Photos by Lincoln Potter

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Bird Watching

Winter Trek and Bird watching

Winter season is perhaps the best opportune time to visit Bhutan and experience a tranquil facade of the country not usually seen by most visitors. Advent of winter brings about peace and tranquility in the region as life in Bhutan settles down quietly in preparation of the winter months. One can truly appreciate the natural beauty at this time of the season, with crystal clear view of the snow-capped mountains against the backdrop of bright azure sky. The fields in the valleys are abounding with the colors of poinsettias and green banana plants. The rooftops of the villages are covered in red with hot chilies drying in the winter sun, as the villagers pass the time leisurely. It’s a time of rest and nature’s way of rejuvenating ones body and the spirit with every breath of fresh air. It is indeed a unique experience not to be missed.


This special program is a combination of cultural tour, bird watching and trek lasting 9 Day in Bhutan.Tour begins from Paro and continues through Thimphu and Punakha. Then a short three Day trek which covers the lower valley regions with elevation ranging from 4500 to 7350 feet. It is designed as a moderate trek for anyone in good physical condition to participate. A leisurely four – five hours daily hike passes through villages with plenty of opportunity to enjoy the scenery, and to experience the hospitality of the local people. The trek ends at Wangiphodrang followed by a drive to Phobijikha to witness a rare glimpse of the black-necked cranes which migrate each winter to this beautiful valley. Spend the night at a traditional farm guesthouse and early next morning venture to a vantage point to see the roosting grounds of the cranes.

Day 01 : Arrive Paro airport and transfer to Thimpu/ Over night hotel (Dinner)
Day 02 : Sightseeing in Thimphu , back to hotel for overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 03 : Thimphu – Punakha – Leaving Thimphu – Punakha (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 04 : Punakha – Limukha (trek), overnight at camp. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 05 : Sun Limukha – Chungsakha/ overnight camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 06 : Chungsakha – Wangdi – Phobjikha – Overnight at a farm house, (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 07 : Phobjikha – Thimphu – Paro (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 08 : Paro – Sightseeing, overnight at hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 09 : Departure Paro – After breakfast transfer airport and fly to Kathmandu or Bangkok (Breakfast)

Detail Bird Watching

Bhutan ‘s extensive bird list reflects the kingdom’s wide range of agro-ecological environment from subtropical to alpine. Currently 675 species have been recorded in Bhutan. Most widely known are the Black Neck Cranes, a rare and endangered crane. In Bhutan , the Black Neck Crane holds a special place in folklore and Bhutanese hearts. To injure a Black Neck Crane in Bhutan is go to prison for life.

Hundreds flock to the Phobjikha Valley, a glacial valley in a remote area with no electrical power. Here the Black Neck Cranes are conservatory protected and can be viewed. There are many legends and myths about this bird. The Bhutanese call it Thrung Throng. Black Neck Crane Dancers honor the bird with a festival dance. Other migratory birds as the Pailas’ fish eagle which is considered rare, migrates through Bhutan between Tibet and northern India. This bird is often seen near Wangdi near spring. Often it will be spotted with Ospreys and Pied Avocet. Wintertime brings numerous species down to lower altitudes, including accentors, rose finches, grosbeaks, snow pigeons and pheasants such as the satyrtragopan, the Himalayan monal and the blood pheasant.

Even the casual observer can be sure to see the blue whistling-thrush, yellow blue magpie, the wall creeper, white capped water redstarts, spotted nutcracker in the pine forest and the red-billed choughs on the roofs on the dzongs. All animals in Bhutan are protected by the Buddhist ethic that prohibits killing. Further protection in the 1995 Forest and Nature Conservation Act defines several species as totally protected. Black Neck Cranes, Monal Pheasant, Peacock, Pheasant, Raven and the Rufous-Necked Hornbill.

Day 01 : Arrive Paro, drive to your Paro/ overnight
Day 02 : Drive to Thimphu , capitol of Bhutan , birding, overnight hotel
Day 03 : A drive into the country a full day birding, return to Thimphu , Overnight at hotel.
Day 04 : Drive to Dochula Pass (10,500 ft.) Overnight at hotel.
Day 05 : Today we drive to Punakha. Overnight camp
Day 06 : Entire day bird watching in Tashithang Valley, overnight at camp
Day 07 : Depart Tashithang for Wangdue Pelela Pass. Overnight in Trongsa Hotel.
Day 08 : Drive from Trongsa to Kuengarabten. Overnight in Bumthang
Day 09 : Depart Bumthang, for Gayzamchu.
Day 10 : Leave Gayzamchu for Sengor crossing Thumshingla pass, overnight Halt in Sengor.
Day 11 : Continuing on to Thrumshingla – overnight camp at Yongkola Lingmithang.
Day 12 : Lingmithang Bird watching Full Day. Overnight Halt.
Day 13 : Begin drive back to west. Photos stops. Overnight Hotel.
Day 14 : Continue our drive back toward the west, arrive Paro
Day 15 : Depart for airport and your return home.

November Bird Watching

Arrive from Bangkok in Paro on Wed Nov 8, Druk Air flight KB 125
Depart from Paro to Bangkok on November 18, Druk Air flight KB 126
Day 1 : Wednesday morning flight from Bangkok to Paro
Day 2 : Paro, sightseeing, evening drive to Thimphu
Day 3 : Thimphu sightseeing, overnight in Thimphu
Day 4 : Drive to gangtey Gompa for the Black Necked Crane Festival. This will be a good opportunity to stop along the way for bird viewing.
Day 5:Visit the festival and crane sanctuary.
Day 6:Drive to Tashithang stopping along the way for lunch and bird watching. Overnight in tashithang. Day 7:Hike to bird watching areas (500-600 species recorded in the area)
Day 8:Drive to dochula pass for bird watching and overnight camp in Dochula.
Day 9:Drive from Dochula to paro, overnight in Paro.
Day 10:Paro sightseeing, hike to Taktshang Monastery. Overnight in Paro.
Day 11:Departure
The highlight of this trip is the Festival for the Endangered Black Necked Crane. By legend the cranes are believed to be the reincarnated souls of Lamas that come to pay homage at the monastery of Gangtey Gompa. Each year at the cranes return it is said that they circle the monastery three times before landing in the wetlands below. The Festival is sponsored each year by the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature and the Phobjikha Valley community. Foreign guests are asked to make a small donation for attending the festival.