Bhutan Biological Treasure Tours
Royal Manas National Park safari, Bhutan Community based Eco tourism, Gomphu Manas Norbugang Eco trail. An unparalleled biological treasure in the Eastern Himalayas, Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) represents the largest example of tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems in Bhutan. With hundreds of wildlife, birds and plant species, several globally endangered, Royal Manas is not only the most diverse protected area in the Kingdom but also one of the world’s biologically outstanding conservation sites. The park is the fourth largest national park in Bhutan with an area of 1057 km2 and covers the three districts of Sarpang, Zhemgang and Pemagatsel. The park area begins from the plains of Manas River in Brahmaputra basin at 108 meters and extends up to 2600 meters above sea level.
After being maintained as a forest reserve by the Royal Government of Bhutan for many years, Royal Manas was notified as a wildlife sanctuary in 1964, making this park, the nation’s oldest protected area. In 1993 the area was upgraded to a national park. Now, it forms part of the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex, an extensive system of protected areas and biological corridors covering over 50 percent of the country.
Royal Manas is linked to Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park to the north and India’s Manas Tiger Reserve in the south. The park is also linked to Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Thrumshingla National Park through biological corridors, Figure 1. The principal reason for this linkage is to provide a continuous gradation of protected natural habitats from tropical duars all the way to alpine Himalayan highlands. This initiative is without doubt a unique conservation achievement in the Himalayas. Today this largely unexplored treasure is opened to tourists to promote community based ecotourism in the park.
Flora and Fauna
The park’s location and the largely pristine forest, which covers approximately 92% of the area, make the park extremely rich in biodiversity. There are five different vegetation types which consist of tropical monsoon forest, subtropical broadleaved forest, warm broadleaved forest, cool broadleaved forest and evergreen oak forest.
These habitats support a wide range of fauna, including many rare and endangered species such as the Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, gaur, wild buffalo, wild dog, common leopard, black panther, marveled cat, golden cat, clouded, leopard and Chinese pangolin. Species endemic to the Eastern Himalayan foothills, such as golden languor, capped languor, pygmy hog and hispid hare also occur in the park.
Royal Bengal Tiger in Manas
The local communities residing in the park are from the five geogs/blocks of Trong, Phangkhar and Nagala geogs under Zhemgang district; Umling geog under Sarpang district and Norbugang geog under Pemagatshel district. There are a total of 1026 households with an approximate population of 10646 people living in and around the park. Agriculture and livestock rearing form the main source of income for these communities. They form some of the poorest communities in the country highly dependent on the forest resources for their livelihoods.
The local population primarily consists of ethnic group known as Khengpas, who practice subsistence slash and burn agriculture farming for cultivating crops such as maize, millet, rice and wheat. Orange and cardamom also are cultivated in some areas. Khengpas live in traditional houses built of stone, mud, and wood as well as one can come across houses made of bamboo roofed with banana leaves.
Besides the Khengpas, the other minority ethnic group is the Tshanglas, who are mainly settled in Bjoka and in Kheng Edi. They are believed to have migrated from the east in search of better land. They speak both Tshanglas and Khengkha. The local communities have rich history, culture and traditions with each village celebrating different local festivals, songs and dances. Besides Buddhism, Bonism is also practiced in some places.
Community based ecotourism program in Royal Manas National Park
The community based ecotourism program in Royal Manas National Park was initiated in 2010 with support from WWF Bhutan. The program was initiated in line with the Royal Government’s poverty alleviation theme of the current 10 Five Year Plan (2008-2013) to benefit rural communities from conservation through ecotourism. Accordingly, ecotourism was identified as a priority program for park and the Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
Moreover community based ecotourism in the park provided opportunity to diversify tourism products in the country and address the issue of seasonality associated with low tourist visitation to Bhutan in the winter season. Since the park is rich in terms of both natural and cultural resources, the park has lot of potentials for ecotourism in the country.
In order to pilot community based ecotourism in the park, Gomphu-Manas-Norbugang eco-trail was selected. This is because the communities living along this trail are one of the least developed communities in Bhutan with high incidence of poverty.
Objectives of the community based ecotourism
1. To promote local stewardship and community participation in conservation of species and sub-tropical ecosystems in the park through benefit from ecotourism.
2. To provide alternative source of livelihoods for local communities to reduce pressure on the park’s natural resources and help alleviate poverty.
3. To offset losses suffered by local communities from crop damage and livestock depredation by wildlife in the park.
4. To create awareness on the importance of biodiversity conservation and reduce threats such as poaching and illegal use of natural resources in the park.
About 150 households living in villages along the Gomphu-Manas-Norbugang eco-trail are beneficiaries of the community based ecotourism program. Agriculture farming and livestock rearing form the main sources of their livelihoods. Due to small land holdings, their income from farming is marginal. The main source of cash income is from sale of oranges and through portering services. Major agriculture crops grown are rice, maize and millet. Majority of the communities speak local dialect known as Kheng kha followed by tshangla.
The services and facilities along the eco-trail are managed by the five community management groups of eco-camps located at Gomphu , Pangtang, Shilingtoe, Pangbang and Norbugang.
- 70 % of the revenue goes to individual members providing services
- 25% to the community fund
- 5% to the Royal Manas National Park
- Visit the impressive Dzong (fortresses), former palaces and Buddhist monasteries!
- Hike through the ridge top Goembas (monasteries) and meet the monks.
- Hike through the terraced farmlands and villages, visit the farmhouses and meet the villagers.
- Attend the local festivals and events.
- Visit the vibrant markets and towns.
- Visit the traditional arts and crafts workshop, meet the artisans, weavers and painters!
- And much more…
- Receive and Transfer to Airport
- Double/Twin in 3 Star Hotel
- 3 Meals every day with Evening Tea
- Toyota SUV for FIT & Toyota Bus for Group with Driver.
- English Speaking Guide
- All Sightseeing
- Museum Fees
- Bhutan Visa
- All Permits
- Bottled Mineral Water
- Walks and Hikes
What’s is Not Include
- Guide and Driver tip
- International Airfare
- Laundry Charges
- Internet, International calls
- Other Beverages
- Donation when photographing
- Travel Insurance
- Baggage Handlers tip
You’ll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organizing the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimize the time spent travelling and maximize the variety of experiences. From small buses to riverboats as well as on foot.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- DAY 1: Arrive Paro
- DAY 2: Paro-Paro
- DAY 3: Paro-Thimphu (1 hour 30mins)
- DAY 4: Thimphu-Thimphu
- DAY 5: Thimphu-Trongsa (7 hours Drive)
- DAY 6: Tongsa to Shemgang
- DAY 7: Shemgang to Tingtibi
- DAY 8: Tingtibi to Gonphu
- DAY 9: Gonphu to Panthang
- DAY 10: Panthang to Pangbang
- DAY 11: Pangbang to Manas
- DAY 12: Rest at Manas
- DAY 13: Rest at Manas
- DAY 14: Manas to Siliguri (India)
- DAY 15: Siliguri to Bagdogra Airport for Departure
Overnight at hotel.
Activity. Visit Taktshang Dzong (Tiger’s Nest)After breakfast, your car will drop you at the starting point of the excursion to the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s nest). The steep trail to the monastery will take you through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You will love to stop at the cafeteria for refreshment after a steep climb. If not tired, you will hike further until you get a clear view of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru.
After lunch, you will visit the National Memorial Chorten. The third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who wanted to erect a monument for world peace and prosperity, originally planned the building of this landmark. After his untimely demise, the fourth king, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk completed the construction in 1974. It is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument to peace. You will also visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, which offer a wide range of local products, including the splendid thangkha paintings and exquisitely woven textiles. Thereafter, we will take you to the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, opened in 2001.
If you are in Thimphu during Friday Saturday and Sunday then the sightseeing will Visit Farmers’ Centenary market in Thimphu, which is in a permanent set of stalls. The market was opened in 2008 to celebrate 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan. Vendors from throughout the region arrive on Friday afternoon and remain selling their goods until Sunday night. It’s an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best and cheapest vegetables and foodstuffs. This is the only time that fresh produce is easily available and the shopping is enhanced by the opportunity to catch up on the week’s gossip. At the northern end of the market are stalls called indigenous goods and handicrafts section. Here you will find locally produced goods, including religious objects, handmade metal swords and knives, baskets, fabrics and different hats from various minority groups. Your sightseeing will continue to Zangdopelri temple in Changlimithang where you can witness young Bhutanese practicing their favorite archery game. We will return to hotel for lunch. After lunch, you will visit the Memorial Chorten built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Dupthop Lhakhang (Monastery for the nuns) and other places of interest.
overnight in Tongsa.
- Trip to Bhutan or Trip to Asia
- Farmer in bhutan ploughing the fied
- Monk learning to play flute I
- Travel to Bhutan (Dochula Pass 3100mts in Bhutan)
- Tour Bhutan (Festival in Bhutan)
- Bumthang Festival
What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
In Bhutan every season has its own charm; as such the country has variety of doings to the tourist according to their interest. But the most visited months are usually March, April and May during which the country is at its best scenery as the spring just hits off and of course in the later months of the year like August, September, October and November. These are the peak seasons as the weather during these time of the years are pleasant and warm and not to forget the festival months. However, Bhutan Creative Tours is focusing to spread out visitation over the year because, come rain or shine, there is something for all parts of the year. The winters are cold, but we have winter treks and festivals in the southern parts of Bhutan,which has warm weather through out the year. A winter in Bhutan is characterized by clear blue skies, but you need your jackets with you.
Do I need a Visa for Bhutan? How can I obtain a Visa for Bhutan?
All visitors traveling to Bhutan are required to obtain a Visa prior to your arrival to Bhutan, except for Indian nationals holding a valid Indian passport. After your confirmation to visit Bhutan with us, you can just download and fill out the Visa Application form from our website and send it to us. We’ll have the visa confirmation letter processed within 7 working days and send it to you. The Visa Application System used by the national tourism office is designed by our CEO when he was working as the Chief Researcher for the Tourism Council of Bhutan. This makes it very easy for us to leverage visa processing even during the final minutes before your arrival to Bhutan.
What Documents will I require at the Airport when I come to Bhutan?
You will need your Passport which has 6 months validity for its expiry date, Druk Air e-ticket, whether you booked it through us or the Druk air’s website and your Visa confirmation letter which we will send you prior to your arrival in the country. And please to carry a copy of your tour itinerary as well.