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15-Day Bird Watching and Cultural Tour in Bhutan

Best birding, wildlife and cultural tour in Bhutan.
Bhutan is a small country nestled in Eastern Himalayas - a land of rhododendron forests, stunning panoramas and friendly Buddhist culture.
Bird watching in Bhutan is a sublime experience. Towns are very small and surrounded by untouched forests. There is very little traffic and the roads provide excellent opportunities to walk through what are surely the best-preserved forests anywhere in the Himalayas. On this trip we will see some 350 different birds, 12-15 mammal species and an amazing variety of butterflies and flowers.
There will also be time to see the amazing architecture, visit dzong’s, which blend the role of both fortress and monastery, and meet the friendly Bhutanese people. Overall, experience the unique culture of Bhutan, expanding your interests but not compromising your main objectives!
This itinerary has been designed to see the best of Bhutan, with a minimum of long-distance driving, and removing the need for camp.

per adult from

$6,899

AUD

Duration

15 days

Voucher

Mobile ticket

Select Date and Travellers

No tour options available.

  • What's included :
    • 14x Breakfast
    • 14x Dinner
    • 14x Lunch
    • Accommodation included: 14 nights
    • Bhutan visa fee
    • Domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro
    • All entrance fee for museums and parks
    • Entry/Admission - Paro River
    • Entry/Admission - Chele La Pass
    • Entry/Admission - Dochula Pass
    • Entry/Admission - Royal Botanical Park, Lampelri
    • Entry/Admission - Punakha Dzong
    • Entry/Admission - Punakha Suspension Bridge
    • Entry/Admission - Chendebji Chorten
    • Entry/Admission - Tingtibi Park Range Office
    • Entry/Admission - The Royal Manas National Park
    • Entry/Admission - Langthel Park Range Office
    • Entry/Admission - Tharpaling Monastery
    • Entry/Admission - Ura Valley
    • Entry/Admission - Rinpung Dzong
    What's excluded :
    • Travel Insurance (essential)
    • Personal expenses
    • Charges incurred as a result of circumstances beyond the control of Langur Eco Travels
    • Flights
    • Gratuities

  • Day 1: We begin our tour in Paro valley.

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    This morning you meet your local guide and driver from our office
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Paro River, Paro Bhutan
    Next we will stop by the Pa Chhu river, where camouflaged amongst the glacial stones, we can look for Ibisbill, one of the highlights of our Bhutan birding tour. In this area we should also find; Brown Dipper, Common and Green Sandpipers, Common Hoopoe, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Himalayan Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Grey-backed Shrike, Russet Sparrow, Rosy Pipit, Siberian Stonechat, Citrine Wagtail, Rufous-breasted Accentor and Wallcreeper (winter visitor).

    Northward migration will be underway and many of the valleys throughout Bhutan act as important conduits, therefore, it is possible that you may see species as yet not recorded in Bhutan.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Hotel Olathang in Paro (3-star hotel)

    Day 2: Morning birding at Chele La for high altitude birds and continue to Thimphu, 110 km.

    Stop At: Chele La Pass, Paro Bhutan
    An early morning departure for our journey up through ancient high boreal forests to Chele La pass at 3,780m, the highest point we will reach on this tour. On the way we hope to see Grey Nightjar (often flushed by our vehicles light).
    Chele La gives us the opportunity to ascend above tree line into alpine meadows and dwarf rhododendron scrub where we have the possibility of seeing some of Bhutan’s high altitude birds such as; Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Himalayan Cuckoo, Snow Pigeon, Rufous-fronted and Yellow-browed Tits, Greenish Warbler, Red-tailed Minla, White-browed Fulvetta, Black-throated Thrush, Blanford’s and White-browed Rosefinches, Collared Grosbeak, White-throated Redstart, White-browed Bush Robin, Alpine Accentor, Plain Mountain Finch (often seen in big flocks of up to 200 birds), and Red-headed Bullfinch.
    Duration: 6 hours

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    After breakfast we will continue birding the beautiful areas of Chele La before gradually making our way back to Paro and continue east to Thimphu city.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight Hotel Yak & Yeti in Thimphu (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha, 78 km. Bird watching stop at Dochu La and Lampelri Park. In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong.

    Stop At: Dochula Pass, Thimphu Bhutan
    We leave early in order to see the high Himalayas as dawn breaks over Dochu La. It is an awe-inspiring sight, with prayer flags fluttering in the breeze and 108 white chortens, it is unlike any other pass in the world!
    In this high elevation, mixed broad-leaved forests, there is an incredible wide range attractive birds such as: Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Rufous-vented Tit, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Rufous Sibia, Fire-tailed Myzornis (one of the top birds in Bhutan), White-collared Blackbird, Green-tailed Sunbird and Olive-backed Pipit.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Royal Botanical Park, Lampelri, Punakha-Wangdue Highway, Punakha 13001 Bhutan
    Continuing to Lampelri we will explore the Royal Botanical Park looking for, Hill Partridge, Eurasian Jay, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Blue-fronted Redstart, Verditer Flycatcher, Blue-fronted Robin (very shy and rare), Scarlet Finch, and Dark-breasted Rosefinch.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Punakha Dzong, Punakha 13001 Bhutan
    Eventually we arrive in Punakha where we will take a short cultural break to visit the majestic Punakha Dzong built in 1637.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 4: Punakha to Phobjikha over Lawa La (pass), 85 km.

    Stop At: Punakha Suspension Bridge, Punakha Dzong, Punakha 13001 Bhutan
    In the morning we will bird along the Puna Tshang Chhu looking for, Pallas’s Fish Eagle (rare and globally endangered), Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon River and Red-wattled Lapwing amongst many other species.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Stop At: Gangtey, Gangtey, Wangdue Phodrang District
    Leaving Punakha we take the winding mountain road up through rhododendron forests, festooned with lichens towards Lawa La at 3,350m. Along these diverse habitats we look for the areas top attractions such as: Ward’s Trogon (a montane species found only in the Eastern Himalayas) and Spot-winged Grosbeak.
    From Lawa La we will descent to Phobjikha valley stopping en-route to visit Gangtey Goenba, the largest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan, set on a spur above the Phobjikha valley and surrounded by the quaint village of Gangtey.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Stop At: Phobjikha Valley, Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang District
    Phobjikha valley is the wintering home of the rare and little-known Black-necked Crane (globally vulnerable, and one of the top five birds of Bhutan), the cranes find refuge here from November until March.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Gakiling Guesthouse in Phobjikha (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 5: Morning birding at Pele La (3,350m) and drive to Trongsa, 85 km.

    Stop At: Pelela Mountain, Bhutan
    Starting early we will travel eastwards to explore the high boreal forests of Pele La, 3,350m hoping to find Himalayan Vulture (often found in flocks of up to 30 birds soaring high above Pele La), Solitary Snipe (a rare inhabitant of the roadside marshes), Lesser Cuckoo, the amazing Spotted and Black-faced Laughingthrushes, Hume’s Bush Warbler (a bamboo dweller), Short-billed Minivet, Rufous-vented Yuhina, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Red Crossbill and Brown Bullfinch.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Stop At: Chendebji Chorten, Trashigang-Semtokha Hwy, Bhutan
    We continue our birding as we travel through beautiful rhododendron forests to village of Chendibji, where a Nepalese styled Chorten is picturesquely situated alongside the river.
    Duration: 3 minutes

    Stop At: Trongsa, Trongsa, Trongsa District
    The road then takes us through the village of Tangsibji where we stop near a small stream looking for a pair of Black-tailed Crake that are at resident. We eventually arrive in Trongsa for an overnight stay.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Yangkhil Resort in Trongsa (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 6: Trongsa to Tingtibi, 140 km. Birding in Royal Manas national park.

    Stop At: Trongsa District, Trongsa District
    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 2200m down to 700m.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Stop At: Tingtibi Park Range Office, Zhemgang, Bhutan
    This is also home to the Endangered Golden Langurs, which can be seen in small groups along the roadside forests.
    Our target birds for today include: Mountain Hawk Eagle, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon (seen in mixed feeding flocks), Green-billed Malkoha, Red-headed Trogon (one of the finest trogons in the world), Speckled Piculet, Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Pygmy Blue and Ferruginous Flycatchers, Blue Rock Thrush, Long-tailed Broadbill, Crested Kingfisher, Crimson Sunbird, beautifully coloured Emerald Dove, and several flocks of White-crested and Lesser Necklaced Laughing thrushes.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Hotel Twang in Tingtibi (a fairly basic accommodation but clean and comfortable with private facilities)

    Day 7: Bird watching in Royal Manas National Park, one of the best birding location in Bhutan

    Stop At: The Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan
    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 Tawny Fish Owl, Red Junglefowl, White-browed Piculet, White-hooded Babbler (the only known site in Bhutan), Rufous-faced Warbler (rare), Pale-headed Woodpecker (very rare and elusive), Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, the amazing Great Hornbill (globally vulnerable, but sometimes seen in flocks of up to 50 birds), Blue-bearded Bee-eater, and along the Mangde chhu (river) we will look for perhaps the rarest bird in Bhutan the critically endangered White-bellied Heron, the population of this birds is estimated at only 60 individuals left in the wild.
    After a hot picnic breakfast, we will continue birding along this beautiful river valley on Gomphu road before making our way back to Tingtibi.
    As night falls we can look around our hotel for Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, and Collared Scops Owl.
    Duration: 7 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Hotel Twang in Tingtibi (a fairly basic accommodation but clean and comfortable with private facilities)

    Day 8: Tingtibi to Trongsa via Zhemgang town, 140 km.

    Stop At: Zhemgang, Bhutan
    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 special bird. Other species we will hope to encounter include Common Green Magpie, Golden-throated Barbet, Blue-winged Laughingthrush (an impressive species), Small Niltava (view of a glowing male is not to be missed), Grey-throated Babbler, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, White-bellied Erpornis (formally known as White-bellied Yuhina), and Black-throated Sunbird.
    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. Along here we will look for, Indian Cuckoo, Black Eagle, Red-faced Liocichla (very beautiful bird), Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler and White-tailed Robin.
    Duration: 5 hours

    Stop At: Langthel Park Range Office, Trongsa, Bhutan
    There are amazing views all along todays journey with occasional waterfall gushing its way down the mountain slopes.
    Just before arriving in Trongsa we will stop at Bubja near a high cliff-faces where we will look for a pair of Yellow-rumped Honeyguide.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Yangkhil Resort in Trongsa (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 9: Trongsa to Bumthang, 80 km, birding en-route at Yotong la and Tharpaling monastery.

    Stop At: Yotongla Mountain, Bhutan
    This morning we will gradually make our way up to Yotong La Pass (3,450m) through cascading waterfalls and more magnificent rhododendron and magnolia forests.
    Birds we will look for include; Steppe Eagle (globally endangered), White-capped Water Redstart, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Black-billed Magpie (endemic to Bumthang valley), Brown Parrotbill, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Russet Bush Warbler, Red-throated Thrush, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch and White-winged Grosbeak.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Tharpaling Monastery, Tharpaling ,Chummey,, Bhutan
    Descending through silver fir and spruce forests we come to the upland valley of Chumey, the religious heartland of Bhutan where there are many ancient cultural and religious sites dating as far back as the 7th century.
    In the late afternoon we will drive up to the nearby Tharpaling monastery to take another chance to see the spectacular Himalayan Monal, as they feed on the left over food thrown by the monks. The birds have now become accustomed to this practice.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Kailas Guesthouse in Bumthang (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 10: Bumthang to Yongkola, 140 km. Stopping along one of the best birding routes in Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas.

    Stop At: Thrimshingla Pass, Bhutan
    Leaving Bumthang we travel eastwards through forests of larch, silver fir, spruce and towering hemlocks to Thrumshing La pass at 3,780m, in the upper reaches of these magnificent forests we have our second opportunity to see the stunning Blood Pheasants often seen in huge flocks feeding by the roadside, Satyr Tragopan (another star attraction for Bhutan), Bearded Vulture, and Great Parrotbill.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Stop At: Sengor, Bhutan
    From the pass we will drive down to the nomadic village of Sengor, where we will be looking for some of Bhutan highly prized birds such as: Alpine Thrush, Hoary-throated Barwing (fairly common in this area but rang restricted to Eastern Himalayas), Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Speckled Wood Pigeon and the very localized Bar-winged Wren Babbler.
    We continue our birding until we reach Yongkola where we stay for the next three nights.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Trogon Villa in Yongkola (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 11: Two full days are spent to explore the best birding locations in Bhutan.

    Stop At: Yongkola Pass, Bhutan
    In this breathtaking landscape, very few birders venture far into this depth consequently, exactly what avian delights may be around the corner may be a complete surprise!
    We will bird in the pristine forests of Thrumshing La national park using a paved yet rarely used road. Here we will look for some of Bhutan’s most sought-after birds such as, Chestnut-breasted Partridge (globally vulnerable), Rufous-necked Hornbill (uncommon in Bhutan but rare elsewhere in the world), Yellow-throated and Golden-breasted Fulvettas, Gould’s Shortwing, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Long-billed and Rufous-throated Wren Babblers, Himalayan Cutia, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Golden Bush Robin, Spotted Elachura, Black-headed Shrike-babbler, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Yellow-bellied fantail, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Mountain Tailorbird, and varieties of flycatchers, tits, warblers and laughingthrushes.
    Duration: 8 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Trogon Villa in Yongkola (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 12: Exploring the bird-rich Thrumshing La national park

    Stop At: Lingmethang, Bhutan
    After birding in the upper region of Yongkola, we have time to explore the wonderfully rich, warm broad-leafed forests of Lingmethang road, with ancient trees, festooned with orchids adding a riot of colour to this beautiful land. Here we can find, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Maroon Oriole, Streaked Spiderhunter, Lesser Racket-tailed and Hair-crested Drongos, Grey-bellied Tesia, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Mountain and Striated Bulbuls, Brown-throated Treecreeper and Rufous-bellied Niltava.
    On one evening, we will take a short night drive looking for the the near-threatened mammal, Bhutan Giant Flying Squirrel and possibly Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Brown Wood Owl, Mountain Scops Owl (common but difficult bird to see) and the more numerous Collared Owlet.
    Duration: 8 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Trogon Villa in Yongkola (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 13: Yongkola to Bumthang, 140 km. Birding the areas of Namling, Sengor and Thrumshing La pass

    Stop At: Ura Valley, Bumthang Bhutan
    Our early part of the morning will be spent, birding along the cool broad-leafed forests of Namling, here we can look for the areas top attractions such as Himalayan Cutia, Gould’s Shortwing (rare), Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Little Forktail (along the roadside waterfalls), and Black-throated Parrotbill amongst few verities of laughingthrushes, yuhinas, redstarts and fulvettas.
    After breakfast we will continue to bird along the Sengor valley, looking for special birds in this higher mid temperate forest, such as Fire-tailed Myzornis, Tickell’s Thrush, White-collared Blackbird, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin (rare), Fire-tailed Sunbird (rare), and another opportunity to see the stunning Satyr Tragopan.
    Eventually we drive over the pass of Thrumshingla and continue through the picturesque village of Ura, gradually descending to Bumthang valley for the night.
    Duration: 8 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Kailas Guesthouse (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 14: A short flight from Bumthang to Paro, (25 mins). Bird watching and cultural visits in Paro valley.

    Stop At: Rinpung Dzong, Paro Bhutan
    This morning we will take the short flight to Paro (25 mins), where there are breathtaking views of Himalayan Mountains from your flight. Arriving in Paro we will visit Paro Dzong (1644), the Fortress of the “Heap of Jewels”, which was featured in some scenes of the film ‘Little Buddha’ (1993). This 5 storey building has white-washed walls, magnificently carved and painted wooden doors and windows, which add to the sense of power and wealth required to build this fortress. From the dzong we will follow the stone path down to the Paro Chhu (river) and cross the Nyamai Zam - the wooden cantilevered bridge festooned with prayer flags.
    Duration: 5 hours

    Stop At: Chele La, Bhutan
    From here we drive along the Chele La road for some forest birding, before returning back to our hotel for the farewell dinner. Birds we may encounter include; Kalij Pheasant, Long-tailed Shrike, Ashy Drongo, Black-throated Tit, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Ashy-throated Warbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Striated Laughingthrush and Maroon Accentor.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Hotel Olathang in Paro (a 3-star hotel)

    Day 15: Your guide and driver will take you to the Paro airport to end the tour.

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    Tour end
    Duration: 2 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    No accommodation included on this day.
  • Departure Point :
    Traveler pickup is offered
    We will receive you at the airport to commence your tour.Airports
    • Paro Airport, Paro Bhutan
    Return Detail :
    -
    Hotel Pickup :
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
    • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
    • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
    • Not recommended for travellers with serious high altitude sickness
    • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
    • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
    • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
    • Face masks required for guides in public areas
    • Face masks provided for travelers
    • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
    • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
    • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
    • Guides required to regularly wash hands
    • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
    • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

Language

English

Age Req.

-

Fitness Req.

None

Group Size

10

Organised by Langur Eco Travels

Activity ID: V-295986P1

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