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How do you get to Bhutan from Australia?

Bhutan to australia


Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragon, is one of the most desired travel destinations worldwide. Known for its commitment to the happiness and well-being of its people, it is reflected in the hospitality of the locals, the preservation of ancient culture, stunning architecture, and scenic natural beauty.

These reasons have led Australians to travel to Bhutan for a soulful vacation each year. Recently, tourists from major cities like Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney have been seeking to visit Bhutan.

Getting to Bhutan from Australia can be done via air through transit countries. Traveling from the Land of the Thunder Dragon to the Land of Kangaroos requires understanding the distance covered, air travel options, and visa and arrival information, which is covered below.

The Distance Between Australia and Bhutan

Australia and Bhutan are separated by a considerable geographical distance of approximately 6,300 km (3,915 miles), stretched between the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean and the other Asian countries. The world's sixth-largest country, Australia, is in the southern hemisphere, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Bhutan is a landlocked nation nestled in the Eastern Himalayas between India and China. From the arid Australian Outback to the mountainous terrain of Bhutan, the separation includes a diverse range of ecosystems.

The wide geographical distance plays a significant role in shaping travel routes. Notably, there are no direct flights connecting Australia and Bhutan.Bhutan has limited air connectivity, contributing to direct flights' absence. Bhutan only has one international airport, which is located in Paro.

Getting to Bhutan from Australia is not possible through direct flights but through connecting flights with limited major hubs in Asia like Nepal, India, Singapore, and Thailand. From an Australian city, one has to take a flight to either of these Asian countries for transit, then another flight to Paro International Airport in Bhutan.

Air Travel Options

Air travel is the most commonly used travel route from Australia to Bhutan. Connecting flights are available from cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati & Bagdogra (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), Thailand, and Singapore.

Out of all of these, the most popular and well-suggested transit route for Australian tourists is via Thailand and Singapore.

Australia to Thailand to Bhutan

Daily flights can be booked from Australian cities to The Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. From there, Druk Air and Bhutan Air operate daily flights to Paro International Airport. The flight takes 3 to 4 hours to reach the destination, with a quick 40-minute layover at Kolkata/Gaya or Bagdogra in India.

Australia to Singapore to Bhutan

There are daily flights that run from Australia to Singapore's Changi Airport as well. After reaching Singapore, Druk Air operates two flights per week to Paro International Airport, which takes about 5 to 6 hours. It could include a 40-minute layover at Guwahati in India.

Alternative Routes

While the alternative routes are not as popular, they can be opted for if you have plans to visit other neighboring Asian countries before your visit to Bhutan.

From India

If you plan on visiting and exploring India, you can plan a flight from Australia to your desired destination in India.

From there, after enjoying our visit to India, you can take a flight from either of the Indian cities Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata & Bagdogra to Paro. Alternatively, you can also travel via car from India's border of Assam or Jaigaon Phuentsholing in West Bengal to Bhutan.

From Nepal

Suppose you have traveled from Australia to Nepal. In that case, you can take a direct flight from Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport to Bhutan's Paro International Airport, which will take you about an hour.

Visa and Entry Requirements

An important aspect for all tourists in Australia to consider before entering Bhutan is that you would require a Bhutan Visa.

However, if you are a citizen of India, Maldives, or Bangladesh, you do not require a visa; instead, you will get an entry permit upon your arrival at the designated entry point.

For other nationalities, including Australians, Bhutanese visas will be obtained via a licensed Bhutanese tour operator who will do the online visa processing on your behalf. Bhutan requires all tourists to be accompanied by a registered guide and a private vehicle, all organized by an authorized tour operator in Bhutan.

Your agent will oversee all the necessary arrangements and request specific documents for the visa, which typically includes:

  1. Several passport-sized photographs
  2. Personal information and details to complete the online visa application form.
  3. Valid travel insurance covering the duration of your entire trip
  4. A copy of your passport, which should be valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure from Bhutan
  5. The designated tour operator will provide a travel itinerary and the pre-booking details, such as a hotel booking confirmation voucher in Paro.

The visa application fee amounts to USD 40 and is issued by the Department of Immigration. The processing time can come up to 5 working days, and it will be provided to you by the tour operator before you entered into Bhutan. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, immigration officers will verify the visa.

In addition to the visa fee, tourists are required to pay a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of $100 per night. For children aged 6 to 12 years a 50% discount on the SDF is levied, while those aged five years or under are completely exempt from the fee.

This recent adjustment, effective from September 2023 until September 2027, was implemented on August 25th, 2023.

A visa is not required for entry for nationals of India, Maldives, or Bangladesh. However, they will need an entry permit.  They will also be required to pay the applicable SDF, ranging from a minimal $15 to $17.

The SDF does not cover expenses for food, entry charges, accommodation, transport, and guide fees, and travelers must allocate a separate budget for it.

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Practical Travel Tips

For travelers visiting Bhutan from Australia, the following are the travel tips to consider:

Booking Flights: While booking flights, plan in advance so that there is seat availability and flights are cheaper.

Packing Essentials: Given the Himalayan terrain, Bhutan is cold in most seasons, so Australians might want to pack layered clothing along with comfortable walking shoes and covered clothing to respect the Bhutanese culture while visiting monasteries.

Travel insurance: As you will be taking multiple flights and traveling thousands of kilometers from home, it is best advised to ensure you have well-covered travel insurance.

Currency: Australian Dollars aren't as popular in Bhutan; hence, it is best advised to carry local currency, Ngultrum, for small purchases in areas where the card is not accepted. Australian can change money fom money exchange counter in Paro airport on arrival.

Acclimatizing to the altitude: Considering Australia largely has flat terrains while Bhutan has mountains and hills, you need to adjust to the high altitude change. Plan your

Acclimatizing to the altitude: Considering Australia largely has flat terrains while Bhutan has mountains and hills, you need to adjust to the high altitude change. Plan your itinerary with your travel operator to allow gradual altitude gain. Also, stay hydrated to combat dehydration.

Respect local customs and traditions: From entering the Paro International Airport to visiting different monasteries, the locals have certain customs and restrictions that you need to follow to show respect and avoid any illegal activities.

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The travel from Australia to Bhutan can be difficult to navigate if you are not fully prepared. From selecting the right flight routes and airlines to understanding visa requirements, each decision contributes to the overall travel experience.

Bhutan's rich culture, ancient history, and unique traditions eagerly await their reveal. Hence, it is best to start planning your journey to Bhutan by contacting our travel experts and getting additional information on how to get started to organize the trip of a lifetime.

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