection for international flights. Bhutan only has one airport, Paro International Airport, and it only accepts incoming or outgoing flights from two carriers, both of which are local to Bhutan. Other international carriers are not permitted to land at Paro, so all visitors traveling from outside Asia must get a connecting flight from one of the five countries that serve the Bhutanese airlines. As of this time, flights to Bhutan can only be taken from Bangladesh (Dhaka), India (Badogra, Delhi, Gaya, Kolkata, and Guwahati), Nepal (Kathmandu), Thailand (Bangkok), and Singapore. All of these flights are with one of the two Bhutanese airlines.
Owned by the Royal Government of Bhutan, this airline is run by the Investment Wing , Druk Holdings and Investments. With increasing popularity as an exclusive and high-vale, low-volume tourist destination, Bhutan found a need to open its skies to flights into the airport at Paro, and the national airline was born on April 5, 1981. The first flights were made from Kolkata in India, and more locations were added as time went on.
Owned by Tashi Air Private limited, Bhutan Airlines is the only private airline in the country. Tashi Group won the license to operate an airline in Bhutan in December 2011, and started with flights from Bangkok in 2013. Kathmandu, Kolkata, and Delhi were later added as more Indian nationals wanted flights to Bhutan. Today, the company operates three flights a week from Delhi, via Kathmandu, and two flights a week from Bangkok, via Kolkata.
Flight Times and Prices
Nepal to Bhutan
Flights with Bhutan Airlines currently run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 3:00pm. Flights cost from US$ 243 for Economy, US$ 263 for Premium Economy, and US$ 279 for Business class. The flight takes, on average, around an hour and fifteen minutes, and runs non-stop from Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport to Paro.
Flights with Druk Air now operate seven days a week with the flights departing from Kathmandu at either 8:55am or 13:25pm. The flight time is also only an hour and fifteen minutes, and the flights run non-stop. An Economy fare, one way, is around US$ 196 per person, while business class costs from US$ 231 per person one way.
Bhutan to Nepal
From Bhutan, Air Bhutan offers flights back to Nepal on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and flights cost around US$ 226 for Economy, US$ 245 for Premium Economy, and US$ 263 for Business class. For Druk Air, the flights are also seven days a week returning to Kathmandu, and cost the same as the outbound flights.
Return flights are much cheaper than paying for two single flights and the country requires you to have a return flight booked on a set date at the end of your tour before allowing you into the kingdom. On average, you can save around ten percent of the total cost by booking the return flight against two one-way flights.
Requirements for Flights from Nepal to Bhutan
Booking a flight from Kathmandu to Paro first requires that you have a confirmed and booked tour with a Bhutan travel agent, a valid issued visa, and the correct permits for travel in the country. Independent travel is not permitted in the country, and the two airlines will not permit the booking of a flight without the confirmation code from the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) in Thimphu.
First you need to contact a local travel agent in Bhutan that is registered with the TCB, and book a Bhutan tour. Once you have booked, your travel agent will apply for the visa to enter Bhutan and the permit to travel within the country, outside Paro. Once all that is confirmed, a copy of the confirmation letter for your visa will be sent to the travel agent, who will forward it to you, and the confirmation code will be sent from the TCB to both Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air.
Neither of the two airlines will allow booking of tickets to Bhutan without having received the confirmation code from the TCB. The travel agents can also book your tickets to Bhutan direct, to save you having to do it yourself, and it is beneficial to do this, as there is no commission for booking the flight through the travel agent.
How to Get to the Airport in Kathmandu
Tribhuvan International Airport is only a 15-20 minute taxi ride from the city of Kathmandu, with normal traffic. It is only six kilometers, but with normal Kathmandu traffic it can take a while since traffic in the city can be chaotic at best. You can book a prepaid taxi through your hotel, which is often the best option, as hailing a taxi on the street can sometimes be much more expensive. The prepaid taxis have a set fare (which often includes a commission for the hotel), and is guaranteed not to change once you get under way, unlike with the roaming taxis. At around 750 rupees, this is more than the going rate for the trip, but it is a door-to-terminal service, which makes it more convenient.
There are many means of transportation that can help you get to airport.
Local public taxis on the street cost around 400 to 500 rupees, although if you can bargain well, you may get it for less. Make sure you agree on the price before you start, and do not rely on any meter, as they are often calibrated in the driver’s favor. There is very little regulation of taxis in Kathmandu or the rest of Nepal, and local taxis are often just personal cars with “TAXI” painted on the doors.
The third option, and sometimes the best, is the public transport system, although if you have a lot of luggage, it is not ideal. Buses from the Ratna Park Station run direct to the main gates of the airport, so you will have to walk the ten minutes to the terminal. However, cost-wise, it is only around 15-20 rupees for the trip, so well worth the short walk.
How to Get to the Airport in Paro
As the only international airport in Bhutan, Paro will be the location of your departing flight. The airport lies around 6 kilometers outside the city, on the banks of the river, Paro Chhu. Foreign travelers are not permitted to travel in the country without a guide, so on the day of your departure, your guide and driver will collect you from your hotel and take you to the airport.
Paro International Airport
If you have been staying in Thimphu, then it is a drive of 50.2 kilometers, which takes around 75 minutes to get to Paro International Airport. The airport has only one terminal and one runway, so it is impossible to get lost.
FAQs on Flights from Nepal to Bhutan
What Documents Are Needed to Board a Flight to Bhutan?
In order to board the plane, you will need to have your passport and the confirmation letter for your visa, which you will receive in Paro when you land. You should also have your booking confirmation from the travel agent, as the airline may ask to see it to confirm the validity of the confirmation code they received from the TCB.
How Can I Receive My Flight Tickets If I Booked Them Online?
For those who booked online, or through the travel agent, the tickets are available from the departure desk of the airline in Tribhuvan International Airport. You will need to provide your passport and the confirmation letter from the travel agent to have them issued to you.
Can I Fly Directly to Bhutan from My Home Country?
Yes, you can fly direct from your home country to Bhutan, as long as your home country is either India, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, or Singapore. For all other nationalities, you need to get a connecting flight through one of those five countries.
Can I Travel Alone in Bhutan?
No. In order to maintain a healthy environment, all travel to Bhutan is strictly controlled. Bhutan has a policy of Gross National Happiness, and only allows sustainable tourism. The strict environmental protection policies prohibit foreign visitors from wandering around the country on their own, so that there is no damage to the environment from undesirable visitors.
All tours to Bhutan must be booked through a registered travel agent, who will arrange your tour, visa, permits, and sometimes flights, and will provide a guide and private car for the entire tour. Visitors are only permitted to travel alone within the city limits of Paro. For all other travel, the guide, driver, and permit to travel outside Paro is required.
What Is the Best Way to Find Cheap Flights?
There are no cheap flights to Bhutan. Since there are only two operators for Bhutan flights, the cost is set, and can only be booked direct with one of the two airlines. This can be done online or you can have your travel agent book the tickets for you, to make it easier. Travel agents in Bhutan are dedicated to ensuring that all the regulations are strictly adhered to, and will often go above and beyond to make your trip excellent.
Is It Cheaper to Book Well in Advance?
Again, there is no need to book in advance to get cheaper flights. The prices are normally rated on the season, and while it is cheaper to fly in the off season, the flight prices will not go down until closer to the date of the flight.
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