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How to Get to Bhutan

Bhutan Traveler travelling to Bhutan can enter into this exotic tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan by Land and Air only.

Bhutan remained in its self-imposed isolation till the 1960’s and it was only in 1974 that the first ever motor-able roads were constructed. In 1983 the first Druk Air Dornier flights started operation. Till date Druk Air is the only national airline operating in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

By Road

The entry point by road for visitors travelling to Bhutan are; Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar in the south bordering India. 

Phuentsholing town is located about 170 kilometers east of Indian National Airport Bagdora. From Bagdora airport, it will take approximately four hours to reach Phuentsholing border for the visitors travelling to Bhutan from the south. From Phuentsholing to Thimphu, it’s another 5-6 hours drive uphill towards the interiors of the Himalayas. Then you reach Thimphu, the capital of the Kingodm, Bhutan.

From the border town of Gelephu its approximately 270 kilometers to Thimphu about 8 hours drive. The journey takes you across three districts, from the sub-tropical plains of the foothills of the Himalayan mountains to the moderate alpine zone in Thimphu.

Samdrup Jongkhar in eastern part of Bhutan is 150 kilometers away from Guwhati, the capital city of Assam in India. From Samdrup Jongkhar you will travel via 5 districts of Bhutan before reaching the capital city Thimphu. The distance is almost 700 kilometers and takes 3 days to reach Thimphu.

By Air

Druk air is the only airline operating in Bhutan and Paro International Airport the only Airport in Bhutan. Another airport is already under construction in the border town of Gelephu and is expected to be operational from 2012.

There are two domestic airports in Bumthang and Trashigang. These domestic airports will connect western Bhutan to the central and the east.

As you approach Bhutan on Drukair, you will see some of the most spectacular and beautiful Himalayan ranges.

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Facts of Bhutan

Name of the Country: Kingdom of Bhutan

                              :Land of the Thunder Dragon

                              :Land of happiness

King:  The 5th King His Majesty Jigme Gesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Queen: Her Majesty Ashi Jetsun Pema

Population: 738,267- 2011 World Bank Report

Area: 38,398 sq.km. (source – 2005 census)

Location: 88 deg 45’ East to 92 deg 10’ East in Longitude and 26 deg 40’ North to 28’ deg 15 North in Latitude

Elevation Range: 300 m (985 ft) to 7000 m (23,000 ft)

Time zone: 6 hours ahead of GMT

Capital city: Thimphu

Districts (Dzongkhags): 20 Dzongkhags

Language: Dzongkha

Religion: Mahayana Buddhism

Currency: Ngultrum (Nu)

Government: Democratic Constitutional Monarchy

Prime Minister: Tshering Tobgay

Opposition Leader: Dr. Pema Gyamtsho

National Game of Bhutan

Archery is the national sports of the Kingodm. Archery was declared the national sport in 1971, when Bhutan became a member of the United Nations. Since then, the popularity of Bhutanese archery has increased and popularly played during local festivals, between public ministries and departments, and between the dzongkhags and the regional teams.

Archery in Bhutan is culturally distinctive and is a way of socialization, communication, and development of relations between people

National Emblem

The National Emblem of Bhutan

The National Emblem, contained in a circle is composed of a double diamond thunderbolt placed above a lotus, surmounted by a jewel and framed by two dragons. The double diamond thunderbolt represents the harmony between secular and religious power. The lotus symbolizes purity and the jewel represents sovereign power. Thetwo dragons - male and female stand for the name of the country - the Land of Thunder Dragon (Druk Yul) which they proclaim with their thunder in unison.

Bhutan National Flag

The National Flag of Bhutan

The national flag of Bhutan is based upon the tradition of the Thunder Dragon of Bhutanese Mythology. The Dragon is closely associated with Bhutan.The basic design of the flag by Queen Mother ChoyingWangmoDorji dates back to 1947.The National flag is rectangle in shape that is divided into two parts diagonally. The upper yellow half signifies the secular power and authority of the king while the lower saffron-orange symbolizes the practice of religion and power of Buddhism. The dragon signifies the name and the purity of the country while the jewels in its claws stand for the wealth and perfection of the country

Bhutan Blue Poppy

The National Flower of Bhutan

The national flower of Bhutan is the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsishorridula). In Bhutan, the Blue Poppy grows to a height of 1 meter on the rocky mountain terrain, above the tree line at altitudes of 3500m to 4500m. It is a delicate blue or purple tinged blossom with a white filament. The flower was discovered in 1933 by British botanist George Sherriff in remote part of Sakteng in eastern Bhutan during an expedition in the Himalayas. Interestingly Frank Ludlow of the same expedition discovered a rare butterfly called the Ludlow's Swallowtail, another icon found exclusively in Bhutan

The National Tree of Bhutan

The Himalayan Cypress (Cupressustorolusa) is the national tree of Bhutan. This tree is associated with religion, and usually found near religious structures like Dzongs and Temples in the temperate zone between altitudes of 1800m and 3500m. To the Bhutanese, its ability to survive on rugged terrain represents bravery and simplicity.

The National Bird of Bhutan

The national bird is the Raven. The symbol of the Raven head is the most prominent component of the royal crown. In Bhutan, the raven represents the deity GonpoJarodongchen, the Raven-headed Mahakala, one of the country's chief guardian deities. The Bhutanese credit the Raven with having guided the founder of BhutanZhabdrungNgawangNamgyelto victory during the invasion from U-Tsang(Tibet) in the seventeenth century.

The National Animal of Bhutan

Takin National Animal of BhutanThe national animal is the Takin (Burdorcastaxicolor). This bovid is also associated with religious history and mythology. Today it is a rare animal, and its conservation status is "vulnerable." This unique animal has the head of a sheep and body of a cow! Legend has it that this animal was conjured up by Lam DrukpaKuenley, a Buddhist Saint notoriously famous for his crude and un-conservative ways of preaching Buddhism. There is a Takin Reserve in Thimphu for those wishing to see this strange and beautiful animal.

Attractions of Bhutan

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