|Date||9th Dec – 24th Dec 2016|
|Guide||Norbu & Pema Dawa|
|Duration||15 nights / 16 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 snow is expected at the high pass|
Day 1: Arrive Paro – transfer Thimphu
Day 2: Thimphu – Dochula – Punakha
Day 3: Birding Jigme Dorji National Park
Day 4: Punakha – Tsirang
Day 5: Birding Tsirang – Darachu
Day 6: Darachu – Sarpang – Gelephu
Day 7: Gelephu – Tamala – Tingtibe
Day 8: Tingtibe – Gomphu – Pangbang
Day 9: Birding around Pangbang
Day 10: Pangbang – Gomphu – Zhemgang
Day 11: Zhemgang – Trongsa
Day 12: Trongsa – Phobjekha
Day 13: Phobjekha – Pelela – Paro
Day 14: Paro -Chelila Birding
Day 15: Paro – Tiger’s Nest Excursion
Day 16: Departure
The flight into the Himalayas is one of the most scenic and breath taking 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.
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. drive)
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 your 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, 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: Full day birding inside Jigme Dorji National Park.
You will spend the whole day birding inside the Jigme Dorji National park and along Mo Chu River. We have the possibilities of seeing Red–headed Trogon, Wallcreeper, Small and Large Niltava, Black-chinned and Whiskered Yuhinas, a trio of fork tails, Pygmy and Spotted Wren-babblers, We also have a good chance of finding the species like Oriental Turtle Dove, Great Cormorant, Blue Whistling Thrush, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Rufous Sibia, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Green-backed and Black-throated Tit, Brown Dipper, White-capped Water Redstart, White-throated, Rufous-chinned, Striated and Bhutan Laughingthrush, Golden-throated and Barbet, Crested Kingfisher, Grey Treepie, Ashy Drongo, Verditer Flycatcher, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Black Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, River Lapwing, Crested Bunting, Grey Wagtail, Gadwall, and Large-billed Crow and with luck Pallas’s Fish Eagle.
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 a place where Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned in 1907. It is winter residence for Je Khenpo (spiritual leader) and entire central monk body.
Day 4: Punakha – Tsirang (4hrs. drive)
After early breakfast we’ll drive to Tsirang, the drive will take us through some of the best least explored forests of the country. This section of the country was very recently open for the visitors. We’ll have several stops along the way for the birding. Some of the birds we’ll be looking for include Wallcreeper, Striated Prinia, Great, Golden-throat¬ed and Blue-throated Barbets, Black, Ashy and Black-crested Bulbul, Blue and Chestnut-bellied Rock thrushes, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Crested Serpent Eagle, Common Kestrel, Striated and White-throated Laughingthrush and many more since this part has never been explored.
Overnight: Darachu Camp
Day 5: Tsirang – Darachu Road
We’ll explore the entire stretch of Tsirang – Darachu road, this subtropical moist forest here host many good species including Beautiful Nuthatch, Cutia, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Scaly-breasted and Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Spotted Elachura, Slaty-backed, Spotted and Little Forktails, Rufous-winged and Nepal Fulvetta, Rufous Sibia, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, Grey-chinned and Long-tailed Minivet, Winter Wren, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Grey-throated and Rufous-capped Babbler and many more..
Overnight: Darachu Camp
Day 6: Darachu – Sarpang – Gelephu (3hrs. drive)
After our final morning birding in this wonderful forest, we’ll be heading to a lower elevation targeting the varieties of low elevation specialties including Great and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Collared Falconet, Orange-bellied and Golden-fronted Leafbird, Common Green Magpie, Grey Treepie, Oriental Magpie Robin, White-rumped Shama, Asian-pied and Chestnut-tailed Starling, Chestnut-bellied and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Sultan Tit, Ashy and White-throated Bulbul, lesser and Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Jungle Babbler, Golden and Rufous-capped Babbler, Indian Roller, Rufous and Long-tailed Sibia and Streaked Spiderhunter.
Day 7: Gelephu – Tamala – Tingtibe (5hrs. drive)
Early in the morning, we start climbing from the foothills experience lots of changes in the elevation. Starting from the 150m to the 2500m. Drive goes through some of the best forests in the country. We’ll be looking for Barred Cuckoo Dove, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Black and Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian Pond Heron, Long-tailed Broadbill, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Maroon Oriole, White-throated and Yellow-bellied Fantail, Ashy, Black and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Blue Whistling Thrush, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Yellow-cheeked and Sultan Tit, Blyth’s, Grey-hooded and Black-faced Warbler, Striated and Rufous-necked and Blue-winged Laughingthrush, Streak-breasted and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Chestnut-tailed and Blue-winged Minla, White-breasted Parrotbill and Maroon-backed Accentor just to name few.
Overnight: Tingtibe Camp
Day 8: Tingtibe – Gomphu – Pangbang (4hrs. drive)
After early breakfast we’ll head south to the Royal Manas National Park with the several stops along the way searching for the number of species including Pale-billed Parrotbill, Pale headed and Bay Woodpecker, White-browed and Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Great and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Wedge-tailed and Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Crested Serpent and Black Eagle, Scarlet and Grey-chinned Minivet, Ashy Drongo, Verdieter, Pygmy Blue and Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Common and Hill myna, White-tailed and Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Brown-throated Treecreeper Chestnut-crowned, Grey-hooded, Yellow-vented, Yellow-bellied and Black-faced Warbler, Rufous-necked and White-crested Laughingthrush and Spot-winged Grosbeak. We’ll also have very good chance of sighting endangered Golden Langur along this beautiful drive.
Overnight: Pangbang Eco Camp
Day 9: Exploration Panbang
Today we’ll explore this little known Park recently been opened to the public, Lying in south central Bhutan, Manas is connected at the southern border with India’s Manas Tiger Reserve, a World Heritage Site. To the north, it borders the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Manas is also extremely rich in wildlife species. More than 365 species of birds have been officially recorded in Royal Manas National Park with an additional 200 believed to be in residence. Species found here include the four species of Hornbills, Pallas fishing Eagle, Red-headed Trogon, Crested, White-throated Kingfisher, rare and little known Blyth’s Kingfisher. Collared and Asian-barred Owlet, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Wedge-tailed and Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Collared Falconet, Long-tailed Broadbill, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Orange-bellied and Golden-fronted Leafbird, Common Green Magpie, Black-naped Monarch, Hair-crested, Lesser and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Large and Small Niltava, Verdieter and Pale Blue Flycatcher, Spot-winged Starling Ashy, White-throated and Red-whiskered Bulbul and many more..
Overnight: Pangbang Eco Camp
Day 10: Pangbang – Gomphu – Zhemgang (4hrs. drive)
After final morning birding in Pangbang, We head back to Zhemgang today, birding many sites on the way; looking for species we might have missed earlier on our way to Pangbang, today we’ll also have many photography opportunities along the way, stopping at famous and beautiful twin waterfall
In the evening we’ll also take an opportunity to bird along the Dakphel road in Zhemgang looking for the species like Cutia, Blyth’s Shrike Babbler, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Coral-billed and Streaked-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Rufous-chinned and Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Red-faced Liocichla, Black-chinned, Whiskered and Striated Yuhina, Blue-winged Minla. We will also make a special effort to find Beautiful Nuthatch, is one of the rarest species of Nuthatch in the world.
Overnight: Tingtibe Camp
Day 11: Zhemgang – Trongsa (6hrs. drive)
Before we wind up our way to Trongsa, we’ll once drive back to the location of the Beautiful Nuthatch to give one final try if we didn’t find it yesterday, then drive to Trongsa with lots stop at the several-forested valleys on the way, we may see the following birds, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babblers, Crested Buntings, Long-tailed Shrikes, Rufescent and Striated Prinias, Rufous and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Common Green Magpie, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Common Kestrel, Rufous-necked and Bhutan Laughingthrush. Silver-eared Mesia, Black-throated and Green-tailed Sunbird, Oriental Turtle and Spotted Dove, Grey Treepie and many more. We’ll also look for rare and little known Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, one of the two species of Honeyguide occurs in Asia.
Day 12: Trongsa – Phobjekha (4hrs. drive)
We will have a before-breakfast outing exploring the nearby broad-leaved evergreen forest in search of specialties like Spotted and Slaty-backed Forktail, Spotted Wren-Babbler, Bhutan Laughingthrush, Plain and Long-billed Thrush, back to Hotel for breakfast.Then drive to the Phobjekha Valley (4hrs) stopping often for birds. We will be looking for mixed species flocks. After crossing Pelela pass we’ll take the side road to Phobjekha Valley. When crossing the Gangteyla pass the vegetation changes into dwarf bamboos that are good for Laughingthrushes and Bush Warblers. We’ll also visit Gangtey Gompa, a monastery dating back to 1613.
In the evening, we’ll spend time finding and viewing the rare Black-necked Crane and visit the Crane information center to get more information on cranes
Day 13: Phobjekha – Pelela – Paro (6hrs. drive)
After an early breakfast, we drive to the Pele la pass (4000 m) and spend the morning hours birding along the old road at Pele la for high altitude species such as Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Spotted and Black-faced Laughingthrush, Himalayan Griffon, Brown and Great Parrotbill, Blue-fronted and White-throated Redstart, Darjeeling and Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, White-winged and Collared Grosbeak, White-browed and Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Plain Mountain Finch just to name few.
Later we drive to Paro, traveling through the valley of Wangdi Phodrang, crossing Wangdi Phodrang we’ll be backtracking our way to Paro going over Dochula pass.
Day 14: Paro – Chelila Birding (3hrs. drive)
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. Here we should be rewarded with three different species of Pheasants: the colorful Himalayan Monal flocks of Blood Pheasants and Kalij Pheasant. Besides you’ll also be looking for the other species like White-browed, Dark-rumped and Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Plain Mountain Finch, White winged and Collared Grosbeaks and Black-faced and Spotted laughingthrushes, Alpine and Rufous-breasted Accentor, Snow Pigeon, Hodgson’s Treecreeper, Spotted Nutcracker, Darjeeling and Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Grey-crested, Coal, Rufous-vented and Rufous-fronted Tits.
Afternoon: Visit Paro Rimpung Dzong, also known as the “Fortress on the Heap of Jewels.” It was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan, in the year 1646. After visiting the dzong, walk down to a traditional wooden covered bridge. The walk from the dzong to the bridge offers a good view that will allow you to appreciate the architectural wonder of the Dzong.
Evening birding along the Paro River searching for one of the biggest target birds, Ibisbill, we may also see other birds like River Lapwing, Black- tailed Crake, Brown Dipper, Solitary and Pin-tailed Snipe, Russet and Eurasian Tree sparrow and few species of Ducks.
Day 15: Paro – Tiger’s Nest Excursion
After breakfast, drive 15 minutes to the starting point in order to hike to Takshang Monastery (the Tiger’s Nest). Visited and sanctified by Guru Rimpoche, this place is one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the Himalayan world. Over the years, many great Buddhist masters have visited and meditated here. Later, in the year 1692 AD, the fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan built the monastery over the cave where Guru Rimpoche and his consort Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal mediated. The monastic complex clings to the rock towering 800 meters above the valley (2950 meters above sea level).
After visiting the monastery, stop at the cafeteria half way down for lunch. In the evening, visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse to experience the local hospitality and a traditional hot stone bath. Dinner at the farmhouse.
Day 16: 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 3230 per person
3 or more: USD 2780 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.