|Date||19th Nov – 9th Dec 2018|
|Guide||Norbu & Pema Dawa|
|Duration||20 nights / 21 days|
|Group size||Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 clients or larger groups possible|
|Accommodation||From basic lodge to 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: Arrive Paro – Transfer to Thimphu
Day 2: Thimphu – Dochula – Punakha
Day 3: Punakha – Tsirang
Day 4: Tsirang – Darachu – Gelephu
Day 5: Birding around Gelephu
Day 6: Gelephu – Tamala – Tingitbe
Day 7: Tingtibe – Dakphel – Gomphu Road
Day 8: : Tingtibe – Gomphu – Patang – Panbang
Day 9: Birding around Panbang
Day 10: Panbang – Nganglam
Day 11: : Birding around Nganglam
Day 12: Nganglam – Gyalposhing – Limithang – Yongkala
Day 13 & 14: Yongkala – Namling – Limithang Road
Day 15: Yongkala – Namling – Sengor
Day 16: Sengor – Phrumshingla – Bumthang
Day 17: Bumthang – Trongsa – Phobjekha
Day 18: Phobjekha – Wangdue – Paro
Day 19: Paro – Chelela Birding
Day 20: Excursion to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Day 21: Departure
The flight into the Himalayas is one of the most scenic and breathtaking one with the views of some of the tallest mountains in the world. On your arrival at the Paro international airport, our representative will receive you.
Drive to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan (2hrs) drive.
Afternoon: Proceed to the Radio Tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong). Then to the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan, the TAKIN.
Evening birding around sewage pond in Thimphu searching for one of the main target bird, Ibisbill, other birds we’ll be searching here include Black-tailed Crake, Wallcreeper, Brown Dipper, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Merganser, White-capped and Plumbeous Water Redstart, White Wagtail, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Common and Green Sandpiper, Common and Crested Kingfisher just to name few…
Day 2: THIMPHU – DOCHULA – PUNAKHA (3hrs)
Early morning drive to Punakha over the Dochula Pass (3150). Our day starts from this pass with the breathtaking views of eastern Himalayas ranges. The mixed forests of hemlock, fir, oaks, and rhododendron here are good habitat for many good species including, Spotted and Black-faced Laughingthrush, Blue-fronted Redstart, Eurasian Jay, Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhina, Spotted Nutcracker, Long-tailed Minivet, Rufous-vented and Coal Tit. Then drive to Punakha over the Dochula Pass (3150). En route stop at Lamperi Botanical Garden and take the nature walk for about hours, birds we’ll be looking here include Brown Parrotbill, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Darjeeling and Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Plain-backed Thrush White-collared Blackbird and Green-backed Tit
Continue our drive to Punakha valley, along the drive you’ll look for the species like Chestnut-tailed Starling, Great and Golden-throated Barbet, Long-tailed Shrike, Spotted Dove, Red-vented and Black Bulbul, Common Kestrel.
Afternoon: Visit Punakha’s Punthang Dechen Phodrang (the names means palace of Great Bliss) Standing on the tongue of the land of land where two rivers, Phochu and Mochu, meet. Punakha Dzong has special significance in Bhutan history. Punakha Dzong was place where Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuk was crowned in 1907. It is winter residence for Je Khenpo (spiritual leader) and entire central monk body.
Later in the evening birding along the Pho Chu valley looking for one of the main target bird, White-bellied Heron. One of the rarest birds in the world, with a population of less than 60 worldwide. Other birds we might see Pallas Fish Eagle, White-throated and Crested Kingfisher, Ibisbill, River Lapwing, and few species of Ducks.
Day 3:PUNAKHA – TSIRANG (4hrs)
We will have a before-breakfast outing back to the location of the White-bellied Heron if we didn’t find it yesterday, back to the hotel for the breakfast. Then we’ll wind up our way to Tsirang following the mighty Punatsangchhu south, for the first leg of the journey we enter the dusty industrial site of Punatsangchhu hydro Power Project which stretches about 10km. we continue to drive along the river through dense Subtropical and warm broadleaved forest crossing numerous bridges back and forth on either side of the mountains. Here along the roadsides, we will be greeted by local roadside vendors who bring their yearly hard work to life in the form of fresh organic vegetables, pure honey, and the most famous cash crop of these region oranges. After driving for nearly 3hours we near our destination Tsirang (1900m) that lies literally on a table topped mountain and villages stretching on mountains after mountains. Some of the species we will encounter during our journey are Bay woodpecker, Rufous-necked hornbill, Ashy, bronzed and lesser Racket-tailed drongos, White-capped, and Plumbeous Water Redstarts, Green-backed, Black Spot Yellow and Sultan Tits, Striated, Black, Red-vented and Ashy Bulbuls, Grey-hooded, Ashy-throated and chestnut Crowned Warblers, Striated, Blue-winged, Grey-sided and Chestnut-crowned laughing Thrushes and so on.
Day 4: TSIRANG – GELEPHU(4hrs)
After early breakfast we’ll wind up our way to the border town Gelephu(300m), today our journey will be mostly a downhill descending all the way to 300m. After about half an hour drive we will reach Darachhu(2000m) highest point on our today’s drive. Here we’ll spend some time birding in the cool broadleaved forest, some of the possibilities species we’ll be searching here include Great and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Spotted and Slaty-backed Forktail, Blue-winged, Grey-sided and White-throated Laughingthrushes, Bay and Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Great and Golden-throated Barbet, Himalayan Cutia, Blyth’s Shrike Babbler, very shy Scaly-breasted and Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Spotted Elachura, Long-tailed Sibia, Sultan and Black-throated Tits and with bit of luck we might also encounter extremely rare Beautiful Nuthatch
Then Continue our journey descend further down through the crisscross mountains we have in our sight the great Indian plains, the plains stretching for miles and miles until it disappears into the mist. From here we are into the plains riding for another half an hour we reach our destination, the busy border town of Gelephu.
Day 5: BIRDING AROUND GELEPHU AND SURROUNDING AREA
Today in the morning we’ll be birding sewage pond and surrounding rice field targeting the lowland species like Red and Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Common and Green Sandpipers, Lesser Whistling Duck, Common Greenshank, Little Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Jungle Babbler, Asian Pied Starling, Alexander Parakeet, Indian Roller, White-rumped Shama, Black Kite, Black-naped Ibis, Lesser Adjutant, Spotted Owlet and many more..
Later in the afternoon we’ll drive further north of Gelephu into the semi-tropical forest, some of the possibilities species we will be searching here include Red-headed Trogon, Hoary-throated Barwing, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Long-tailed Broadbill, long-tailed Sibia, Sultan and Black-throated Tits, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Rufous-winged Fulvetta just to name few
Day 6: GELEPHU – TAMALA – TINGTIBE (5hrs)
Today from the busy town of Gelephu(300m) we travel north into the deep forest of Tingtibe(500m). We take our voyage climbing up into the mountains entering deeper into the lush evergreen mixed bamboo forest and touching the warm broadleaved forest as well. We keep climbing up the sides of the mountains till we reach the highest elevation of the days trip Tamala (2030m). Then another two hours down the hill through deep gorges and canyons we reach Tingtibi
Along the drive, we also have a good chance of finding the species like Great and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Scarlet and Grey-chinned Minivets, Ashy-throated, Whistler’s and Black-face Warbler, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Streaked-breasted and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Ashy, Red-vented and Black Bulbuls, Common Green Magpie, Grey Treepie and many more… .
Day 7: TINGTIBE – DAKPHEL – GOMPHU ROAD
We’ll explore the entire stretch of Tingtibe – Dakphel road in the morning. We drop in elevation as we head towards Tingtibe targeting the low-elevation birds like, Great and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Pin-tailed Green Pigeons, Cutia, Blyth’s Shrike Babblers, Red-tailed and Blue-winged Minlas, White-tailed and Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, and whole host of cool Laughingthrushes such as Red-faced Liocichla, Rufous-chinned, Rufous-necked, Blue-winged and Grey-sided Laughingtrush, Ashy and Bronze Drongo, Grey-headed Canary, Pale Blue, Verdieter and Blue-throated Flycatcher,
This is also our best chance for the Golden Langur, a rare monkey endemic to Bhutan and only discovered in the 1950s.
Later in the afternoon, we’ll explore the Gomphu road, the road that lead to the Manas National Park, Here we’ll for looking for the species like White-hooded Babbler, Greater and Lesser Yellownape, Grey-capped and Pale-headed Woodpecker, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, White-throated Bulbul, Grey-throated Babblers, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Warbler , Black-throated and Crimson Sunbird, Pale-billed Parrotbill and many more…
Day 8: TINGTIBE – GOMPHU – PANTANG – PANBANG (3hrs)
Today we’ll leave Tingtibe and head toward the south to the Royal Manas (250m) is another beautiful and scenic ride. We will have several stops along the drive be exploring the low lands and the tropical forest mixed with evergreen trees and bamboos. The drive is going to take us to our highest point of the day Praling(1900m). Then we drop down and drive along one of the major rivers of the country Mangdue chu. On the way, entering the Panbang we will be welcomed by the forever-beautiful twin waterfall. Driving further into the park we reach our destination a small village of Panbang, which is in the park itself.
Some of the species we can expect during our drive Pale-headed, Bay and Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers, Great and Blue-throated and Golden-throated Barbets, Pin-tailed green Pigeon, Common Kestrel, Black and Rufous-bellied Eagles, Orange-bellied and Golden-fronted leafbird, Long-tailed and Grey-backed Shrike, Ashy, Bronzed, Lesser and Greater Reck-tailed Drongos, Blue Rock Thrush, Large, small and Rufous-bellied Niltava, Common and Mountain Tailorbird, Black-throated, Crimson and Green-tailed Sunbirds, White and Grey wagtails, Collared Falconet, White-hooded Babbler, Pale-billed Parrotbill and many more….
Day 9: FULL DAY EXPLORATION AROUND PANBANG
Today we will spend our entire day birding around the Panbang. Panbang is a remote community lies in the Lower Kheng region, which has a rich biodiversity. It is home to the country’s largest river basins- Mandgechhu and Drangmechhu basins. It also has the Royal Manas National Park in its close vicinity, one of the oldest in the country,.
Some of our targets for today include four species of Hornbills, Long-tailed and Silver-breasted Broadbills, Crested and White-throated Kingfishers, White-browed Piculet, Rufous, Bay and Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers, Crested Serpent and Black Eagles, Chestnut-bellied and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Striated, Red Whiskered, Red-vented and White-throated Bulbul, White-crested, Striated, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Spot-winged Starling just to name few..
Day 10: PANBANG – NGANGLAM (3hrs)
Today the trip to Nanglam (570m) is the least visited district by tourists not because it’s restricted but because of its remoteness and the none existence of direct or pass through highway until recently. Our trip today would take us through the mixed bamboo forest that host many cool species including Coral-billed and White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Grey-hooded and Grey-cheeked Warblers, Red Jungle Fowl, Great and Blue-throated Barbet, Collared and Asian Barred Owlet, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Shikra, Eurasian Sparrow Hawk, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Common Green Magpie, Maroon and Black-hooded Oriole, Streaked Spiderhunter just to name few..
Day 11: FULL DAY BIRDING AROUND NGANGLAM
Today we take a chance birding a very least explored birding site in the country, some of the species we might likely come across are White-hooded Babbler, Pale-billed Parrotbill, White-browed Piculet, Rufous, Bay and rare Pale-headed Woodpecker, few species of Barbets, Wreathed and Great Hornbills, Barred Cuckoo and Emerald Dove, Wedge-tailed and Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Crested Serpent and Black Eagle, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Common Iora, Rufous and Collared Treepie, Golden and Striped Tit Babbler.
Further, we have very possibilities for the new finding since this part of the country has never been explored earlier.
Day 12: NGANGLAM – GYALPOSHING – YONGKALA (hrs)
After on final morning birding in this wonderful and least explored habitat, we’ll wind up on way to Yongkala, our journey takes us through the newly built double lane Nganglam – Gyalpoizhing crossing many bridges through the rugged terrain stopping along the way for any interesting species that we might come across.
Later in the evening, we will reach Bhutan’s wet subtropical forest and one of the finest birding areas in the Himalayas, for next two days We bird these lush forested valleys extensively searching for many local specialties..
Day 13 & 14: YONGKALA – NAMLING – LIMITHANG ROAD
We’ll spend two entire day birding upper and lower Limithang road ranked amongst the ten top birding sites in the world, we’ll search for the area’s specialties such as Rufous-throated, Long-billed, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Lesser and Greater Yellownape, Grey-headed and Bay Woodpecker, Speckled Piculet, Coral-billed, Slender-billed, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers, Scarlet Finches, Blue-throated, Great and Golden-throated Barbets, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Black Eagle, Long-tailed Shrike, Grey Treepie, Grey-chinned and Scarlet Minivets, Ashy, Spangled and Black Drongos, Small, Large and Rufous-bellied Niltavas, Sapphire, Blue-throated, Rufous-gorgeted, White-gorgeted, Littel Pied, Ultramarine, and Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Green-backed, Black-throated, Sultan and Black-Spot Yellow Tits, White-breasted and Black-throated Parrotbills, Golden-breasted, Rufous-winged, Yellow-throated, Nepal and Rufous-winged Fulvettas, Blue-winged, Grey-sided, Scaly and Rufous-necked Laughingthrushes, White-tailed, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch,and Grey-bellied and Slaty-bellied Tesia.Rufous-capped and Golden Babbler we’ll also make our every effort to find the Beautiful Nuthatch and many more…
Day 15: YONGKALA – NAMLING – SENGOR.(3hrs)
After early breakfast, we’ll be moving uphill in search of high altitude species that include Blood Pheasant and Satyr Tragopan, the bird that draws many birders to Bhutan. Along you drive to Sengor, we’ll also be looking for the species like Streaked-breasted and Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Ward’s Trogon, Black-headed, Green and Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, and Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, one of the only two species of honeyguide occur in Asia.
Later in the evening, we’ll be birding around Sengor searching for Satyr Tragopan, the bird that draws many birders to the Himalayas, other additional species you might encounter here are Red-headed Bullfinch, Bar-throated and Red-tailed Minla, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Hoary-throated Barwing Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhinas.Bar-winged and Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Scaly and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes, Red Crossbill and White-collared Blackbird.
Day 16: SENGOR – PHRUMSHINGLA – BUMTHANG (5hrs)
Today we cross one of the high passes, the Thrumshing La, at 3800m. Thrumshing La is the prime habitat for Blood Pheasant and also holds other high altitude species such as Snow Pigeon, Orange-flanked Bush-Robin, Spotted Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Great Parrotbill, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Grey-crested and Coal Tits and White-browed Fulvetta. We may be lucky and have our first encounter with one of the most colorful pheasants of them all, the Himalayan Monal. We continue through the valley of Bumthang, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, one of the most scenic drives to Bumthang goes through the beautiful valley or Ura Valley, on a clear day we will be able to see Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum. 7550m and it is the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
Day 18. Thimphu to Paro (2hrs)
In the early morning we visit the local sewage pond for Ibisbill and Black-tailed and Ruddy-breasted Crakes. After breakfast we drive north of Thimphu and then hike to the Cheri monastery. During the hike we may see Spotted, Chestnut–crowned and White-throated Laughingthrushes, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Wallcreeper, Brown Dipper and White-collared Blackbird. Goral (Mountain goat) occur around the monastery. We then return to Thimphu for lunch, and continue on to Paro.
Day 19. Paro; Cheli La Birding
Early in the morning, we drive to the cool and stunning alpine meadow of Cheli La pass (3890m). This is the highest pass accessible by car in Bhutan. Here we could be rewarded with three different species of pheasants: Himalayan Monal, flocks of Blood Pheasants, and Kalij Pheasant. Also here are several rosefinches, grosbeaks and laughingthrushes. We then drive back to Paro for lunch.
In the afternoon we have scheduled a visit to Kichu Monastery, one of the oldest monastery dating back to the 7th century. It is believed that in the 7th century a Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, built 108 monasteries representing different parts of the demon.
Day 20. Excursion to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
After breakfast at the hotel, 15 minutes drives from here will take you to the parking lot at the base of the Tiger’s Nest monastery, from here you can hike to one of the most beautiful and holiest temple in Bhutan.
As Bhutan’s most scenic icon and most important destination for pilgrimages and reflection for over 1200 years, Takshang (or the “Tiger’s Nest”) clings to the side of a steep cliff some 200 meters above the Paro valley.
The place was first visited by Guru Rimpoche, founder of the tantric form of Buddhism in Himalayan countries, in the 8th century. It was said that he meditated there for about three months. After him, many high Buddhist priests came to meditate at this location and attained the highest level of spirituality. The original temple was built in the 17th century, but tragically, it was consumed by fire in 1998. Like a phoenix, the temple was rebuilt to its fullest glory in 2003. Takshang is considered to be the 10th-holiest site in the Buddhist world.
The total hike will take the average person about four hours. From the parking area, it will take about one hour to the tea house (rest and refreshment provided) and then another one and a half hours to the temple.
You can visit three different temples inside the main Takshang complex.
Overnight: hotel in Paro.
Day 21, Departure
Transfer to the airport for departure. Off to Bhutan staff will bid you farewell and safe journeys until we meet again.
2 people: USD 5680 per person
3 or more: USD 5080 per person
- All internal taxes and charges (including royalties)
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis
- All meals, tea, snack and bottle 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