Bhutan Entry Rule for Indian and Regional Tourists

Bhutan is a landlocked country. It can be entered either by flight through Paro airport, which is the only International airport in Bhutan, or through Phuentsholing – Jaigaon boarder, which is the main entry point by road. You can also enter Bhutan through Samdrupzongkhar in eastern Bhutan, but few people use this route for entering Bhutan.

The entry rules to Bhutan are different for international travelers and for regional travelers. For International travelers, a tour of Bhutan must be booked through a travel agent. For regional tourists the rules are different. Regional tourists mean tourists from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

Indian tourists constitute the largest number of visitors to Bhutan. To enter Bhutan regional tourists must carry their Passport, although no visa is required. In the case of Indian tourists, Voter ID Card (EPIC) is also an acceptable ID. However, another ID such as Adhar card, Driving license, PAN card, etc is not acceptable. In the past visitors with improper ID card also used to get entry into Bhutan with assistance from Indian embassy at Phuentsholing. However, this facility has now been stopped so if you are not carrying proper document, you will have to return from the border. There is an entry formality at Phuentsholing and Paro. At Paro, the immigration process is relatively simple. However, at Phuentshling boarder, the rules are quite strict and much depends on the officer at duty. Single male adults and even group of male adults have been known to have been rejected entry into Bhutan in the past. The criterion here is the judgment of the authority whether you are a “real” tourist or a business visitor posing as a tourist. Also, there is an attempt to curb the entry of budget tourists, for example, a tourist group that travels with their own kitchen and chef, has been banned in Bhutan now. Final authority and judgment in these matters lie with the officer. You may be asked to provide your hotel booking vouchers and tour plans as well. The entry process at Phuentsholing may take 2 to 4 hours during normal time and may even take the better part of the day during peak season.

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