Kolkata to Bhutan : How to Get to Bhutan From Kolkata

There are no direct trains to Kolkata, you can either take a flight, bus or car. But the most feasible way and less time-consuming way of travel is to take a direct flight from Kolkata to Bhutan.

The Preferred Way of Travelling from Kolkata To Bhutan

Due to the long distance of about 1,040 kilometres from Kolkata, which lies in the southern region of West Bengal, it is recommended to travel to Bhutan on a flight. However, to save some money, you can take a train to Siliguri in north Bengal and take a bus from there. 

Time Take by Flight: 4 h 20 min

Kolkata To Bhutan By Flight 

Kolkata to Bhutan by Flight
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport
Source
Option 1: 
From the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata,one can take a flight to Paro International Airport, the only international airport in Bhutan. Bhutan Airlines (private) and Druk Air (national) operate a number of direct flights to and from Paro every week. The duration is around 1 hour 30 minutes.
Option 2: 
The other viable option is that you can also take a flight to Bagdogra Airport which would take an hour and then to Paro Airport, which takes around half an hour or so.

Flight Options Available 

Kolkata To Paro (CCU to PBH) 

Paro Airport
Paro Airport
Source
  • Bhutan Airlines B3701 and B3715 operate flights to Paro daily
  • the duration is around 1.5 hours.
The departure time is 8:15 AM and arrival is at 9:55 PM daily except Tuesday and Wednesday when arrival and departure timings are 15 minutes ahead. 
  • Druk Air 121, 211 and 501 operates flights every day except Thursday and the duration is the same as Bhutan Airlines.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, departure time is at 9:10 AM and arrival time is at 10:50 AM. 
On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, departure time is at 8:30 AM and arrival time is at 10:10 AM. 
On Saturday, however, flight departs at 9:10 AM and arrives at 10:50 AM. 

Kolkata To Bagdogra, Bagdogra To Paro (CCU-IXB-PBH) 

It is better to book your Kolkata to Bagdogra flight on Sunday or Tuesday because Druk Air KB131 operates flight on these two days only. The flight departs at 9 AM and arrives at 10 AM.
Air Asia, IndiGo, Spice Jet, Go Air and Air India operate nonstop flight to Bagdogra Airport and the time taken by the flight ranges around 1 hour 20 minutes. 

Kolkata To Bhutan by Bus 

Kolkata to Bhutan by Bus
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From ticket booths of the northeastern yard in Esplanade Bus Station in Kolkata, you can get tickets for the slow buses to Phuentsholing operated by the Royal Bhutan Government. The journey takes about 18 hours on an overnight basis and is more comfortable than cars as the time taken for a bus trip is around 22 hours which is significantly less than that taken on private vehicles.

Bus Options Available (Direct)

Esplanade/ Sealdah To Phuentsholing 
On every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the Bhutanese Government buses leave at 7 PM and on the alternate days i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the buses return from Phentsholing Bhutan Post Office at 3 PM. 
Time Taken: 18-25 hours 
Cost: 300-350 INR/ BTN

Kolkata To Bhutan By Car 

Kolkata to Bhutan by Car
Source

There is no direct route from Kolkata to Bhutan and the time taken on a private car can range in between 22-26 hours. There is no convenience of government-run vehicles for such a long road 'keeping extra tire and filling your tanks will prove to be helpful. There are two common routes to reach Siliguri, which is like a gateway to Bhutan from the state.  

Route Options    

Route 1

Malda-Jaigaon-Phuentsholing Route (Via NH12) 
Duration: 9 h 17 min (368.7 km)
NH12
NH12
Source
One of the most convenient car route to reach Bhutan, here you have to reach Malda by crossing Berhampore about 90kms road from Berhampore to Farakka is really smooth to speed up. For about 2.5kms around Farakka Barrage, you are likely to find traffic and the roads turn worse on the way to Raigunj. 

Be ready to enjoy a slice of greenery while driving along the countryside roads and then the highway covering around 80 kilometres with less traffic on the way to Siliguri. From Siliguri, it is an easy route to Jaigaon, the last city of West Bengal on Indian Border and the Bhutan Gate will soon beckon you.  
 
Food Options On This Route: Polsanda Punjabi Dhaba is a popular pit stop on the way to Malda.   

Route 2

Bardhaman-Raiganj-Goagaon-Siliguri-Jaigaon-Phuentsholing (Via NH12) 
Duration: 15 h 22 min (609.6 km) 
The fastest route to reach Berhampore is to take the Belghoria Expressway from BT Road in Kolkata and follow the NH19 to reach the GT Road. Continue along the Katwa Road (SH7) to reach Botolbari and continue onto Goagaon Road to connect NH27, take a right turn to NH17 passing Guabar Tea Estate and at Birpara-Chowpati, take NH317 to reach Indo-Bhutan Border Road. You will get a roundabout from where take third exit onto Phuentsholing-Thimphu Highway.
With usual traffic, you would need around 16-17 hours maximum.     

Food Options On This Route: En route to Botolbari, you will pass Murli Dhaba and Maa Mangalchandi Hotel. Before ramping on NH317, Hill Queen Residency can be a great option for food and lodging.    

Route 3

Asansol-Bhagalpur-Nagrakata-Phuentsholing Route (Via NH27) 
Duration: 15 h 9 min (613.9 km) 
NH27
NH27
Source
This route also starts from Belgharia Expressway in Baranagar and then you have to take NH19 and AH1 respectively to reach Gobindapur in Asansol. After covering around two hours along the NH114A, you have to take Dumka-Hansdiha Road followed by Bhagalpur-Dumka Road to Reach Bhagalpur. Towards CSC Center on NH31 and then on the third exit onto the NH27 from Purnia Bypass, you will find two toll stations. 

Continue along NH27, follow NH17 and NH317 to meet the Indo-Bhutan Border Road and continue along this to find the third exit onto the Phuentsholing-Thimphu Highway. 

Food Options On This Route: A number of nondescript roadside dhabas are there where you will find delicious food.  

Road Conditions 

While about 80% road of the SH7 is in excellent condition, the rest of it is too bad with potholes. The Shayambajar 5 Point Crossing remains closed at certain times so keep an update of the road condition beforehand. You might find traffic while crossing Siliguri but there is hardly any along the highway to Burdwan. NH19 has several Toll roads, especially while entering Gobindapur and on the way to NH12 from Botolbari, you will find a toll stoppage.   

Kolkata To Bhutan By Train

Kolkata to Bhutan by Train
Howrah Station
Source

Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri and Hasimara are the three most accessible railway stations from Bhutan and Kolkata. There is no direct train from Kolkata or Sealdah to Bhutan, and hence, you can take a train to reach Siliguri, New Alipurduar, New Jalpaiguri or Hasimara. 

Train Options Available 

Sealdah To Hasimara 
Duration: 16 h 40 min (696.0 km)

Train 1:
Kanchankanya Express 13149 (A/C, non-A/C), daily
Train 2:            
Kolkata- Alipurduar Special Fare Train 03129 (A/C, non A/C), Sunday
Train 3: 
Karmabhoomi Express 22511, Thursday (from Howrah) 
Cost: Around 330-370 INR/ BTN
Duration: Around 14hrs 35min

From Hasimara to Phuentsholing 
Duration: 40 min (19.6 km)

On reaching Hasimara, take the Royal Bhutan Government bus to reach Phuentsholing within 30 minutes, and from Bhutan Post, you can take the bus to reach Thimphu –it runs once daily and takes around 6 hours with 200 INR/ BTN. 

Sealdah To New Jalpaiguri (shortest 570kms), New Alipurduar (shortest 717kms) Or Siliguri (563Kms)

  • From Kolkata, Haldibari Superfast Tri-weekly Intercity Express, Kanchanjungha Express, Teesta Torsa Express, Guwahati Express, Shatabdi Express, Kamrup Express, Padatik Express, Darjeeling Mail, Kanchankanya Express, Uttar Banga Express etc. Duration: Around 10-15 hours depending on the train and destination
  • From Jalpaiguri, you can either take a connecting train to Hasimara or get a taxi to reach Jaigaon or Phuentsholing.
  • From Siliguri, you can avail the Royal Bhutan Government bus departing near the Heritage Hotel on Hill Cart Road at 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM –the tickets cost INR 62.
  • From New Alipurduar Jaigaon is 60 kilometres from New Alipurduar and both taxi and bus are available to reach Jaigaon. Some trains also pass Falakata from Siliguri –while a taxi from Siliguri to Phuentsholing takes around 4 hours, from Falakata it takes around 1.5 hours.    
There is another bus route through Sevoke Bridge from Siliguri, but those with motion sickness might find uncomfortable. 
Tips: It is better to book your tickets for about 120 days in advance to get your seats confirmed. Check online to check the days on which the above-mentioned trains run. 

Additional Tips 

View of Paro Airport
View of Paro Airport
Source

There are some tips to remember while travelling to Bhutan from Kolkata 
  • Keep your itinerary ready, otherwise travelling visa will not be sanctioned. Get in touch with any tour operator to get the permits beforehand. 
  • A free-of-cost travel permit is given in Phuentsholing for an Indian national although, for a vehicle, you need to pay a reasonable amount to get car permit sanctioned by Road safety And Transport Authority. Turn up before 9:00 AM (Bhutanese time). 
  • Carry ID proof (voter ID card, PAN card, driving license etc.) with a passport (valid for six months minimum), insurance paper in case you are driving your car, pollution certificate of the vehicle and RTO book. 
  • The travel permit is only applicable for visiting Paro and Thimphu for seven days. For other destinations like Phobjikha and Bumthang, you have to get a separate license from RSTA in Thimphu.    
  • Non-Indians need a visa and also an exit stamp on their passports from Indian Immigration Office. 
  • After disembarking at Jaigaon main stop, get your luggage and get down at the Immigration Office. After completing the formalities, you can reach the Bhutan Gate on foot as it is close by.   

This post was published by Holidify.com

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