Thanks to our principle of Gross National Happiness which clearly states that Bhutan must maintain 60 percent forest coverage in all times to come. Bhutan at the moment has over 72 percent forest coverage and thus, we proudly proclaim ourselves as the carbon sink. And because Bhutan is thickly covered by forest, biodiversity is very rich. Bhutan is habitat of many rare and endangered animals, birds and insects. From golden languor to white-belled heroin to black-necked cranes, and many more, Bhutan envisions protecting all those animals and birds that co-exist with humans. In this tour programme, you will be travelling throughout the country to find what Bhutan has to offer from its rich nature.
Day 1: Guwahati/Samdrup Jongkhar
Arrive at Guwahati airport, in the Indian state of Assam, and travel to Samdrup Jongkhar through Brahmaputra River.
On the way, we will look out for Little Cormorant, egrets, Indian Pond Heron, Ashy Drongo and Red-wattled Lapwing in roadside wetlands, with possible sightings of Small Pratincole, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Citrine Wagtail, Rusty-rumped Warbler and Striated Grassbird. We will also make a special effort to find lesser and Greater Adjutants, both highly endangered species.
Overnight: Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 2: Samdrup Jongkhar Deothang Birding
Spend the morning exploring the foothills surrounding Samdrup Jongkhar and try to locate lowland species like Wreathed, Oriental Pied and Great Hornbills, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Rufescent Prinia, Black-naped Monarch, Scarlet Minivet, Black-crested, Ashy and Black Bulbuls, Golden-fronted Leafbird, bamboo-dwelling Yellow-bellied Warbler, White-rumped Shama, Sultan Tit, Asian Fairy-bluebird and Long-tailed Broadbill. We will also look for the Black-backed Forktail along the rocky streams in the area as well. If we are fortunate we may encounter rare birds such as Dark-rumped Swift and Pied Falconet.
Overnight: Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar
Day 3: Samdrup Jongkhar – Morong (4hrs)
Travel to Morong to find other species like the rare Dark-rumped Swift, Pied Falconet, Jungle Babbler, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Wreathed and Great Hornbill and Puff-throated Babbler.
We will also look to find the extremely special, Beautiful Nuthatch. Other interesting species we may encounter are Black-faced Warbler, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Striated Laughingthrush, Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia and Rufous-necked Hornbill to name a few.
Overnight: Morong Campsite
Day 4: Morong to Trashigang
Travel to Trashigang.
On the way, we will find Rufous-necked Hornbill, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, and Long-tailed Broadbill with other possibilities such as Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle and species of Yuhinas.
Overnight: Hotel in Trashigang.
Day 5: Trashigang to Kori La to Mongar to Yongkala
En route to Yongkala, we stop at Kori La where we can find Steak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Grey-winged Blackbird, Hoary-throated Barwing, Long-tailed and Short-billed Minivets, Bhutan Laughingthrush, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler and Spotted Wren-Babbler.
After reaching Bhutan’s wet subtropical forest in the afternoon, we will set out to locate other birds like Shortwings, Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, Ward’s Trogon, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, barbets, Golden Bush Robin, Chestnut-breasted Partridge and many other rare species alongside Little Forktail, Large Niltava, Russet Bush-Warbler, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Violet Cuckoo and Rufous-faced Warbler.
Overnight: Campsite Yongkala
Day 6-7: Yongkala-the Limithang Road
Spend two full days birding along this incredible 80 km long road. Our mission will be to find the area’s specialties such as Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler, Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler, Spotted Wren-Babbler, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, flocks of parrotbills, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Scarlet Finch, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Lesser and White-browed Shortwings and many more.
Overnight: Campsite Yongkala.
Day 8: Yongkala to Sengor
Drive to Sengor. On the way, we will try to find some of the high altitude species that include Blood Pheasant and Satyr Tragopan, the bird that draws many birders to Bhutan. The dense conifers forest hold many good species such as Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Bar-winged Wren-Babbler, Red-headed Bullfinch, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Gold-naped Finch and Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler. Our campsite near the pastureland is good for thrushes.
Overnight: Campsite Sengor
Day 9: Sengor to Jakar
Travel to Bumthang by driving through one of the high passes known Thrumshing La. This pass is the prime habitat for Blood Pheasant and also holds other high altitude species such as Snow Pigeon, Orange-flanked Bush-Robin, Spotted Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Great Parrotbill, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Grey-crested and Coal Tits and White-browed Fulvetta. We may be lucky and have our first encounter with one of the most colorful pheasants of them all, the Himalayan Monal.
Overnight: Hotel in Jakar
Day 10: Jakar – Trongsa
While travelling to Trongsa, we will try to locate Brown Parrotbill, Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch., White-browed and Golden Bush Robins, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Spotted and Black-faced Laughingthrushes, Alpine Accentor, White-winged Grosbeak, Grey-sided Bush warbler.
After lunch at Trongsa, we will visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong.
The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the nearby broad-leaved evergreen forest in search of specialties like Spotted Forktail, Grey-bellied Tesia and Spotted Wren-Babbler.
Overnight: Hotel in Trongsa
Day 11: Trongsa to Zhemgang
Travelling to Zhemgang, we will have lots of stops at several forested valleys. We have chances for Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Grey-bellied Tesia, Crested Bunting, Long-tailed Shrike, prinias, Rufous Woodpecker, Blue–bearded Bee-eater, Spot-winged Starling, Common Green Magpie, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Common Kestrel and various minivets. This is also our best chance for the Golden Langur, a rare monkey endemic to Bhutan and only discovered in the 1950s.
Overnight: Tingtibe Campsite (800m).
Day 12 – 13: Zhemgang to Tingtibe Road
Explore a wide variety of habitats along the Zhemgang to Tingtibe road. We also search for Rufous-necked and Great Hornbills, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Cutia, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Scarlet Minivet, various laughingthrushes, woodpeckers, Chestnut-headed and Grey-bellied Tesias, Spotted Wren-Babbler, and another chance to find Beautiful Nuthatch.
Overnight: Tingtibe Campsite
Day 14: Zhemgang to Phobjikha
Travel to Phibjekha via Trongsa.
On the way, we will search for Black-throated Parrotbill, Golden-breasted Fulvata, Black-faced and Chestnut-crown Laughinghtrushes, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, sometime we can also come across the big flock of Himalayan Griffon flying overhead.
Overnight: Campsite Phobjekha
Day 15: Phobjekha to Punakha
Drive to the Pele la pass (4000 m) and spend the morning hours birding along the old road at Pele la for high altitude species such as Himalayan Monal, Spotted Laughingthrush, Himalayan Griffon, Brown Parrotbill, and various finches and bush-warblers.
Then, we will drive to Punakha. Traveling through the valley of Wangdiphodrang; along the way we look for Ward’s Trogon, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide and mixed species flocks.
In the evening, we will walk along the Pho Chu valley looking for one of our main target birds, White-bellied Heron, one of the rarest birds in the world with a population of fewer then 200 worldwide. Other birds we might see include Common and Crested Kingfisher and the enigmatic Ibisbill.
Overnight: Punakha (1200m)
Day 16: Punakha- Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park
Spend the morning hours birding inside the Jigme Dorji wangchuck National Park and along the Phochu River.
The birds we might see here include the Red-headed Trogon, Slaty-bellied and Grey-bellied Tesia, Small and Ruofus-bellied Niltavas, Black-chinned and Whiskered Yuhinas, a trio of Forktails, Pygmy and Spotted Wren Babbler, Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, White-throated, Rufous-chinned and Bhutan Laughingthrushes, Black, Red-vented and Mountain Bulbuls, Grey-hooded, Chestnut-crowned and Blyth’s Leaf Warblers and many more
Later in the evening, we will drive along the Phochu River to try for White-bellied Heron and Pallas Fish Eagle if you have missed the other day.
Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Day 17: Punakha – Thimphu
After visiting the impressive Punthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Bliss) Dzong, better known as the Punakha Dzong, we will travel towards Thimphu, the capital city.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Day 18: Thimphu to Paro
In the early morning we visit the local sewage pond for Ibisbill and Black-tailed and Ruddy-breasted Crakes.
After breakfast, we will hike to the Cheri monastery to find birds like Spotted, Chestnut–crowned and White-throated Laughingthrushes, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Wallcreeper, Brown Dipper and White-collared Blackbird.
Day 19: Paro, Cheli La Birding
Drive to Cheli La pass (3890m).
Here we could be rewarded with three different species of pheasants: Himalayan Monal, flocks of Blood Pheasants, and Kalij Pheasant. Also here are several rosefinches, grosbeaks and laughingthrushes.
We then drive back to Paro for lunch.
Then visit temples and monasteries in the nearby area.
Day 20. Hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
Hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. It is one of the most sacred places in the world.
Overnight: hotel in Paro.
Day 21, Departure
Travel to the airport for departure.