From the Royal Bengal Tiger to the Golden Langur and about 530 species of birds, see all these special animals and more at Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Bhutan’s oldest which was declared as a park in 1966. And you have many ways for the safari; you could use a boat, ride an elephant or go rafting.
A biological hotspot of the world, other animals spotted are the Asian elephant, gaur, wild buffalo, wild dog, common leopard, Black Panther, marveled cat, golden cat Leopard and Chinese pangolin and species endemic to the Eastern Himalayan foothills, such as capped langur, pygmy hog and hispid hare.
The park has the highest species of birds among all protected areas, including globally endangered species such as the Rufous-necked hornbill, Pallas fish eagle and chestnut-breasted partridge.
More than 900 species of vascular plants have been recorded in the area.
Day 1: Gomphu – Pangtang
- Approximately 4 and half hours along the traditional route.
- About one hour along the motorable route.
Gomphu altitude: 1,457 meters
A feast for bird watchers with numerous birds such as barbets, hornbills, bulbuls, doves, wood pecker and cuckoos.
Gomphu can be accessed from Zhemgang (3 hours) or Gelephu (5 hours).
Traditional route commences with a descent for about an hour and half, followed by an ascents for another hour before gently descending again. Comparatively, the road has a well maintained slope and is much easier than the traditional route. One can even ride a bike from Gomphu to Pangtang.
Lunch at Mamung, approximately half way to Pangtang. Mamung has a sparse population and mandarin is grown in winter. The trekking trail actually descents further until Pangtang which is at the level of Mangdi chhu.
Day 2: Pangtang – Shilingtoe
- Approximately 4 and half hours
Pangthang altitude: 239 meters above sea level
One can spot thrushes, drongos, hornbills, partridges, pheasants, bulbuls, tree pies, barbets, eagles, fowls and other species.
Trail starts with a gentle descent and occasional short climbs and the last leg before reaching Shilingtoe ecocamp is a climb for over half an hour.
Day 3: Shilingtoe to Pangbang
- Approximately 3 hours
Shilingtoe altitude: 420 meters above sea level
Birds such as bulbuls, barbets, thrushes, hornbills, kingfisher, cormorant, wagtails, trogons and many other species can be seen along the trail.
Hike from Shilingtoe to Changazam suspension bridge and en-route see religious caves, and a twin waterfall (Lelang). From Changazam, there is a motor-able road to Panbang which connects to the Indian Manas Tiger Reserve.
After reaching Panbang, one could also exit via the Indian region of Manas to Phuntsholing, Gelephu or Samdrupjongkhar.
Day 4: Pangbang to Norbugang
- Approximately 6 hours
Panbang altitude: 160 meters above sea level
Most of the birds sighted along the Shilingtoe-Pangbang eco-trail are also found along this eco-trail
The camp site at Pangbang is located at a place called Anilademba at the junction of Mangdi Chhu and Dangme Chhu at an altitude of 160 meters above sea level. It is now connected with motorable road to Panbang which connects to the Indian Manas Tiger Reserve.
The same road is also one of the entry and exit points to the Royal Manas National Park from the Indian Territory. Panbang communities celebrate their annual tsechu from the 8th to 10th day of the 11th Bhutanese month. Various mask dances are performed at the Sonam Choeling Dratsang.
While boating and river rafting along the Manas River, one can see goral, capped langurs, cormorants and many other bird species besides the beautiful landscape.
Norbugang can be reached either from Manas in Bhutan or from Nanglam under Pemagatsel Dzongkhag. The trek between Pangbang- Norbugang takes approximately six hours and is the longest trek of all. Most of the birds sighted along the Shilingtoe-Pangbang eco-trail are also found along Pangbang-Norbugang eco-trail. The eco-camp at Norbugang is located at a place called Dorji Jadram. The road from Nanglam to Pangbang has reached till Tsheshengzor, with another two and half hours walk to the camp.
This road is also one of the entry and exit points to reach Royal Manas National Park.
After Norbugang, one can also exit via Nanglam and Samdrup Jongkhar