Birdwatching is one of Bhutan's star attractions, and if you like to indulge your birdwatching habit while exploring new and beautiful parts of the world, then Bhutan really should be high on your list of places to visit. With a unique and rich Buddhist culture, spectacular Himalayan scenery, and one of the most diverse and rich ranges of birdlife on the planet, a specialist birdwatching tour in Bhutan is a really special experience. The best birding is in the east of the country, which requires a fairly long itinerary with plenty of driving, but we make regular stops and explore various Dzongs and monasteries along the way. The tour also features an easy 3-day walking section saying in simple but comfortable camps.
Our tour starts in Paro, and we have a sightseeing tour of the Paro Dzong and National Museum. We are also introduced to our specialist bird-watching guide and will have an evening briefing to discuss particular target species over the days to come.
We leave Paro and start with a pre-breakfast drive to the Che Lela Pass in search of the colourful but elusive Himalayan Monal and Satyr Tragopan, both birding highlights of Bhutan. We then drive on to the capital Thimphu where we have time for some more cultural sightseeing.
Leaving Thimphu we cross the Dochu La Pass before descending into the Punakha Valley. On all our drives through Bhutan we'll make regular stops at places your guide knows are potentially good spots for particular bird species. The roads in Bhutan are generally very windy and scenic, and the slow pace means that you get a good chance to view your surroundings as we travel.
From the Punakha Valley we head further east, passing the Phobjikha Valley, destination for the famous Black Necked Crane which migrates over the high Himalayas from Tibet. We like to time one group departure a year on this tour to coincide with the Black Necked Crane festival in Phobjikha, which celebrates their arrival in November.
After passing through the beautiful Bumthang valleys, where we do a little more sightseeing, we reach some of Bhutan's very best birding areas. The mixed forests and huge number of different tree species make this region great for a huge variety of species, and we include 3 nights camping in the Limithang Valley to allow us the best chance to see many of these without lots more long drives.
We then retrace our route back to Paro, for a final walk up to the iconic Taktshang (or Tiger's Nest) monastery, that is the picture most people have in their minds when they think of Bhutan.
Druk Air flights between Bhutan and Kathmandu, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Singapore are available on request.
"Ram was a very good guide and a true gentleman. He was sensitive, caring and very helpful."
Nicole Findlay (Nepal Tailor-made)
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