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Friday, May 20, 2022
Home Travel Thimphu Paro Airport - A Walk in the World

Thimphu Paro Airport – A Walk in the World

Bhutan is a small mystical country in South Asia. Not many people visit this very different country. Bhutan is a rare country that is carbon negative – that means they have planted so many trees, they produce more oxygen than they release carbon dioxide. Although the capital of Bhutan is in Thimphu, Bhutan International Airport is in Paro. It takes about 90 minutes to travel the 48 kilometers between Paro Airport and Thimphu. This short road trip is taken on a smooth road and a beautiful one! This is a photo guide of the road trip between Paro Airport to Thimphu in Bhutan.

Our plane had just landed at Paro International Airport in Bhutan.

The landing at Paro airport was memorable. It was like dancing in the air. I was very scared of it, but when I saw the unchanged faces of the Bhutanese on the run, I understood that it was normal. Only a few pilots can land the plane at Paro airport as the radar here is of no use due to the nature of the terrain of mountains.

Bhutan Paro Airport
We got off the plane and went to the terminal building. The white clouds hovered over the green mountains.

Paro airport is a small one! I only saw a few planes on the ground. Instead of walls like other airports, Paro Airport was surrounded by green mountains. There was only one building as the terminal. You will immediately understand how peaceful Bhutan is the moment you land there.

Paro Airport as seen from the outside
We started our journey to Thimphu.

We passed the immigration – some of the friendliest people with their traditional dresses. I bought a SIM from the airport and went out. There were a bunch of taxis there, I negotiated with one of them to drop me off at Thimphu. Our journey has begun. I could see a small fence protecting the airport. The small runway was clearly visible.

Tachog Lhakhang - Paro Airport to Thimphu
Tachog Lhakhang en route to Thimphu from Paro Airport

We entered the Paro-Thimphu highway. If you go in the other direction in the same highway, you will end up in the Haa Valley – a popular valley in Bhutan. About 25 minutes drive and 15 miles drive took me to the big stop on our way. It is called Tachog Lhakhang – a small private temple.

Tachog Lhakhang Old Bridge
The wonderful old Tachog Lhakhang Bridge over Paro Chu (Paro River).

It was a 600-year-old bridge that was washed away by a flood in 1969 and later repaired. Thangtong Gyalpo, a well-known engineer designed the bridge. He has done the same for numerous other bridges across Bhutan. This is a special place because for most of the tourists, it is the first place visited in Bhutan! The thunderous screams of the Paro River, the greenery and the iconic bridge made me ecstatic.

Prayer remains in Bhutan
These were kept in an open space sheltered by mountains

I crossed the bridge and explored the other side of the river far from the highway. You can take several short hikes in any direction, it’s soothing to the eyes! There I found some white and gold remains at the foot of a mountain. I did not understand their purpose, but when I look at them, I assume they had something to do with the religious prayer.

A big mountain in Bhutan
On the way to Thimphu from Paro Airport, you will see some great mountains.

After spending an hour or so, we resumed our journey. Although the highway was not very wide, it was in a sublime condition. Considering the traffic, it was perfect! Public buses are a rarity in Bhutan. You have to rent either a four-wheel drive car or one. Do not think to drive here, the turn of the roads is so steep, I sometimes felt nauseous during my trip.

Green Mountain - Thimphu Airport
The green carpets were everywhere during our trip.

While our car was speeding on the highway, I enjoyed the greenery. Bhutan is a land surrounded by land, it has no sea. However, it is blessed with mountains everywhere. The photos taken here were during my trip in March. I was thinking about my previous trip to Bhutan that took place in December.

Photographer in Bhutan during winter
A photographer takes a photo of the landscape in Bhutan during December.

I am giving a photo during my earlier trip to Bhutan in December. The mountains were there, the sky was even brighter and sunny. However, there was no greenery. The browns dominated everywhere along with patches of snow here and there. It looked like I was in a different place! Depending on your preference, you can choose a favorable time for you to visit Bhutan.

Paro Thimphu Highway in Bhutan
Most of the photos in this post were taken from the cabin in motion

There were small protectors at the edges of the roads painted in white. If a car loses its control, it will not help much. However, it gave a good sense of direction. I was taking pictures of the car running in full motion. I do not have to wait to take a good photo. Each frame was precious – thanks to the beautiful nature.

Small houses in Paro Thimphu highway
I want to stay in one of those houses!

If I were anywhere in the world I would have seen several high rises, fast food chains and supermarkets. But I am in Bhutan where gross national happiness (GDP) gets more priority than gross domestic products (GDP). If you look closely, you will be able to spot one or two houses on the lap of the mountains. I felt jealous of those happy people – that’s what life should be! Surrounded by mountains – calm, quiet and peaceful!

Dense cloud in Bhutan
I found the purest form of clouds in Bhutan!

It was a pure joy to keep an eye on the sky. The blue was the blue I had never seen anywhere else. The white clouds were the clouds I had never seen anywhere else. They were near about perfectly soothing to the eyes – a type of clouds and air that I want to keep in my pocket and eat whenever I want.

Thimphu Gate in Bhutan
The cars arrive in Thimphu through the Thimphu gate in Bhutan.

I wish the trip would have lasted longer. But like I said before, it was less than 90 minutes long. We saw a traditional gate marking the entrance to the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Now I could see some touches of artificial things like marking lanes, parked cars, lamp posts, and so on. And I hated them! Look how greedy people can be!

Thimphu Traffic Police
Thimphu city center in Bhutan.

In a jiffy we arrived at Thimphu city center where the police handled the traffic by hand. There is no electronic traffic signal in Bhutan – it is not necessary to have one. The traffic is so sparse and the Bhutanese people are so disciplined, they did not need it! This is how my journey to Bhutan began – through an enchantingly beautiful journey that eventually continued throughout my journey.


How do I get from Paro Airport to Thimphu?

You will find taxis waiting outside the airport. You need to approach and negotiate with them.

How much does it cost to get from Paro Airport to Thimphu?

It will cost between 800 and 1200 rupees. The price will depend on your negotiation skills.

Do you enjoy traveling from Paro Airport to Thimphu? Pin it down!

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