Bhutan is well-known for its snow-capped Himalayan Peaks, vibrant Buddhist culture, and project of “Gross National Happiness,” and is perhaps underappreciated as a sanctuary for a vibrant fauna, including over 700 species of birds. Join Bird Alliance of Oregon trip leader Brodie Cass Talbott, who spent three years living and birding in Bhutan, as we enjoy some of the most charismatic birds in Asia, from Green Jays to Himalayan Monals, and search for species hard to find anywhere else, like Beautiful Nuthatch, Ward’s Trogon, and White-bellied Heron, amidst the backdrop of one of the most scenic and captivating countries on earth.Register!
Lodging: Much of Bhutan has very little development, particularly on the east side of the country, and this is one reason for such a rich bird-life. Our itinerary will take us to modern hotels in the larger towns, but we will also be staying in relatively rural areas, in comfortable camping settings, with large wall tents and fresh-cooked food, for three nights. Each person will have a camp cot and bedding provided. We will have limited access to electricity in these camps, and will likely be without phone or internet.
Accessibility: While the terrain is among the most rugged in the world, making for slow, windy roads, our hiking will mostly be short hikes on gentle slopes. Participants should expect to hike 2-3 miles per day. One exception is the optional hike to Tiger’s Nest monastery (see day 13 on the itinerary), which is 4 miles round trip, with 1,700 feet elevation gain. While it is a top highlight, we understand that not everyone will be physically capable of the hike, and participants should honestly evaluate whether this is feasible for them.
Climate and health: Expect a variety of conditions, ranging from hot subtropical climate to cold mountainous terrain. Tropical diseases like mosquito-borne fevers are rare here, but travelers should be prepared for some level of gastro-intestinal issues, and remember that access to pharmacies or definitive medical care will be many hours away for the first half of the trip.
Visas: Bhutanese visas will be paid for and arranged by our in-country provider. However, in order to be able to travel the breadth of the country (there is only one highway across the country) it will be necessary to start our journey in Guwahati, and participants will need to arrange an Indian Visa.
Travel: It is a long journey to Bhutan. We strongly recommend working with Willamette Travel to arrange tickets. We will be meeting in Guwahati, Assam at the beginning of the trip, and ending in Paro, both of which are small international airports. Travel time can take as little as 30 hours, with minimal layovers, but we would recommend planning on spending the night in one of the connecting cities, which could include Bangkok, Delhi, Singapore, or Kathmandu, or one of the connecting cities to those airports, such as London. Please note that staying in Bhutan beyond the date of the trip would require approval from our in-country provider because of visa regulations.
- Trip Leaders: Brodie Cass Talbott and local guides
- Trip Fee: $6,950 members / $7,795 non-members
- Deposit: $3,475
- Single supplement: TBD
- Group size: Limited to 14 participants
- Fee Includes: All lodging accomodations, breakfast and lunch, all local guide fees, park entrance fees, excursions, and the services of your skilled leader. A portion of your fee is a tax-deductible contribution to Bird Alliance of Oregon.
- Fee Does Not Include: International airfares, your Indian Visa, dinner, alcoholic or carbonated beverages, travel insurance or personal expenses.
Join us for a trip extension to Kaziranga, April 17-21, 2025
*Fees have not yet been identified for this extension. Please click the inquire button to add yourself to the interest list for this portion of the ecotour.
Participants will have the option for a five-day Kaziranga extension. Located on the Brahmaputra floodplain east of Guwahati, Kaziranga National Park is home to large numbers of Asian Elephants and Indian Rhinoceros, along with an abundant bird life, much of which will be new to the trip. Tigers are often spotted here, and we’ll make our best effort as we explore the park by safari jeep over three days. We’ll also make a visit to the Hoolock Gibbon preserve, a crucial piece of habitat for South Asia’s only ape species. We’ll also take time to bird nearby tea estates in search of hard to find species like the elusive Blue-naped Pitta. Other bird highlights may include the critically endangered Greater Adjutant, as well as stunning Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Swamp Francolin, and Indochinese Roller, all of which are difficult or impossible to find in Bhutan. With great luck, we may encounter Bengal Florican, a critically endangered Bustard that is a speciality of the region.
We will contact you when more information is available!
Brodie Cass Talbott
Brodie works as an educator with Bird Alliance of Oregon. After many years of wildland firefighting and leading river tours, he spent six years living and teaching across Asia, where his interest in birds became his passion. He has birded across five continents, and uses his experience in education and ecotourism to share his love of the outdoors with people from all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, with an eye towards increasing access to wild spaces for people from diverse communities.