This trip is specifically designed for people who have traveled with me in the middle Himalaya on my “regular” Bhutan trip. But anyone is welcome. This adventure explores the Royal Manas National Park—Bhutan’s Biological Treasure. In November 2014 I brought the very first foreign travel group into this newly opened park. We kayaked into the King’s Special Campground right at sunset – one of the highlights of my life. Royal Manas represents the largest example of tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems in Bhutan. With hundreds floral and faunal species, several of which are globally endangered, it is not only the most diverse protected area in the Kingdom but also one of the world’s biologically outstanding conservation sites. After being maintained as a forest reserve by the Royal Government of Bhutan for many years, Royal Manas was designated 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. The park’s location and the largely pristine forest, which covers approximately 92% of its area, make the park extremely rich in biodiversity. The diverse flora includes tropical monsoon forests, subtropical broadleaved forests, warm broadleaved forests, cool broadleaved forests, and evergreen oak forests. These habitats support a wide range of fauna, affording us the opportunity to spot many rare and endemic birds and mammals. We’ll drive and hike through the lower elevation forests, visiting the local towns and families, and keeping our eyes out for wildlife. We then fly up into the middle Himalaya giving us the wonderful opportunity to experience several more of the major ecosystems and cultural delights of this peaceful Buddhist world.
DATE: January 6- 22, 2018