GANGRI BHUTAN MANAS SAFARI
The Royal Manas National park tour is known for its rich flora and fauna in the tropical and sub-tropical ecosystem in Bhutan. Good for nature-based tourism, it forms a corridor for the movement of wildlife from the Indian plains into the heart of Bhutan. Bhutan’s Crown Jewel, the Manas National Park Has only recently been opened to the public and is home to more than 450 species of birds which have been officially recorded with the park with an additional 200 believed to be in residence. Extremely rich in wildlife species, the highly endangered Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, gangetic dolphin and pangolin can be found in the park. The rare golden langur, found nowhere else in the world, a primate of extraordinary grace and beauty with its long, silky blond fur can also be found here. Also found in the park is the globally threatened Rufous-necked hornbill, Pallas fishing eagle, great white- bellied heron, spotted wren-babbler, blue-headed rock thrush and emerald cuckoo. About more than 900 types of plants that have commercial, medicinal, traditional and religious significance can also be found.
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TOUR IN BRIEF
Duration: 12-19 Days
Entry/exit: Paro Airport/Guwahati, India
Place of visit: Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey & Paro
As you approach Paro by air, prepare to be captivated by the panoramic views of the Himalayas, including the iconic Mount Everest and other renowned Himalayan peaks. Upon landing, your Bhutanese Guide will welcome you. After settling in, enjoy lunch and explore Paro. Later, drive to Thimphu (1 to 1.5 hours).
Driving Distance: 76 km
Driving Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
After breakfast, embark on a drive to Punakha. En route, visit:
- Dochula Pass (3,150m): Renowned for its breathtaking scenery and the 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens, believed to bring merits to all beings.
- Chhimi Lhakhang: Often referred to as the “temple of fertility,” built by the Divine Madman, Lama Drukpa Kuenley, in the 15th century. After lunch, explore:
- Punakha Dzong: A remarkable fortress built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637, situated at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. It serves as winter quarters for the monk body. In the evening, take a leisurely stroll around Punakha town. Overnight stay in Punakha.
Driving Time: 6 hours
After breakfast, drive to Gelephu in southern Bhutan. Upon arrival in Gelephu, visit the Gelephu Tsachu (hot springs), which are frequented by Bhutanese seeking relief from various ailments. The hot springs offer Menchu or hot stone baths as well.
Driving Distance: 160 km
Driving Time: 5 hours
Today, you’ll drive to Gomphu through the Royal Manas Park, situated at an altitude of 1,457m. Gomphu is reachable from Zhemgang in Central Bhutan.
Trek Time: 4 hours
Camp Altitude: 1,457m
Begin your eco-trail from Gomphu today, passing through mixed broadleaf forests. Keep an eye out for bird species, including hornbills, bulbuls, doves, woodpeckers, and cuckoos. You can even opt to ride a mountain bike from Gomphu to Pangthang. Your trek will conclude at Pangthang, where you’ll spend the night at the eco-lodges.
Trek Time: 4 hours
Your trek today kicks off at the banks of Mangdechu. This trail offers rich bird-watching opportunities, with species like thrushes, drongos, hornbills, partridges, pheasants, bulbuls, tree pies, barbets, eagles, and more. A short climb awaits you just before reaching the Shilingtoe eco-camp, where you’ll stay overnight in a luxury camp.
Today’s trail will take you through Tashibi village, known for its annual festival in September. You’ll encounter a wide array of bird species along the way, including bulbuls, barbets, thrushes, hornbills, kingfishers, cormorants, wagtails, and trogons. The luxury campsite at Panbang is situated at Anilademba, at the confluence of Mangdechu and Dangmechu, where you’ll spend the night in a luxury camp.
Today, experience the famous elephant safari, offering wildlife viewing from the back of these majestic creatures. The safari commences from the central Manas camp ranger office and takes you through various climate zones within the park. The best time for this activity is from November to March when the weather is pleasant with minimal rainfall. Spend the night in a luxury camp.
Today promises more adventure with river rafting on the Manas River, a bucket-list experience. As you boat down the river, observe wildlife like goral, capped langurs, cormorants, and numerous bird species against the backdrop of stunning landscapes. Rest for the night in a luxury camp.
Trek Time: 6 hours
Embark on the longest trek of your eco-trail. Reach Norbugang, accessible from Bhutan Manas or Nanglam in the Pemagatshel district. Along the way, you’ll pass through five villages, each hosting annual Tsechu festivals. One of the most unique and entertaining festivals is held in Nimshongborang village. Enjoy an overnight stay in a luxury camp.
Drive to Trongsa from Norbugang and spend the night in Trongsa.
After breakfast, explore Trongsa, visiting:
- Trongsa Dzong: The impressive and historically significant dzong, often considered the most imposing in Bhutan, with deep royal connections.
- Ta Dzong: An ancient watchtower housing cultural relics.
- Afterward, drive back to Thimphu, covering a distance of 205 km in approximately 6-7 hours. Spend the night in Thimphu.
While in Thimphu, explore:
- The Institute for Zorig Chusum: Where students learn Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.
- National Memorial Chorten: A stupa built in honor of the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
- Kuenselphodrang: Home to a colossal Buddha statue offering panoramic views of the Thimphu valley. After lunch, depart for Paro, stopping at Wangsisna Heritage Home en route, a traditional Bhutanese house with historic significance. Spend your last night in Paro.
After breakfast, drive to the Paro international airport and farewell
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