8 days tour around Bhutan with Birdwatch

Day 1: Arrival in Paro (Nov 7th)

Welcome to the land of happiness, also known as Druk Yul (country of the Drukpa Lineage, the Dragon People, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon.) Upon arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be greeted in our traditional style by our guide and driver, who will be accompany you throughout the tour.
You will drive to Thimphu (capital city, 1hr drive). On the way, we will stop for a short sightseeing at Tamchog lhakhang (Temple built by the famous saint from Tibet called Thangtong Gyalpo in 13th century.)
We will then start our sightseeing by first visiting the Buddha Point (one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at 54 meters/177ft)
Afternoon, you will visit the Memorial Chorten (built in memory of Third Druk Gyalpo and is dedicated to World Peace.)
Lunch will be at a local restaurant to experience the traditional style Bhutanese cuisine.
Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan (is a national textiles museum)
Tashichho Dzong (Tashichho Dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952.

Day 2: Thimphu (Nov 8th)

Today we will be visiting the Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress to ever build in the country by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal) Legend says that it was built to imprison a demon that was terrorizing the junction of the eastern and western path. The first fortress of its kind, it features beautiful Buddhist paintings and carvings.)
Changangkha Lhakhang (It was first built by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhigpo(12-13 century) the founder of Drukpa Kagyu school in Bhutan.)
Takin Preservation Centre (located in the Mothitang district of Thimphu, Bhutan is a wildlife reserve area for takin (Budorcas taxicolor), the national animal of Bhutan.)
Lunch will be at Folk Heritage.
National Institute of Zorig Chusum; (Commonly known as ‘the painting school’, operates four to six years courses that provide instruction in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts.)
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory; You will witness the art of Bhutanese papermaking.
Centenary Farmers’ Market Farmers from the nearby village come here to sell agricultural products and handmade crafts to the locals.

Birds Which will be likely to be seen here are; Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos), Redrumped Swallow (Hirunda daurica), Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus melaschistos), Grackle or Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa), Grey Wagtail (Motacilla caspica), Whitebellied Yuhina (Yuhina xanthoteuca), Upland Pipit (Anthus sylvanus), Plumbeous Redstart (Rhyacornis fuliginosus).

Day 3: Punakha (Nov 9th)

Today you will be driving to Punakha district (the old capital of Bhutan till 1985). In the morning you will be driving pass the Dochula Pass (Elevation 3100m) there you will stop for a short sightseeing for about 30minutes. Then you will drive down at the elevation of 1300m and reach Punakha.
Before Punakha, you will first visit the Chimi lhakhang (Temple of the famous saint mad man Drukpa Kinley)
Then have a lunch at a local traditional restaurant.
Punakha Dzong (also known as Punthang Dechenphodrang, Legend says that Zhabdrung made the carpenter trulpizow balep made to sleep in chamber and he had been taken to paradise /zangtopelri of Guru Rinpoche and he got at the sketch and the model of the dzong.)
Visit to the long suspension bridge in Punakha.

Birds which will be likely to be seen here are; Cute Slaty-bellied, Chestnut-headed Tesias, Red–headed Trogons, Small Niltavas, Black-chinned Yuhinas, Wren Babblers, Woodpeckers, Laughing Thrushes and White-bellied Herons.

Day 4: Gangtey (Nov 10th)

Today you will drive to Gangtey. (It’s a beautiful vast U-shape valley which is a winter residence of the famous endangered bird called “The Black Necked Crane”. They come down from the Tibetan Plateau to Phobjikha valley during winter season and fly back during summer season.)
Gangtey Goenpo. Generally known as Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery, is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism built in 17th century.)
Nature Trail, walk around the Phobjikha valley.
Visit to The Black Necked Crane information center.

Birds which will be likely to be seen here are; Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan and the majestic Himalayan Monal.
Past highlights at this location have included Himalayan Honeyguide, Crested Kingfisher, Tibetan Serin, Short-billed Minivet and Rufous-bellied Bush-robin. Spotted Laughingthrush, Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, White-browed Bush Robin and White-winged Grosbeak

Day 5: Gangtey Festival (Nov 11th)

Today you will go and witness one of the beautiful mountain festivals called, “Black Necked Crane Festival” at the Gangtey Monastery. Please do enjoy and take plenty of photos…
Lunch will be at a local restaurant nearby.
Later in the afternoon you will then travel back to Wangdue, there you will have to halt a night at Kichu Resort (which is near the roadside). It will take around 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the resort.

Day 6: Paro (Nov 12th)

Today you will travel back to Paro. It will approximately take 3 hours 30 minutes.
After reaching there, you will check in your hotel, get freshen up and do a small sightseeing around Paro. You will first visit;
National museum / Ta Dzong / Watch tower. (Ta Dzong actually means a watch tower to look after the province of Paro valley and served as a regional administrator as well as a store house which would ensure supplies in the event of warfare.)
Paro Dzong / Rinpung Dzong (It was built by Gyalchog (brother of Gyalzom) the family of lama Pha Dung Dung in 15 centuries. He surrendered himself to the local deity Jawang Nep and built a 5 storied building and named as Hungrel Gampo.)
Kichu lhakhang (Kichu it actually means the peaceful palace. The first temple was built by a 1st Dharma king of Tibet Songtsen Gampo in 7th century.)
Later you can stroll around the village side and experience the authentic culture of Bhutan.
You can also visit home-stay to see how Bhutanese lifestyle is like in the countryside.

Birds which will be likely to be seen here are; Aberrant Bush Warbler (Cettia flavoivacea), Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum), Himalayan Whistling Thrush (Myiophonus caeruleus), Common Teal (Ana crecca), Greyheaded Flycatcher Warbler (Seicercus xanthoschistos), Greenbacked Tit (Parus monticolus), Hodgson’s Redstart (Phoenicurus hodgsoni), Jungle Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos), Himalayan Brown Dipper (Cinclus pallasi), Crestee Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus), Himalayan Treecreeper (Certhia hamalayana), Hill Pigeon (Columba rupestris), Rufousbreasted Accentor (Prunella strophiata), Rufous Turtle Dove (Streptoppelia orientalis), Rufousbellied Hawk-Eagle (Hieraaetus kienerii), Stripethroated Yuhina (Yuhina gularis), Longtailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus).

Day 7: Tiger’s Nest Paro (Nov 13th)

This is optional for you since it’s one of the short hikes but a tough one since you need to hike up for 2 hours with almost steep slopes. Usually all tour ends by doing this hike since it’s the most iconic structure in the valley of Paro,” Tiger’s Nest”. The cave on the rock was there before 750 million years ago during the formation of the earth. It was only known after the arrival of Guru Padmasambhava in 746 A.D.
You can also visit Drukgyel Dzong which is located a bit feather from the tiger’s nest. This one you don’t have to hike but a walking distance from the roadside.
Drukgyel Dzong was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District, Bhutan. The dzong was probably built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 at the behest of Ngawang Namgyal, Zhabdrung Rinpoche, to commemorate victory over an invasion from Tibet.

Day 8: Departure from Bhutan (Nov 14th)

Our guide and driver will bid farewell to you all and have a pleasant flight back home. We will be looking forward to seeing you again in future for another place to tour around. Thank You & Tashi Delek!