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13 Days Amazing Bhutan Bird-watching Tour

Bhutan Nature Fun

Owning over 70 percent of the land surface covered with forest, Bhutan is always honored as the paradise of birds. There are over 700 species of birds recorded in Bhutan so far, making this kingdom attractive for birdwatchers. Birding in Bhutan allows you to see some species much easier than anywhere else and some species you can find in very few places on the earth.

This 13 days Bhutan birding tour aims to offer you a precious opportunity to spot birds in abundance as well as admire the breathtaking scenery and striking cultural wonders. Starting from western Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu and Punakha), you will wave your way through bird-rich subtropical forests to southern Bhutan and central Bhutan.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Be escorted with private local guide who are professional in taking you to see the birds in the best point and at the best time;
  • Spend enough time watching a wealth of birds, including some of Bhutan’s sought-after birds, rarest birds and newly-found birds;
  • Soak up the amazing architectural splendor by visiting various dzongs, including Paro Dzong, Punakha Dzong, Trongsa Dzong and Wangdue Phordang Dzong, etc.;
  • Take a physical challenging but visual rewarding trekking to cliff-hanging Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) - the most eyes-catching sight of Bhutan.

Tour Brief Information

  • Tour price:

    1. This price is based on a group of 2 adult travelers who will take our private tour and share one standard rooms in regular local 4-star hotel in lower seasons.

    2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.

    3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2021.

    4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.45. The final quotation will be adjusted according to the latest real-time exchange rate.

  • Tour code: TD-BBT-13
  • Tour type: Private Customizable Tour Package
  • Destination: Paro / Thimphu / Punakha / Tirsang / Gelephu / Zhemgang / Bumthang / Phobjikha / Paro
  • Duration: 13 Days and 12 Nights
  • Departure: Flexible
  • Travel Theme: CulturePhotography
  • Best Time: Winter
  • Physical Level
  • Tour Pace
    Comfortable
  • Max Altitude
    3,420 m

Itinerary Details - Day by Day

  Expand all

Day 1 Paro Arrival & Driving to Thimphu / About 1.5 hours’ Driving (L, D)

Today's Highlights: National Museum, Rinpung Dzong

Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon! Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your local travel guide and driver in Paro International Airport, and then be escorted to Paro Town to start your wonderful journey.

You will firstly visit Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, is reputed as the finest example of Bhutanese dzong. Dzong, always served as the religious, military, administrative and social centers, is a distinctive Bhutan architecture in style with a complex of courtyards, temples, offices and monks’ accommodation surrounded by towering walls. According to Bhutanese tradition, dzong is always built on a hill top with the purpose of observing the attackers. Perching on the side of Paro Valley Wall, Rinpung Dzong was an important bastion for the Kingdom of Bhutan against invasion from the north. At present, it houses the Monastic Body and government offices, and serves as the religious, military, administrative, and social centers of their district.

After appreciating these charming architectures in Rinpung Dzong, visit Bhutan National Museum which is housed in Rinpung Dzong’s watchtower, keeping the rich culture and history of Bhutan. There are many impressive collections displayed in its five galleries, including traditional thangkas, festival masks, religious statues, interesting carvings, etc. Nextly, take a leisure walk through the cantilever bridge to Paro Town to watch a archery game which is Bhutan's official national gage, played almost every day on the ground. After the sightseeing, drive about 1.5 hours to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan Kingdom, for accommodation. On your way to Thimphu, you may come across several species of birds, like Sandpiper, Dark-throated Thrush, Ibis bill Black-tailed Crake, etc. Lastly, drive about 1.5 hours to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan Kingdom, for accommodation.

Arrival Ideas: 1) you are able to take an international flight from Kathmandu (1 hour), Kolkata (1 hour), New Delhi (2.5 hours), Guwahati (55 minutes), Siliguri (30 minutes), Bangkok (3 hours), Singapore (5 hours) and some other cities in India in peak seasons; 2) so far, all the flights to Paro depart and arrive in the morning.

  • A Monk in Rimpung Dzong A Monk in Rimpung Dzong
  • Seeing Rimpung Dzong from National Museum Seeing Rimpung Dzong from National Museum

Day 2 Thimphu Sightseeing & Driving to Punakha / 80km, About 2.5hrs' Driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlights: National Memorial Chorten, Post Office Headquarters, Buddha Dordenma, Duochula Pass

This morning you will start the day by visiting the National Memorial Chorten (shrine), a monument dedicated to the past 3rd king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. More than a memorial stupa, it is also one important religious center for Bhutanese daily worship. Then go to visit National Institute for Zorig Chusum, a school where students are taught to make Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts, like painting, woodcarving, embroidery, statue-making and so on. Next, go to Bhutan Post Office Headquarters, an informative and indulging museum with excellent exhibition of the evolution of Post & Telegraph in Bhutan as well as good details on historical and symbolic interpretation behind stamps. Besides, there is also some bird stamps collected here and it’s available to buy some as souvenirs to your family and friends or for self-collection. Afterward, drive to Buddha View Point Where a massive bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma sits. The statue is placed on a lotus and below it is a meditation hall housed with 125,000 small statues of Buddha. This Buddha dominates over the valley of Thimphu, and you can hardly tell whether the view from Buddha Dordenma or the view of Buddha Dordenma is more spectacular.

Leaving Thimphu, drive through a forest of pine and hemlock, up to cross over the Dochu La Pass (Alt: 10142ft/ 3,050 m) where you can view variant species of birds like Gold-naped Finch, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin, Satyr Tragopan, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Tree Creepers. From the place, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the majestic Himalaya Mountains. Keep driving along the winding road to the fertile valley of Punakha (Alt: 4430ft/ 1,350 meters).

Accommodate in Punakha Town.

  • Bhutan National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu Bhutan National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu
  • Stupas in Dochula Pass 108 Stupas in Dochula Pass
  • Exhibitions in Bhutan Post Office Headquaters Exhibitions in Bhutan Post Office Headquaters

Day 3 Punakha Sightseeing & Driving to Tsirang / 120km, About 4hrs' Driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlights: Punakha Dzong, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong

After breakfast, you will go to visit Punakha Dzong, situated between Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (male and female rivers) and featuring in three docheys (one more than other dzongs). It is praised by many people as the most beautiful one in Bhutan’s 21 dzongs, especially in spring when the lilac jacaranda trees in blossom. Walking along the Mo Chhu River beside the Dzong, you can spot some migratory waterbirds, including White-bellied Heron, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, Yellow-vented Warbler, etc.

Next, move to Wangdu Phodrang Dzong, where you can get a commanding view of the below valleys. In fact, Wangdu Phodrang Dzong enjoys an important status in the history as well, and it was the second capital city in the early days. Since Wangdu Phodrang is situated on the ridge, you can walk down to the bridge and have a short hiking to the village of Rinchangang.

Leaving Wangdu Phodrang Dzong, you will drive to Tsirang – the paradise of bird lovers.

Today you will camp at Tsirang.

  • Wangdu Phodrang Dzong Wangdu Phodrang Dzong Atop a High Range
  • Punakha Dzong with a Lush Sensuality Punakha Dzong with a Lush Sensuality

Day 4 Tsirang Birding & Drive to Gelephu / 100km, About 3.5hrs’ Driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Birding in Tsirang Forest

Today, you will spend full day spotting birds in the tree-covered Tsirang Forest which is newly opened for tourists. Lots of species birds can be appreciated there, including Black-throated Prinia, Rufous Sibia, Peafowl, Black-throated Tit, Great Hornbill, Red-headed Trogon, Black Eagle, Grey-sided Laughingthrush and many more.

After the amazing and enjoyable experience in the forest, you will drive to Gelephu – another perfect birds’ habitat allowing you get a great view of numerous kinds of birds.

Accommodate at Gelephu town in southern Bhutan.

  • Gray-winged Back Bird Shot in Tsirang Gray-winged Back Bird Shot in Tsirang

Day 5 Gelephu Birding (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Birding in Gelephu

On this day, you will enjoy birding in the whole day. In the deep jungle, you can come across various species, such as Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Pied Falconet, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Jungle Babbler, Wreathed, Great Hornbill, Puff-throated Babbler, Indian Roller, Red-headed Vulture, Black Eagle, Red-wattled Lapwing, Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Grey-chinned Minivet, Rosy Minivet, Ashy Woodswallow, Oreng-breasted Green Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Crested Treeswift, Red-breasted Parakeet and many others.

After birding, drive back to Gelephu town for accommodation.

  • Watch Yellow-wattled Lapwing in Gelephu Watch Yellow-wattled Lapwing in Gelephu

Day 6 Gelephu to Zhemgang, About 5 Hours’ Driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Birding on the Way

Today, you are going to traveling from Gelephu to central Bhutan through sub-tropical broad leaved forest to Chir pin forest. The drive is not short, but you will come cross different birds as well, you can see Oriental Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, House Swift, Himalayan Swiftlet, Mountain Scops Owl, Black Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Striated Bulbul, Striated Prinia, Oriental White-eye, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Red Junglefowl, kalij Pheasant, White-browed Piculet, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Honey Guide, etc.

Accommodate in Zhemgang town.

  • Asian Emerald Cuckoo can be seen in Zhemgang Asian Emerald Cuckoo can be seen in Zhemgang

Day 7 Zhemgang (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Zhemgang Birding

Zhemgang (also called Shemgang) is famous with well-protected fauna and flora. It has several natural ecosystem protection areas, including Jigme Singye Wangchuk and Thrumshingla National Park which are the habitat of many species of birds, like Necked Hornbill, White-browed Shrike Babblers, Minlas, Green Pigeons Cutia, White-tailed Nuthatch, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and many others.

Stay overnight in Zhemgang.

  • Beautiful Neck Hornbill Beautiful Neck Hornbill

Day 8 Zhemgang to Trongsa /110km, About 4 Hours’ Driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Trongsa Dzong

Today, you will continue going to your next destination - Trongsa - the center of Bhutan historically and geographically. During your trip to Trongsa, the ascending drive will take you through the forest of Silver Firs where you are able to spot the Gold-naped Finch.

Enjoying a typical alpine environment, Trongsa is grown with various bush rhododendron trees and dwarf bamboos. In the valley, your eyes will be caught by the huge fortress of Trongsa Dzong. The first two kings both ruled Bhutan from Trongsa Dzong, so it becomes a tradition that the crown prince serve as Trongsa Penlop before acceding to the throne. In the dzong, there are 23 independent lhakhangs. You will visit some of them to enjoy the fine design and exquisite decoration.

After that, you will turn to the old tower of Trongsa, present Royal Heritage Museum with five floors exhibiting the precious Buddhist arts and royal collections. Like a copy of Padma Kathang (a biography of Guru Rinpoche written by his consort Yeshe Tshoyel), 500-year-old jacket of Ngagi Wangchuk and the football boots of fourth king.

Stay overnight in Trongsa.

  • Pass the beautiful Valley on your road to Trongsa Pass the beautiful Valley on your road to Trongsa

Day 9 Trongsa to Bumthang / 56km, about 2 hrs and 40mins’ driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Jambay Lhakhkang

You will go on with your journey to Bumthang today. The road zigazags rapidly above Trongsa but the surrounding scenery is great. As you reach Yotong La Pass (3,425m), you can see a Buddhist Stupa in Tibetan style and many colorful fluttering prayer flags. Driving downhill, you will arrive in the Chumey Valley. At Tsugney Village, witness traditional Yathra weaving.

Next, drive to Jakhar, the main town in Bumthang. Upon arrival, visit Jambay Lhakhang, a monastery built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659. It is said that Guru Rinpoche once visited this temple, so the Sindhu Raja renovated it after Guru Rinpoche saved his life. In the inside hall is housed the statue of Jamba, the future Buddha, with his feet on the elephant. You can also admire the elegant murals in this temple.

Accommodate in Jakar, the main town in Bumthang Valley.

  • Jambay Lhakhang Jambay Lhakhang in Peaceful Valley

Day 10 Bumthang to Phobjikha Valley / 170km, about 6hrs’ driving (B, L, D)

Today's Highlights: Pele La Pass, Gangte Goempa

Today, you will have a long drive from Bumthang to Wangdue Phodrang via Pele La Pass. The picturesque views can be seen as well. When you reach Pele La Pass (3420m), a brilliant stupa with colored prayer flags will come into your eyes. Passing through the pass, you will get to a viewing deck which offers an amazing view of Mt. Jomolhari and Jiuchu Drakye.

Arriving at Gangtey Goempa, you will descend to Gangtey Goempa, an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism perched on a forested hill overlooking the entire Phobjikha Valley. The whole complex of Gangtey Goempa is made up of central monastery, monks’ quarters, guesthouse and meditation centers.

Accommodate in Phobjikha Valley.

  • Gangtey Goempa Magnificent Gangtey Goempa

Day 11 Phobjikha Birding & Drive to Paro (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Black-Necked Crane Information Center

This morning, you will pay a visit to Black-Necked Crane Information Center where you can learn much knowledge of the cranes and their living environment from the informative displays. If you visit Phobjikha Valley in November ~ January, you are able to see many black-necked cranes as well. After the wonderful sightseeing, you will drive to Paro via Dochula Pass again.

Accommodate in Paro town.

Day 12 Paro - Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) / About 20mins' driving Plus 2~3hrs' Trekking (B, L, D)

Today's Highlight: Taktsang Hiking

Start the day with short drive to Paro’s upper valley. If the day is clear, you’ll have an unforgettable view of the “Goddess” – Mt.Chomolhari (23,640 feet).

Afterward, it’s a short drive to Taktsang trail ahead. Take a challenging but necessary 2~3 hours’ trek to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous monastery in Bhutan, also known as “Tiger Nest Monastery, because Guru Rinpoche reportedly flew to the site on the back of a flying tiger late in the 7th century. Between blue pines and a blue sky, the monastery perches miraculously on a cliff nearly 2,700 feet above Paro’s valley floor. Break along the way for tea and snacks in small tea house, and the view of both Taktsang Monastery and Paro Valley is magnificent.

Hike down the mountain, then drive back to Paro for accommodation.

Tips: 1) it takes about 2 ~ 3 hours to trek from the parking lot to Taktsang Monastery, and you could ride a horse for the first hour; 2) photography is strictly forbidden in the monastery, but you can take a nice shot on your road to Taktsang Monastery; 3) travelers have to deposit all belongings (cameras, phones or other electronic equipment and bags) at the entrance.

  • Cliffside Tiger's Nest Monastery Cliffside Tiger's Nest Monastery

Day 13 Paro Departure (B)

Paro Airport Dropped Off

Your journey in Bhutan comes to an end today! After breakfast, your guide will pick you up from the hotel to the airport in time for the scheduled flight to your next destination. Before that, you can take a rest at the hotel or go for a walk nearby.

Tips: Please pack your luggage carefully, especially for small things like camera charge, power adaptor, mobile phone, phone charger, wallet and towel.

Price & Service Guide

The quotation for this trip is per person

1. This price is based on a group of 2 adult travelers who will take our private tour and share one standard rooms in regular local 4-star hotel in lower seasons.

2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.

3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2021.

4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.45. The final quotation will be adjusted according to the latest real-time exchange rate.

What's included in this price?

  • Bhutan visa fees.
  • Private professional English-speaking tour guide.
  • Private vehicle and luggage transfers.
  • All accommodations, based on double-occupancy. Medium standard accommodation with attached bathroom on twin sharing basis. Guesthouse or tent in remote areas.
  • Meals noted in the itinerary as "B,L,D".
  • Admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary.
  • Service Charge (the planning, handling, operational and communication charges) & government taxes.
  • Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance

What's excluded in this price?

  • Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary.
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary (all lunches and dinners).
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional tour activities, etc.
  • Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
  • Excess Baggage Charges.
  • Single room supplement.
  • Additional tour service and/or activities.
  • International flights to/from Bhutan

Value for money:

While the trip of a lifetime is priceless, we know value is a vital aspect for those deciding which tour to choose.

When comparing tour prices, be sure to compare like to like. Our tours are designed to ensure that our customers experience all the culture, history, and beauty that Tibet has to offer, and at a reasonable price.

A great way to enjoy the lowest possible price is to invite more people to join your trip to share the travel experience as well as the tour expense. The more people in a group, the lower the price per person. (We recommend you join our group tour if you are traveling alone. Please contact our travel consultant for more information)

Booking early is also an easy way to ensure the best rate! We highly recommend you contact us at least 1 month before your planned departure date.

Reviews of Our Customers

Still not know us well? Read what other travelers are sharing about their Tibet trip with Tibet Discovery (We only accept reviews from confirmed travelers who took our tours / activities, so you can surely rely on the reviews)

Dear Zeva,

I want to thank you for your truly exceptional customer service. You have been very helpful through this entire process.

If we should be able to reschedule a visit to China in the future, I will certainly use your services, and I would happily refer my friends and associates.

Sincerely,

Laurie

 April 2, 2020
Dear Mike,

Thank you for your lovely mail.

This epidemic was badly managed by some countries, they thought just like SARs only Asian were affected.

However due to their complacency whole world faces lock down.

Good news is in China the epidemic is under control.

However due to continue epidemic tourism business are badly affected for indefinite period. I am aware personally you are affected.

How do you manage your situation.

We over here experience drop in business but not as bad as during SARs. We manage somehow through experiences to overcome this epidemic through reducing expenditure prudently. Lets us all pray for Divine intervention for mankind to globally overcome this terrible situation soon. Many thanks for your mail.

Sincerely,

Juana

 April 3, 2020
Hi Mike,

Thank you for the extra touch and update on the current situation in China. Very proud to watch how China combat the virus so expediently! China is indeed a good role model for the other countries to observe and follow.

Let's continue being vigilant and not be complacent about the situation.

Bless you and your family.

We look forward to our trip next March.

Kind Regards,

Ting

 April 1, 2020
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Useful Trip Notes

  • How to Plan a Bhutan Tour 
    Usually, it takes about 5~15 days. Since most travelers will arrive at Paro International Airport by flights, you are suggested to start your tour from Paro. After visiting the landmarks in Paro, drive to Thimphu for accommodation. Spend one or two days in Thimphu and explore the local cultural sites, and then transfer to Punakha to enjoy the beautiful Punakha Dzong. If your time is limited, drive back to Paro and trek to Taktsang Monastery before leaving. If you have more time, extend your tour to central Bhutan. Moreover, it is a good idea to take an overland tour to Nepal and Tibet.
  • How to Apply Bhutan Visa 
    Traveling to Bhutan, you have to prepare a Bhutan visa. It can only be applied by an authorized travel agency like Tibet Discovery. You just need to send us a clear scanned photocopy of your valid passport, and we will apply the visa for you. If your visa application is approved, a visa clearance letter will be processed. Then, we will send the photocopy of the visa to you by Email, and then you are able to board the plane with the photocopy. When you arrive in Bhutan, you’ll get the original visa.
  • How to Get to Bhutan 
    Bhutan is connected with Nepal, India, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh directly by international flights, so you could get to these countries and make a transfer to Bhutan. Among these countries, Nepal is the mostly-chosen gateway country to Bhutan in that Kathmandu offers most frequent flights. India is a good choice as well, because more cities (including Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati, Siliguri, Mumbai and Bangalore) provide nonstop flights to Paro. It is also available to have an overland driving from India to Bhutan.
  • Best Time to Visit Bhutan 
    Bhutan has a mixed climate of cold alpine climate, temperate climate and subtropical climate from north to south. The major tourist destinations located in lower area are suitable to travel all the year around. However, the best time for whole Bhutan is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is most mild and pleasant. In the spring, your eyes will feast on lots of colored flowers. When the autumn comes, you are going to get a good possibility to enjoy the amazing Himalayan views.
  • Where to Accommodate in Bhutan 
    Since Bhutan is a great travel destination among the world, it is developed with different hotels to supply the needs of different international tourists. The accommodation in Bhutan ranges from 5-star luxury hotels to budget hostels. Most luxury hotels center on Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, and provide fully-equipped facilities and amazing service. In addition, the splendid view of Himalaya can be seen from some rooms. Some areas in central and eastern Bhutan just offer simple and basic accommodation. If you have trekking tour, you can only accommodate in lodge or guesthouses.

Other Recommended Tour Packages

Tibet has too much to offer and our aim is to bring you the best experience in Tibet. Following are some other recommended Tibet tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our Tibet tour packages are customizable to meet your personal requirements. You can also contact us to customize a trip if you want.

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