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Your India and Bhutan birdwatching tour begins on arrival at Kolkata where you will be received by our representative at Dum Dum Airport and transferred to your hotel. We suggest you get some good sleep today, as tomorrow we embark on a packed birdwatching tour into Bhutan!
Today we take a flight from Kolkata to Paro, Bhutan. Paro is a town in the beautiful Paro valley of rich culture and scenic beauty. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the country’s only airport, and the National Museum.
If time permits we will drive north of Paro valley for about 4 kilometers to Paro Chu, which is a favored habitat of the Ibis Bill. This bird is found in the area throughout the year. We will also be visiting the National Museum. From Paro, we will drive down to Thimpu. On reaching Thimpu, we will check-in at our hotel and get a well deserved good night's sleep.
Please fill up your immigration and declaration forms while in the air to get through your visa formalities faster at Paro airport. Do not lose your declaration form as you have to produce it at the time of departure
The morning in Thimphu will be spent visiting the Memorial Chorten and Folk Heritage Museum.
Thimpu is the capital of Bhutan. It is also Bhutan's center of government, religion, and commerce. It is also famous for its traditional architecture.
Later in the day, we will take a short drive to the Dochula area. The area is populated by mixed coniferous forests and is a renowned birdwatching paradise. We go on a short hike to Tashigang Monastery. On the way we may spot the Satyr Tragopan, Spotted Nutcracker, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Magpie, Chest Tailed Minla, Collard Blackbird, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, and many more species. In the afternoon we head to Punakha.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It remains the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot).
Our destination today is Dochula pass (3,088 m) on the Thimphu - Punakha road, from where we can enjoy a spectacular view of Bhutan’s magnificent snow-clad mountains. Later in the day, we will drive to Menchula and descend to Punakha through the cold broad-leaved forests.
We may spot birds like the Scarlet Finch, Black Drongo, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Slaty-backed Forktail, Gorgeted Flycatcher, White-throated Laughingthrust, Eurasian Jay, Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, and Verditer Flycatcher.
The next two days will be a great opportunity for you to observe birds over lengthier periods. We will drive from Punakha to Tashithang and go birdwatching in its broad-leaved forests. You can watch birds in their natural habitats at different time periods and get acquainted with their behavioral patterns.
Look out for the Great Barbet, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Magpie Robin, Green Magpie, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Osprey, River Lapwing, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Merganser, Pied Kingfisher, Red-vented Bulbul, Golden-throated Barbet, Kalij Pheasant, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Common Buzzard, Great Cormorant, and Crested Bunting.
Today, we will travel through broad-leaved coniferous forests from Punakha to Trongsa. A winding mountain road leads us into the town. En-route to the town we may spot the Mountain Bulbul, Striated Bulbul, Common Kestrel, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Whiskered Yuhina, Wall Creeper, and Himalayan Swiftlet.
Trongsa, perched on steep slopes above a river gorge, forms the central hub of Bhutan. The landscape around Trongsa is rather spectacular. An hour before we reach the town, we will see the impressive Dzong along a ridge above the ravine.
Today we head to Bumthang. The valley is the religious heartland of Bhutan and is home to some of the country's oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries.
We hike along a birding trail in the morning to Yeshi Zam. This is one of the best places to spot the Yellow-rumped Honey Guide. We will go birdwatching in the broad-leaved forests as well as in the bamboo and coniferous forests. We may spot the Great Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Black-billed Magpie, Red-billed Chough, Eurasian Hobby, and White-winged Grosbeak.
The day shall be spent in the surrounding coniferous forest region, exploring the resident birds. Some of the birds that we may spot here are the Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Snow Pigeon, Cross bills, Fire-tailed Sunbird and Plain Mountain Finch.
Today we drive for about an hour and a half from Jakar, the capital of Bumthang, to Ura. The drive will take us through open countryside, and occasionally into forest land. Sheep pastures line the road behind the southern tip of the Tang valley. As we approach Ura-la pass (3,600 m), we get a magnificent view of Mt. Gangkar Puensum. Ura village is about an hour’s walk downhill from Ura-la pass. The villages in Ura have clustered houses, which is quite unusual in Bhutan. From here, we will later move on to Yongkola.
Some of the birds that we expect to spot in the area, along the road in the bamboo forests include the Rosefinch, Gold-naped Finch, Little Forktail, White-capped Redstart, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrust, Coal Tit, Green-tailed Sunbird and Long-tailed Minivet. There is a good chance that we may come across a Red Panda in the dense bamboo forests. We will stay overnight at a camp here.
We will spend the next two days birdwatching in the cold broad-leaved forests. We will look out for birds around the Namling area as well. This region has some of the best unexplored forest land in Bhutan. We may see Ward’s Trogon, Satyr Tragopan, Grey chinned Minivet, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Striated Laughing Thrush and many more wonderful birds.
Today we cross the spectacular Thrumsing-la Pass (4,000 m) on our scenic journey from Bumthang to Mongar. Mongar marks the beginning of eastern Bhutan. The second largest town in the subtropical east, Mongar is situated high on a gently sloping hillside. We will look out for birds en route to our destination. Later in the day we will arrive at Mongar and check in at our hotel for the night.
Today we travel from Mongar to Tashigang. Tashigang lies to the far east of Bhutan and is the country’s largest district. Tashigang town, on the hillside above the Gamri Chu (river), was once a center for trade with Tibet. Today it is a junction on the east-west highway, with roads connecting to Samdrup Jongkhar and the Indian state of Assam. This town is also the principal marketplace for the semi-nomadic tribes of Merak and Sakten. We will also be visiting the Dzong.
Today we head for the Indian city of Guwahati. The road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar enables the eastern part of the country to access and benefit from trade with the southern region as well as from beyond the Indian border. After lunch we continue to Guwahati, where we will be spending the night.
A five hour drive from Guwahati brings us to Kaziranga National Park. We will check-in at the resort and have a late lunch. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the resort and its surroundings.
Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 470 sq. km. national park has tall elephant grass and lush green flood plains which is home to a rich variety of wildlife. Here we may spot birds like Greater Adjutants, Bengal Floricans, Pallas’s Fish Eagles and Black-necked Storks. Kaziranga’s larger inhabitants include the Greater Asian One-horned Rhinoceros, Asian Elephant, Asiatic Water Buffalo and the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger.
We being our day early in the morning in Kaziranga, with a jeep drive that will cover one of Kaziranga’s ranges.
The park is divided into four ranges. The Agoratoli range covers the eastern part. The Kohora range covers the central region. It is easily accessible from the range office at Kohora. The Baguri range covers the western part of the park and has the highest density of Rhinoceroses. The fourth range, Burhapar, covers the first additional area attached to Kaziranga.
We will return to the lodge for a late breakfast. You can opt for a short walk or relax in the lodge itself. After lunch, we will set out once again to explore Kaziranga until dusk. The following day will be spent exploring the park's wilderness and we hope to sight the famous One-horned Rhinoceros.
Today we head for Guwahati airport (approx 5 hours drive) to board our flight back to Kolkata. You will be welcomed by our representative upon arrival at Dum Dum Airport, Kolkata, who will help you get to your hotel.
Kolkata, a bustling city on the banks of Hooghly River is a cultural hotspot. The city of poets and artists also boasts of wonderful architecture like Victoria Memorial, St.Paul's Cathedral, Hooghly bridge, and Vidyasagar Setu bridge. Soak in the culture of the 'City of Joy' by hopping on to a tram and explore the treasures of the historic city.
This is the last day of your extensive birdwatching tour and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.
Please Note: Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice. The accommodations listed in this dossier are our preferred suppliers, but sometimes due to availability issues, we are unable to make use of the properties listed in this dossier. If we cannot use an accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards.
For Advanced level tours, we recommend previous experience of the activity involved. These are our most challenging and advanced expeditions. They include long walks, cycling, trekking, hiking or rafting in variable weather conditions for more than ten hours a day. These trips may often be over three weeks in duration. Ascents and descents are over 1000m at altitudes up to 6000m and the climate can be rigorous and challenging. Excellent physical condition and previous mountain trekking experience or appropriate preparation is essential.
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