Bhutan tiger safari holiday

Description of Bhutan tiger safari holiday

Price Includes:

Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) where mentioned. There will be bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned vehicles with an excellent local driver for all transfers. We include internal flights where ever possible on all our tiger safaris. We use two brilliant full time guides; first a professional zoologist or resident naturalist (we try and hire the services of Bhutan's leading wildlife conservationist who is actively studying many species throughout the country) will escort you on all your excursions and also a very knowledgeable English speaking local guide, where possible we also employ help from local scientists as well as an excellent local driver for all transfers. Your zoologist (where available) escort is an expert in big cat biology and behaviour and will be able to help you identify the different species as well as interpret you what behaviours you are seeing. Your zoologist escort (please check the availability of our zoologist for this tour when enquiring) has spent time studying and working with big cats all over the world and he has experience tracking down big cats from 5 continents. We also use local expert guides with decades of experience, where possible we also use local scientists and researchers to help use track down tigers and other elusive mammals such as golden cats, takins, leopard cats etc. In the below sample itinerary we have included all safari and wildlife watching activities such as guided walks, canoe safaris, boat safaris, spotlighting sessions, park entrance fees and sightseeing entrance fees as well as the tourism tax imposed by the Bhutanese government for all visitors to the country. We include more time spent looking for and watching wildlife than any other tour operator around; only if you request to have a rest day will we not arrange a wildlife watching into the forests or along river banks to search for tigers and other wildlife. A comprehensive species list (which states the relative chances of seeing animals based on past tours) is included in the pre-departure pack. There is also a reference book library available for your use throughout the trip as well as some documentaries on tigers which are available to watch throughout the tour. We can also include specialist equipment on request such as camera traps, infrared cameras, thermal imaging equipment and spotlights.

Seasons:

November to February is the best time to enjoy bird watching in Bhutan and later in the dry season from March to May being the best time for mammal watching in the lowland forests of Bhutan. Whilst mammal watching in the mountainous highlands is best from April to June and September to November.

Introduction:

We are specialists in tailoring wildlife watching and especially big cat safari holidays all over the world. We also have an unrivalled range of tiger safaris. We are also able to arrange tiger safaris throughout the tigers current range; and ever since the amazing BBC documentary series ‘Lost Land of the Tiger’ which aired in 2010 we have been looking for a way to emulate their expedition and set up a mammal watching tour of Bhutan’s wilderness. After carefully selecting local guides to help us on this quest we have developed a couple of different programmes to explore the pristine forests of Bhutan. But being here in one of the best wildlife watching locations in the world we will not just be searching out tigers but we would also be looking for other elusive mammals in these areas. From Asiatic elephants, leopards, jungle cats, Asiatic golden cat, leopard cat, dhole, Asiatic black bears musk deer, goral, golden langur and takin. We aim to showcase the tiger’s ecosystem in full whenever and wherever you join us for a tiger safari. So if you have ever wanted to join a real expedition feel tour and track tigers through the forests and hillsides and spend the evenings and nights spotlighting for rare mammals.
By joining this tour you can become one of the few and certainly one of the first people in the world to hopefully see wild tigers in Bhutan. This has to rank up there with the some of the most exciting and pioneering wildlife watching holidays in the world.
We are able to offer these wonderful and pioneering tour because our background is from a scientific and zoological standpoint and so have a great network of colleagues and contacts all over the world who are the people on the front line in search of the best new locations for tiger watching in the wild. All of these reasons and many more make us experts in arranging and guiding tiger safaris and are able to tailor a tiger safari to any location (where tigers exist) to try to find them that and request. All you have to do is to get in touch with your budget and your group size and where you would like to go to try and find wild tigers.
Please bear in mind that the itinerary for tiger safaris can vary as we will use the latest information and tiger sightings to develop the itinerary further.

Why Choose this Tour:

• All of our tiger safaris are guided by a zoologist or naturalist as well as local guides, drivers and also scientists or researchers where possible, this not only gives you numerous sets of trained eyes to find the animals but also gives you the chance to understand the behaviours and habits of the wildlife your watching.
• Our zoologist (where available) that escorts all our tiger safaris has great experience working with and studying big cats all over the world and has experience in tracking cats on 5 continents and big cats on all 4 continents that they live.
• We are the first tour operator to offer a specific mammal watching holiday into Bhutan with the aim of finding tigers and other elusive mammals.
• We are also the first people to offer nocturnal spotlighting after dark to try and see what animals are around when the sun goes down. This is very exciting as tigers and other predators are far more active at night.
• We can also bring thermal imaging and night vision equipment (on request) to also aid in finding the tigers after dark.
• We use camera traps (where available) which will increase the chances of getting close up pictures and movies of tigers and other rare nocturnal wildlife.
• In the Bhutanese forests and hillsides we offer the chance of tracking tigers on foot, this is an exhilarating experience and one that you will never ever forget.
• Possibly join the Bhutanese wildlife department in their camera trap studies of Manas National Park and be one of the few outsiders to experience the ground breaking conservation work being conducted here.
• By joining one of our tiger safaris you will have an overall wildlife experience as we are determined to showcase the other interesting wildlife of the areas we visit.
• We have explored all the areas we visit in depth and have found the best and most conveniently located locations for searching out tigers in isolated and remote places. We will also try and meet up with current researchers as they conduct their work studying the tigers and other wildlife.
• Become one of the first people to dedicate time to tracking down and hopefully spotting tigers in Bhutan.
• We have an unrivalled network of experts and guides throughout the tiger’s range that are able to find and observe other animals as well as tigers like Indian leopards, Asiatic elephants, water buffalo, Asiatic black bears, Asiatic golden cats, jungle cats, dhole, gaur, leopard cats, civets, goral, serow, takins and hundred of other endangered, rare or endemic species throughout Bhutan. Whether it is the forests either side of the Mo Chhu River, the grasslands of Manas near the Indian border or the highlands of Gasa/Laya on the way to Tiger Mountain and many other wildlife watching locations you want to visit we can arrange it. Please inform us if you wish to receive more information about any of these locations and booking a tiger safari.
• Unlike many tour operators we are willing to run this tour for a single person (on request).

Locations:

Here tiger safaris are in their infancy and you can be among some of the first people in the world to try and spot a wild tiger in the forests of Bhutan; you can follow in the footsteps of the BBC Natural History Unit film crew from the epic Lost Land of the Tiger. We recommend spending time around the dense wilderness forests of the Mo Chhu River but of course we can head up into the hills and mountains if you wish.

Fitness Level:

The fitness level required for our Bhutan tiger safaris is quite high, we will be tracking tigers and trekking in dense forests for around 7-8 hours and the temperatures can be hot and humid. If you head into the mountains then attitude also plays a role. So some experience of walking at altitude as we will be visiting very remote places and altitude affects everyone differently.

Equipment:

When you book onto the tour we will send you a comprehensive pre-departure pack which will include a full packing list of recommended equipment; the equipment list will vary from tour to tour and from location to location so it is best to contact us or wait until you receive the pre-departure pack after booking.

Minimum Age: 18 Years Old

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bhutan tiger safari holiday

Environment

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.

Community

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.

2 Reviews of Bhutan tiger safari holiday

3 out of 5 stars
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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?


Excellent.
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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