Aviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1629 times:
It is also possible to get into the "Land of the Thunder Dragon" (or the Last Shangri-La as it is also known) by road thru the Indian border town of Phuentsholing, but the Bhutanese authorities say that you must fly out of the country if you take the road route in (and vice versa). But this can be gotten around quite simply by being a guest of a Bhutanese national (most likely a student).
Whilst myself haven't been to Bhutan it is one of those "far away" places I have wanted to travel to for a few years. Officially, you have to book a tour to Bhutan and the cost is set by the government at approximately US$200 per day (from memory), but can be booked by a host of different agents. The only way around this is to be invited to the country by a national of the kingdom (more often than not a student). Luckily, I am in contact with an agent in Thimphu who can get this for me when I do eventually get there.
The agent I know is in partnership in his tour agency with a captain from Druk Air. The service on the airline is quite basic; don't expect world class service coz it is just isn't there.
When Druk Air was looking at replacements for the BAe146s in the fleet, management of the airline was intent on the Avro RJX. But the flight crew wanted to get the Airbus A319. In the end the RJX was picked.
But apart from that Druk Air is one of those airlines which goes about its business quietly. I remember Diptho telling me that Druk Air is the first encounter with Bhutanese hospitality for most people, so one could only hope that the service provided by the crew is positive.
If you have any specific questions post them here and I can relay to Diptho and see what answers he can provide.
Aviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (11 years 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1613 times:
The best way for you to get into Bhutan without having to go on an official tour is to meet someone who is Bhutanese and see if they invite you to visit them in the country. The Bhutanese people are very warm and trusting people, but they are also not a material people. It does take time to build up that trust with them to such an extent that they would invite you, for you have to realise that they are responsible for what you do whilst you are in the country.
I don't think I would give out my friends email on a public forum for people to write to him and get him to invite them to Bhutan, because frankly, the tourism business is his lifeblood. Especially as tourism to Bhutan is suffering at the moment he needs every tourist he can get into his business.
I guess you could try www.druknet.bt and check to see if they have classifieds of Bhutanese people wanting to meet people from other countries. You would be surprised how many of the Bhutanese people have email these days.
Tell him that I put you in touch with him, and he will look after you I am sure
Just be aware he is in DPRK regularly, so he may not answer straight away.
I would suggest Air Koryo. If I were to go I would leave from Shenyang or Vladivostok, to get on the Tu-134 But of course you can also get there by train from Beijing or from Russia. Not sure if you can cross over the border via the bridge in the border town (can't remember the name now) in the special economic zone of DPRK (borders China).
Saintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (11 years 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1576 times:
On a side note, we had A5-RGE in our maintenance facility in Bournemouth earlier this year. It came in for corrosion repairs to the wing spars - a common problem with some 146 / RJs due to faulty materials used in building the wings. We have repaired 8 aircraft, with 4 of them seriously corroded with the effects of the fuel fungus gladisphorum resinea (sp?).
We don't get that many visitors from such a long way away so its always nice to see something different.