Bhutan Holidays Tour
Duration: 17 nights & 18 days
Place Coverd : Paro-Thimphu-Punakha-Tashithang-Trongsa-Jakar-Lingmethang Road-Bhumthang-Yongkola-Zhemgang
Best Season: October to Marchl
Day 1: Arrival at Paro International Airport
The airport is located in the valley of Paro, which is at an elevation of 2200 meters above the sea level. After clearing customs and immigration, you will be received by our local birding guide and will be driven along the river valley making a few stops to look for ibisbill, brown dipper and have some discussion. Night in a hotel at Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu to Punakha Via Dochula
You will leave early to Dochula pass (alt. 3150 meters) spend 2 & 3 hours for birding and have breakfast in Dochula Café. Entering the pristine forest of hemlock, fir, oak and blossoming magnolias and rhododendrons one should see a wealth of birds in species rich feeding flocks. Highlight of the day might be satyr tragopan, fire-tailed myzorins or golden bush robin & nutcracker. Several times one will explore the roadsides before heading to Punakha. Overnight in hotel in Punakha (alt. 1380 meters)
Day 3: Punakha-Tashithang (alt. 1730 meters)
After early breakfast at the hotel we will follow the Mo Chu river to Tashithang, the rich area for birds. The species that can see here is white-billed heron, which is one of the 50 rare species in world. You may also see more ibisbills as well as a host of forest birds like greater yellownape, bay woodpecker and perhaps three species of forktail, pygmy wern babbler, golden-spcetailed warbler and green-tailed sunbird. We may be able to spot more species on our way back to hotel.
On our way back to hotel we will stop to see the magnificent Punakha Dzong. We will stop to lookout for Ibisbill on the surrounding gravel beds of Mo-Chu river. Over night at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha to Trongsa Via Pele la pass (alt. 11,400 feet)
Continuing eastward, you will make a series of brief stops to scan the braided river channels, check forest edges or explore some of the small patches of cultivations. After entering a particularly productive forest about an hour before the end of the journey and will concentrate your attention here looking for blood & kalij pheasant, satyr tragopan or himalayan monal and for species such as spotted laughingthrush, spot-winged grosbeak, rufous woodpecker, spotted forktail, black-eared shrike-babbler and emerald fire-tailed myzornis etc. You may even see the most sought after creatures, a red panda and a group of the rather uncommon red-headed bullfinch and several rose finches are possible. We will also have our first proper search for ward’s trogon.
After crossing the Pelela (11400 feet), a dwarf bamboo extends for about three miles below the pass and here we will search for specialties such as great and brown parrot bill and golden-breasted fulvetta. Surly one of the world’s most attractive passerines. Much of our journey will be through beautiful, pristine, mixed broad-leafed evergreen forest. Of course, there will be regular stops for birding, botanic exploration and photography along the way. At Chendiji – the site of a classic Nepalese Chorten, we will look for a resident crested kingfisher and also brown dipper and white-capped redstart are usually found feeding in midstream, While yellow-billed blue magpie search for insects among the many flowering rhododendrons. From Chendiji we will continue to Trongsa. Overnight at hotel in Trongsa.
Day 5: Trongsa to Bumthang via Yuthong La (alt. 11,400 feet)
From Trongsa, you will continue further east over another pass, Yuthong La through rhododendron/magnolia forest into Bumthang valley. After crossing the pass, you will descend through silver fir and Spruce forest to the upland valley of Bumthang . These broad glacial valleys harbor a number of species including kalij pheasant, accentors and wallcreeper. Spotted nutcrackers can be common though we will have to spent lot of time searching for beautiful roséfinch , sunbird and brown parrotbill. Overnight at Bumthang.
Day 6&7: Bumthang to Sengkhor
You will continue further east and cross the Thrumsing La (12,400feet), Bhutan’s highest pass. The road descends spectacularly into rich semi-tropical rainforest near Lingmethang. Many of Bhutan’s most sought after birds can be found here, including hill partridge.
Other species that you may get are satyr tragopan, eurasian sparrowhawk, mountain hawk-eagle, chestnut-bellied rockthrush, orange-flanked and white-browed bush-robin etc.
You also have a chance of seeing tibetan siskin, red crossbill, red-headed bullfinch, white-winged and collared grosbeaks and the dappers, gold-naped finch, in addition to a host of confusing but very nifty rosé finches. You will camp at Sengor, in the midst of some truly breathtaking scenery at about 10,000 feet. Overnight at the camp.
Day 8,9,10: Sengor to Yongkola
The village of Sengor is located approximately at 1700 meters elevation at the edge of a statuesque confier forest and a small village. We will explore the upper elevations of Lingmithang road to look for some of Bhutan ‘s most prized bird species such as satyr tragpan, blood pheasant, fire-tailed myzornis, slender-billed scimitat-babbler and bar-winged wren-babbler. Today we will bird watch along the road to Namling(2300meters).
The Namling road is truly one of the greatest birding areas. From the pass at 12,300 feet, this paved road very rarely traveled road leads us through some of the most beautiful & rich forest in the entire Himalayas. We have almost three days to explore the wonderful rich subtropical warm and cool broad-leaved forest along section of this road (2800 to 7200 feet). Orchids abound and the understory of the forest is often relatively clear, although the higher strata are often strung with enormous woody vine and lianas. Overnight at the camp, Yongkola (1700 meters).
Day11: Yongkola to Bumthang
We will drive back to Bumthang after early birding and will continue exploring for birds on the way. Overnight at hotel in Bumthang.
Day12: Bumthang to Trongsa
We will drive back to Tringsa and will continue birding on the way. Overnight at hotel in Trongsa.
Day 13-14: Trongsa to Zhemgang
Today our birding takes us south of Trongsa along the road towards Zemgang. Here we will explore the mixed broad-leaved evergreen forests at elevation between 3000 and 8000 feet. We will encounter a number of special birds including the rare yellow-rumped honeyguide. This bird is only found in the vicinity of huge hives belonging to the Rock bee. Other species we might see includes rufous-bellied eagle, wedge-tailed green pigeon, barred cucukoo-dove, Himalayan swiftlet, flocks of nesting fork-tailed swifts, crimson-breasted woodpeckers, striated bulbul, spotted bush-warbler, red-billed leiothrix, flocks of long tailed minivets, chestnut-bellied rock thrush, long-billed or scaly thrushes purple cochoa, pairs of blue-bearded bee-eater, slaty-blue and little pies flycatchers.
It is a long drive to Zhemgang and our campsite beyond. However, there will be plenty of opportunities to stop and bird. The ever-changing landscape and profusion of flowering plants and trees, combined with the imposing traditional Bhutanese homes are some of the features one will come across. The camp is located at a superb site within a forest quite close to a tumbling river at 2000 feet and beset by great hornbills and pin-tailed green pigeons.
Overnight at the camp at Tintibi (2000 feet).
Day 15: Tintibi- Trongsa
After a final morning birding we will drive back to Trongsa with birding on the way back. Overnight at hotel in Trongsa.
Day 16:Trongsa- Thimphu
We will drive back to Thimphu and continue birding on the way back.
Day 17: Thimphu to Paro
We will drive early in the morning to Chelila, a pass at 4200 meters. If we are lucky and the weather is clear, we could see splendid view of both Jumolhari and Jichu Darke and a view of Paro and Haa valley and surrounding hills. Cheila gives an opportunity to ascend above tree line into alpine meadows and dwarf rhododendron scrubs and thus have the possibility of several birds that we have not encountered so far. The primary target here is to see the blue poppy, Bhutan ‘s national flower and Himalayan monal. By keeping quite and very alert, we may see this stunning bird as we take a short walk along an adjoining ridge. Other species, we may encounter are Himalayan griffon, lammergeier, kalij pheasant, spotted laughingthrush, rosy pipit, blue-fronted redstart, rufous-breasted accentor and exquisitely colored white- browed rosefinch. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 18: Departure from Bhutan
Today you depart on Druk Airlines flight KB202 at 7:30 AM arriving Delhi at 10:30 AM. Please have $10.00 per person for departure tax.