Bhutan is one of the finest regions in Asia for birds (750 species) and wild flowers. With extraordinary bird life, wildlife, wild flowers and fly fishing, it offers the more adventurous travellers the perfect holiday!
As documented in the BBC’s Lost Land of the Tiger – Bhutan boasts one of the greatest areas of biodiversity in the world, resulting in an extraordinary array of wildlife, from tigers, to Asiatic golden cats, leopard and takins as well as Asiatic black bears and Asiatic elephants and langurs. Tiger safaris in Bhutan is still in its infancy which in many ways, makes it that much more exciting and less commercial. It also means that you will be some of the first people in the world to see tigers in Bhutan.
The best time to view mammals in Bhutan in the lowlands is from November through to February whilst in the more mountainous regions, the best time to view them is from April to June. The most rewarding parks are the Jigme Dorji National Park and the Jigme Singe Wanchuck National Park in the Black Mountains.
You will be camping out in tents and the days will be spent walking with your guide through the forests, in search of elusive wildlife, extraordinary birdlife and rare plants. If conditions permit, you can search for animals with a spotlight at night, with your guide. Whilst walking from camp to camp, one passes by pretty, unfrequented villages, with children laughing and playing.
These walks (with drives in between), can take anything from a week to ten days to give the wildlife enthusiast the best opportunity of seeing the diverse range of wildlife that exists in these regions. However, we can always reduce the time to just one full day in Jigme Dorji, for example, for clients who are staying in Punakha or Wangdue. We might also be able to arrange for our clients to spend time with researchers in the Manas National Park, where they are conducting ground breaking research with their camera traps.
In the Bhutanese jungles and hillsides, one can search for tigers on foot which makes it all the more thrilling. Walking safaris of this kind are so much more rewarding than simply spending time in a vehicle and one learns so much more on foot. The pace is also much gentler and it gives one the opportunity to really absorb one’s surrounding environment.
From November through to March, the Black Necked Cranes can be seen as they come down to the nesting grounds of Gangtey from the Tibetan plateau. Try and time your journey with the Black Neck Crane Festival which celebrates the arrival of these birds. There are two wonderful hotels now in Gangtey, a short distance from the RSPB centre where they have a telescope and one can see these birds on the plains as well as abounding this region wherever one looks.
Quite aside from this though, the birdlife is superb throughout the country with over 750 bird species recorded. Some of the best birding can be seen in the Limithang Valley in the Ura Valley, situated east of the country, where one can camp out with a three day walking trail, accompanied by expert guides.
Aside from that, one can also see wonderful birdlife around Jigme Dorji, the Punakha and Wangdue regions as well as Gangtey, Trongsa and Bumthang and there are even some good birding spots around the pine forests of Thimphu. We would very much recommend for those interested in wildlife, to visit these parks with a superb guide and we have some of the finest naturalist guides in Bhutan.
If one is interested in wild flowers, then visit Bhutan in April and May when the rhododendrons (amongst the alpine flowers) are all in bloom!
Fly Fishing in Bhutan has been described as some of the finest fly fishing in the world, against the stunning backdrop of the Himalayan mountain range, casting at sunset. Golden mahseer ( as well as chocolate blue and Thai), brown trout and snow trout (also known as the Bhutanese bonefish) can be caught. One can either undertake a dedicated fly fishing holiday in Bhutan or simply do a day’s fishing around Punakha.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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