Birding Itinerary

A birding chance of a lifetime. Spot Exotic species, in a setting of pristine forests, ancient Dzongs and Buddhist Temples. Birding all the hot spots. Altitude variation from 800 m to 3810 m. Habitat includes sub tropical and warm broad leaved forests, savannah, and grasslands cool broad leaved forests, Dry alpine scrub land, and Wet lands. Chosen hotels, and quality camping. Trip starts and ends at Paro Airport ( Bhutan).Black neck cranes

Best time for Birding is April to mid June

Day 1, Arrive  Paro International Airport

Arrive Paro and meet our representative and transfer to hotel.
Morning: birding in Paro Valley. Afternoon visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) - former watch tower for the Rinpong Dzong. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley. Visit the Rinpong Dzong dating back to 1645A.D. This is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower(Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country. In the evening visit a farm house for local hospitality. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 2, Paro To Thimphu

Early morning drive 34 Km for birding around Cheli la, 3810  the highest point  of this tour. Back to Paro for lunch. Afternoon birding drive to Thimpu. 65 Km in 02 hrs. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 3,  Thimphu

Morning: Birding cum walk to Cheri Valley. Return to Thimpu for lunch Afternoon & Evening: Thimpu sightseeing tour .Overnight: Hotel

Day 4,Thimphu To Shaten Via Punakhahimalayan mona

Thimphu - Punakha 73 Km 3 hours drive. After early breakfast drive towards Punakha via  Dochula Pass 3150 m. It is 77 Km to Punakha. We will first drive to Beaulah Apple Orchards which is  20 minutes from Thimphu towards Dochula Pass and from there  take a birding walk up the valley first to Trashigang Monastery  through pristine forests of hemlock, fir, oak, magnolia, and rhododendrons.  

In Dochula  area, you may see Satyr Tragopan, Spotted Nutcracker, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Yellow Billed Magpie, Chet Tailed Minla, Collard Blackbird, Utramarine Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, Scarlet Finch, Black Drongo, Chestnut bellied Nuthatch, Slaty-backed Forktail, Gorgeted Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, White-throated Laughingthrush, Eurasian Jay, Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon,  Wood-peckers, Tree creepers, varieties of doves etc.  

From Trashigang Monastery we will proceed to Dochula Pass  meeting with our vehicles on the main road to continue to Punakha. Time permitting we will visit Punakha Dzong,  the Winter Residence of the Je Khempo ( Chief Abbot). Continue drive for 1.30 hrs to our camp at Shaten. Overnight at fully serviced camp at Shaten Camping ground. (Jigme Dorji National Park).

Day 5, Shaten

Birding along Mo Chhu Valley in the subtropical forests of the Jigme Dorji National Park in the warm broad-leaved forest. You may see Great Barbet, Barred Cuckoo Drove, Magpie Robin, Green Magpie, Palla’s Fish Eagle, Osprey, River Lapwing, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Pigeon, Common Merganser, Pied Kingfisher, Red-vented Bulbul, Golden throated Barbet,  Kalij Pheasant, Orange bellied Leafbird, Common Buzzard, Great Cormorant, Crested  Bunting, etc. The Barbett is the size of a pigeon and is considered as a friend of farmers. Spring is marked with call of the Barbett and farmers prepare their land for cultivation. When the barbet calls in the morning the farmers have to get the cattle out of the sheds for foraging in the forests. In the evenings these birds call together which signals the cowherds to take the cattle back to the shed. Overnight: Camp at Shaten. 

Day 6, Shaten To Gangtey

SatyrtrgopanEarly morning another chance to bird along Mo Chhu Valley. After breakfast drive to Punakha After a short sightseeing stop to visit Punalha Dzong ( if not already done on Day 13), continue drive along Central Highway for 47 Km, with number of birding stops past Nobding, 2890 m. Here we will branch off on a 13 Km dirt track crossing over the  Gangtey la, 3140 m, to the Phobjikha Valley that fall within the Black Mountain National Park. . Birding en route through bamboo and rhododendron conifer forests, meadows and river valleys. Check in at the Phuentshochholing Guest House and visit Gangtey Gompa.  Overnight: Local Guest House.

 Note: Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the periphery of the north western tip of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is a conservation area and lies on the northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing range.  People sometimes refer to the entire region as Gangtey after the name of the Gangtey Goenpa that is situated on a ridge overlooking the Phobjikha valley. According to legend that the Gangtey Goenpa was founded by the  grandson ( the mind incarnation) of Pema Lingpa, Gyalse Pema Thinley in 1613 A.D. and which was later expanded by Tenzin Legpai Dhendup.

The Phobjikha valley is also one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes (grus nigri collis) that migrate each year in winter to roost in the valley from end of October to end of March each year  from its northern habitats in Tibet and  Siberia to these grounds. Visit the Information Center for the Black-necked cranes to learn more about these rare and endangered birds. 

Day 7, Gangtey To Trongsa

Today transfer from  Gangtey to Trongsa  crossing  over the the Pelila Pass (3420m)   on the Black Mountain Range. The distance between Gangtey and Trongsa is 82 Km and normal driving time 4 hours. Early morning birding in the Phobjikha Valley. After breakfast driving back to the main highway, we will take a birding walk ( 7 Km) along the old road alignment from Dung Dung Nesay, ascending the Pele la, 3420 m. through Ringal bamboo. Later after meeting with our vehicles, continuing along the road we will  stop at the Chendebji Chorten and near Banglapokto. Upon arrival at Trongsa, 2120 m, there will be time to view Bhutan’s largest fortress – the Trongsa  Dzong.

 This is the ancestral home of the royal family. Built in 1648 A.D, it is presently the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school. Built at split- levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong is an architectural wonder. The watch- tower, located directly above the Dzong, has an interesting display of body armor and other weapons of war used by ancient warriors. Overnight:  Hotel 

Day 8,  Trongsa To Tingtibi

Trongsa -  Tintibi in Shemgang 120 Km. 4 - 5 hours drive. The route will be Trongsa – Yourmuru, 1000 m, Korsula, 1650 m – Shemgang, 1600 m – Tingbiti Camp, 880 m. Birding drive along Shemgang road, passing through variety of habitat and altitude range. Overnight in our fully serviced camp at Tingbiti camp site. 

Day 9, Tingtibi

Birding in Shemgang Area, 880 m to 2070 m. Two full days birding out of Tingbiti Camp.  Drive South to Tam la, 2070 m for birding in forests astride the pass, and to the North between Tingbiti and Korsu la. Overnight in Tingbiti camp.

 Targets: Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Rufous-necked Hornbill, many Timaliids, (including wren-babblers, laughing thrushes and scimitar-babblers), Beautiful Nuthatch, Streaked Spiderhunter, Green Magpie. You may also sight the Golden Langur in this area. Overnight: Camp. 

Rufous-necked Hornbill

Day 10, Tingtibi

Birding in Shemgang area out of Tingtibi camp. Overnight: Camp.

Day 11, Tingtibi To Trongsa

Birding up the Shemgang Road to Trongsa. Overnight: Sherabling Tourist  Lodge in Trongsa.  

Day 12, Trongsa To Jakar

Morning leave for Jakar in  Bumthang. The Journey takes about 3 hrs  (68 km ) and is over one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan over the Yotong La pass 3425 m.  Bird the vicinity of Yotong La. Sightseeing around Jakar: Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler ) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably  one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. 

Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, KurjeyLhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang. Also visit the Bumthang Swiss farm. Evening Stroll through Bumthang Town. Overnight: River Lodge. 

Day 13,  Jakar To Sengor

A 105 Km birding drive to Sengor following route  Jakar, 2580 m – Ura, 3100 m – Thrumsing la, 3750 m – Sengor camp, 3000 m. The first leg is  48 Km to the lovely Ura Valley, 3100 m, reached via the Shertang la, 3573 m. Thereafter 36 Km to Thrumsing la, 3750 m descending along one of the most spectacular roads down the 21 Km  cliff-hanging highway with breathtaking scenery to  Sengor, 3000 m. Birding stops on the way in high altitude habitat between 2500 to 3700 m. Overnight in our fully serviced camp.

Day 14,  Sengor To Yongkhala

Full days birding along a 25 Km stretch from Sengor, 3000m – Namling, 2460 m – Yongkola Camp, 1855m  through rich semitropical rainforest. The broadleaf evergreen forest commences at 2600 meters. Many of Bhutan's most sought-after birds can be found here. Overnight in our fully serviced camp at Yongkala.

Day 15,  Yongkhala To Mongar

Birding Namling, 2460 m - Yongkola – Lingmethang, 850 m – Mongar, 1600 m Morning : Drive back up to Namling, 2460 m and bird down the road to Yongkhola Camp along the fabulous lush primary forests, in search of the area's specialties.  

Afternoon: Birding along the 29 Km stretch of the lower Lingmethang road down to 850 m. and thereafter ascending for 19 Km up the road to Mongar,1600m. Overnight in Guest House. 

Day 16,  Mongar To Yongkhala

Mongar, 1600 m- Kuri la , 2400 m – Mongar – Lingmethang – Yongkola. Birding drive for 16 Km to Kuri la. Back track to Yongkola via Mongar and Limgmethang forests. Overnight at our Yongkola camp.

Day 17,  Yongkhala To Jakar

Birding drive back-tracking along the highway : In the morning we will bird along the lower Lingmethang road. After breakfast drive back to Jakar (190 Km), looking out for any species we may have missed on the way out. Overnight at Jakar at the River Lodge.

Day 18,  Jakar To Thimphu

Drive back to Thimpu. 272 Km in 9 to 10 hrs. Dinner: hosted by the Managing Director. Overnight Hotel Pedling. 

Day 19, Thimphu To Paro

Thimphu, 2348 m – Paro, 2280 m Morning: Thimphu sight seeing tour: visit the National  Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in memory of the Third King  Also visit the Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, Arts and  Crafts School, National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved and  Zilukah Nunnery Temple. Shop at  week- end market.

Drive to Paro 65 Km in 2 hours.  Check in  at Hotel Gangtey Palace Resort for lunch. Afternoon visit National Museum (Ta-Dzong) - former watch tower for the Rinpong Dzong. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley. Visit the Rinpong Dzong dating back to 1645 A.D.  This is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school.  The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country.  In the evening visit a farm house for local hospitality. Overnight at Hotel Gangtey Palace.

Day 20, Paro

Early morning drive 34 Km for birding around Cheli la, 3810 m. – the highest drivable point of this tour. Back to Paro for lunch. Afternoon birding along Paro Valley.  Overnight at Hotel Gangtey Palace. 

Day 21, Paro Departure

Transfer to Paro Airport for departure.

The regular peak season rate is $270 per person per day. The itinerary and length of trip can be customized as desired.



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