Bhutan tiger safari holiday

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made at a time to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bhutan tiger safari holiday


In Bhutan we help the environment as most of the park and permit fees for trekking and walking through the parks goes to help maintain the conservation efforts inside the park. The camping fees also go direct to the Community Development Fund which helps to maintain the trekking trails and conserve the parks. We also look to employ local scientists as they conduct their research into the forests here. We also contribute and participate in as many studies that the local researchers are conducting as possible. On request we can also look to arrange specific tours that help researchers on their wildlife monitoring studies.
At the end of each we offset our carbon footprint (based on the number of tours we have completed and the number of passengers we have taken with us), with the Carbon Trust.

Wildlife Promise:

In Bhutan the mere presence of eco-tourism in potential tiger watching areas is improving the understanding that of wildlife in Bhutan and every sighting, every detail is recorded and passed on to the local scientists who are still working on creating the ‘Tiger Corridor’ as promoted on the BBC series Lost Land of the Tiger. Hopefully with a better understanding of the wildlife here and by increasing the revenue generated by eco-tourism here the Tiger Corridor can become a reality.
All the information collected in invaluable as the knowledge of the dwindling population of tigers is under such a threat. We also donate our pictures to the researchers to aid in their photo identification studies.


In Bhutan the local community benefits as we use local guides from local villages which helps the local community generate extra revenue. We also encourage the purchasing of local handicrafts which are all created in a sustainable way and provide great unique souvenirs. Bhutan also uses a unique system where a national tourism tax is imposed by the government. This is payable by your tour operator into one bank account in Bhutan (that is governed by the Bhutanese government), this is then divided to the ground agents, local accommodation owners, drivers, guides and everyone else involved in tourism. This ensures that all the money is received by everyone in the tourism chain and not just siphoned off by the hotel management etc.
This is keeping tourism in Bhutan at sustainable and workable levels as well as ensuring that the local people benefit from everyone visiting this wonderful country.
Also by visiting these remote rural areas we actively encourage employing the local village people as porters, guides, cooks and camp assistants as well as spending time to understand and observe their traditional ways of life.

Reviews of Bhutan tiger safari holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 17 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The cultural tours are well established and work very well. Architecture and scenery are superb. Visit to Tiger's Nest Monastery was as good as expected, a magical place. Tango Monastery outside Thimpu was lovely too, as you could enjoy the atmosphere without the crowds. Also loved Punakha Monastery which is so beautiful. Plus birds, butterflies and langurs.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Your chances of seeing tigers or any other large animal are near zero given the forests and steep hills. Manas Park is not set up to try and find animals either. You have one to four armed guards with you because of "miscreants and militants" threat so clearly things are not yet that safe. Plus, in the south the roads are appalling, and the accommodation extremely basic, bed. Yet I still paid premium prices.

So my advice is to go to Northern India where you might actually see some wildlife. It will also be a lot cheaper. Go to Bhutan for the cultural tours and view any wildlife you see (which you will, by the roadside or walking) as a bonus.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, especially in the south where clearly there are very few visitors indeed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Culturally excellent - four stars. Wildlife disappointing - two stars. Value for money very poor indeed - no stars. Tour operator charged top dollar and provided most basic of everything.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Henry,

In response to your review, which we always appreciate, I would like to make a few comments that may have been lost in translation on the trip. We always pride ourselves on our honest and transparent approach to describing our trip and particularly the chances of seeing wildlife. Via emails and phone conversations we explained in advance that the chances of seeing a tiger were very low (around 5%) as were the chances of seeing leopards and other large endangered mammals. When you spoke to your friends about this trip you mentioned to them that the chances were very low in seeing big cats and that the trip was to be seen as an exploration into a pristine wilderness as opposed as one that will stand or fall on whether a tiger is seen. This is the only way to approach a wildlife tour of Bhutan as tourism is in its infancy here and the wildlife not very habituated to the presence of people and the forests so vast and unbroken that the wildlife still has lots of places to hide and remain out of view.
Regarding the security inside the park, this is not normal. It is a shame that the security measures at the moment means that you have to have 4 armed guards. This is exceptional and out of our control. The extra security is in response to illegal logging and poaching which unfortunately occurs in all protected areas around the world these days. We believe that by increasing eco-tourism in the regions that currently experience high levels of logging and poaching that we will be able to reduce its impact. But when exploring a part of the natural world that is so remote and seldom visited by tourists it is important to be flexible in such matters and remember that all security measures are there for the safety of the wildlife, environment and yourself.
The prices paid towards this trip are influenced by the per person per day tourism tax that is imposed by the government and not ourselves. Despite the level of accommodation in some parts of the country (we explained that getting off the beaten track would involve more basic accommodation than in the cities), the price was the same for the days you spent in the hotels in the first few days as it was for the more basic eco camps in the last few days of the trip. This price is set by the government of Bhutan and we do not have any control over this. I agree it is possibly not the best way of organising tourism as there are differences in the level of accommodation throughout the country; but it is the way Bhutan do it. It is done to limit tourism and so the plus side of this is that you often have large areas of the countryside and national parks to yourself; avoiding the large and noisy crowds in other Asian national parks.
Unfortunately we have no control over the conditions of the roads in rural Bhutan and there is only one route that can be used to get from the central towns to Royal Manas National Park.
As we appreciate that the per person per day tourism tax is relatively expensive we always do our best to provide the best available accommodation, guides, vehicles, food etc throughout the trip. The reality is that in rural Bhutan where so few tourists go, the level of infrastructure is not what it would be in more developed areas. But the government of Bhutan do not take this into account when they set their per person per day tourism tax.
We appreciate your feedback and for your recommendations for future clients. For anyone wishing to explore a very little visited part of the world and combine some of the most exquisite Buddhist cultural sites in the world with the chance to search for wildlife such as tigers, leopards, Asiatic rhinos and elephants in a pristine environment, Bhutan is the country for you.

Kind regards

Martin Royle

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing a tiger when on foot in Bardia - only 30m away! There are to many wonderful memories to mention them all. Bhutan was absolutely wonderful. If you are able to cope with walking long distances, eco- accommodation, repetitive & basic food, lack of electricity, heating, and all other amenities then this is the type of holiday for you. Eastern Bhutan is so very different to the western side. No Dzongs and different peoples who speak a different language. It is not geared towards tourism which is exactly what I seek! The Royal Manas National Park is the most wonderful experience and it was a privilege to be there for three nights. Do not expect to see anything! Camera traps are the preferred method of observation. The jungle is spectacular and there are ample signs of large felines such as tigers and leopards as well as elephants and many other types of wildlife. Elusive animals keep themselves out of danger!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take all your camping gear! Including trekking towels and loo rolls. These do not exist anywhere. Do your homework before. Good, stout foot wear and a trekking pole for gradients and loose rocks. Torchs, headlamps and candles are a very good idea. It gets cold at night and very hot during the day. There are no shops, no doctors etc... for miles around so once on the eastern side you are out on a limb.

If you wish for a conventional holiday do not embark on this trip!!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

This type of holiday benefits the local communities as the eco-camps are managed by them and they draw a certain income from them as do the National Parks. Environmental impact is hugely reduced by not using motorised vehicles
(sometimes that is inevitable), log fires replace central heating etc.... Also eco-tourism supports conservation and shows the local communities that people will go there for that one and only reason.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Meeting the local people and being the sole westerner amongst a group of supporters, including my very excellent and highly-educated guide, was the best bit.

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