19 Days – Spring Birding and Wildlife Tour in Bhutan

19 days the most exclusive birding and wildlife tour in Bhutan
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 Eastern Himalayas.

Our Spring birding tour will take you through the most amazingly beautiful landscape, in tropical and temperate forests, alpine meadows and along untamed rivers, where we should encounter some 350-400 species of birds including the country’s star attractions like the White-bellied Heron (critically endangered), Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Black-necked Cranes, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Beautiful Nuthatch and Ward’s Trogon. In addition to the great number of birds, we should also find over 14 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 and travel 110 km to Samdrup Jongkhar, en-route we will stop at the rubbish dumpsite near Guwahati and Dipor Bil wetland, looking for plains birds like, Greater and Lesser Adjutants, Purple Heron, Purple Swamphen, Paddyfield Pipit, Black Kite, Little Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher, Asian Openbill, and Bronzed-winged Jacana.
Arriving at the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar in Bhutan, your Bhutanese representatives will welcome you and process your Bhutan visas.
Next, we will drive to our hotel and bird around the hotel grounds looking for, Red Junglefowl (by our hotel grounds), Asian Koel, Oriental Scops Owl, Large-tailed Nightjar (rare), Pale-chinned Flycatcher, White-rumped Shama (little songster), and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker to name a few.
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 few of the very localized species such as the impressive Wreathed Hornbill (often seen in pairs), the rarely seen Blyth’s Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Blue-eared Barbet, Black-hooded Oriole, Black-backed Forktail, Thick-billed Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat (adult males have jewel like red throat-stunning!), Common Iora, Red-whiskered Bulbul (only found in this part of the country), Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, the iridescent Asian Fairy Bluebird, Pin-striped Tit Babbler and Little Spiderhunter (again rare elsewhere).

Other regular species may well include Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Puff-throated Babbler (beautiful calls can be heard before we see the bird), Oriental White-eye, Great Tit, Jungle Myna, 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 the little town of Deothang, the road climbs quite steeply through dense sub-tropical broad-leafed forest – a wildlife paradise where we look in particular for the rare, Rufous-necked Hornbill (globally vulnerable), Lesser Cuckoo, Red-rumped Swallow (fairly common in the town of Deothang), Pied Harrier (our first ever Bhutan’s record was in Spring of 2015), 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), Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler often seen together with the numerous Silver-eared Mesia. And the more regular species such as Mountain Tailorbird, White-browed Shrike Babbler, White-throated Fantail, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, and flocks of Long-tailed Sibia and Striated Yuhina.
After a hot picnic breakfast set up by our catering crew we will drive through 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 2,350m, stopping along this section should produce, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Common Tailorbird, Little Pied and Ultramarine Flycatchers, Golden Babbler, and the spectacular Gold-naped Finch.
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 the early hour, which will take us through Sheri Chhu valley from where the road climbs by means of 10 hairpin bends, known as the Yadi Loops, in just 10 km!
Arriving in the little village of Yadi our 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 fantastic Scarlet Finch, White-collard Blackbird, Fire-capped Tit, 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 town before driving to Yongkola stopping along Lingmethang road to look for rarely seen Tawny Fish Owl, Steppe Eagle (globally vulnerable), Rufous and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Blue-naped Pitta, the attractive Speckled Piculet, Bhutan Laughingthrush (the only near endemic species for Bhutan), Hair-crested (Spangled) Drongo, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Barn Swallow (fairly common in Mongar town), Black-throated Prinia, Grey-throated Babbler, Common Stonechat, the localized Crested Bunting and Himalayan Bulbul, and the handsome Orange-headed Thrush and Blue-capped Rock Thrush.
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.
We have two 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), the magnificent Rufous-necked Hornbill (widely distributed in Bhutan but rare elsewhere in the world), Ward’s Trogon (near threatened and another top five of Bhutan), the strange looking Long-billed Thrush (rare), the amazing Yellow-throated and Golden-breasted Fulvettas, the little known Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler (there are only two known sites for this rare bird in Bhutan), Long-billed and Rufous-throated Wren Babblers (both of which are very rare in the world), Himalayan Cutia (another top bird), Spotted Elachura (formally known as Spotted Wren Babbler), Broad-billed Warbler, 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 together with the rare Greater Rufous-headed (White-breasted) Parrotbill, the localized Black-headed Shrike-babbler, Lesser Shortwing, White-gorgeted and Pygmy Blue Flycatchers.
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, the secretive but 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 the localized Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Brown Wood Owl (seen near settlements of Yongkola), and the commoner but difficult species to locate Mountain Scops Owl.
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), the stunning and much wanted Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, the photogenic Bar-throated Siva, the resident Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (near threatened), Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, and Black-throated Parrotbill amongst many other regular birds.
After breakfast we will continue our birding along Sengor valley, targeting for special birds from this magnificent forests such as the attractive, Satyr Tragopan (near-threatened species but fairly uncommon on this section where we usually have close lengthy view of this extra ordinary bird), Solitary Snipe, the amazingly beautiful Fire-tailed Myzornis, the very localized Bar-winged Wren 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, the shy Eurasian Woodcock, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin (rare elsewhere in Bhutan) and Black-throated and Chestnut Thrushes.
From the pass we descend through dense conifer forests home for the spectacularly iridescent Himalayan Monal, flocks of Blood Pheasants found usually feeding along the roadside, as well as regular species like Goldcrest, Whistler’s Warbler, Himalayan Bluetail, Spotted Nutcracker, White-throated Redstart, Green-tailed Sunbird, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Brown Bullfinch, Little Bunting, the rarely seen Robin Accentor 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 Tawny Owl.
Overnight Kailas Guesthouse 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 the rare White-bellied Redstart, the vagrant Godlewski Bunting, Snow Pigeon, Alpine Accentor, Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch, Black-faced Laughingthrush and flocks of Plain Mountain Finch, Red-billed Chough and the numerous but endemic to Bumthang region in Bhutan Black-billed Magpie.

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 Hoary-throated Barwing (fairly common in this area but very range restricted to Eastern Himalayas).

Arriving in Trongsa we have the option to visit the historic Trongsa Dzong (fortress) built in 1637, and the Ta Dzong or Watch Tower, which is 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 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 (seen in mixed feeding flocks), Large Hawk Cuckoo, Collared Owlet, Great Barbet (the most numerous barbet species in Bhutan), Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Long-tailed Minivet, Green-backed Tit, White-throated Laughingthrush, Spot-winged Starling (rare), Ashy Bulbul, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Scaly-breasted (Cupwing) Wren Babbler, White-tailed Nuthatch, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Sapphire and Ferruginous Flycatchers, Large Niltava, 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, Crested Kingfisher, the vagrant Daurian Redstart, the colourful Emerald Dove and Rufous-necked Laughingthrush.
Overnight Hotel Twang or similar, Tingtibi, 700m. (Meals: B, L, D).

After a quick tea/coffee at our hotel, we will drive along the Tingtibi – Panbang stretch, exploring the rich bamboo forests, looking for the areas top birds such as White-browed Piculet, the rare Rufous-faced Warbler, Pale-headed Woodpecker (very rare and elusive), White-browed Scimitar Babbler often seen together with Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill and White-hooded Babbler (the only known site in Bhutan), Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher (previously thought to be Asian Paradise Flycatcher which has been split into three separate species), Pin-tailed Green Pigeon (fairly common in the area but rare elsewhere), White-rumped Munia, Smoky Warbler (rare), and along the Mangde chhu (river) we will look for perhaps the rarest bird in Bhutan the critically endangered White-bellied Heron who’s number is estimated at only 60 individuals left in the wild.
After a hot picnic breakfast, we will continue to the much warmer area of the core Royal Manas National Park. The valley of Panbang is considered to be one of the best birding hot-spots in Bhutan where we may encounter species such as the amazing Great Hornbill (globally vulnerable), Barred Buttonquail (rare), Banded Bay Cuckoo, the impressive Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Nepal Fulvetta, White-naped Yuhina (undoubtedly the most beautiful yuhinas in Bhutan), the spectacular Sultan Tit, Blue-throated Barbet, Grey-chinned Minivet, Bronzed Drongo, the very colourful Common Green Magpie, Rufescent Prinia, Black-crested Bulbul, the very territorial Yellow-bellied Warbler, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Forest Wagtail (rare), Black Redstart and with a bit of luck, we could also find one or more of the tougher species such as Rufous-throated Partridge (rare and near threatened), Collared Falconet and Rufous-bellied Eagle (another near-threatened species).
Our hotel in Panbang is situated in the tropical teak forests, which is rich in birdlife. Here we have the possibility of seeing all 4 species of hornbills found in Bhutan and as night falls we can lookout for owls such as Spot-bellied Eagle Owl and the more difficult Mountain Scops Owl.
Overnight Ugyen Zilion Guesthouse or similar, Panbang, 400m. (Meals: B, L, D).

After tea/coffee in our hotel, we will bird along the tropical forest between Panbang and Nganglam looking for some of Bhutan’s rare and sought-after species such as Grey Peacock Pheasant (rare in the world), Buff-breasted Babbler (recorded for the first time in Bhutan in 2019 on our birding tour), Eye-browed Wren babbler (Panbang is the only known site for this species in Bhutan), Rufous-vented Laughingthrush (another species that is found only in this region and perhaps the most elusive laughingthrushes in Bhutan), Collared Treepie (another rare species), Silver-breasted Broadbill (rare), Green Cochoa (rare), Rufous-backed Sibia, Yellow-vented Warbler, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (rare), and Hooded Pitta (rare).

Other regularly birds include Crested Serpent Eagle, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Lineated Barbet, Eurasian Wryneck, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Greater (Flameback) Goldenback, Red-breasted Parakeet, Plaintive Cuckoo, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Great Myna, the handsome Red-headed Trogon (surely one of the prettiest trogons in the world), Black-naped Monarch, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Asian House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, and White-throated Bulbul.

Overnight Ugyen Zilion Guesthouse or similar, Panbang, 400m. (Meals: B, L, D).

This morning we will explore the forest road towards Manas National Park office in Panbang looking for birds such as Large Woodshrike, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Cattle Egret, Jerdon’s Baza (rare), Lesser Fish Eagle (rare), Eurasian Collared Dove, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Indian Cuckoo, Greater Coucal, Savanna Nightjar, Dollarbird, Grey-hooded Warbler, Bank Myna, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Plain Flowerpecker, House Sparrow, Slaty-backed Forktail and the rare Citrine Wagtail.
The forests along here also holds mammals such as Asian Elephant, Wild Water Buffalo, Clouded Leopard, Wild Boar, Jungle Cat, Sambar, Golden Langur, and Indian Palm Civet encounters of any of which can be a big highlight of the trip.

After breakfast we will retrace our journey back to Tingtibi, stopping along the areas we missed on our way in.
Overnight Hotel Twang or similar, Tingtibi, 700m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Our first wonderful birding area is at Tama La (pass), 1,660m, where we hope to see new birds such as, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Shikra, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Swift, Golden-throated Barbet, Greater Yellownape, Long-tailed Minivet, Long-tailed Shrike, Black Drongo, Grey Treepie, Red-vented Bulbul, Striated Laughingthrush, Red-billed Leiothrix, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Lemon-rumped Warbler, Pale Blue Flycatcher, and White-tailed Robin.
Crossing Tama La, we will look for a pair of Yellow-rumped Honeyguide installed near nests of Giant Rock Bees that hang from a cliff before continuing our journey to Gelephu, with magnificent views of the ever-changing landscape views. Interesting species along this section include, Striated Heron, Intermediate Egret, Red-wattled Lapwing, Oriental Hobby (rare), Osprey, Common Kingfisher, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Little Ringed Plover, the localized Green Imperial Pigeon, Alexandrine Parakeet, Squire-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher and Green Bee-eater.
Gelephu is well known for few species of owls, so we will take a short night drive with searchlights, where we hope to see the Brown Hawk Owl, Spotted Owlet (rare elsewhere in Bhutan), and if luck favors, the rare and elusive Oriental Bay Owl.
Overnight Hotel Kuku Grand or similar, Gelephu, 250m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we will visit the Gelephu sewage pond for our morning birding, here we hope to find all our target species such as Black Baza (rare), Black Stork (rare), Lesser Whistling Duck, Red-naped Ibis (rare), Cinnamon Bittern (rare elsewhere in Bhutan), Indian Pond Heron, Little Egret, White-breasted Waterhen, the strange looking Great Thick-knee, Yellow-wattled Lapwing (rare), Pin-tailed Snipe (rare), Common Sandpiper and Sand Lark.
After our morning birding we will return to our hotel for breakfast and continue to Tsirang, with several stops en-route for birds, butterflies and mountain scenery.
On this journey we will look for birds such as, Indian Peafowl, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Red-collared Dove, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Coucal, the amazingly beautiful Indian Roller, Coppersmith Barbet, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Ashy Woodswallow, Brown Shrike, Rufous Treepie (rare), House Crow, the rarely seen Large Scimitar Babbler, Jungle Babbler (common), Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush (seen usually in small flocks), Common Hill Myna, Asian Pied Starling, Oriental Magpie Robin (abundant), Grey Wagtail, Taiga Flycatcher, and the very obliging and colourful Crimson Sunbird.
Overnight Damphu Lodge or similar, Tsirang, 1,800m.
(Meals: B, L, D).

We will leave our hotel at the crack of dawn to reach Sunkosh valley for birding, the drive takes us through the orange orchard and scattered farmland with open forests which is good habitat for Common Kestrel, Black Eagle, Oriental Turtle Dove, Asian Emerald ad Chestnut-winged Cuckoos, Green-billed Malkoha, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Scarlet Minivet, Grey-backed Shrike, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Dusky Warbler, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, the noisy White-crested Laughingthrush, Blue-winged Minla, White-bellied Erpornis (formally known as White-bellied Yuhina), Common Myna (abundant), Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (rare), White-capped Water Redstart (found near many of our roadside streams and waterfalls), Grey Bushchat, Verditer Flycatcher, Small Niltava (view of a glowing male is not to be missed), Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Black-throated Sunbird, Hodgson’s Redstart, White Wagtail, Olive-backed Pipit, and Yellow-breasted Greenfinch.
Sunkosh valley gives us another opportunity to see the critically endangered White-bellied Heron and the globally endangered Pallas’s Fish Eagle.
Looking around our hotel grounds in Punakha we should find the localized Slender-billed Oriole, Grey Nightjar, Scaly-breasted Munia, and as nightfall’s we can try for the resident Collared Scops Owl.

Overnight Meri Puensum Resort or similar, Punakha, 1,400m. (Meals: B, L, D).

This morning we will take a cultural break to visit the majestic Punakha Dzong built in 1637, and situated on a promontory at the confluence of the Mo (mother) and Pho (father) Chhu (river), Punakha Dzong is known as the “Palace of Great Happiness” and considered to be one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan.
After visiting the dzong we will spend some time birding along the Puna Tshang Chhu (river) valley looking for water birds, such as 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, Great Cormorant (common), River Lapwing, Long-billed Plover, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Pallas’s Gull (rare), White-throated Kingfisher, White-browed Wagtail, and Richard’s Pipit (in the nearby paddy fields).
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, here we can look for species such as Kalij Pheasant, Northern Goshawk, Himalayan Buzzard (the most common species of Buteos in Bhutan), Scaly (White’s) Thrush, Common Hoopoe, Short-billed Minivet, Ashy Drongo, Eurasian Jay, Black-throated Tit, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Striated Bulbul, Russet Bush Warbler, Pygmy Wren (Cupwing) Babbler, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, the brilliant Golden Bush Robin, and flocks of Russet Sparrow.          

After picnic lunch at a beautiful setting, we will proceed to Lampelri Botanical Park for another short walk, searching for, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Rufous-bellied and Darjeeling Woodpeckers, the common but pretty Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Yellow-browed Tit, Ashy-throated and Buff Barred Warblers, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Green Shrike Babbler, Brown Parrotbill, Alpine Thrush (a recent split from Plain-backed Thrush), Grey-winged Blackbird, Blue-fronted Redstart, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, White-browed Shortwing the rare Blue-fronted Robin and Maroon-backed Accentor.
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.
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. Along this route we can look out for Grey Nightjar, often seen on the roadside at dawn. Arriving at the pass there are breathtaking 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 Pheasant, Bearded Vulture (formally known as Lammergeier), Hen Harrier (rare), Long-legged Buzzard (rare), Himalayan Cuckoo, Wood Snipe (very rare), Rufous-fronted Tit, Greenish Warbler, Spotted Laughingthrush (beautiful caller), 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 we 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 and finally we will along the roadside walls for wintering Wallcreeper.

Overnight Hotel Olathang or similar, Paro, 2,300m. (Meals: B, L, D).

Today we will have a fabulous last 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 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, at the cafeteria, this is one of the principle viewpoints of the monastery, and those who prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others continue their trek. 
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 from this viewpoint steeply down 100m into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again 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 seen on this journey may well include, flocks of Large-billed Crow, Red-billed Chough, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Whiskered Yuhina 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 and back 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 Hotel Olathang or similar, Paro, 2,300m. (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, and snowfall is possible at the high mountains passes.

Accommodation
The accommodation in Samdrup Jongkhar, Tingtibi and Tsirang 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 and is normally the best available in the areas visited and 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 as picnic style, taken in the field. Dinners are mostly buffets served at the hotels where we stay, with continental, Indian and Bhutanese.

Photography on birding tour
This is a birding tour, but photographers will have great opportunities to photograph birds 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 you to take stunning photos.

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; the passport must be valid for at least six months past your intend 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


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Overview

Dates: 4th–22nd Mar 2022
Starting city: Guwahati, NE India
Ending city: Paro, Bhutan
Pace: Moderate
Physical difficulty: Easy
Focus: birds, mammals, butterflies, flowers landscape 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 $ 5,545
2 US $ 5,185
3-12 US $ 4,825 (twin sharing cost)

Single Occupancy (Optional) - US $ 450

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-Kolkata = US$ 240
Option 4. Paro-Delhi = US$ 375

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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