Birding with Festival Tour

Bhutan Signature Birding Tour

20 Nights | 21 Days  
FROM $5,140 

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 clients or larger groups possible

Maximum 8 PAX

Spaces Available 

Booking Open 

Tour Overview

This is an extensive birding tour led by very experience birding local birding guide with over 7 years of experience and has guided some of the most known international birding customers.

The tour takes you to some remote and least explored areas in Bhutan including the Royal Manas National Park – the oldest protected area in Bhutan. The carefully preserved park is a sanctuary for some of the most beautiful and rare bird species in the region.

On this trip, you will see three different types of pheasants, hornbills, ward’s trogon, Ibisbill, black-necked cranes, yellow-rumped Honeyguide including the beautiful Nuthatch – one of the most sought-after specialties of the Bhutan avifauna. The trip assures a good chance of sighting over 300 species of birds. In addition to sighting your birds, you can also come across more than a dozen species of mammals such as three different species of Langurs – including the nearly endemic Golden Langur, which is fairly common in Manas, Himalayan Giant Squirrel, Yellow-throated Marten and Himalayan Goral.

Other highlights from this trip include a pleasant short hike to Bhutan’s most scenic icon and revered destinations – Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). We will also take you to Punakha Dzong built in the valley of Punakha and a relaxing time at a typical Bhutanese farmhouse to experience the local hospitality.

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Guwahati - transfer Samdrup Jongkhar

Arrive at Guwahati airport, transfer to Samdrup Jongkhar. En route drive to Guwahati Dumpsite to see lesser and Greater Adjutants, both highly endangered species. continue our journey through the Indian plain of Assam. We look out for Little Cormorant, egrets, Indian Pond Heron, Ashy Drongo and Red-wattled Lapwing in roadside wetlands.

Upon arrival in Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan check into our comfortable hotel. Depending on the time of arrival we will do an introductory birding walk around Samdrup Jongkhar.

Overnight: Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 2: Birding Samdrup Jongkhar - Dewathang

We will enjoy the full day birding in between Samdrup Jongkhar and Dewathang the stretch of 18 km road with the elevation ranging from 150m – 500m. the subtropical evergreen forest here are good habitat for many lowland species which we might not have another chance on the trip. some of the possible species, we will be on lookout include Wreathed and Great Hornbills, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Rufescent and Ashy Prinia, Black-naped Monarch, Black-crested, Ashy, Red Whiskered, and Black Bulbuls, Gold­en-fronted Leafbird, Yellow-bellied Warbler, White-rumped Shama, Sultan Tit, Red-headed Trogon, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Dollarbird, Rufous Woodpecker, Long-tailed Broadbill, Common Iora, Asian Pied Starling, Jungle Babbler.

Overnight: Samdrup Jongkhar |150m

Day 3: Samdrup Jongkhar – Dewathang – Morong

After early tea and coffee at the hotel, we will begin our journey into the mountain and mid-altitude forests. Some of the likely species we are expecting today include Rufous-necked and Great Hornbill, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Sultan Tits, Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia, and a few different species of Laughingthruhes.

After a short downtime, we will take a short ride from our campsite and start our evening birding session searching for one of the main target species of the trip the highly-sought nuthatch Beautiful Nuthatch. other interesting species we might come across while searching for this species include Scarlet Finch, Blyth’s Shrike Babbler, Black-faced Warbler, Blue-winged, Striated, and Bhutan Laughingthrush, Long-tailed Sibia, to name a few.

Overnight: Campsite Morong | 1500m

Day 4: Morong – Khaling – Trashigang

After breakfast at the campsite, we make our way to Trashigang the main hub of the eastern Bhutan, passing through lofty forests and rhododendron-filled valleys with several birding stops along the way. Some of the interesting species that we will be expecting along our drive include the much sought-after Ward’s Trogon, Golden-naped Finch, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Blue-winged and White-throated Laughingthrushes.

In the late evening, we’ll reach Trashigang. Trashigang is situated at the foot of a steep wooded valley.

Overnight: Trashigang 

Day 5: Trashigang – Korila – Mongar – Yongkala

After early breakfast at the hotel, we’ll wind up our way to Yongkala, by late morning we will reach to Korila pass. we will spend birding the stretch of beautiful mid-altitude and rhododendrons. Some of the expected species include Darjeeling Woodpecker, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Rufous-breasted Accentor. we also have further chances for the rare Ward’s Trogon.

After picnic lunch at the pass, we will continue our journey through the Mongar town. Crossing Mongar, we shall drop down to lower Limithang Road. (600m) The remainder of the afternoon will be spent birding above the town of Limithang, habitats consist of scrub and subtropical forest and farmland.

Overnight:  Yongkala | 1200m

Day 6 & 7: Yongkala – Namling – Limithang Road

For 2 full days, we explore Namling – Limithang Road basically walking along the narrow road with lots of twists and switch-backs. Some of our main targets include Ward’s Trogon, Himalayan Cutia, Golden-breasted and Yellow-throated Fulvetta, White-breasted and Black-throated Parrotbills, endangered Rufous-necked Hornbill and Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, one of the two species of Honeyguide that occur in Asia. We also have further chances of finding Beautiful Nuthatch.

Apart from these exotic species, the forest here also hosts some of the shy and secretive species such as Rufous-throated and Long-billed Wren-Babbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler and Hodgson’s Frogmouth and Spotted Elachura recently split from the Wren-Babbler and form the family of its own.

Overnight: Yongkala |1200m

Day 8: Yongkala – Namling – Sengor

After our final morning birding inside the wonderful habitats, we’ll start moving uphill in search of high-altitude species. Some of the species we will be searching along our drive include Black-headed Shrike Babbler, Mrs. Gould’s, and Green-tailed Sunbird, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Hoary-throated Barwing, Black-faced, Scaly and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush.

By lunchtime we will reach our campsite in a big open meadow near the Sengor village. after lunch and short downtime, we will begin our afternoon birding session, we are likely to see few different species of Tits such as Coal, Rufous-vented and Grey-crested Tit, Snow Pigeon, Red Crossbill, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Spotted Nutcracker, Alpine Thrush, we will also find time to track the super skulker and shy species like Bar-winged Wren-Babbler, Scaly-breasted Cupwing, and Chestnut-headed Tesia.

Sengor is also well known for hosting one of the most striking birds of the trip – the Satyr Tragopan, Special effort will be made later in the evening to track down this striking pheasant.

Overnight: Sengor (3000m)

Day 9: Sengor – Phrumshingla – Bumthang

After early breakfast at the camp, we’ll start moving toward th, Phrumshingla pass, the second biggest pass on the motorable road in Bhutan is decorated with the big stupa and prayer flags fluttering in the wind.

Phrumshing 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 Myzornis, Great Parrotbill, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Grey-crested, Rufous-vented 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.

After morning hours birding around the Phrumshingla pass, we will continue our journey to Bumthang passing through Ura valley, one of the four valleys of Bumthang district. Another hour and a half drive from here will finally bring us to our hotel in Jakar.

Overnight: Bumthang.

Day 10: Full day at Domkhar Festival

After breakfast proceed to Chumey valley to witness the Domkhar festival. Festivals in the land of the Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. You will get opportunity to intermingle with the local people dress up in their finest clothes and most stunning jewellery of coral and turquoise.

In the evening drive to the temple up the mountain to have the very close view of the Himalayan Monal, the place here offer the best chance to photograph the Himalayan Monal because in the morning and evening, the birds come very close to the monk quarter.

 

Overnight: Bumthang

Day 11: Bumthang – Yotongla – Trongsa

We will wind up our way to Trongsa with several birding stops en route, by lunchtime, we will arrive at our hotel in Trongsa. After lunch, we will have the opportunity to visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong.

The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the nearby broad-leaved evergreen forest in search of specialties like Spotted Forktail, Grey-bellied Tesia, and Spotted Wren-Babbler.

 

Overnight: Trongsa 

Day 12:Trongsa – Zhemgang – Tingtibe

We will begin our journey by going south of Trongsa. For the most part of our journey, we go through the many different settlements, farmland, and scrubland.

Later in the afternoon, we will enter the remote Zhemgang District. The remaining of our afternoon will be spent birding the entire stretch of Zhemgang and Dekphel Road. Some of the likely species we are hoping here include Asian-barred and Collared Owlet, Common Green Magpie, Yellow-browed and Sultan Tits, Blue–bearded Bee-eater, Common Green Magpie, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, and various minivets.

This is also our best chance for the Golden Langur, a rare monkey near-endemic to Bhutan and only discovered in ​the 1950s.

 

Overnight: Tingitbe ​| 500m

Day 13 & 14:Tingtibe – Dakphel – Gomphu Road

After early breakfast, we’ll wind up your way to Gelephu, En route birding at Tamala. In the evening we will explore the Gelephu for lowland species. (Overnight: Gelephu)

Day 15:Tingtibe – Trongsa – Phobjikha

After breakfast, we’ll bird the plain of Gelephu. Then we start climbing from the foothills en route birding around Tsirang and Darachu. (Overnight: Paro)

Day 16: Phobjekha – Pelela – Punakha

We’ll set off early in the morning to the cool alpine meadow of Chelila pass, highest drivable pass in Bhutan, The forests on the way up can be good many high altitude species.Afternoon: free time to stroll the Paro town. (Overnight: Paro)

Day 17: Birding Jigme Dorji National Park

After breakfast take 30 minutes drives to the parking lot at the base of the Tiger’s Nest monastery and hike to one of the most beautiful and holiest temples in Bhutan. (Overnight: Paro)

Day 18: Punakha - Dochula - Thimphu
Day 19: Thimphu - Paro - Tiger's Nest Temple

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Day 20: Paro - Chelela Birding

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Day 21: Departure

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What to Expect

  • This birding tour will be on selected sites that do not pose any threats such as steep slopes. During these trips, you should expect yourself to walk at least 6-7 kilometers on average per day
  • The best time for watching birds is in the morning. You can expect an early start in the morning most of the time. However, a couple of very early mornings are required to look for high elevation dwelling Pheasant that comes out to the roadside early in the morning.
  • Accommodation on this tour is generally simple but comfortable. The hotels are generally spacious, clean and comfortable, built-in westernized Bhutanese style, and all rooms have private facilities. However, due to the limited availability of good lodges and hotels in some remote part of the country, you will spend a couple of nights in basic hotels or tented camp.
  • Generally, the weather should be mostly fine and sunny during the day time with temperatures varying from of 5-25°C but it can get quite cold and chilly at night and during early morning at some high altitude places with the temperature expected to go below zero and warm and pleasant weather in lowland.

Bhutan Birding Experts

Tshering Dorji

After graduating from high school, Tshering Dorji traveled in and around Bhutan’ as far as the countries wideness go. Exploring and studying about 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 the past few years, he has also.

From the 5 years Tshering has guided several casual, serious birding and wildlife photography tours very successfully with the positive feedback from all his clients.

Tshering has also represented the guide association of Bhutan (GAB) to make the presentation on the birds of Bhutan during the first meeting of the Citizen Birders of Bhutan.

 

Hear from our Guests

Dear Norbu, My husband and I and our 12 yr. old grandson spent 23 days on a mixed birding and cultural tour through Bhutan. We couldn’t have had a better trip! Our guide Tshering Dorji knew all the birds by sight and sound, and he knew where to find them. Also, he was well educated in his country’s history and contemporary issues. We were so impressed by his level of knowledge and his competency as a guide (and teacher). He also spoke excellent English and was always able to answer our questions to our satisfaction, which made the trip so much more exciting for our grandson. Our driver Tshewang was an excellent driver and we never felt worried, even when traversing some really dicey roads or squeezing by other vehicles on narrow, steep roads. Both of these two men were a pleasure to spend time with (and always there to help). Last, but not least, Mr. Norbu who owns the company spent a lot of time with us on email helping us customize our trip and make everything run smoothly. I can’t say enough positive things about “Off to Bhutan”. Bridget McCoy USA
Bridget McCoy
USA
My wife and I were very happy with our trip to Bhutan and with Off to Bhutan. Our guide Tshering spoke excellent English. Not only was he an excellent bird guide, he was a first-rate cultural guide. His knowledge of and respect for the Buddhist temples was a delight. He had a great sense of humor, which we enjoyed. We did not understand why we needed a separate driver ahead of time. It soon became apparent that this was a necessity. Our driver was superb. Both he and Tshering worked long hours to make our vacation enjoyable. We were very pleased with the accommodations and food. The only exception was near Royal Manas Park. However, there were no other hotels in the area so this was not the fault of Off to Bhutan. We would not have wanted to miss that part of the trip because the birds and golden langurs were fantastic. Off to Bhutan is a great company whether you are only interested in birds or you want a combination bird and cultural tour (which we recommend if you have never been to Bhutan before).
Warren and Lisa
Oronoco, United State. Email:thompson.warrenandlisa@gmail.com
Judy and I wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our "Off to Bhutan" trip. Tshering was a great bird guide, very knowledgeable about the birds and an excellent spotter. His information on the history of Bhutan was remarkable and for a young man he is quite mature. We enjoyed being with Karma, he is an excellent driver (on many not so good roads) and he is also a great bird spotter. He was looking out for us the day he yelled "RUN" when the tree was about to fall down the cliff onto the road where Judy and I were walking. Both the guys have a great sense of humor and we enjoyed spending the 18 days with them. We thought the balance between birding and "cultural activities" was good. We liked learning about your country, some of the history, seeing the three temples/dzongs, and meeting some of the local people. The climb to Tiger's Nest was harder than I thought it would be, but it was worth it. And of course, the birds were great!! (all 241 of them)
Bruce and Judy Kronmiller
USA. Email: bkron244@gmail.com

Prices & Dates

Date3 or More PeopleLes than 3 People
2nd to 22nd May 2022$5,140
per person
$5,700
per person

What is Included

  • 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

What is not Included

  • Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
  • Tips, laundry, phone calls, and bars.
  • International and domestic airfare, and insurance.

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