Day 1: Arrival in Paro.
Arrive Bhutan by Druk Air, the National airline of Bhutan. You could fly in from Kolkatta or NewDelhi in India, Katmandu – Nepal, Bangkok- Thailand or from Dhaka-Bangladesh. On arrival at Paro Airport, a warm reception by the representative of 7 Brothers Tours and Travels who will drive you to Hotel Paro. Paro (around 7000feet) falls within alpine zone mainly of blue pines. In the afternoon we will explore the beautiful valley of Paro while continuing our birding tour towards north to the ruins of the DrukgyelDzong. The valley of Paro is mainly vegetated by Blue Pine Forests, which does not provide good home for bird, nevertheless the woodland around the DrukgyelDzong is a hub- home for variety of birds which you can see like chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Brown Parrotbill, Chestnut-tailed Minla,, Common Kestrel, Kalij Pheasant, Black-faced Laughingthrush, White-collored Blackbird, and Grey-backed Shrike.
overnight in hotel, Paro.
Day 2: Birding at Chelila pass, hike to \tiger nest and evening drive to Thimphu.
Early morning we will break the ice with hot cup of tea and snacks. Then start for birding tour at chelila pass. Not only birds, this track will provide you emphatic view of various pinetress starting from blue pine to hemlock, silver fir, spruce, juniper as we move up the hill to Chelila pass. The journey is about 85 minute. The pass located about 12900 feet is the highest point on motorable road to Haa. After reaching at the pass if weather permits us we will see spectacular views of the snow cap mountain Mt. Jhomolhari and the Jichudrake which are located above 21000 feet, and to the down we will also view Haa and Paro valleys.
The expedition in the morning will be quite majestic as we can see wonderful birds like: multicolored Himalayan Monad, flock of Blood Pheasants, spotted Laughing thrushes, Himalayan bird Griffon, Himalayan White Browed Rose finch, White throated Redstarts and many more.
After spotting the birds we will have hot breakfast at the pass and then we will slowly move back down the road to explore more birds which include Kalij Pheasants, Grosbeaks, Bullfinches and Yellow-billed Blue Magpies. After spotting the birds along the Chelila pass we will have small hike to Tiger nest where you will be amazed by the monastery that is perched in rocky cliff of Tiger nest. You will know the wonderful history behind this site from our guide; you can also access the history on our website narrated in our cultural package tour. Lunch at the cafeteria. .
Early evening walk back to the road head for a drive to Thimphu (Capital of Bhutan) which is of 2 hours journey. Evening stroll around the Thimphu town and explore handicraft shops of Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs and gifts for your family, friends and beloved ones.
Dinner and overnight stay at hotel, Thimphu.
Day3: Thimphu to Tango-Cheri valley
The Thimphu valley is surrounded by blue pine forests. In the morning move to north of city, the religious valley of Tango and Cheri of ShabdrungNgawangNamgyel (Father of unified Bhutan and spiritual leader of late 16th century). The vegetation is mainly broad leaved Oak forest and we will proceed little down to the road to see rock-bee hives and lively yellow honey comb hanging from a cliff, which is one of globally endangered species of flies.We will also spot some common birds such asRufous Woodpecker, Spotted Nutcracker, Oriental Cuckoo, Large Hawk Cuckoo and Kingfisher birds. Tango and Cheri area – 8600 feet. Vegetation includes evergreen forests comprising of cane twigs, Oak, and pines. Lunch at the town.
In the afternoon we shall have some free time to walk around Thimphu City and hold ourselves in some cultural activities.
Overnight in hotel, Thimphu.
Day 4: Thimphu – Morning to JigmeDorji National Park.
We shall now leave for another birding tour towards east of Thimphu. Our first pass to halt for bird seeing is Dochula (3150m) where we can spot birds like Red-tailed Minila, Gould’s Sunbird, Green-talied sunbird and Fire-taliedmysorninscommon in this area. Apart from birds you can also see the wonderful mountains, including Table Mountain, beautifully capped with snow and majestic wide green valleys. Alongside you can see wonderful blossoms of rhododendrons and magnolias that mark the entire hill side of dochula pass.
The spotting birds for a while in the temperate broadleaved forest will shortly provide a semi-tropical zone of oranges, cactus and banana. We can have banana and oranges if in the right season. Varieties of bird species to stare out for are: Bird- Eurasian Tree creeper, Golden Bush-Robin bird, Bhutan Mountain Hawk Eagle, Bird-Great Barbet and Ward’s Trogon. After a short birding, we will enter chirpine forest home to birds like Red-vented Bulbuls and rare White-bellied Heron which have also found roaming along the Po Chu (river). We will camp in the forest of the JigmeDorjiWangchuk National Park for overnight halt. According to the survey conducted by the authors of the Birds of Bhutan (Tim & Carol Inskipp), the park is one of the richest bird habitats per unit area and also it is the largest in the world in terms of area.
Docula area –vegetation – mixed evergreen and broad-leafed forests (with rhododendrons and magnolias) an elevation – 9,900 feet;
Camp Area –vegetation warm broad- leaved forests, an elevation – 4600 feet;
Overnight in tented camp, JDN Park.
Day 5: Trashithang to Damji vicinity.
Early breakfast to catch birds around our camp in the warm broadleaved forest before passers-by disturb them. Around this area we will have pleasure to see a pair of Red-headed Trogons and tawny fish owls perched on the tree along the roads. We shall continue our bird quest for the globally endangered White-bellied Heron. We shall now remain ALERT to catch the bird as the birds in Bhutan often move in huge flocks however, identifying the assortments of warblers is always difficult and yet great fun. After sometime we may also encounter some mammals like Takins( national animal of Bhutan), leopards and wild boars. Later in the evening we will drive to Wangdue town for night halt and on the way we may visit PunakhaDzong.
Overnigh halt at the hotel.
Day 6: Wangdi– Pele la.
On day six we shall drive to Phobjikha/ Gangtey valley with the hope of seeing some black-necked cranes between Late October and March. Though, doubtful due to season of your trip to Bhutan but we may still see the last folk of black necked crane. Phobjikha located at an elevation above 9500 feet is a glacial valley and is the biggest wetland in Bhutan. It is the winter home to about 360 black-necked cranes that arrive here in late October and start migrating back to Tibet by early March. Because of the presence of the cranes, Phobjikha is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the Kingdom. We will confirm you whether you can see these birds in this trip or else we would spend time birding other species in the area. In this area specialty include, species of bird like Black-throated, Brown and Great, Brown and Red-headed Bullfinch, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Black-faced warbler, Scarlet Finch, Collared-Grosbeak, Fired-tailed Myzornis, Kalij&Monal pheasants.
Overnight in guesthouse in Phobjikha.
Day 7: Phobjikha – Camp on the way to Zhemgang.
We shall have tea and snacks early to get to the Pelala pass (about 11000 ft) which would roughly take an hour by drive through sub alpine conifers and bamboo. As you approach to Pelila pass we can spot the birds like Great bigger size of Monal pheasants as well as Satyr Trogopan and after that we can see the three great Parrot bill species Black-throated, Brown and Great . After breakfast here in Pelila pass we shall descend down the road that paves through green valleys of dwarf bamboo and canes, and it is along this valley where the Oscar nominee film “Travelers and Magicians” was shot. You would also feel blessed to see white patches of light weight cloud floating below giving you a sense of driving in air. If such cosmic scene prevails till Trongsa then you would see floating Trongsadzong across the breathtaking depths of the MangdeChhu river valley.
Overnight camp en route to Zhemgang.
Day 8 : Zhemgang camp -Tingtibi Road.
After serving early breakfast in the camp we will initiate to move for birding along the Zhemgang-Tingtibi road. In this area you would not be least interested to see species like Orange-flanked Bush-Robin, White-browed and Black-headed Shrike Babblers, Black-eared, Shrike Babblers, several species of Cuckoos, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Pintailed Green Pigeon, White-browed Piculet, Scarlet Finches, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Cutia, Sultan Tit, Yellow-cheeked Tit, several species of Laughingthrushes, Fulvettas, Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin, etc. if we are lucky we can also spot the endangered Golden Langur. Overnight in regular camp, Tingtibi, and we will have lively night partying around majestic bon-fire with special hard drinks of your choice, Bhutanese soft drinks and variety of finger licking dishes. Elevation at camp – 2100 feet and but we will be exploring mixed broad-leaved evergreen forests.
Day 9: Tingtibi – Trongsa.
After an early breakfast, unwillingly drive to Trongsa with your pack lunch. We will stop wherever you feel hungry after that spot some birds on our way back to Trongsa. After lunch continue our journey to Trongsa.
Dinner and overnight stay at Trongsa hotel where you can relax and recall your memorial play with nature.
Day 10: Trongsa – Bumthang
Breakfast from the hotel; we now drive to Yotongla pass (about 12000ft) through thick cloudy forest of silver firs.We will have wonderful breathtaking view of magnificent rhododendrons dwarfs and high altitude bamboo which offer home to birds such as: Bhutan Fire-tailed Myzornis,Ibisbill, Blacked –billed Magpie, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Great Parrot bill, Yellow-billed Bush Warbler , Bhutan Maroon-backed Accentor and sometime after Red-headed Bullfinch.
We will explore Bumthang town, located at an altitude of 7500ft, sometime in evening. Overnight stay in the hotel.
Day 11: Bumthang –Sengor via Ura
We will have early breakfast from the hotel and drive further east to Sengor via spectral valley of Ura ( above 9800 feet) where vegetation is mostly sub alpine with open habitats of potato farming maneuvered by people of healthy agricultural village. Village is clustered with beautiful temple in its hub where lots of birds including Beautiful Rosefinch, White-browed Rosefinch, Red-billed Chough, Spotted Nutcracker, Russet Sparrows, Black-billed Magpie and Rufous-breasted Accentor can be seen foraging in the open fields. Lunch hot pack lunch at Ura
Afternoon we will move to Sengor (8900 feet) situated in sub-alpine type vegetation and open habitats. We will spot some birds lingering along the road: Monal pheasant as well like Satyr Tragopan, Flocks of Snow Pigeon are also frequently sighted flying across the valley or forging in the farmlands. We will move to Thrimshingla pass (12600 feet) which has lots of rhododendron flowers and mainly of cool broadleaf and fir forest while watching the birds. Thrimshingla pass is highest on Thimphu-Trashigang highway which is decorated by blossoms of Rhodrodendron and other bushy flowers. In the flowering tourism we could see wonderful birds like Rufous-georgetted and Ultramarine Flycatchers, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Red-headed Bullfinch, Collared-Grosbeak, Rusty-flanked and Eurasian Treecreepers, and a variety of Tit species. From here we will drive further east where we will reach to the beautiful alpine village of Sengor. We will have bonfire in Sengor and you can have varieties of hard drinks,soft drinks, and Bhutanese pack fruits of your choice. Overnight in the camp. Our cooks and guide will also join us to share the enjoyment of the night.
Days 12: Yongkhola.
We will wake up early in the morning; the cooks will be ready to serve us breakfast to reenergize for another long but incredible expedition of birding towards east within elevation range from 12600 feet to just less than a 2800 feet where it is considered to be one of the best birding destinations in whole Asia. The specialties of this area are; Scimitar Babblers; Parrotbills, Rufous-necked Hornbil, variety of Warblers, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Hill Partidges, Satyr Trogopan, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Sultan and Yellow-cheeked Tits, varieties of Bulbuls, varieties ofTesias (Chestnut-headed, Slaty-bellied & Grey-bellied), Laughingthrushes, Flycatchers, etc. overnight camp in Yongkola under the beautiful star and we will be overwhelmed by beauty of Yongkola place Camp – elevation – above 5600 feet.
Day 13 Yongkola to Mongar.
Morning we will check some birds like Chestnut-headed, Slaty-bellied & Grey-bellied, Laughingthrushes and Flycatchers.
We will have finger licking lunch in the hotel at Mongar which is 80 km from Yongkola. Afternoon walk through the explore eastern tradition or take some rest after stretch expedition. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 14: Mongar – Trashigang-Rangjung
Morning, we will fresh up for Excursion to Rangjung (106 km). After travelling few miles from the hotel in Mongar we will enter Korilla pass (2310 meters) where the vegetation is mixed broad-leaved forests. The probable birds here are Rufus-bellied Niltava, Ward’s Trogon, Gold-naped Finch, Maroon-backed Accentors, Serbian birds etc. We will then proceed towards Trashigang district (demographically the biggest District, home to Sharchop people). Along this trail we will drive through chir pine forest, corn fields and lemon grass that define the vegetation of famous Yadi village. Once we have reached to bottom of Yadi village then we will drive to the opposite direction of the Dangmechu river (Biggest river in Bhutan). Now we have reached to Dangmechu River Chazam check point and from here we can see Trashigangdzong most spectacularly perched on the hill built for the defense of Tibetan invasion in 1659. We shall spend some time at Trashigang, lunch at Trashigang and if you wish we can visit the superbly located TrashigangDzong. Later in the afternoon we shall drive to Rangjung, along the Gamri River. After few minutes’ drive from Trashigang there will be most stunning view of Rangjungmonastery (best monastery in Bhutan built by Gyarab Rinpoche and it is home for monks) over lookingRangjungvaley and Gamri River. If you wish we will visit to Monastery located at the small hill. Then we will move to camp above monastery. If our trip is on season we may get Bhutan’s best tasty fish of Gamri River from local people and it is hardly to get. Besides this we may get local mangoes. Early morning we may spot some birds like Fish catcher birds, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl. Camp- elevation 6800 feet; open habitat.
Day 17: Rangjung– Yonphula (Camp)
Morning move to Yonphula (46 km) which is about 6000 feet, and open type habitat where we may spot some birds likeCuckoos, Eagle Owl, Rufus-bellied Niltava etc. Our drive today passes mainly through settlements including Bhutan’s primer institute – Sherubtse College and we will have lunch at this place. Take some time and walk upward to Yonphula (1 hour on foot) where we will have small village familiarization tour to see the life style of eastern Bhutan and to taste locally made hard drinks, Ara, a nationally well known drink. If you wish Company will buy Ara for our night camping which will be few miles from new Yonphula Airport yet to be open in February 2012. Yonphula place is one of beautiful places in eastern Bhutan as it overlooks Sherubtse College, and you can have cosmic view of villages and eastern Himalayas. As today is the last day for camping we will have bonfire, some local and foreign hard drinks of your choice, soft drinks, and Bhutanese delicious fruits and off course not to forget special dinner cooked by our hired cooks. Even then we should quest some gorgeous birds such as Scarlet Finches, Black-headed and White-browed Shrikebabblers, Emerald Cuckoos, Crested Serpent Eagles, etc. campsite: about 6000 feet and open habitat.
Day 18: Yonphula – SamdrupJongkhar
Today’s drive will also take us through some fantastic broad-leaved forests and we will also be passing our last high point of our tour at about 9000 feet meters from where we will get great view of ridges of mighty Himalaya before it descends to the plains.
We will have breakfast early in the morning for the day’s bird quest, and journey towards south-east will bring us some gorgeous birds such as Bhutan black headed bird , Bhutan Emerald Cuckoos, Scarlet finches, shrike babblers etc. Our day’s bird quest will continue through the moist broad-leaved forest. After reaching the highest pass about 8000 feet we will get great views of crest ridge of Himalayas hills. From these hills we will descend to south: Indian plains and reach to Morong village. Lunch at Morong village. Later move down and we will expect some birds like Long Broadbill, Peacock pheasant, bright Red-Billed etc along this stretch road. From few miles to Samdrupjongkhar we will enter sub-tropical type vegetation and related birds such as grayish Peacock, tailed Broadbill, Red billed leiothrix, Mixed Blyth’s Trogopan Hill Myna, Horn Bill, Cuckoos, Black-naped Monarch, Crimson Sunbird, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Red-collared Dove, Dollarbird, Red-headed Trogon,Wreathed and Great Hornbill, etc. The globally endangered Blyth’s Kingfisher is also found in this region. Shortly, we will enter SamdrupJongkhar for night halt in the hotel with good air conditioning as it will be quite hot in summer since town is right at the border of Indian plain.
An elevation above 800, vegetation mainly of sub-tropical forest.
Overnight in Hotel, SamdrupJongkhar.
Day 19: SamdrupJongkhar to Guwahati ( 3hrs drive)
You will drive to Guwahati airport to bid farewell on your way back home via either Kolkata or Delhi. During this journey through plains of India you may expect some birds like Plain Lesser Adjutants, Asian Open bill birds, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon etc. We will bid farewell at the Airport. We hope to see somewhere in future.