We went with “Off to Bhutan” (Bhutan Birding) to see the birds, cultural sights and trek in Bhutan. They are an A+ company! The owner, Mr. Norbu, worked with us to meticulously plan our 12 day trip. The company is locally owned & uses certified, local bird, cultural guides, & drivers. The driver’s skills are as important as the guide’s – given Bhutan’s sometimes challenging roads. The costs were exactly as stated. The tour was planned to give us the maximum number of days to acclimate to the altitude, before doing our trek. It is a green company – sensitive to footprints on the local habitat. “Off to Bhutan” provides excellent value for the money. Tshering Dorji was a charismatic, caring & knowledgeable bird & cultural guide, as was Karma, our driver. Both had great communication skills – personable and outgoing, and wonderful senses of humor. We laughed, a lot, together. Tshering was very knowledgeable about birds, their habitat, migratory times & calls. He was patient, kind & encouraging during our trekking (we are seniors). He had expert knowledge of cultural sights. Both Tshering and Karma shared entertaining vignettes of their lives as Bhutanese. We saw into many windows in the world of Bhutan. Accommodations were top drawer. We never had a complaint. “Off to Bhutan” is the “piece de resistance” of tour, travel & birding companies. Its owner and employees are superb! You simply cannot do any better in your travels to and in Bhutan, than by traveling with “Off to Bhutan”!
We have just returned from a 17-day birding trip which we booked through “ Off to Bhutan”. Norbu ( the owner) arranged everything, including our return flights to and from Paro and our Bhutan visa. He also helped us get out of the country when the Corona crisis started shutting down Bhutan and next door India, luckily without having to cut short our trip.
Despite the threat of Corona, we enjoyed a fantastic and fantastically arranged birding trip. It was a round trip from Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Phobjekha, Bumthang, Yongkala, Manas National Park and back to Paro. We had no target list of birds but our guide Tshering Dorji and his great observational skills made that we saw a great number of birds including, among many others, the much sought after White-bellied Heron, Black-necked Crane, Beautiful Nuthatch, Ward’s Trogon, three Himalayan Pheasants, three of the four Hornbills, Tawny Fish Owl, etc, etc. Mammals among others included the Malaysian Giant Squirrel, numerous Assamese macaques, both the Capped and Golden langur, as well as the Barking and Sambar deer.
Our guide Tshering was a very knowledgeable birder and also very knowledgeable on different aspects of Bhutanese culture. Our driver Karma ( never had a birding driver before…!) was very helpful and also a very careful driver. Both were great company, not an unimportant aspect when you share each other’s space for a while!
Anyone remotely interested in planning a trip to Bhutan should take a look at Off to Bhutan’s inspiring website.
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”.
First I must say, our visit to Bhutan was excellent! Both Ann and I are very happy with the trip you set up for us. We saw over 200 bird species, including all of our special target species, as well as a fair number of mammals. And the cultural areas we saw were fascinating, and well-explained by Sherab. We both felt that our driver Wangchuk, and our guide Sherab Dorji were outstanding. Sherab especially is an excellent ambassador for your tour business. And the guide you had to substitute for Sherab on our last day was excellent as well.
We enjoyed our birding trip to Bhutan a lot. Thanks for your perfect organization and well-considered itinerary of our customized tour.
We would like to compliment Tshering very much for letting us see the beautiful birds of Bhutan and providing deep insight into country and culture. Tshering is a very open-minded and pleasant person with a lot of humor and organizational talent. We really enjoyed birding and spending time with him. Although travelling in autumn we were able to see a lot of the key bird species one would like to see during a birding trip in Bhutan. Moreover, we would like to thank also Tshewang and Karma for safe driving on the sometimes adventurous Bhutanese roads and always being very attentive and helpful. All the time we felt in very good hands. We will recommend Off to Bhutan further.
Dear Norbu and Sherab,
Thank you, and best wishes for your families and business in the New Year!
We had a fantastic trip in Bhutan. Sherab has truly extrasensory bird perception! Not only did he find us all the best birds, but also he was infinitely patient and kind to us.
He also was very accommodating when we wanted to change the agenda or take time out to explore cultural sites.
We also appreciated Ugyen, our driver. We felt very safe the whole time and appreciated all his help with luggage and excellent bird spotting!
The accommodations were perfect, clean and comfortable, spacious and attractive. The tour exceeded all our expectations.
We hope to visit Bhutan again one day. If you ever need a direct referral or someone with questions about your company, please feel free to give them our email.
Thank you so much for a very interesting tour with a lot of impressive moments whole over your country. Both of us, Heike and me, we are sure, that we will never forget these days in Bhutan. At least, both of you, you and Ugyen, are responsible for the success of this tour. Many thanks to Ugyen for a constantly safe driving
Thank Norbu and Tshering my guide for a great trip, I enjoyed it thoroughly, your ears, eyes, and knowledge of the local birds were fantastic, also your knowledge of many other parts of your beautiful country was very much appreciated.
Despite a few little difficulties, you manage the tour with the skill of a much older person.
All the very best for the future where ever it takes you. if you ever come to Australia, don’t forget to look me up, Just don’t leave it too long.
Your Aussie mate,
THE JUNCTION 2291
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.
We have just returned from a superb 17 days tailored bird watching / culture trip. Off to Bhutan did a fabulous job tailoring our trip to include many top birding locations, cultural places and rafting (our special request). Norbu helped us plan our trip with recommendations, special arrangements and advice.
We were met in Guwahati (India) by our guide, Sherab and commenced our trip from the east travelling west to Paro. Sherab is a very experienced birding guide, allowing us to see over 250 birds including the endemic target species, a Himalayan black bear and the 3 langur species, making sure we always got the best view and photography opportunity. Sherab generously shared Buddhist and Bhutanese insights, explaining many cultural aspects during our trip, and we always felt he went out of his way to make our trip as effortless and comfortable as possible.
Our driver was also excellent, we always felt safe given the roads were under construction – narrow, unpaved in sections and with larger drops next to the road.
In every single hotel we have stayed, Off to Bhutan reserved the best room for us.
If you are considering if or if not you should travel to Bhutan – GO. It is a gem in the Himalayas, rich in culture and history, with spectacular scenery (in higher altitudes literally breathtaking) and rich flora and fauna. We would definitely recommend Off to Bhutan to anyone who considers travelling to Bhutan.