Eastern Bhutan Travel – My experiences at Yonphula Airport


One of my friends used to say that it’s hard to convince new people that he studied at Sherutse College unless he uploads his profile picture taken at Yonphula Airport runway. This means this airport must be important part of community there – and more importantly for Sherubtse College students.

This made me curious – I have never been there. So I went on checking profiles of few people in Facebook whom I know actually studied at Kanglung Sherubtse College. I found out that few of them have at least one photos taken at Yonphula Airport. The Airport and its runway appear good as background.

The distant view of Yonphula Airport

The distant view of Yonphula Airport

So I thought to visit it at least once. During my recent Eastern Bhutan Travel, I could actually visit Yonphula Airport and explored a community in its vicinity.

My Experiences at Yonphula Airport

Yonphula Airport is supposed to be the first airport in Bhutan out of four. It was started in the 1960s by Indian Army to transport rations and ammunitions. Paro International Airport was started sometimes in 1968s.

In 2011, after it has remained closed, Yonphula Airport was reopened as a viable domestic airport. But it is still closed for runway repairs and to address safety concerns.

Yonphula Domestic Airport - still in repair & maintenance mode

Yonphula Domestic Airport – still in repair & maintenance mode

The repair and cutting of higher-gradient-sides are still in progress. There is no restrictions being in place – we can visit freely. But the place is very dusty.

If you have asthma or other breathing related health problems, avoid visiting Yonphula Airport at this time. The place being windy, your visit to Yonphula would be worse especially during dry seasons.

The views from Yonphula Airport

The airport and its vicinity maybe dusty, but you can enjoy beautiful views of Dremetsi village, Dremetise Dratshang and serene snow-capped mountains.

Dremetsi village

Dremetsi village as seen from Yonphula Airport

If you can walk few meters below the runway, there is a small famous Yonphula lake. But due to dust out of repair works, it doesn’t look clean and nice. Otherwise, I was told that this lake is suppose to be the paradise of love birds from Sherubtse College.

Yonphula lake

Yonphula lake. It’s brownish due to repair work dust

There is also a small chorten above the airport. It’s just a 10 mins or so walking distance. From there, we can enjoy the perfect view of runway and also perfectly fit into a frame if you want to take photos.

Yonphula airport travel

Chorten above Yonphula Airport

You can also take trolls around a small village just below the airport and see some rural parts of Bhutan. Houses and temples are in architectures you’ll not find in Bhutan’s mainland like Thimphu and Paro.

Travel Tips to Yonphula Airport

It’s recommended to visit this airport in other seasons. It’s windy and cold in winter. And it will be dusty unless repair works have been completed.

If you were to visit during winter, wearing warm clothes, sun glasses and mouth covering masks would be important.

Prayer flags above Airport - maybe for safe flights

Prayer flags above Airport – maybe for safe flights

My travel to Yonphula Airport in overall was quite an exciting. I could only wonder how the airport would appear if the repair works were completed during my visit. Let me keep this for my future travel.

Recommend to read following travel experiences and exciting travel stories from Bhutan:

About Author

An auditor by profession, but a traveller, blogger and photographer by passion. This site was created to share travel stories of various destinations within Bhutan and also travel tips of travelling to Bhutan. Read More>>

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