Norbu is the founder of Off to Bhutan. He has been leading birding tours and exploring the country’s varied ecosystems for over 20 years. With a long-time avid interest in birding, he has spent many weeks traveling the country, surveying and discovering all of the best places to find the most sought-after rarities, including all of the difficult Wren Babblers, Pheasants, Trogons, and all of the important species of Bhutan. During these explorations, he has contributed to the knowledge of the status and distribution of many species that were previously poorly known.
With the help of his birding friend Tom Stephenson, co-author of The Warbler Guide, he is done an extensive recording in Bhutan and has a very large library of local songs. Many of these songs and calls he has generously donated both to Cornell University’s Macaulay Library and to the public site, xeno-canto.
Over the years he has led many birding groups and has long years of experience finding and helping birders see even the rarest target species. Norbu also has in-depth knowledge of local culture, which adds an exciting dimension for any clients wishing to know and experience more of the unique and colorful culture of Bhutan.
After completing his high school education, Sherab Dorji was chosen to be an archer for the Bhutan Olympic Committee. As an archer, he traveled to many different countries representing Bhutan in both regional and international competitions. This great opportunity gave him the chance to become very familiar with other cultures.
His love for nature started when he began to take some trips into the wilder areas of Bhutan with Norbu. He was then chosen as one of the several guides to receive a special, extensive bird watching training course, given by the well-known American birder Tom Stephenson.
Sherab is known for his sharp eyesight and great patience. He has guided many birding groups as a co-tour guide with Norbu and on his own. In the past few years, he has also been asked to guide several bird and wildlife photography tours.
Tshering Dorji works full-time for Off to Bhutan. After graduating from high school, Tshering Dorji traveled in and around Bhutan as far as the country’s wideness goes. Exploring and studying birds in particular and Nature in general. For four and a half years’ Tshering was guided and trained by Mr. Norbu. As a young and enthusiastic birder, Tshering is now familiar with calls, behavior, distribution, and habitats of Bhutan birds.
In 2018 coinciding with the World Ranger Day, the Forestry Department in collaboration with the Ugyen Wangchuk Institute for conservation and Environment celebrated the first-ever citizen birder meeting, on this occasion, Tshering was nominated by the Guide Associated of Bhutan (GAB) to represent the guides and to make a presentation of life as a birding guide. His presentation was well-received by many audiences including the minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest.
Pema Dawa comes remote village in the Upper Kheng in Zhemgang district, he has grown up in a village surrounded by beautiful and pristine forests. He works full time for Off to Bhutan
He graduated from Sherubtse College, the oldest university in Bhutan with the honor of English and Dzong, after his graduation due to his interest in working and meeting with the people, decided to join as a tour guide.
7 years ago, Pema has been going as co-guide with some of our senior birding guides. As a young and enthusiastic birder, it didn’t take him much time to get familiar with calls, behavior, distributions, and habitats of Bhutan birds. For the past few years, Pema has been leading both the tailormade and group tour independently. Pema was also fortunate to be both a leader and co-leader for Naturetrek Tours.
He is one of the few who received special training on nature guide conducted by Ugyen Wangchuk Institute of Conservation and Environment and topped the exam on the botanist section.
Apart from birding tours, Pema has been going as both leader and co-guide for the Botanist tour and very successfully lead a few botanist tours.
With over 15 years of experience in trekking and cooking, Tharchen is one of the most experienced cooks in the country. Due to his reputation, he was one of the first Bhutanese cooks to be trained by the tourism council of Bhutan in a rigorous course focusing on cooking for foreign tourists.
Apart from being kind and helpful, he has a great rapport with his team and also has strong connections, and gets along very well with the local communities in the region.
Be it camping along the road or trekking in the mountains, he can create mouth-watering dishes even with limited stocks and ingredients. He has a wide knowledge of wild herbs, which has contributed to his reputation for making unique and great-tasting dishes.
If you have the opportunity to travel with him, be sure to ask him to prepare momos, one of his most famous specialties. You will never forget the taste!
Tenzin Dendup is one of the seniors most members of Off to Bhutan. He has been driving from the time the company came into operation. Apart from begin the finest birding driver in the country, he is also well known for his spotting skill. On many occasions, he was responsible for sighting the target species for the group. He drove countless times for the birding trip and knows much of the key birding sites and species. All in all, he is certainly no less than a well-experienced birding guide.
Tshewang, high school dropout with lots of passion for both driving and birding. Due to his wonderful driving skill, all the clients travelled with him never felt worried, even when navigating never ending winding mountain road in and squeezing by other vehicles on the narrow, steeps roads. He is fluent with the English language and very helpful. Over the many birding trip, he has taken, he is have seen most of the Bhutan birds and familiar with their location. He is as good as many birding guides and always coordinate with the guides to make you trip as wonderful as they can.