Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu, meet and transfer to hotel.
Day 02/ 03: Full day to Phulchowki 1520-2760 m
After a very early breakfast we depart for Phulchowki 27 km Southeast of Kathmandu. Phulchowki at 2760m is the highest of the mountains encircling the Kathmandu valley and provides an ideal introduction to the birds of Nepal. Regularly recorded resident species include Besra, Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Kalij Pheasant, Common Hill Partridge, Ashy Woodpigeon, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Scops Owl, Collared Owlet, Golden-throated Barbet, Speckled Piculet, Crimson-breasted Pied and Rufous-bellied Pied Woodpeckers, Grey-chinned Minivet, Striated Bulbul, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Spotted Forktail, Chestnut-headed and grey-bellied Tesias, Chestnut-crowned and black faced Warblers, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Lesser Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Grey-throated and Spiny Babblers, White-crested, striated, Rufous-chinned and grey-sided Laughing thrushes, Red-billed Leiothrix, Cuttia, White-browed Green and Black-eared Shrike-Babblers, Hoary Barwing, Blue-winged Minla, Nepal Fulvetta, Yellow- browed Tit, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Black-throated Sunbird, Maroon Oriole, Eurasian and Lancelated Jays, Red-billed Blue Magpie and Brown Bullfinch. A further 55 species have been known to visit the area as migratory or occasional visitors. Phulchowki’s forests are also very rich in flora and butterflies. Mammals include Leopard, Yellow-throated Marten and Orange-bellied Squirrel. After this fine introduction to Nepali Birds, we will return to our hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 04: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro Bhutan.
Bhutan untouched and unspoiled, “the Land of Thunder Dragon. Bhutan has one of the richest eco-systems in the world, ranging from the alpine to the sub-tropical with the highest species density. The rich flora and fauna has resulted in the nation being listed as one of 10 global hot spots for environmental conservation. The environment is still intact with more than 82 percent of the total land cover under lush forests. By far greatest diversity of Himalayan bird species is to be found in the Eastern Himalayas and a journey through Bhutan provides the opportunity to see such delights as Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Coral-billed and Slender-billed Scimitar-Babblers, Long-billed, Wedge-billed, Rufous-throated, Bar-winged and Spotted Wren-Babblers, the near-endemic Bhutan Laughingthrush, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, White-naped Yuhina, Fulvous, Great, Brown and Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills, Blue-fronted Robin, Rufous-faced and Broad-billed Warblers, Beautiful Nuthatch and a cacophony of laughing thrushes, just to mention some of the endless highlights this fantastic journey has to offer. You will be able to visit an exciting place and our tour will explore the very best of Bhutan’s bird habitats, concentrating on the east-central part of the country, which is the richest of all. We will drive over high passes into forested valleys at Punakha and then Mangdechu valley and descend to the lower altitude forests in the Shemgang and we partly retrace to Trongsa and then Jakar and eastwards to the superb and seldom visited ‘Lingmethang Road is truly one of the great birding roads of the world.
Because of thinly populated country that offers not only the finest birding in the Himalayas but also a wonderful cultural and travel experience. Hotel accommodation ranges from good to reasonable and roads are fairly good (and mostly have delightfully little traffic), but we will have to stay in outfitted camps (in quite comfortable style, complete with sleeping, dining, toilet and shower tents) in areas with no guesthouses, Being able to stay right in the midst of such superb Himalayan environments, with the best birding in the country all around us, is an experience that greatly adds to the wonders of our Bhutanese journey. All in all, Bhutan offers the discerning birder a truly unforgettable adventure! The walking effort is easy to moderate.
Arrive Paro , Bhutan
Arrive at Paro From Kathmandu on Bhutan ’s national carrier, Druk Air. On a clear morning, the flight promises spectacular views of the Himalayas, including Mt. Gaurishankar, Mount Everest, Mt. makalu and Kanchanjunga, and many more Himalayan range.
You will be welcomed in traditional custom by representatives of Explore Alpine Adventure (Bhutanese staffs) and escorted to your hotel. After lunch, visit the National Museum if you wish, housed in a 16th century watchtower and Paro Dzong, the seat of the district administration and residence of the monk body. Although not a birding day, But you may come a across the Wallcreeper probing the sides of the fortress, a pair or two of Ibisbill, Brown Dipper, Hodgson’s, Plumbeous and White-capped Water-Redstarts around the river valley and nearby rock cliffs and some more birds around.
Night halt at Hotel Paro.
DAY 05: Paro - Thimphu via Chele La Pass
Begin the birding adventure today from earl morning. Drive up early to the Chelela pass to catch the elusive Himalayan Monal, the amazing Blood Pheasant, and the most sought after of all pheasants, the mythical Satyr’s Tragopan. After breakfast at Chelela, drive to the capital, Thimphu . On the return drive, there will be opportunities to run into Kalij Pheasants, White-winged Grosbeak, White-browed Rose finch, Spotted Nutcracker, Rufous Sibia, White-browed Fulvetta, Brown Parrot bill, Stripe-throated Yuhina and various Eurasian warblers. Before calling it a day, take a short trip to downtown Thimphu where we usually see Ibisbill, River Lapwing, Ruddy Shelduck, and assorted shorebirds along the riverbed.
Night halt at hotel, Thimphu
DAY 06: CHERI VALLEY
After early breakfast we drive to the north of the capital to Cheri, a quiet Buddhist retreat that is also the home of various species of birds. The river banks at Cheri are the haunts of Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Rufous-bellied woodpecker, Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, Blue fronted Red starts, Rufous flanked, yellow brown Tit, Blacked faced Laughing thrushes, Wallcreeper and many others. Lunch will be served at the location. Night halt at Riverview hotel, Thimphu
DAY 07: Thimphu to Punakha via Dochu La
Leave Thimphu early to reach the Dochu La pass (3,150m) in time for sunrise. On a clear day, the scenery from Dochula is breathtaking: we can get a full view of the mightiest peaks of the Himalayas towering along the northern horizon.
Today is an excellent opportunity to see pheasant species like the Satyr’s Tragopan and a host of mixed species that dwell in the cool broadleaf forests. En route to Punakha, espy the Red-flanked Bluetail and Golden Bush-Robin, Grey Bushchat and Rufous-breasted Accentor. Identify the Blue-winged, Red-tailed and Chestnut-tailed Minlas, Rufus-winged, White-browed and Nepal Fulvetta and Whiskered, Stripe-throated, Rufus-vented, Black-chinned and White-bellied Yuhinas. It is possible to see both Barwings plus a good selection of Laughing Thrushes before Punakha.
After lunch, take a short trip to the temple of the “Divine Mad Man”. The temple is famous today for its miraculous powers to bestow fertility to barren women. From the temple, walk to the Phochu banks to look for the endangered Pallas’ Fish-Eagle and the world-renowned White-bellied Heron.
Night halt at Hotel.
DAY 08: Tashithang
Drive northwards to Tashithang, a thickly forested base for Bhutan ’s extremely challenging northern trek routes. Here, at an elevation of 5,000 feet above the sea level, comb for species such as Crested Kingfisher, Lesser Shortwing, Greater Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Little and Slaty-backed Forktail, Pygmy Wren-babbler, Golden Tree-Babbler, Striated and Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, tesias, Golden-spectacled and Broad-billed Warbler, Small Niltava and Black-throated Tits. Also, if lucky, spot a pair or two of Yellow-throated Martins and flocks of Assamese Macaques or the extremely rare Twany Fishing Owl. This area is known for its excellent hawk watching spots.
After lunch, retrace the journey to the imposing Punakha Dzong, a massive 17th century fortress that was the seat of the Bhutanese government until the 1950s.
Night halt at Hotel.
DAY 09: Punakha to Pele La
Get another go at spotting the White-bellied Heron during an excursion along the river and up through a forest of cool broadleaf and evergreen trees to Pele-la, the pass that divides eastern and western Bhutan . The diverse habitats along the way should present numerous prospects of seeing a great range of species such as Cutia, Great Barbet, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Long-tailed Minivet, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, White-throated Laughingthrush, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Yellow-bellied Bush-Warbler, Ashy-throated Leaf Warbler, and Verditer. Ward’s Trogon is usually sighted along this road.
Night halt at a camp in Pele-la
DAY 10: Pele La to Trongsa
It should be another day of great birding prospects. Scour the slopes of the campsite for the Himalayan Bear, White-collared Blackbird, the Himalayan Monal, Black-faced Laughing Thrush and White-tailed Nuthatch. Chances of seeing tragopans are high as it is the bird’s breeding season. In the pine forests around the pass look for Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Dark Rosefinch, Himalayan Greenfinch and Rufus-vented, Grey-crested, Green-backed Tits, Common Buzzard, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Steppe Eagle and Himalayan Griffon.
Finally, move on to the interior town of Trongsa through cool broadleaf forests where it is highly likely that you will come across Red-billed Leiothrix, Yellow-billed Blue-Magpie and Gray-sided Bush-Warbler.
Night halt at Trongsa.
DAY 11: Trongsa to Shemgang
Drive deep into the interior of an area known as the Black Mountain National Park , via the town of Zhemgang and finally to Tingtibhi, the night halt. The path cuts through dense jungles that contain a plethora of wildlife species like the Black-Eagle, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Speckled Piculet, Lesser Yellownape,and the Golden Langur (a strikingly beautiful monkey species that is found only in Bhutan ). Flowers and fruiting trees that attract sunbirds will be plentiful enroute along the descent to the lowest elevation. This entire region is very rich in wildfire and has thus been declared as a protected area by the Bhutanese government.
Night halt in camp at Tingtibhi (2000 feet)
DAY 12: Zhemgang Road camping.
Start birding early. Breakfast and lunch will be served at birding points in the forests. The bamboo groves around Tingtibhi are usually the haunts of Lesser Rufus-headed Parrotbills and Streaked Laughingthrushes while the fruiting trees attract Golden-throated Barbets, Wedge-tailed and Pin-tailed Green-Pigeon and Scarlet Minivets. This area is also the best chance of encountering the Rufus-necked Hornbill. Chances are you will see flocks of Yellow-bellied and White-throated Fantail and other species like yuhinas, minlas, fulvettas and sibias.
Night halt in camp at Tingtibi
DAY 13 Zhemgang to Trongsa
Return to Trongsa today and en route look for birds that may not have been seen earlier. Expect to see the Mountain-Imperial Pigeon, Golden-throated Barbet, Great-pied Hornbill, White-browed Piculet, Nepal House-Martin, Fulvous-breasted, Grey-capped, Gray-headed Green Woodpeckers, laughingthrushes, White-throated, Greater Necklaced, Rufus-chinned, Blue-winged and Red-faced Liocichla. Beautiful Nuthatch is another species found in this region.
Night halt at Trongsa
DAY 14: Trongsa to Bumthang
A relaxed trip awaits to Bumthang, the next night’s halt, just about 67 kilometres away. The aim here should be to spot the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, then climb the Yotongla Pass and enter the forests of spruce and fir abruptly changing the avifauna. The Bumthang valley, one of the most beautiful in the country, is home to Beautiful Rosefinch, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Spotted Laughingthrush, Ibisbill and Snow Pigeon. The Himalayan Black Bear is commonly spotted in this valley.
After lunch in Bumthang, explore the valley in the afternoon visiting, among others, the textile shops, the Jakar Dzong (fortress), ancient monasteries, the local brewery, and a stupa under which, legend has it, lies the severed head of a Tibetan General who tried to invade Bhutan.
Night halt at Bumthang.
DAY 15: Bumthang to Sengor
Early drive eastwards. Cross a pass and enter the Ura valley for a stop to visit the village. The Ura locality is not only beautiful but has plenty of bird species. After the stopover, climb up to the Thrumsing La pass (12,400’), the highest point on of the journey, and then begin a long descent to Sengor.
Night halt in tent at Sengor.
DAY 16, 17 and 18: Limithang Road camping
The next three days should be the highlights of the tour, scouring the Limithang valley for birds. The Limithang area, situated at elevations ranging from 3,000 to 12,400 feet, boasts some of the country’s most pristine forests, unrivalled in the density of tree species, and thus is a natural haven for birds. The endless stretches of forests, the quaint villages and a sleepy road which winds through the valley are all frequented by flocks after flocks of birds of all shades that make the entire area a visual delight for bird lovers. Here we have the greatest chance of seeing famous Bhutanese birds that may have been missed elsewhere during the trip like the Rufus-necked Hornbill, Ward’s Trogon, Satyr Tragopan and endless others.
The objective here is to track down, among others, the Collared Scops-Owl, Collared Owlet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Striated, Black-crested, White-cheeked, Red-vented, Ashy, Black and Mountain Bulbuls, Golden-breasted and Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Slender-billed Rusty-cheeked, Streak-breasted, and Coral-billed Scimitar-Babblers, Hill and Rufecent Prinia, Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher, Common Tailorbird, Ashy, Bronzed, Lesser Racket-tailed and Hair-crested Dorangos, and Scarlet Finch.
DAY 19: Limithang to Bumthang
From this day on, retrace the journey back to western Bhutan , the airport and eventually the flight home. It doesn’t however mean that no new birds will be added to the sighting list. Night halt at Bumthang.
DAY 20: Bumthang to Wangdiphodrang
Night Halt at Wangdiphodrang.
DAY 21: Wangdiphodrang - Paro
Night halt at Paro
Day 22: Drive from Paro to Phuntsholing
Today's drive to Phuntsholing takes most of the day but is quite spectacular. Starting early in the morning from Paro, we slowly ascend through steep forested hills for seven hours or so to 7,000 feet, passing en route through dense tropical rain forest, mixed temperate forest, to open hillsides clad in Himalayan Blue Pine. Coming to the Phuntsholing we must make a stop to admire the heavily scented evergreen trees to some chance for birding. The extent of the forest is heartening and we have time to inspect the rich birdlife and flora of the various zones, stopping to walk some portions of the road whenever possible. Common roadside birds include Rufous Turtle Dove, Blue Whistling Thrush, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, and Pallas's and other species of leaf warbler. More unusual and exciting birds are always seen en route, and past highlights have possible included Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Red-headed Trogon, Fire-capped Tit, Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle and Blue-winged Laughing-thrush. etc. Night halt at Phuntsholing.
Day 23: Today we will cross the Bhutanese border and inter to India then cross Indian border and drive to Nepal.
This day we mostly drive on the road about 5hrs in India and about 3 hrs. in Nepal.Over night camp at Koshi Tappu
Days 24- 25 Koshi Tappu WILDLIFE RESERVE
Driving through the border 'terai' of lowland Nepal we will pass through a variety of villages and towns giving a unique insight into the Nepalese culture and way of life. By making an early possible start from the border we will aim to reach Koshi Camp by late afternoon. the new Tented Camp close to the great Koshi river will be our base for three nights. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is situated in the Sapta-Koshi river plain in the far eastern corner of Nepal, close to the country's southern border with India. The reserve covers 175 square kilometres to the north of the kilometre-long barrage that spans the Koshi River. This was built between 1958 and 1964 to control and prevent flooding in the plains of northern India to the south. The vast expanse of open water created by the barrage, and the marshes, lagoons, sandbanks, mudflats and arable land that lie around it offer an outstanding wetland habitat, and one of the finest birdwatching sites in Asia.
Almost all of Nepal's long list of wildfowl, waders, storks, ibises, egrets, terns and gulls occur here, plus a great variety of landbirds, especially warblers and birds of prey. Well in excess of 100 species should be seen each day in this wonderful area, amongst them such local specialities as Swamp Francolin, Red-necked Falcon and Striated Marsh Warbler. The sharp-eyed may also be lucky enough to see one of the endangered Gangetic River Dolphins. The heart of the reserve lies some 14 km north of the barrage, where seasonally inundated grasslands, lagoons and remnant patches of Khair (Acacia catechu) and Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo) forest lie alongside the eastern bank of the broad Koshi River. This region is the last refuge of the Wild Water Buffalo in Nepal, and other mammals include Leopard, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Asiatic Jackal, Spotted Deer and Nilgai (or "Blue Bull") – the subcontinent's largest antelope.
Your most regular and rewarding wildlife outings will be on foot, exploring the grasslands, river, lagoons and woodlands close to the Camp, and the vicinity of the barrage, a short drive away. We will also take you by raft onto the wide waters of the Koshi River to enjoy the birdlife of the otherwise inaccessible sandbanks and islands.
Day 26: Fly from Biratnagar to Kathmandu.
We must travel to Biratnagar, situated in the Gangetic floodplains of south-eastern Nepal, where we catch our plane to Kathmandu. Heading west, the flight gives spectacular views of the Himalayas (weather permitting) including distant views of the world's highest peak, Everest. we will final will spent two more night in Nepal will be spent in Kathmandu, where a walk to the restaurant this evening may well produce Night Heron, Indian Flying Foxes, and even Barn Owl, as all regularly fly over the city at dusk.
Day 27: Free day in Kathmandu for shopping.
Day 28 Final departure from Kathmandu.
|1 to 3 pax
|US$ 68 to 153 P/p per night.
|4 to 8 pax
|US$ 58 to 138 P/p per night
|9 to 14 pax
|US$ 55 to 125 P/p per night.
|15 to 20 and above
|US$ 51 to 107 P/p per night
|US$ 25 to 60 per night.