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How To Reach Thimphu
Snuggled among the unsullied snowy valleys of the Eastern Himalayan glaciers, Bhutan sits on the earliest Silk Route between Tibet, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Bhutan, the land of the Dragons, is all at once an intriguing mixture of cultural antiquity and modernity. The Bhutanese, with their eager to please attitude, are some of the happiest people on Earth. Thimphu is the capital and the largest city of Bhutan. It’s also the fourth highest capital in the world by altitude. The city lies in the valley of the Raidak or Thimpuu Chuu River, in the central west part of Bhutan, surrounded by the valleys of Bhutan’s Dzongkhags or Thimphu districts.
Thimphu epitomizes the art, architecture and culture of Bhutan. A trip to Thimphu should promise you a delightful journey as a lush landscape spreads out before you, complete with ancient Buddhist temples, monasteries, rice fields and a multitude of souvenirs to take back home. Here's a brief guide on how to reach Thimphu.
Thimphu does not have an airport. Bhutan’s only International airport is at Paro, west of Thimphu. Paro is well connected to Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Gaya, Guwahati and Bangkok. There are direct Royal Bhutan and Druk Air flights to Paro from Kolkata, New Delhi and Bagdogra in West Bengal. There are no direct flights from other major Indian cities, though you can fly to Delhi, Kolkata and Bagdogra and then get a connecting flight to Paro. Thimphu lies 47.6 km away from Paro. There are taxi services at Paro International Airport, to take you to Thimphu in about an hour and 15 minutes.
If you plan on travelling to Thimphu by road, you have the option of selecting from three border points in India. There is the Bongaigaon - Gelephu Point and the Darangamela - Samdrup in Assam and the Jaigaon - Phuentsholing point in West Bengal. Jaigaon-Phuentsholing Border is the most preferred way to reach Thimphu because of its easier access and facility to obtain entry passes without much hassle. Indian cars are allowed into Bhutan and you can drive your own car after obtaining a permit from the Regional Transport Office at Phuentsholing.
From Phuentsholing, regular buses run every 30 minutes to Thimphu, which is about 164.6 km away from Phuentsholing. When you arrive at Thimphu, check this out. There are no traffic lights in this quaint little city, only police men who stand at intersections, directing the traffic.
There are no direct train connections from major Indian cities to Thimphu. Take a train from Kolkata to Siliguri, Hasimara or New Jaipaiguri in West Bengal and book a taxi or auto to Jaigaon-the Indian side of the border point. You get quick access to the Bhutanese border of Phuentsholing and when formalities are completed, you can board a taxi or a bus to Thimphu from Phuentsholing. The easiest way to reach Thimphu is to take a train from Kolkata to Hasimara, which is 17 km away from the Indo-Bhutan border. There are plenty of taxis in Hasimara railway station to take you to Phuentsholing in 30 minutes. From the Bhutanese border, take a car or bus to Thimphu.