Road permits are needed to travel throughout Bhutan, and there are checkpoints in most places east and north of Timbu where you must provide these papers to proceed. When applying for a visa, your local tour operator is in charge of route permits. The immigration office in Thimphu issues these permits (north end of Norzin Lam).
Air travel is a fast and generally safe option to the difficulty of Bhutan’s mountainous roads, but timetables are limited and flights are often canceled. Thimphu to Yongphula Airport in Trashigang and Bathpalathang Airport to Jakar in the Bumthang region are served by Druk Air and Bhutan Airways (also known as Tashi Air). Although a third airport in the Center-Sud area, near the Indian border, was officially inaugurated in 2012, no regular flights are now available.
The country’s roadways are marked by meanders, bends, and steep hills, yet they are well-maintained and safe despite the challenging terrain. Local and intercity bus services are inconvenient and often halt. For the duration of your stay, your local tour operator will supply you with a vehicle and driver. This cost is already included into the daily fee. Excursions may, however, be arranged by local bus, coach, or taxi. Driving in Bhutan is only advised if you have prior mountain driving expertise. With the infinite curve of the fork, the condition of the road surface varies. It’s a good idea to have some roadside medicine with you.
Because public transportation between cities in Bhutan is few, hitchhiking is a popular mode of transportation. However, the thumb in the air sign isn’t recognized, so you’ll have to flag a passing car to halt it. NB: Some drivers supplement their income by picking up passengers; it is usual to provide payment upon the vehicle’s departure (the amount depends approximately on the distance, but it will be comparable to the cost of the bus trip). Most drivers, on the other hand, do not need anything and are content to have company and meet new acquaintances. If you intend to go by car (which is the only way to get about in some rural regions), it’s a good idea to bring a few little presents to show your gratitude to the drivers.
Roads are often obstructed by landslides during the summer season due to the hilly terrain. From the beginning of June until the end of August, it is recommended to avoid long distance travel. If you must go right now, pack plenty of bottled water and food since the road may take a long time to clear if there is a landslide.
The stretch of the road linking Bumthang and Mongar that passes the Thrumshingla Pass at 3750 meters is the highest in the nation and provides an amazing view. However, due to the valley’s high slopes, it is especially susceptible to falling boulders, therefore be prepared to wait for lengthy periods of time, especially during rainy seasons.
Food and refreshment
Although there are numerous restaurants along highways connecting large cities with adequate sanitary requirements, the food quality is poor and the choice of dishes is restricted. Furthermore, the eating rooms provide an atmosphere that is no better than a bus station waiting room. As a result, it is generally advisable to have food and water ready for the journey to the starting site.