Tour BHT/15 : 10 days Birding and cultural Tour of Western Bhutan

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Description

Bhutan Birding Tours

Bhutan retains its forests almost intact. The forest cover is about 65 per cent of the country’s area of 46,000 sq. km.
Birding in the untouched, primeval forests of Bhutan is a unique experience. Bhutan’s forests are pristine and diverse. One finds subtropical broad leaf forests (1000-2000 m), coniferous forest (2000- 4200 m) that mainly consists of hemlock, Chir pine, and Blue pine, Spruce, Fir and Bamboo mixed with rhododendron and Juniper. The Alpine habitat (4000-4600m) consists of Alpine meadows with high altitude scrub.

These diverse, rich and lovely habitat support most of the countries breeding birds, globally threatened birds, and Bhutan’s restricted range birds The Buddhist culture, which respects all forms of life, is an added factor which has resulted in an avifauna that is remarkably visible, approachable, and diverse.

Some of the rare species that can be seen are Rufous–necked Hornbill, beautiful Nuthatch, White belied heron, Palla’s Fishing Eagle, Satyr Tragopan, Grey- belied Tragopan, Black –necked crane, Wood Snipe, Wards Trogon, Blyth’s Kingfisher, Rufous King Fisher, Yellow- rumped Honey Guide, Purple Cochoa, Rufus throated Wren Babbler, Red-headed Parotbil, Grey Crowned Prinia, and Dark- rumped swift.You will also encounter the fabulous Ibisbill, Fire-tailed Myzornis, , dapper grosbeaks, rosefinches, glowing sunbirds and a plethora of other gorgeous and little known Himalayan species.

We provide fully serviced birding tours – accomodation in chosen hotels or serviced camps, car with driver, and accompanying birding guide. Our itineraries are designed to enable birding in the best bird areas, as well as to also see and experience the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan.

TOUR DETAILS

Bhutan is a birders paradise. The countryside is full of birds and bird song. Our itineraries are designed to enable birding in the best bird areas, as well as to also see and experience the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan.

Our birding tours are fully serviced – accommodation in chosen hotels or serviced camps, car with driver, and accompanying experienced English speaking birding guide.

Read the page birding Areas http://astonishingindiatours.com/bhutan-birding-areas/ and keep Map handy to understand the birding tour

ITENERIES

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight.

Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your flight arrives late afternoon and your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel. Later if you would like to you can go for a stroll around Paro town and start to take in the atmosphere and culture of this beautiful country and its gentle way of life.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 02: Birding at Cheli la, 3810 and local sight seeing at Paro

Drive 34 Kms for early morning birding around Cheli la, 3810 – the highest point of this tour. Return to Paro for lunch. In the afternoon , visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. Latter visit the National Museum. See a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artefacts – costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps.

Continue to the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan.Overnight at your hotel.More birding in the Paro Valley in the afternoon.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 03: Paro – hike to Takshang Monastery

Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries.

You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. On the way back you can visit Dumtse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder.

Then you can meet your host family for an overnight stay in a local farmhouse allowing you to experience traditional Bhutanese village life, and do some birding in the Paro valley. Take the opportunity to try the restorative properties of a hot stone bath laid on for you by your hosts.

Overnight Farm stay.

Day 04: Paro – Thimphu and local tour

This morning take a short drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres. In Thimphu we will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels.

The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum.

If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.

Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 05: Thimphu -. Birding Cheri Valley

Birding drive cum walk to Cheri Valley, 2711m. Return to Thimpu. Overnight Hotel.

Day 06: Birding drive Thimpu – Dochu la, 2250 m – Punakha, 1550 m

Birding drive to Dochu la, 2250 m. followed by birding walk cum drive to Punakha,1550m.

Overnight at hotel in Punakha.

Day 07: Punakha- Birding Mo Chhu Valley- Punakha

Birding along Mo Chhu Valley, 1600 to 1800m in the subtropical forests of the Jigme Doirje National Park. Return your hotel for overnight at Punakha.

Day 08: Sightseeing Punakha and Wanduephobrang

Morning birding in the Mo Chhu Valley . Return to Punakha and visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. You may be interested to view an exhibition of traditional Bhutanese cantilever bridges (known as bazams) in the tower of the Puna Mo Chu Bazam.

Then take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley).

Overnight at your hotel at Punakha.

Day 09: Punakha- Wangduephobrang- Thimpu or Paro

For departure by air

Drive Punakha to Paro On the way visit the dzong at Wangduephodrang. This is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving. Arrive at Paro by afternoon.

In the evening there is time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing, or you can take a walk to explore the valley. Discuss with your guide what would suit you best.

Overnight at your hotel at Paro.

For departure by the land route

Drive Punakha to Thimphu. On the way visit the dzong at Wangduephodrang. This is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving. Arrive at Thimpu by lunch.

In the evening there is time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing, or you can take a walk to explore the town. Discuss with your guide what would suit you best.

Overnight at your hotel at Thimpu.

Day 10: Departure by Air from Paro or by land Route to Phuntsholing

Departure by air

Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck).

Departure by the land route

Today you will drive south, for about 7 hours, from Thimphu to the warmer climes of Phuntsholing, where your Bhutan guide will hand you over to your Guide from India, for your onward journey.

PHOTOS

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