Many people travel from the USA to Bhutan for exploring its rich culture and delightful environment. The kingdom of Bhutan is a small and primarily Buddhist nation crammed between India in the east, west, and south and China in the north. This land of Thunder Dragon has the highest mountain peak named Gangkhar Puensum, which is 7,570 meters above sea level.
Bhutan, known as Druk Yul in the local language remained inaccessible for years-long which preserved its unique culture and pristine environment. However, a few decades ago, Bhutan opened its door to visitors worldwide. Since then, people have traveled to Bhutan from the USA and many other parts of the world as Bhutan offers a rich feeling of tranquillity that nowhere else has.
Several Americans visit Bhutan from the States to experience its rare culture and natural beauty. So, let's clear the air about 'How to travel to Bhutan from the USA'?
Traveling to Bhutan from the USA:
Even though the United States of America is sited far away or on the other side of the world if seen from Bhutan, many visitors from the USA strive for traveling to Bhutan to experience and live through the richness of the culture of Bhutan and to breathe pristine mountain and pollution-free air as the Kingdom of Bhutan is the only carbon-negative country of the world.
Bhutan is often characterized as the most difficult tourist destination to travel to, but there are several ways to travel to Bhutan from the United States of America. One can travel from the USA to Bhutan by air or land. Only five countries are counting India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Thailand, directly connected to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Hence, according to your planning to visit Bhutan, you need to fly to any of these countries as your first step towards traveling to Bhutan from the USA.
How to travel to Bhutan from the USA via Air?
As already mentioned in the above paragraph, there is no direct way to get to Bhutan from the USA. The flights that can take you to Bhutan, are departures from countries India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Thailand.
The reason is somewhat valid for such Bhutan travel restrictions from other countries because the Kingdom of Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan nation and has one international airport. This airport is also surrounded by such difficult terrain that only a few certified and experienced pilots can land or fly the flights between sunrise and sunset.
Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines are the two only airlines that provide direct flights to Paro International Airport of Bhutan from Singapore, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Bangkok in Thailand, Kathmandu in Nepal, New Delhi, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Gaya, and Kolkata in India.
Apart from these airports in these selected countries, you will require a connecting flight to these airports and then to Bhutan. Suppose anyone wants to travel to Bhutan from the United States of America (USA). In that case, all they need to do is take a flight from the USA to any of the countries mentioned above and take a direct flight to Paro International Airport of Bhutan from these airports.
Furthermore, if anyone is flying from the east coast of the USA that incorporates the states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Islands, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, North Caroline, New York, New Jersey, and South Caroline; it would be convenient for them to fly to New Delhi or other cities of India or Kathmandu in Nepal. When taking the flight to Paro International Airport from Kathmandu or New Delhi, there is an opportunity for you to witness the spectacular view of the Himalayan Vistas if you get the relevant window seat to enjoy from your window.
And, in case people are going to Bhutan from the west coast of the United States of America which consist of Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California, it may be straightforward for them to travel to Bhutan by first flying to Bangkok in Thailand or Singapore.
How to travel to Bhutan from the USA via land?
Obviously, because of such a long distance, there is no mode to travel to Bhutan overland from the United States of America all the way. Therefore, people from the USA need to take flights to Nepal or India either, and then they can travel to Phuentsholing, the chief border crossing point into Bhutan, via a road drive.
1. Take a flight to India and then Travel Overland to Bhutan.
Flying to India from the USA is the most straightforward way to travel to Bhutan by land. There are two land ports in Bhutan; one is Phuntsholing, and the second one is Samdrup Jongkhar.
Phuntsholing is in the southwest that shares borders with West Bengal State in India. Kolkata and Darjeeling are among the famous cities in West Bengal, from where you can take a car and enjoy your drive to an Indian border town Jaigon which borders Phuntsholing in Bhutan.
However, if you want to make your Bhutan trip hassle-free via a land drive, please get your e-visa clearance in advance by contacting a Bhutan travel agency. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to cross the Jaigaon border as the border guard in Jaigaon, India, will not release the departure stamp.
The second land port for tourists in Bhutan is Samdrup Jongkhar in the southeast, which shares a border with Assam State in India. It is also known as the gateway to eastern Bhutan. To enter Bhutan via Samdrup Jongkhar, tourists can fly to Guwahati, the capital of Assam in India, and then take a drive for 3 hours to Samdrup Jongkhar.
2. Take a flight to Nepal and then Travel Overland to Bhutan.
An alternative to travel to Bhutan from the USA by land is traveling from the US to Nepal and then taking a drive to Bhutan from Nepal.
There are no direct flights to Nepal from the USA, for your information. You must take connecting flights to Abu Dhabi, Qatar, or Istanbul from the USA and Kathmandu, Nepal. Even if you will travel to Bhutan from Nepal, you have multiple border crossing points into India, so please confirm that you have an Indian Tourist Visa after arriving in Kathmandu.
The town of Kakarbhitta in eastern Nepal is the easiest and most popular among all the border crossing points to India. Tourists from different countries like the USA enter the town of Panitanki in West Bengal through this crossing. From here, one can take a direct train to Hasimala, which is very close to the Bhutan border town of Phuentsholing.
Traveling to Bhutan by land or air entirely depends on your time for the tour and budget. Suppose you don't want to increase your Bhutan tour cost. In that case, you should not take the overland traveling option via Nepal. Eventually, you have to get to Nepal by crossing Indian borders, and you will need an Indian visa.
How to obtain a tourist Visa for Bhutan traveling from the USA?
You cannot directly apply to obtain Bhutan Tourist Visa. You need to have a pre-booked tour, so you must go to a tour operator; book a tour first because you cannot personally apply for a Bhutan tourist visa. As soon as you book a tour with the tour operator, either local or international, that tour company will apply for the Bhutanese e-Visa clearance on your behalf with the help of your color-scanned passport xerox copy.
You will only acquire your Bhutan e-Visa, or clearance can only be generated if you have paid the entire amount of the proposed trip, including the Visa Fees.
Your tour operating company will send you the Bhutan e-Visa clearance copy to you before you travel to Bhutan via email. The Tour operator will also forward the same copy to the airline in Bhutan from which you have booked a flight. Thus, it would help if you got the Bhutan e-Visa clearance in your hands before you check in at the Airline counter.
To get a visa on arrival, you need to show the Bhutan e-visa clearance as soon as you reach Paro International Airport or any Land borders.
Moreover, there are no such Bhutan travel restrictions, but some permits are required to travel within Bhutan. Your tour company will apply for these permits. Also, you don't need to worry about showing them anywhere as your tour guide will keep all the necessary permits while you are on tour and show them wherever required.
Suggested Bhutan tour Package for tourists from the USA:
If you want to completely explore Bhutan's lifestyles, culture, nature, and some of the most iconic tourist attractions in Bhutan, we recommend taking a 7 Days 6 Nights Bhutan Tour Package. Since most Bhutan tourist highlights are concentrated in the west and central, this package is best for tourists from the USA.
As travelers from the USA make so much effort to visit Bhutan, this package will enable them to Bumthang (Jakar), the most beautiful place in Bhutan, and many other iconic places. Moreover, a tour to Bhutan from the USA depends upon how long one has planned for the vacation. If the time is limited, you may consider the5 Days 4 Nights tour package, which will take you to explore most places in Bhutan, including the Himalayas, which are the fascinating scenery for trekking in this mountain country.
A Glimpse of Bhutan before you travel
The culture of Bhutan is very rich, and the country’s people still preserve it. Buddhism is the major religion followed in Bhutan. Consequently, the culture is highly influenced by Buddhist values. Locals in Bhutan live with religious values and immensely respect their gods and idols. Hence, there is no scarcity of religious foundations, Chortens, Lhakhang, etc., in the country.
Festivals in Bhutan are the most exciting and overwhelming thing about the whole tour. The 'Tshechu' is the most prominent festival in Bhutan. It is celebrated for 3 to 5 days, and every city of Bhutan has its own 'Tshechu'. Generally, people gather in Dzong to become part of the mass celebration of the 'Tshechu' festival. In this celebration, a masked dance is performed by monks wearing silk robes and animal masks.
Bhutan's lifestyles are a very spiritual and traditional lifestyle. Locals in Bhutan strongly believe in karma, and therefore the Kingdom of Bhutan is the happiest nation in the Asia continent.
These are just glimpses of Bhutan; you will know it better when you visit.
Similar Read:Things to Know Before Travelling to Bhutan.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a country rich in culture and tradition. Also, it is blessed with untouched nature and breathtaking views that will make your body, mind, and soul clear. But, do not forget to buy Travel insurance for Bhutan travel to make your trip secure.