Bhutan Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Bhutan
The roads are generally in good condition for Asia with a major road linking all major settlements. Due to the topography, the steep slopes and winding roads, travel speeds rarely exceed 40 kmh. It sounds like the scenery is so stunning though you wouldn’t want to be speeding through it. If you wish to travel to places other than Thimphu and Paro (permit free zone), you will have to obtain route permit from the immigration office in Thimphu. Cars can be brought into the country from India. If you plan to do this, the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA): www.rsta.gov.bt will have to endorse the documents.
Bhutan Car Rental-
Theres a common perception that foreigners can’t self drive in Bhutan. I don’t think thats actually true, but its not easy to arrange. I was consistently told by travel agents in Thimpu –‘Bhutan follows the policy of guided tourism’. They all then try and make you take a driver. When I pushed the point though and asked whether its impossible for a foreigner to drive without a guide I found out that technically it isn’t. So you can drive, if you can find someone who will rent you a car, and in my experience that isn’t so easy, and I tried about 20 travel agents in Thimpu.
However, all is not lost. One option is to rent a car in India and drive to Bhutan.This company rents cars and quotes a rate for them to be taken to Bhutan. http://www.east-himalaya.com/car/
I’ve no doubt there will be a number of bureaucratic hurdles to overcome but its one on my list for future!