|Date||5th November 2017 to 22nd November 2017|
|Guide||Norbu & Tshering|
|Duration||17 nights / 18 days|
|Group size||Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 clients or larger groups possible|
|Accommodation||From basic lodge to a comfortable hotel. Luxury camping.|
|Climate||Wide varieties of weather are expected, hot and sunny to cold at the high elevation. Occasionally rain is expected in some places|
Day – 1: Paro
Day – 2: Paro – Thimphu
Day – 3: Thimphu
Day – 4: Thimphu – Punakha
Day – 5: Punakha – Jigme Dorji National Park
Day – 6: Punakha – Phobjikha (Attend the Crane Festival)
Day – 7: Phobjikha – Trongsa
Day – 8: Trongsa – Zhemgang
Day – 9: Zhemgang – Tingtibe Road
Day – 10: Zhemgang – Bumthang
Day – 11: Bumthang – Sengor
Day – 12: Sengor – Namling – Yongkala
Day – 13: Yongkala – Namling – Limithang Road
Day – 14: Yongkala – Namling – Limithang Road
Day – 15: Yongkala – Trashigang
Day – 16: Trashigang – Morong – Samdrup Jongkhar
Day – 17: Samdrup Jongkhar – Dewathang – Morong
Day – 18: Samdrup Jongkhar – Guwahati
Day 1, 6th Nov: Paro
You’ll arrive at Paro’s unique and beautifully decorated International Airport and be met by our representative. Transfer to the hotel. Afternoon visit the historic Paro Rimpung Dzong (fortress) and then late afternoon birding along the Paro River searching for one key target bird, Ibisbill. We will also see other birds with chances for River Lapwing; Black- tailed Crake, Common Sandpiper, Plumbeous Redstart, White-capped River-chat, Black-tailed Crake, Common Snipe and Grey-backed Shrike,
Day 2, 7th Nov: Paro – Thimphu
Very early in the morning, drive to the cool and stunning alpine meadow of Chelila pass (3890m). This is the highest pass accessible by car in Bhutan. On a clear day you’ll have a stunning view of the sacred Mt. Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrimgang in a distance. Here we should be rewarded with three different species of Pheasants: the colorful Himalayan Monal, flocks of Blood Pheasants and Kalij Pheasant. Other birds we’ll be looking here include white-winged and Collared Grosbeaks, Spotted and Black-faced Laughingthrushes. White-browed Rosefinch, Grey-crested, Coal and Rufous-vented Tits, Blue-fronted Redstart and Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Drive back to Paro for early lunch.
After lunch hike to Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) one of the most famous 17th-century monastery of Bhutan. Then in the evening drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive will take about an hour and a half.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Day 3, 8th Nov: Thimphu Sightseeing
In the morning, drive toward the north of Thimphu for about 45 minutes and then hike to Cheri monastery. During the hike we may see Spotted, Chestnut–crowned, and White-throated Laughingthrush, Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers, Brown Dipper, Crested Kingfisher, Chestnut-tailed Minla and White-collared Blackbirds. We should also see the Goral (Mountain goats) around the monastery.
Drive back to Thimphu for lunch. After lunch, some sightseeing in Thimphu,
National Memorial Chorten, this large Nepalese style chorten built in 1974 as a memorial to the third king of Bhutan. Today for many Bhutanese it is the main focus of their daily worship.
Takin Reserve: To see the National animal of Bhutan, it is the oddball animals, which look like a cross between a gnu and a bison.
Drive to Kuensel Phodrang in Changbangdu, overlooking the Thimphu city to see the 169-feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, Vajra Throne Buddha, symbolizing indestructibility, and seated on a vajra throne.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Day 4, 9th Nov: Thimphu-Punakha (3hrs)
Early morning drive to Punakha over the Dochula Pass (3150). Our day starts from this pass with breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayan ranges. The mixed forests of hemlock, fir, oaks, and rhododendron here are great habitat for many good species including Fire-tailed Myzornis, Other possible birds Gloud’s and Green-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Great Barbet, Eurasian Jay, Mountain Hawk and Black Eagle, Common Kestrel and Yellow-billed Blue Magpie. Later we descend to the Punakha valley stopping at Lobesa for lunch.
After lunch, birding along the Pho Chu valley looking for one of the main target bird, White-bellied Heron. Other birds likely to be seen are Ibisbill, kingfishers, ducks and other shorebirds.
Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Day 5, 10th Nov. Punakha full day birding inside Jigme Dorji National Park.
Today we spend full day birding inside the Jigme Dorji National park. We have the possibilities of seeing Red–headed Trogon, the really cute Slaty-bellied and Chestnut headed Tesias, Small Niltava, Black-chinned Yuhinas, a trio of fork tails, several Wren-babblers, Woodpeckers, Laughingthrushes, and with luck Pallas’s Fish Eagle. We also have a good chance of finding a White-bellied Heron, one of the rarest birds in the world with a population of less than 60 worldwide.
Later in the evening, we will visit Punakha’s Punthang Dechen Phodrang (the name means palace of Great Bliss.) Standing on the tongue of land where two rivers, Phochu and Mochu, meet, Punakha Dzong has special significance in Bhutan history. Punakha Dzong is the place where Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned in 1907. It is the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Bhutan’s spiritual leader, and the entire central monk community.
Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Day 6, 11th Nov: Punakha – Phobjekha (4hrs)
Early morning, start driving to the Phobjekha Valley (4hrs) stopping often for birds. We will be looking for Ward’s Trogon, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, and mixed species flocks. Before reaching Pelela pass we’ll take the side road to Phobjekha Valley. When crossing the Gangteyla. Drive to the Gangtey Gompa (monastery) to attend the crane festival. The festival includes cultural programs such as folk songs and dances (some with Black-necked Crane theme) and masked dances performed by the local peoples, the school children of the valley also take part in performing Crane dances and environmental drama and songs. The program usually starts by 9:30 am and last until late afternoon.
The Phobjikha Environment Management Committee, the local group of elected local leaders, monk and Royal Society for the Protection of Nature organized the festival.
After lunch we’ll hike through the Nature trail, it goes through the blue pine forest and small settlements. Some of the birds we may see on the hike are Spotted Nutcracker; Grey- Crested Tit, Hen Harrier and Black-necked Crane. Later we’ll visit a farmhouse to see the rural Bhutanese life.
Overnight: Hotel | Camp at Phobjekha
Day 7, 12th Nov: Phobjekha – Trongsa (5hrs)
After early breakfast, we’ll drive to the Pelela pass (4000) and spend the morning hours birding along the old road at Pelela for high altitude species like Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Spotted Laughingthrush, Himalayan Griffon, Brown Parrotbill, various Finches and Bush Warblers. Continue on to Trongsa.
Afternoon: Visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong. This Dzong is the ancestral home for the Royal family of Bhutan. Before becoming the king of Bhutan, the first king was the governor of this Dzong. Even now, we have the tradition that before becoming king, the Regent receives the title as governor of Trongsa.
Overnight: Hotel in Trongsa
Day 8, 13th Nov: Trongsa- Shemgang (6hrs)
Today on our drive to Shemgang, we will have lots of stops at several-forested valleys. We have chances for Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Grey-bellied Tesia, Crested Bunting, Long-tailed Shrike, Prinias, Rufous Woodpecker, Common Green Magpie, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Common Kestrel and various minivets. This is also our best chance for the Golden Langur, a rare monkey endemic to Bhutan and only discovered in the 1950s.
Overnight: Campsite Tingibe
Day 9, 14th Nov: Shemgang. Halt.
Today we’ll explore the entire stretch of Shemgang – Tingtibe road. We drop in elevation as we head towards Tingtibe, targeting the low elevation birds including Great and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Green Pigeons, Cutia, White-browed Shrike Babblers, Minlas, White-tailed Nuthatch, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, and a whole host of cool Laughingthrushs such as Red-faced Liocichla, as well as Rufous-chinned, Blue-winged and Grey-sided Laughingtrushes. Our main target bird for the day will be Beautiful Nuthatch.
Overnight: Campsite Tingibe
Day 10, 15th Nov: Shemgang-Bumthang. 9hrs
Today we have a long drive to Bumthang going over the Yongtola pass (3450m). This is a good area for Bush Warblers, Brown Parrotbills, Eurasian Treecreeper, Gold-naped Finches and Red-headed Bullfinch.
Overnight: hotel in Bumthang
Day 11, 16th Nov: Bumthang- Sengor. (5hrs)
In the morning we drive from Bumthang to Sengor going over Thrumshingla (3800m). Thrumshingla is the prime habitat for Blood Pheasants and also hold other high altitude species like Snow Pigeons, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, Spotted Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Fire-tailed Sunbirds, Great Parrotbills, Stripe-throated Yuhinas, Grey-crested and Coal Tits and White-browed Fulvettas. Later in the evening, we will be birding around Sengor looking for Satyr Tragopan as Sengor is one of the hotspots for Satyr Tragopan.
Overnight: Camp Sengor
Day 12, 17th Nov: Sengor-Namling- Yongkala. 3hrs.
Today we will hit the Bhutan’s wet subtropical forest and one of the finest birding areas in the Himalayas. For the next day, we will be birding the lush forested valley searching for Shortwings, Bar-winged Wren Babblers, Black-headed Shrike Babblers, Ward’s Trogon, Slender-billed Scimitar Babblers, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Barbets, Golden Bush Robin, Chestnut-breasted Partridge and many other rare species.
Overnight: Campsite Yongkala
Day 13, 18th Nov: Yongkala- Limithangs Road.
We spend the entire day birding the upper and lower Limithang road. This Yongkala-Limithang road has been touted as one of the best birding sites in the world. Here we may see Wedge-billed Wren Babblers, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Spotted Wren Babblers, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Coral-billed Scimitar Babblers, Slender-billed Scimitar Babblers, flocks of Parrotbills, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Scarlet Finches and many more.
Overnight: campsite Yongkala
Day 14, 19th Nov: Yongkala-Trashigang. 6hrs.
After a final morning birding in this wonderful habitat, we head toward Trashigang stopping at another Korila pass. Here the forest is rich in mosses and lichens. Birds we may be likely to see here are Steak-breasted Scimitar Babblers, Grey-winged Blackbird, Hoary-throated Barwing, Long-tailed Minivet, Bhutan Laughingthrush, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Great Barbet, Red-vented and Himalayan Bulbul, sometimes you might also see the wallcreeper flying by
Overnight: Hotel in Trashigang
Day 15, 20th Nov: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar (6hrs)
After early breakfast in the hotel, we head toward Samdrup Jongkhar. On the drive there are possibilities to see Hill Prinia, Barred Cuckoo-Dove, the delightful Red-billed Leiothrix, small flocks of Striated Yuhinas, Streaked Spiderhunter, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Common Green Magpie and Red-faced Liocichla, We will also have another chance for Beautiful Nuthatch, one of the main target birds of Bhutan.
Later in the evening, we’ll be heading to a lower elevation than we have been able to visit so far on the trip. We’ll target the varieties of low elevation specialties including Pied Falconet, the extremely rare Dark-rumped Swift, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Sultan Tit, Black-backed Forktail, Red- headed Trogon, Black Eagle, House Sparrow (rare in Bhutan…), several species of Cuckoo, Jungle Babbler, Grey-sided Laughingthrush and many more.
Overnight: Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar
Day 16, 21st Nov: Samdrup Jongkhar – Deothang birding
We will spend the morning exploring the foothills surrounding Samdrup Jongkhar. The forest patches and small stands of bamboo around the Samdrup Jongkhar hosts a number of lowland species. Like Wreathed, Oriental Pied and Great Hornbills, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Rufescent Prinia, Black-naped Monarch, Scarlet Minivet, Black-crested, Ashy and Black Bulbuls, Golden-fronted Leafbird, bamboo-dwelling Yellow-bellied Warbler, White-rumped Shama, Sultan Tit, Asian Fairy-bluebird and Long-tailed Broadbill we’ll also be looking for the Black-backed Forktail along the rocky streams in the area as well If we are fortunate we may encounter rare birds such as Dark-rumped Swift and Pied Falconet.
After lunch, we will head further north towards through the forested foothills towards the Morong. The remainder of the afternoon will be spent birding a stretch of mossy, mid-altitude broad-leaved forest. Our main target here is the extremely special, Beautiful Nuthatch. Other interesting species we may encounter this afternoon while searching for the highly-sought nuthatch include Black-faced Warbler, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Striated Laughingthrush, Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia and Rufous-necked Hornbill to name a few. Later in the Evening return back to Samdrup Jongkhar
Overnight: Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar
Day 17, 22nd Nov: Samdrup Jongkhar- Guwahati (4hrs)
Today you journey takes you through the Indian plain of Assam, where the wildlife of these plains is totally different from the Himalayas. The species we may see on the drive are Little Cormorant, Indian Pond Heron, Egrets, Black Ibis, Black Drongo, we will also keep our eyes for very rare species like Lesser and Greater Adjutants.
2 people: USD 4840 per person
3 or more: USD 4415 per person
- All internal taxes and charges (including royalties)
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis
- All meals, tea, snack and bottled water
- All travel with a licensed local birding guide
- All surface transfers by a private vehicle
- Camping equipment and haulage for camping and trekking tours
- All entry fees to monuments, Museum and National Parks
- Bhutan Visa Fee
- Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
- Tips, laundry, phone calls, and bars.
- International and domestic air fare and insurance