17 Days – Best Birding and Cultural Tour in Bhutan

17 days in Bhutan during the winter months
Detailed Itinerary

Synopsis

Bhutan has been protected by both its isolation within the Himalayas and the topography of its mountainous land, resulting in over 70% of the land remaining forested with 60% protected by 10 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The diverse range of habitat varies from sub-tropical jungles at 150m to alpine meadows at over 4,500m, supporting an extraordinary range birds and wildlife. Today, Bhutan is considered to be one of the top ten bio-diversity hot spots in the world with over 780 recorded species of birds and lies within one of the 221 Global Endemic Bird Areas with 28 species of birds endemic to the Eastern Himalayas.

Our Spring birding tour will take you through the most amazingly beautiful landscape, full of birding excellence in tropical and temperate forests, alpine meadows and along untamed rivers, where we should encounter over 300 species of birds including some of the country’s star attractions such as – the critically endangered Black-necked Crane, White-bellied Heron, Himalayan Monal, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Beautiful Nuthatch and Ward’s Trogon. In addition to the great number of birds, we should also find over 15 species of mammals and an amazing variety of butterflies and flowers.

There will also be time to see the amazing architecture, visit dzong’s and meet the friendly Bhutanese people and a gentle hike to Tigers Nest Monastery. Overall, experience the unique culture of Bhutan, expanding your interests but not compromising your main objectives!


This morning you will take the flight from Kolkata or Delhi  into Guwahati where Langur Eco Travels’ Indian representative will receive you at the Guwahati airport. From here we travel 110 km to Samdrup Jongkhar, en-route stopping at the rubbish dumpsite near Guwahati and Dipor Bil wetland, looking for plains’ birds such as: Greater and Lesser Adjutants, Purple Heron, Indian Pond Heron, White-breasted Waterhen, Purple Swamphen, Paddy-field Pipit, Black Kite, Little Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher, Asian Openbill, Eurasian Collared Dove, and Bronzed-winged Jacana.
Arriving at the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar in Bhutan, your Bhutanese representatives from Langur eco Travels will welcome you and process your Bhutan visas.
After checking into our hotel we will bird around our bird-rich hotel grounds looking for species such as Red Junglefowl (by our hotel grounds), Asian Koel, House Crow (common), Coppersmith Barbet, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Greater (Flameback) GoldenbackAshy Woodswallow, the localized Black-naped Monarch, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Brown Shrike, Pale-chinned Flycatcher (rare elsewhere in Bhutan), White-rumped Shama (little songster), Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (another rare bird), Jungle Babbler (common around the hotel grounds), Common Hill and Bank Mynas, Asian Pied Starling, Taiga Flycatcher, the brilliant Crimson Sunbird and the localized Red-whiskered Bulbul. 

As night falls, we will look for the resident Oriental Scops Owl and Large-tailed Nightjar.
Overnight Tashi Gasel Guesthouse or similar, Samdrup Jongkhar, 400m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we will explore the varied tropical forest of Samdrup Jongkhar and Deothang which is one of the finest birding areas in the Himalayas and so we hope to encounter, the magnificent Wreathed and Oriental Pied Hornbills, the handsome Red-headed Trogon (surely one of the prettiest trogons in the world), Changeable Hawk Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza (rare), Oriental Hobby (rare), Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Plaintive and Grey-bellied Cuckoos, the rarely seen Blyth’s Kingfisher, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, the localized Golden-fronted Leafbird, Blue-eared and Lineated Barbets, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Black-hooded OrioleStriated Heron, Cattle Egret, Intermediate Egret, Green Bee-eater, Green-billed Malkoha, Black-backed Forktail (rare elsewhere), Large Woodshrike, Thick-billed Warbler (rare elsewhere), Dusky Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, the stunning Siberian Rubythroat, Common Iora, White-throated Bulbul, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, the localized Little Spiderhunter, Puff-throated Babbler (beautiful calls can be heard before we see the bird), Rufous-backed SibiaHooded Pitta (rare), the iridescent Asian Fairy Bluebird, Dollarbird, Lesser Coucal, Indian Roller (seeing one flying would reveal its sheer beauty), Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Plain Flowerpecker, Oriental White-eye, Great Tit, Pin-striped Tit Babbler, House Sparrow, Jungle, Great Mynas, and perhaps with a bit of luck the rare, vagrant Rosy Starling (our first Bhutan record was in March 2020 from Samdrup Jongkhar).  

In addition to the astonishing number of birdlife, Samdrup Jongkhar also holds many varieties of Orchids and butterflies.
Overnight Dungsam Trashiling Resort or similar, Deothang, 800m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Our adventure continues as we travel to Trashigang, an area little visited by tourists. Leaving Deothang, the road climbs quite steeply through dense sub-tropical broad-leafed forest – a wildlife paradise where we look in particular for the impressive Rufous-necked Hornbill (globally vulnerable), Lesser Cuckoo, Red-rumped Swallow (fairly common around Deothang), Pied Harrier (our first ever Bhutan’s record was in 2015 birding tour), Blue-winged Laughingthrush, the amazing Long-tailed Broadbill, and Scaly-breasted Munia. 

Arriving in Morong valley we will scan the warm broad-leafed forests looking for one of the top targets for Bhutan the Beautiful Nuthatch (globally vulnerable), Mountain Tailorbird, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler often seen together with Greater Rufous-headed (White-breasted) Parrotbill, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, White-throated Fantail, Black-throated Sunbird, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, flocks of Silver-eared Mesia, Long-tailed Sibia and Striated Yuhina.
After a hot picnic breakfast set up by our catering crew, we will drive along the road known as Melong Brak which is hewn out of a solid cliff face, to the market town of Narphung. We cross-mountain passes where there are panoramic views of mountain ranges, rolling into the distant valleys before reaching the high pass at Kharung La at 2,350mstopping along this section should produce, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Spotted Dove, Long-tailed Shrike, Common Tailorbird, the impressive Gold-naped Finch, Golden Babler and both the Little Pied and Ultramarine Flycatchers. Our journey continues through more valleys and over mountain passes to Yonphu La at 2,570m and our final descend to Sherubtse College before winding its way through terraced fields to Trashigang, once the centre of important trade with Tibet.
Overnight Druk Deothjung Resort or similar, Trashigang, 1,100m. (Meals: B, L, D).

We will leave the hotel at an early hour, travelling through Sheri Chhu valley before climbing through the Yadi Loops – a series of 10 hairpin bends, in just 10 km!
From here we continue to the little village of Yadi where the road then passes through cool, broad-leafed forests to Kore La, 2,450m along which we will look for birds such as, Hill Partridge, Asian Barred Owlet, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, the incredible Scarlet Finch, White-collard Blackbird, Black-chinned Yuhina, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Brown-flanked Bush Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Dark-sided Flycatcher and Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher.  
Crossing the pass we descend through cool broad-leafed forests, with rhododendron undergrowth to the eastern town of Mongar. Here we will stop briefly to walk around this beautiful town before driving to Yongkola and walk along the Lingmethang road searching for Steppe Eagle (globally vulnerable), the localized Crested Bunting and Himalayan Bulbul, beautifully plumaged Orange-headed Thrush and Blue-capped Rock Thrush, taking a short detour to Zhongar dzong from Lingmethang, we may get sight of a rarely seen Tawny Fish Owl. Other regular species may include, Rufous and Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers, Grey-bellied and Chestnut-winged Cuckoos, Grey Treepie, Speckled Piculet, Bhutan Laughingthrush (the only near endemic species for Bhutan), Hair-crested (Spangled) Drongo, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Barn Swallow (in Mongar town), Black-throated Prinia, Grey-throated Babbler, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler and Common Stonechat.
Overnight Trogon Villa or Chengala Farmhouse, Yongkola, 1,800m. (Meals: B, L, D).

The areas of Yongkola, Namling, Tshamang and Lingmethang are considered to be one of the finest birding locations in the world.
Therefore we have three full days to explore the pristine forests of Thrumshing La national park using a paved yet rarely used road and it is in this birding hotspot that we look for some of Bhutan’s most sought-after birds such as, Chestnut-breasted Partridge (globally vulnerable), Ward’s Trogon (a montane species that is range restricted to Eastern Himalayas), the amazing Yellow-throated and Golden-breasted Fulvettas, the weird looking Sikkim Wedge-billed BabblerLong-billed and Rufous-throated Wren Babblers (both of which are very rare in the world), Spotted Elachura (formally known as Spotted Wren Babbler), Broad-billed Warbler, Black-headed Shrike-babbler (Namling valley is the only known regular site for this species in Bhutan), Nepal House Martin (big nests on a overhanging cliff near Namling waterfall), Black Bulbul, Scaly Laughingthrush, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Gould’s Sunbird, Yellow-bellied fantail, Rusty-fronted Barwing (often seen in mixed feeding flocks), Lesser Shortwing and White-gorgeted Flycatcher.
After birding in the upper region of Yongkola, we have time to explore the wonderfully rich, warm broad-leafed forests of Lingmethang road where we hope to find, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Grey-headed Woodpecker, the very colourful Red-faced Liocichla, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Maroon Oriole, Streaked Spiderhunter, Grey-bellied Tesia, Striated Prinia, Rufous-capped Babbler, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Mountain Bulbul, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Common Rosefinch (on Tshamang road), Spot-winged Grosbeak, Grey-cheeked and Black-faced Warblers. 
On one evening, we will take a short night drive hoping to find Bhutan Giant Flying Squirrel (which has been regularly seen on our birding tours to Yongkola), Owls and frogmouth we will look for include Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Yongkola is the only known regular site for this species in Bhutan), Brown Wood Owl (seen near settlements of Yongkola), Mountain Scops Owl (heard only on most of our Bhutan tours), and the more numerous Collared Owlet. 
Overnight Trogon Villa or Chengala Farmhouse, Yongkola, 1,800m. (Meals: B, L, D).

This morning we will bird along the cool broad-leafed forests of Namling region, here we can look for the rare altitudinal migrant species Gould’s Shortwing (mega species for Bhutan!), Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush and Black-throated Parrotbill. 
After breakfast we will continue our birding along Sengor valley, looking for special birds from this higher mid temperate forest, such as the attractive, Satyr Tragopan a species that often provide us with close lengthy views, Fire-tailed Myzornis (another specialty for Bhutan), the very localized Bar-winged Wren Babbler, the incredible Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler and Fire-tailed Sunbird (perhaps the most special sunbirds in Bhutan).
From Sengor we will drive up to the high pass of Thrumshing La at 3,780m, stopping en-route to locate the scarce Fulvous Parrotbill and Rufous-breasted bush Robin as well as the shy Eurasian Woodcock. 

From the pass we descend through dense conifer forests which provides us with great opportunities to see two of the highlight species for Bhutan the Himalayan Monal and Blood Pheasants often seen in flocks as they feed by the roadside.
Regular birds on this journey may include Himalayan Vulture, Winter Wren, Goldcrest, Himalayan Bluetail, Green-tailed Sunbird, Hoary-throated Barwing, Whistler’s Warbler, Spotted Nutcracker, White-throated Redstart, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Brown Bullfinch, Little Bunting and flocks of Stripe-throated Yuhina, Coal, Grey-crested and Rufous-vented Tits.
Our final journey for today takes us through the picturesque village of Ura and descend to Bumthang valley where we overnight.
As night falls we can listen out for Himalayan Owl which is a species previously thought to be the Tawny Owl.
Overnight Kailas Guesthouse or similar, Bumthang, 2,800m. (Meals: B, L, D).

This morning we make an early start to be at Tharpaling Monastery in the early hours as we hope to witness the monks feeding Himalayan Monals, where the birds have become accustomed to this practice.
Other species we will look in the area include, Snow Pigeon, Red-billed Chough, Black-billed Magpie, Black-faced LaughingthrushWhite-bellied Redstart (rare), Alpine Accentor, Plain Mountain Finch (often seen in flocks of up to 100 birds), Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch, and with luck on our side the area may produce the vagrant Godlewski Bunting.  

After breakfast we will descend to Gattsa valley and continue to Yotong La (3450m) for some high altitude birds such as, White-winged Grosbeak, Great Parrotbill (rare), Red-headed Bullfinch, Hume’s Bush Warbler, Whiskered Yuhina, Red Crossbill, Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch and the photogenic Bar-throated Siva.

Arriving in Trongsa we have the option to visit the historic Trongsa Dzong (fortress) built in 1637 and the Ta Dzong or Watch Tower – now the National Museum.
Overnight Yangkhil Resort or similar, Trongsa, 2, 000m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we drive along the quiet, forest road towards Tingtibi. Blue Whistling Thrushes fly off the road at regular intervals and we keep a sharp lookout for Spotted Forktail at the beautiful mossy waterfalls that are a feature of this part of the journey.
The whole section of todays journey is spectacular as we look for an amazing variety of rare and special birds in the mixed broad-leafed forests that stretches from 2000m down to 700m. This is also home to the Endangered Golden Langur, which can be seen in small groups along the roadside forests.
In the early part of the morning we will look for species such as, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Large Hawk Cuckoo, the noisy Great Barbet, Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Long-tailed Minivet, Green-backed Tit, the rarely seen Eurasian Woodcock, flocks of White-throated Laughingthrush, Spot-winged Starling (rare), Ashy Bulbul, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, White-tailed Nuthatch, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Sapphire and Ferruginous Flycatchers, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Blue Rock Thrush, Chestnut-headed Tesia and Tibetan Siskin.
Arriving in the warmer sub-tropical area of Tingtibi, we will look for Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Common Cuckoo, the rare vagrant Daurian Redstart, the colourful Emerald Dove, Streaked Spiderhunter and the noisy White-crested Laughingthrushes.
Overnight Hotel Twang or similar, Tingtibi, 600m. (Meals: B, L, D).

After a quick tea/coffee at our hotel, we will drive along the Tingtibi – Gomphu road, exploring the rich bamboo forests, looking for the areas top birds such as, White-browed Piculet, White-hooded Babbler often seen together with Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill and White-browed Scimitar Babbler, the rarely seen Rufous-faced Warbler, the bamboo specialist Pale-headed WoodpeckerBlyth’s Paradise Flycatcher (previously thought to be Asian Paradise Flycatcher which has been split into 3 separate species), Collared Falconet and the amazing Great Hornbill (globally vulnerable). It is also along Mangde chhu (river) valley that we look for the rarest bird seen in Bhutan the critically endangered White-bellied Heron, the population of this birds is estimated at only 60 individuals left in the wild.
Other regular birds in the area may include, Slaty-backed Forktail, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Eurasian Wryneck, Barred Buttonquail (rare), Banded Bay Cuckoo, the stunning Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-rumped Munia, Smoky Warbler (rare), the very territorial Yellow-bellied and Yellow-vented Warblers, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Forest Wagtail (rare), Slaty-backed and Blue-throated Blue Flycatchers and Black Redstart. 
After breakfast, we will continue birding the beautiful areas of Gomphu searching for, Squire-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Nepal Fulvetta, White-naped Yuhina (undoubtedly the most beautiful yuhinas in Bhutan), the attractive Sultan Tit, Blue-throated Barbet, Grey-chinned Minivet, Bronzed Drongo, Rufescent Prinia, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Black-crested Bulbul and, with a bit of luck, we could also find one or more of the near threatened species such as Rufous-throated Partridge and Rufous-bellied Eagle.
Our hotel in Tingtibi is situated in the sub-tropical forests, where we can take the opportunity to see the scarce Spot-bellied Eagle Owl.
Overnight Hotel Twang or similar, Tingtibi, 600m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we will start early to get to the habitat of the Beautiful Nuthatch (globally vulnerable), allowing ourselves plenty of time to locate and see this amazing and rare bird. Other species we will hope to encounter here include Crested Serpent Eagle, the very colourful Common Green Magpie, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Asian House Martin, Shikra, Fork-tailed Swift, Golden-throated Barbet, Long-tailed Minivet, Black Drongo, Blue-winged Laughingthrush (an impressive species), Striated Laughingthrush, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Grey-hooded Warbler, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Blue-winged Minla, White-bellied (Yuhina) Erpornis, Grey Bushchat and Grey Wagtail.
After breakfast we will continue birding along the Zhemgang road, stopping at prime locations and to absorb the sheer beauty of this part of Bhutan. List of possibilities along here include, Indian Cuckoo, Common Pigeon, Common Kestrel, Black Eagle, Oriental Turtle Dove, Grey-backed Shrike, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Red-vented Bulbul, the beautifully coloured Red-faced Liocichla, Red-billed Leiothrix, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Lemon-rumped Warbler and the secretive White-tailed Robin.

Just before arriving in Trongsa we will stop at Bubja near a high cliff-face where we will look for a pair of Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (near-threatened) installed near nests of Giant Rock Bees that hang from a cliff.
Overnight Yangkhil Resort or similar, Trongsa, 2, 000m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Another early start as we drive to Bje Zam for our first birding stop, here we hope to see, Grey Nightjar (at dawn), Bonelli’s Eagle (rare), Greater Yellownape, Large Niltava, Verditer Flycatcher, White-capped Water Redstart (found near many of the roadside streams and waterfalls), Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, White Wagtail (common), Olive-backed Pipit (fairly common), Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Russet Bush Warbler and Buff Barred Warbler.     

After a hot picnic breakfast, the road takes us through the village of Chendibji, where a Nepalese styled Chorten is picturesquely situated alongside the river. Here our top target includes, Crested Kingfisher, Solitary Snipe (rare) and the fairly common Brown Dipper.

We continue our drive to Phobjikha, over the pass of Pele La, where Himalayan Vulture and Lammergeier may be seen.
From Pele La we will descend to Phobjikha valley stopping at Gangtey to visit the newly re-built, Gangtey Goenba, the largest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan, set on a spur above the Phobjikha valley and surrounded by the quaint village of Gangtey.

We stay overnight in the Phobjikha, considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is also the wintering ground of the rare and little-known Black-necked Crane (globally vulnerable), driven off the vast open plateau of Tibet by the ferocity of its high altitude winter, the cranes find refuge here from November until March.
Also within the valley we can look for the areas specialties like, flocks of chirping Oriental Skylark, the scarce Hen Harrier, and Upland Buzzard.
Overnight Gakiling Guesthouse or similar, Phobjikha, 2,800m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we take the winding mountain road up through oak and rhododendron forests, festooned with lichens towards Lawa La at 3,350m before dropping down to Nobding valley for our first stop area for birding. In these diverse habitats we have the opportunity to find many interesting birds such as Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Long-billed Thrush (rare), Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Small Niltava (view of a glowing male is not to be missed), Pygmy Blue Flycatcher and the stunning Fire-capped Tit.

After having breakfast in Nobding area, we will continue to the warmer valley of Punakha stopping along the Puna Tshang Chhu (river) valley for some water birds, where we hope to see, the rare and endangered Pallas Fish Eagle, Osprey, Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck (abundant during winter months), Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Indian Spot-billed Duck (rare), Northern Shoveler (rare), Tufted Duck (rare), Great-crested Grebe (rare), Goosander, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Cormorant (common), River and Red-wattled Lapwings, Long-billed and Little Ringed Plovers, Common Greenshank, Green and Common Sandpipers, Pallas’s Gull (rare), White-throated and Common Kingfishers, White-browed Wagtail, Richard’s Pipit (in the nearby paddy fields), Oriental Magpie Robin (abundant), and Common Myna (abundant).

Arriving at Punakha we will bird around our hotel grounds, looking for the resident Slender-billed Oriole and as nightfall we will try for the scarce Collared Scops Owl.

Overnight Meri Puensum Resort or similar, Punakha, 1,300m. (Meals: B, L, D).

This morning we will take a cultural break to visit the majestic Punakha Dzong built in 1637, picturesquely situated on a promontory at the confluence of the Mo (mother) and Pho (father) Chhu rivers, Punakha Dzong is known as the “Palace of Great Happiness” and considered to be one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan.
Continuing our journey through the terraced fields at Lobesa we reach in the mixed broad-leafed forest of Menchuna where we will take a short off-road trial for birding, where we can look for species such as Kalij Pheasant, Northern Goshawk, Himalayan BuzzardScaly (White’s) Thrush, Common Hoopoe, dazzling Short-billed Minivets, Ashy Drongo, Eurasian Jay, Black-throated Tit, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Striated Bulbul, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Russet Sparrow, Slaty Blue Flycatcher and the attractive Golden Bush Robin.           

After a picnic lunch in a beautiful setting, we will proceed to Lampelri Botanical Park for another short walk, searching for, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Ashy-throated Warbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Green Shrike Babbler, Brown Parrotbill, Alpine Thrush (a recent split from Plain-backed Thrush), Grey-winged Blackbird, Blue-fronted Redstart, the rarely seen Blue-fronted RobinRufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Maroon-backed Accentor (rare) and Dark-breasted Rosefinch. 
Our next stop is at Dochu La, an awe-inspiring sight, where colourful prayer flags and 108 glistening white chortens welcome us. Once again on clear days there are magnificent views across the high Himalayan Mountains.
Leaving this awesome place, we continue to Paro where we will stay for the next two nights. Overnight Hotel Olathang or similar, Paro, 2,300m. (Meals: B, L, D).

An early morning departure for our journey up through ancient, high, boreal forests to Chele La at 3,780m, the highest point we will reach on this tour. Arriving at the pass there are breath-taking views of the high Himalayan peaks of Jhomolhari (7,219m), Jichu Drake (6,989m) and down into the Paro and Ha valleys.
By now we would have seen many of our target birds for Bhutan, but this gives us further opportunities to see and photograph such sought-after species as Himalayan Monal, Blood PheasantLong-legged Buzzard (rare), Himalayan Cuckoo, Wood Snipe (very rare), Rufous-fronted Tit, Greenish Warbler, the brilliant Spotted Laughingthrush, Red-tailed Minla, White-browed Fulvetta, Rufous-vented Yuhina, Hodgson’s Treecreeper, Red-throated Thrush (rare), Blanford’s Rosefinch (rare), Collared Grosbeak, White-browed Bush Robin and Red-headed Bullfinch.
After breakfast we will continue birding the beautiful areas of Chele La before gradually making our way back to Paro where we will stop by the Pa Chhu looking for one of the mega species of the Himalayas, the enigmatic Ibisbill and hope to obtain some amazing photos! Other birds in the area include, Black-tailed Crake (seen in the nearby marshes), Mandarin Duck (rare), Common Snipe (rare for Bhutan), Rosy Pipit, Brown Dipper, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Hodgson’s Redstart. Finally, we will wander along the roadside walls looking for the wintering Wallcreeper.  

Overnight Yangkhil Resort or similar, Trongsa, 2, 000m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we will have our last – but incredible, day in Bhutan with a great mix of birding and some of the Paro Valley’s cultural treasures. The cultural highlight will be the walk up to the famous Taksang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery.  The monastery is perched some 600m up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from East Bhutan on the back of a tiger to defeat demons who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in other parts of Bhutan.
It is a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a cafeteria (an ascent of 340m). Apart from offering welcome refreshment, this is one of the principal viewpoints of the monastery. Those who prefer not to climb any further, can relax here whilst others continue their trek.
Birds you may see on this journey include, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (common but very attractive), Yellow-browed Tit and Whiskered Yuhina. 
From the cafeteria it is a further half hour’s ascent, which brings you to another viewpoint directly across from the monastery. The final section of the walk takes you steeply down 100m into the gorge that separates you from the monastery, before climbing back up the opposite side of the gorge, to reach the monastery.
Up at the monastery, by the rocky ledges, we will look for flocks of Snow Pigeon and Altai Accentor, while the waterfall next to the monastery is home for the Little Forktail, White-capped and Plumbeous water redstarts. Other regular birds in the area include flocks of Large-billed Crow, Red-billed Chough, Black-faced Laughingthrush and Eurasian Tree Sparrow. 
After visiting the monastery we will then descend to the valley floor by our outward route back to where our vehicle will be waiting. The full walk to the monastery involves approximately 740m of ascent.
In Paro we will have a celebratory farewell dinner to mark the end of our fabulous tour through this magical land.
Overnight Yangkhil Resort or similar, Trongsa, 2, 000m. (Meals: B, L, D).

After breakfast we will drive to Paro airport and fly to Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu or Bangkok for your onward connections. (Meals: B & L).


Included in Bhutan Land Cost:

✓ Bhutan Visa and Tax
✓ Tour Guide who is a birding and cultural expert
✓ All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
✓ All accommodation based on sharing twin room
✓ All meals
✓ Tea/coffee and snacks
✓ Bottled water throughout the trip
✓ Ground transportation
✓ Some non alcoholic drinks
✓ Tips/gratuity for guide, driver and porters
✓ A printed bird checklist to keep track of sightings
✓ All entrance fees for museums and parks

Not Included in Bhutan Land Cost:

✖ Travel insurance (essential)
✖ Laundry, phone calls and alcoholic drinks
✖ Personal expenses
✖ Flights
✖ Charges incurred as a result of circumstances beyond the control of Langur Eco Travels

Note Regarding Single Supplements:
Single occupancy US $25 per night.

Walking and Terrain 
Easy to moderate. There will be some long drives and short walks at altitudes of up to nearly 4000 m. Most birding is done close to our vehicle, and walks are comfortable with majority of birding done on roadside. The walk to Tiger’s Nest (Taksang) Monastery is on uneven forest trails, with 740m of ascent.

Climate 
The climate will vary from cold in the mornings at altitude to quite warm during the day (mostly 0°-30°C). Some rain is possible but usually not enough to impede birding, snowfall is possible at the high mountains passes.

Accommodation 
The accommodation in Deothang and Tingtibi are a little basic, but rooms are clean and comfortable with private facilities.
All the rest of the hotel accommodations are of medium to good quality, normally the best available in the areas visited, in good locations with great views and delicious food. No camping is involved with this tour.

Transport 
By 18 seater minibus or SUVs for private journeys

Food  
For group size of 3 and above will have a catering team who will cook and serve hot breakfasts and lunches in picnic style, taken in the field. Dinners are mostly buffets served at the hotels where we stay, with continental, Indian and Bhutanese selections.

Photography on birding tour 
This is a birding tour, but photographers will have great opportunities to photograph birds, amazing scenery, the wild-life and culture of Bhutan, throughout the tour. Bhutan is a Buddhist country where killing is considered sinful, therefore birds and mammals appear to be much tamer than in other parts of the world, allowing stunning photographs to be taken.

Health 
Although no mandatory vaccinations are required for entry into Bhutan, health requirements change frequently so please consult with your GP.

Insurance 
We strongly advise that your travel insurance policies include medical assistance and helicopter evacuation – we believe that it is ‘better to be safe than sorry!’ Should you decline to do so, we must state that we will in no way, accept responsibility for expenses incurred, should you require medical attention/evacuation whilst on holiday with us.

Passports  
A valid passport is required which must be valid for at least six months past your intended stay in Bhutan. There must be clear pages available for your visa and entry stamps; we recommend at least 3 blank pages.

Visa requirements 
Bhutan and Indian (if you are traveling via India) visas are required, Bhutan visa will be arranged for you at cost price of $40 (included in your ground cost) but you will need to apply online for an Indian multi-entry visa. Please visit the following website for more details: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html


Tour Photo Gallery

Reviews

Overview

Dates: 14th Feb – 2nd Mar 2022 (winter)
Starting city: Guwahati, NE India
Ending city: Paro, Bhutan
Pace: Moderate
Physical difficulty: Easy
Focus: birding and culture
Max group size: 3-11* + local leaders from Langur Eco Travels
*We can also run this tour as private journey for 1 or 2 guests.

Please read the General Information before booking.

Tour Cost

No of Guest Price Per Guest
1 US $ 4,375
2 US $ 4,055
3-12 US $ 3,585 (twin sharing cost)

Single Occupancy (Optional) - US $ 400

Flights are not included in the tour cost.
You can choose one of the options below for your Bhutan connection.
Option 1. Delhi-Guwahati = US$ 200
Option 2. Kolkata-Guwahati = US$ 200
Option 3. Paro-Delhi = US$ 375
Option 4. Paro-Kolkata = US$ 240
Option 4. Paro-Bangkok = US$ 399

TOUR MAP - Click map for larger version

Got questions? Please ask!

CALL: +975 1716 0228
EMAIL: [email protected]

Birding in Bhutan with Langur Eco Travels

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