ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Visiting Bhutan without Flying Drukair

I'm not sure if this is a new trend, but I recently came across a few Bhutan tour itineraries that avoid Drukair altogether. In one 14-day itinerary, the group is flying from Delhi to Guwahati, then crosses into Bhutan at Samdrup Jongkhar, and from there via the East-West highway all the way to Phuentsoling, stopping at Trashigang, Mongar, Bhumthang, Trongsa, Punakha, Thimphu, and Paro. It's a pretty extensive tour which includes many grueling hours of BIS (butt-in-seat) kilometers. From Phuentsoling, the group continues to Bagdogra, and from there flies back to Delhi.

So what's the deal? A DEL-PBH roundtrip is around US$700. On the other hand, flying from DEL to GAU and then returning from IXB to DEL using low-cost domestic airlines costs less than $200. This saves around $500, which allows tourists to spend two more days in Bhutan. The downside other than the long drives? The flight to Paro offers a chance of spectacular views of the Himalayas, and for many people this is the most memorable flight of their lives.

The Himalayan range


  1. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't it not so long ago that one leg of a tourist trip to Bhutan had to be via Drukair? Do you recall when that change happened? It is a shame to miss the view from the flight for sure but my tour guide friends tell me that now they can't get flight reservations for many people who are ready and willing to pay to visit Bhutan because everything is booked solid. Driving in may become even more popular as visitor numbers increase and Drukair doesn't seem to be expanding their service quickly enough.
    Anyway, I happen to be finishing up an article about money saving strategies for visiting BHT, including this very suggestion, so thanks for posting.

  2. @Andrea, you are correct of course. Perhaps the rules are more flexible these days due to Drukair's limited capacity.
    Another solution: Some groups are entering from S/J, then flying from PBH to IXB, which is around $100.

    By the way, there's interesting information about Drukair that I might post here soon. Watch this space.


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