Transportation in Bhutan “The Land of Thunder Dragon”
Within Bhutan, the only mode of transportation is by motor vehicles. During monsoon and winter months, weather can disrupt travel and unexpected changes might occur in itineraries. The road is excellent and the highway consists of two-lane roads which are a relief. The mountainous terrain and winding roads restrict the average speed of vehicles to less than 40 km/hour.
Phuentsholing to Thimphu Distance:
The distance from the border town to the capital of Thimphu is about 180km and it takes 6-7 hours depending on the road conditions and stoppages are long, spectacular and also rich and diverse with varied changing vegetation.
Car Rentals and Fare:
Generally, Bhutan car rental rates are fixed in Bhutan for all the routes. If you go to the taxi stand, car hire charges quoted by drivers would not be more than the fixed Bhutan car hire rate. Taxi hire in Thimpu Bhutan can eventually be cheaper though due to competition among various car rental agencies. The rates are much cheaper than India considering the difficult terrain that they have to drive. Drivers are very friendly and drive through the terrains with ease.
Car rental for Bhutan tour may require a brief understanding of the policies in Bhutan before actually hiring one.The latest updated rate for car hire in Bhutan, which is to be charged for hiring a taxi from Phuentsholing to Thimphu is quoted at Rs. 2720. This is the standard rate but due to immense competition, you might also find other car rentals agreeing to take you at a rate of 2400 or 2500 also. Depends on your luck completely and your communicating skills.
Road Map elaborated for Pre-visit experience:
As you are leaving the town, the road climbs through the teak wood jungle for like 5km to a Rich ending. After crossing through Rich ending check-point, the road again begins a long climb, which is firstly through a series of sharp ascends and turns at Sorchen, then through tropical jungles travelling up to the Kamji village with a scenery of landscapes, waterfalls, a small temple and distant villages. Gradually it shall pass through the misty areas to Jumja and the large village of Gedu.
From Gedu the road trip or the drive goes along the ridge with spectacular scenery of waterfalls, landscapes and distant villages. After crossing Takti chu, the road is downhill and crosses the bridge at Wangkha over Wangchu, after which the road climbs towards the Chimakothi township. After reaching Chapcha la ridge, you must descend to gorge and follow this upstream till the river confluence and road at Chunzom Ha. The roads on the sides of the river go Haa and Paro. From Chunzom Ha, the drive stays closeby to the river, passing through many landscaped villages on either side and takes about an hour, until You reach your destination Thimphu.
The country has varied Issues regarding passes for different country nationals and they do not offer VISA on arrival.