Birdwatching Tour in Bhutan
This is a 14- Days Birding in Bhutan Tour which is moderately paced and available on request. Most of the birding tours in Bhutan take place during the peak season months from March through May. While this is the best time to visit Bhutan on a bird watching tour where we provide you with the best of our services and take you to the best sites without any interference.
We want our fellow bird watchers to have the best experience making the most out of the trip and at affordable rates. Therefore, aside from our peak seasonal packages, we also encourage you to take advantage of our lean seasonal tour packages that do not compromise the quality and the experience of the trip.
We have led extensive research and survey during the lean season from June through August and from December through February. From our research and survey from our own bird watching excursions, we found that the first two-week of June was very productive and proved that majority of the bird species can still be located.
Our birding in June tour was offered for the first time in the year 2015 and had great success, then we were fortunate to run this tour every year both as a private and group tour. On this Birding in Bhutan tour, apart from most of the species, you see during the peak season such as four species of Pheasants, Ibisbill, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Ward Trogon and Beautiful Nuthatch, the chance for seeing the summer visitor such as Flycatchers and Cuckoos are even better during this period.
Since Bhutan is rich in cultural diversity, we offer our clients some cultural experiences like visiting some ancient monasteries and fortress such as the beautiful Punakha Dzong built in the center of the confluence of male and female rivers. visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse to experience the local hospitality and a traditional hot stone bath during this birdwatching Bhutan tour.
If you’d like to try an alternative tour, look at what this Bhutan Birding Tour has to offer.
Alternative Tour Name: Birding in June
The flight into the Himalayas is one of the most scenic and breathtaking ones with the views of some of the tallest moun¬tains of the world. On your arrival at the Paro international airport, our representative will receive you.
Drive to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan (2hrs) drive.
Later in the evening, we will bird Babesa Sewage Pond, south of Thimphu town. searching for one of the biggest target birds, Ibis¬bill special bird of Himalayas. This elegant wader with the long decurved bill and enlisted in its own monotypic family. They are found on the stony riverbanks in the Himalayas. For many birders this species is considered among the most wanted species. This place is one of the easiest places to see Ibisbill. Other species we’ll be looking for include Black-tailed Crake, River Lapwing, White-capped and Plumbeous Water Redstart, White Wagtail, Olive-backed Pipit, Russet and Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common and Green Sandpiper just to name a few.
Early morning drive to Punakha over the Dochula Pass (3150m). Dochula pass is the most beautiful pass in the entire country decorated with 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten. On a clear day you get the breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayan ranges. We will spend our morning around birding around the pass in the mixed forests of fir, hemlock and rhododendron which host lots of cool species such as Fire-tailed Myzornis, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Green-tailed Sunbird, Coal, Rufous-vented and Grey Crested Tits, Blyth’s and Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, White-throated, Striated and Spotted Laughingthrushes, few species of Cuckoos such as Himalayan and Large Hawk Cuckoos.
After breakfast at the pass, we head toward Lamperi Botanical Garden and take a nature walk, this beautiful hike takes us through a cool moist forest of oak, magnolia and birch trees. Some of the species we’ll be looking at here include Brown Parrotbill, Streaked-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Ultramarine and Verditer Flycatcher, White-collared and Grey-winged Blackbird, Eurasian Jay, Speckled Wood Pigeon.
Later as we descend to Punakha valley, we will birds along the wide range of the roadside. The species we might encounter include Grey-hooded and Chestnut-crowned Warblers, White-tailed Nuthatch, Red-vented, Mountain and Black Bulbul, Great and Golden-throated Barbet, Long-tailed Minivet, Slender-billed Oriole and many more.
In the evening visit the impressive Punakha’ s Punthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Bliss) standing on the confluence of the two rivers, the Phochu and Mochu, this Dzong has special significance in Bhutanese history. It was the place where the first king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuk, was crowned in 1907. At present, it is also used as the winter residence for Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the entire central monk body.
we will depart the hotel early our journey birding along the roadside forest, some of the main target species we will be looking for include rare Ward’s Trogon, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, one of the two species of Honeyguide that occur in Asia and we also have good chances to encounter the bird wave consist of Red-railed and Chestnut-tailed Minla, Hoary-throated Barwing, Black-faced and Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Green-tailed and Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, Himalayan Cutia, we might possible see some birds of prey such as Black and Mountain Hawk Eagle, Himalayan Buzzard.
Continue our journey to Phobjekha valley going over the Lawala Pass (3,250m). crossing the pass, we will enter an open meadow with the dwarf bamboos and Rhododendron bushes. Some of the desirable species that occur in this habitat include Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Whistler’s and Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Black-faced and Spotted Laughingthrushes, Spotted Nutcracker and Brown Parrotbills.
Remaining of the day will be spend take walk around this beautiful Phobjekha
We will have another early start to the Pelela pass (3,450m), and spend our morning hours birding along the old abandoned road. The open meadow and Rhododendron Forest here are good for the many species including Satyr Tragopan, one the most striking pheasant of Himalayas. It is a bird that draw many birders into the Himalayas and probably Bhutan is best place to see them, Himalayan Monal, White-winged Grosbeak, White-browed and Dark-rumped Rosefinches, White-browed Fulvetta, Rufous-breasted and Alpine Accentor, Darjeeling and Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Hodgson’s Treecreeper, Red-headed Bullfinch and we’ll also put an effort to search for super skulker species such as Chestnut-headed Tesia, Bar-winged and Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler.
Continue your drive to Bumthang, crossing the Yotongla pass (3400m). and stopping along the way for any interesting species that come along.
We drive from Bumthang to Sengor going over Phrumshingla (3800m). Phrumshingla is the prime habitat for Blood Pheasants, early start is expected to see them come near the roadside for feeding. Apart from Blood Pheasant, Phrumshingla also host other high-altitude species such as Snow Pigeon, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Great and Fulvous Parrotbills, Ashy-throated, Buff-barred and Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Stripe-throated and Rufous-vented Yuhinas, Himalayan Bluetail, Golden and White-browed Bush Robin and Fire-tailed in their breeding plumage.
Later in the evening we will be birding around Sengor looking for Satyr Tragopan. Sengor is known as the hotspot for Satyr Tragopan. Other birds you’ll be looking here include Bar-winged and Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Gold-naped Finch, Hoary-throated Barwing, Bar-throated and Red-tailed Minlas, Whistler’s and Grey-hooded Warbler and Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler. In the evening you’ll also try for the Himalayan Owl, which comes around your campsite.
We will have a pre-breakfast outing driving the stretch of 10km road toward Namling, this stretch of road is one of the best sites for Satyr Tragopan, in case we have not got a reasonable view of the stunning birds. Otherwise, we might also consider driving back to the pass for any missing high-altitude species from the previous day.
Depending on the activities, we will either return to the campsite for breakfast or picnic breakfast can be arranged along the way. Then we’ll start moving downhill into the sub-tropical forest birding. The drive takes us through the narrow winding road which usually remains foggy. Halfway through our journey, we will pass through a famous cliff known as Namling Dra (Cliff) which has a reputation for being the most hair-raising section of the road in Bhutan and also has the biggest waterfall which may be more than 300 ft. high that fades before hitting the ground.
The species we are likely to come across include Gold-naped Finch, Black-headed Shrike Babbler, Scaly and Black-faced Laughingthrush, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Grey-hooded, Black-faced and Whistler’s Warblers, Crimson-breasted and Darjeeling Woodpeckers just to name a few.
For these three days we will explore the entire stretch of Namling, Limithang road and all the way to Phrumshingla pass. This stretch of 77-kilometer road all inside Phrumshingla National Park is touted as one of the finest birding sites in Asia. This road gives access to the altitude ranging from 100m at the lowland to 3,750 to the highest point with a different variation of habitats. Al the lowland habitat consists of mostly scrub and subtropical forest and farmlands, cool broadleaved and warm broadleaved with thick undergrowth and bamboo forest dominating the mid-altitude and at the higher altitude are mostly made up of temperate conifer, rhododendron shrubs, and open meadows.
We explore Namling – Limithang Road, basically walking along the narrow road with lots of twists and switch-backs. The pristine cool broadleaved and warm broadleaved with thick undergrowth and bamboo forest which is very rich in birdlife. Some of our main targets include Beautiful Nuthatch, Ward’s Trogon, Himalayan Cutia, Golden-breasted, Yellow-breasted, Rufous-winged, and Nepal Fulvetta, White-breasted and cute Black-throated Parrotbill, varieties of Laughingthrushes such as Rufous-chinned, Grey-sided, Blue-winged, and Striated Laughingthrushes, Red-faced Liocichla, and endangered Rufous-necked Hornbill and Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, one of the two species of Honeyguide that occur in Asia.
Apart from these exotic species, the forest here hosts some of the shy and secretive species such as Rufous-throated and Long-billed Wren-Babbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, and Spotted Elachura recently split from the Wren-Babbler and form a family of its own.
We’ll also explore lower Limithang Road. (600m), habitats consist of scrub and subtropical forest and farmland. Here we may encounter Black-tailed Crake, Rufous-necked and White-crested Laughingthrushes, White-browed Piculet, Cresting Bunting, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Greater, and Lesser Yellownape, Black-chinned and Striated Yuhinas, Asian-barred, and Collared Owlet, we might also be lucky to see Tawny Fish Owl.
During our 3 nights here, we will consider doing some night birding searching for the Hodgson’s Frogmouth and Brown Wood Owl, we also have a pretty good chance for sighting Bhutan Flying Squirrel, a very interesting mammal.
After a final morning birding in this wonderful habitat, we’ll retrace our way back to Bumthang passing through the Sengor valley, after crossing one of the high passes, the Phrumshing La (3800m) looking for the missing species on our way in. Then continue our drive through the valley of Bumthang, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan.
In the evening we’ll drive to the monastery up in the mountain to have the very close view of the Himalayan Monal, the place here offers the best chance to photograph the Himalayan Monal as they come close to the monk quarter for feeding, other birds we’ll be looking for include Black-billed Magpie, Oriental Skylark, Beautiful Rosefinch, White-throated Redstart, Plain Mountain Finch,
Today is basically a transit day for us. We are backtracking our way back to Paro stopping for any interesting or missing species we come across. Later in the evening, we’ll have free time to stroll around downtown Paro.
Very early morning takes 1½hrs. drive to the cool alpine meadow of Chelela pass (3,890m). this is the highest pass on the car road and the highest point of our trip. Here we should be rewarded with the three different species of Pheasants, Colorful Himalayan Monals, flocks of Blood Pheasants, and Kalij Pheasants. Other birds we expect here include Darjeeling and Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Collared and White-winged Grosbeak, Himalayan Bluetail, Rufous-breasted, and Himalayan Accentor. Snow Pigeon, Plain Mountain Finch, and Red-headed Bullfinch.
Picnic lunch will be served along the way and after lunch, we check-in the hotel for some rest and in the evening birding along the Paro River or free time to stroll around downtown Paro.
After¬ breakfast we will take 20 minutes to the base of the Tiger’s Nest temple and then start to Bhutan’s most scenic icon and a most important destination for pilgrimages and reflection for over 1200 years, Taktshang (or the “Tiger’s Nest”) clings to the side of a steep cliff some 200 meters above the Paro valley. The place was first visited by Guru Rimpoche, found¬er of the tantric form of Buddhism in Himalayan countries, in the 8th century. It was said that he meditated there for about three months. After him, many high Buddhist priests came to meditate at this location and attained the high¬est level of spirituality. The original temple was built in the 17th century, but tragically, it was consumed by fire in 1998. Like a phoenix, the temple was rebuilt to its fullest glory in 2003. Taktshang is considered to be the 10th holiest site in the Buddhist world.
The total hike will take the average person about four hours. From the parking area, it will take about one hour to the tea house (rest and refreshment provided) then another one and a half hours to the tem¬ple.
In the evening, visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse to experience the local hospitality and a traditional hot stone bath. We’ll arrange special archery lesson on the traditional bamboo bow and arrow with the¬ lady, who used to be Bhutan Olympic archer and represent Bhutan at the Beijing Summer Olympic Games in 2008
After breakfast at hotel our representative, your tour guide and drive will drive you to the airport and bid you good-bye.
Wildlife species expected to see:
Birds: Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, Ward’s Trogon, Beautiful Nuthatch, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Himalayan Cutia, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Great Parrotbill, White-breasted Parrotbill, Black-throated Parrotbill, Long-billed Wren Babbler, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Ultramarine Flycatcher, and different species of Cuckoos.
Mammals: Grey Langur, Capped Langur, Goral, Assamese Macaque, Barking Deer, Large-eared Pikka. Common Otter, Himalayan Yellow-throated Marten Orange-bellied and Himalayan Stripe Squirrel, Hodgson’s Flying Squirrel
What is included?
- All internal taxes and charges (including royalties)
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis
- All meals, tea, snack, and bottled water
- All travel with a licensed local birding guide
- All surface transfers by a private vehicle
- All entry fees to monuments, Museum and National Parks
- Bhutan Visa Fee
What is not included?
- Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
- Tips, laundry, phone calls, and bars.
- International and domestic airfare, and insurance.
- Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is inlcuded"
Off to Bhutan is a team of highly experienced and professional Bhutanese birding guides with a strong reputation for guiding international birding clients for many years. As birding enthusiasts ourselves, our guides have hands-on knowledge that has allowed them to identify some of the best locations in Bhutan. we cater to any type of birding tour from casual to hardcore birder and we guarantee to meet their expectation.
All visitors traveling to Bhutan are required to obtain a Visa prior to their arrival to Bhutan. after we have agreed and confirmed the tour with us. we will start processing your visa at least a month before your tour start. To process your tourist visa to Bhutan, you must submit the following documents: • A photocopy of your passport clearly showing your photograph, • Passport number, date of issue, date of expiry, and your date of birth. • Full tour payment deposit (You will need to ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you depart Bhutan at the end of your tour. It is your responsibility to ensure that we have your correct passport copy at the time of booking)
Accommodation choices will vary from low-budget hotels to high-end five-star hotels. We do ensure that most hotels where our guests stay are approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan for the tourist. High-end 5 star and 4-star hotels are available in some places but you need to pay extra supplement because of cost of the high-end hotel range from US$ 400 – 1500 per night. In some remote places where we don’t have any hotel that caters to international tourists, you can expect to stay in a tented camp
Most of the restaurants and hotels will provide free Wi-Fi for guests, though the Internet speeds vary from place to place. Mobile phone reception is generally very good throughout the country, depending on your cell phone service provider. You may choose to explore the possibility of international roaming but you will be able to purchase a temporary tourist SIM card at the airport that supports incoming and outgoing calls along with Internet services