Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush © Kit Day
Bhutan with Sikkim:
The Eastern Himalayas in Fall
A 16-day, small group birding tour of the Eastern Himalayas that combines the densely forested mid-elevations of India's Sikkim state with the high mountain passes, alpine meadows and glacial valleys of neighbouring Bhutan.
Our exciting November tour of the Eastern Himalayas takes us through the most humid and most intact tracts of the Himalayan range. Combining Sikkim and Bhutan in one tour allows us to cover a wider range of habitats as we search for regional specialities over a cross-section of elevations in this bird-rich environment. We will explore remarkably intact foothill forests, through magnificent moss-draped forests at mid-elevations, up into alpine meadows and glacial valleys via high mountain passes hung with prayer flags. Bhutan has long been considered the epitome of Himalayan birding, yet visiting this proudly protective kingdom does come at a cost. By combining key sites in Bhutan with those in neighbouring Sikkim we have created a comparable birding experience at a more affordable price. Furthermore, November is a good month to see overwintering Black-necked Crane, not present during our spring tours, and for enjoying fabulous mixed flocks of tits, yuhinas, fulvettas, warblers and laughingthrushes, with breathtaking vistas in cool and crisp conditions. We will be looking for some of the most enticing birds to inhabit the Eastern Himalayas, stunners such as Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Ward’s Trogon, Himalayan Cutia, Fire-tailed Myzornis, White-bellied Heron, Ibisbill, Himalayan Owl, and an incredible selection of scimitar-babblers, wren-babblers, shrike-babblers, bush-robins, shortwings, thrushes, flycatchers, woodpeckers and much more.
Saturday 30 November - Sunday 15 December 2024
with Sherab Dorji
2024 & 2025: $ 4385 / £ 3585 / € 4140 (Bagdogra/Paro)
Duration: 15 nights/16 days
Group size: min. 6 / max. 8 with 1 leader
Single room supplement: $ 575 / £ 470 / € 545
Deposit: $ 875 / £ 715 / € 830 (20% of the tour price)
The tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.
The tour price includes:
All meals and drinking water
Services of a guide throughout
All birding and wildlife activities
Reserve entry fees
Bhutan visa fee
Bhutan Sustainable Development Fee*
Tour info, pre-travel notes and checklists
Estimated flight costs:$ 1145 / £ 900 / € 1050 (to Bagdogra/from Paro)
Estimated visa costs: $ 25 / £ 18 / € 21**
*Bhutan has long limited tourism through high cost, with the government committed to a 'high value, low impact' tourism policy. To achieve this, the government imposes a minimum daily charge (the 'Sustainable Development Fee' or SDF) on all visitors, which is in addition to the cost of their travel arrangements. In 2022, as the country re-opened post-Covid, this was increased from $65 to $200 per person per night, forcing a huge increase in travel costs. In response to the concerns raised by those involved in Bhutan's tourism industry, the government has implemented some incentives for travel and have reduced the SDF by 50% until the end of 2027. Beyond this, it is unclear what the SDF policy and therefore the tour price will be, and the next few years would be a good time to plan a visit visit for anyone contemplating a birding tour to Bhutan in future.
**Bhutan visa fees are included. Estimated visa costs shown here are for a 30-day e-visa for India.