Kingdom of Orchids
With Monpa trek (4 days)
A 21-day long delightful exploration along roads lined with orchids and footpaths through beautiful ancient forests. You will be rewarded by an abundance of flowering orchids in all shapes and forms. Our knowledgeable local guides will accompany you, ready to take you to insiders’ orchid hot spots. You will not miss out on the most important cultural highlights launched with an initial hike to Taktsang goenpa. This tour is not for fastidious-minded travelers who prefer amenities over everything else. it is perfect for those who seek the contentment one feels in the presence of natural beauty.
In case of time constraints simply skip Monpa trek and continue straight to Zhemgang.
Duration: 21 days
Trek: Monpa trek, 4 days, overnight in farmhouses or camp if preferred
Group size: max. 6 PAX
Cultural &Trekking guide
Local specialist guides
Resources: Orchids of Bhutan : Kingdom of orchids : Orchids of Bhutan – Public Group
Route & Orchids
This journey starts with a hike to Taktsang in Paro and continues to Punakha and Trongsa with orchid excursions in all locations. In central Bhutan the Nabji trek awaits you over a period of 4 days. Afterwards your journey continues to Tingtibi and Pangbang in Zhemgang district. From here, follow the highway via Nganglam route to Pemagatshel, and continue to Samdrup Jongkhar via Gomdar.
A large part of Bhutan is under forest coverage. The abundance of wild animals and plants is impressive, especially in the mid- to low elevated forests where plenty of monkeys and birds can be found. In habitats with an appropriate climate for epiphytes (especially between 1500-1800m asl), you will come across plenty of orchids, mostly Hoya, Dischidia, and Aeschynanthus.
The predominant species you will see on this route are Dendrobium and Coelogyne. Besides these two genera, you can also find Pleione in the higher elevation Rhododendron-forests and, in frost-free regions, different Bulbophyllum-species, Aerides, Arundinea, Calanthe, Callostylis, Cleisostoma, Oberonia, Otochilus, Phalaenopsis, Pholidota, Vanda, and so on.
Some of the orchid-highlights to be expected are: a forest full of flowering Dendrobium nobile, large populations of flowering Coelogyne corymbosa, and large flowering Dendrobium candidum, a very diverse orchid trail near Tingtibi, a population of Vanda bicolor and Paphiopedilum fairrieanum, and lots of large, beautiful flowering orchids along the roadside from Gomdar to Samdrup Jongkhar.
Alternative option (in case of time-constraint): Skip this trek and continue straight to Zhemgang.
This 4-day trek leads through six small Monpa communities in a remote area of Trongsa district. Apart from “orchid-hunting” this trek is recommendable for the fantastic experience of nature.
Originally hunter-gatherers, the Monpa are believed to be one of the first inhabitants of the country. As indigenous Bhutanese they were here long before the Tibetans came from the north and the Lhotsampa from the south. The Monpa people possess great knowledge of medicinal and edible plants and used to forage in the forest. Today they plant rice and turmeric, and harvest bananas, melons and mangoes. The forests along the trek are home to many orchids, and you can find the rare golden langur, the red panda, rhesus monkeys, colorful butterflies and over 390 species of birds.
Follow ancient trails said to have been used by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century when he negotiated peace between the kings of Assam and Bumthang. On this trek you will stay with the Monpa in their homes.
DAY 1: Arrival at Paro
Reception at airport by your guide and driver. Light sightseeing and rest.
DAY 2: Paro Taktsang & to Thimphu
In the morning hike to Tigernest monastery and later drive to Thimphu.
DAY 3: Thimphu
Thimphu sightseeing e.g. Takin preserve, Centenary Farmers Market, National Biodiversity Center, Serbithang Botanical Garden, etc.
DAY 4: Thimphu to Punakha
Drive to Punakha and stop at Dochu la with its 108 Chorten. Hike to Lungchhutse through rhododendron forest with Arisaema griffithii (Araceae). Look for Pleione hookeriana.
DAY 5: Punakha
Hike to Thinleygang and look for Dendrobium nobile. Later visit Punakha Dzong.
DAY 6: Punakha to Trongsa
Very early morning drive Trongsa via Pele la. Stop at Tangsibji /Tashiling for your traditional farmstay.
DAY 7: Trongsa
Visit Trongsa Dzong and look for Coelogyne corymbosa. In this area also find the beautiful Dendrobium candidum.
DAY 8: Trongsa
Explore the region around Tangsibji, – the variety of orchids is impressive, e.g. Dendrobium devonianum. In the forest you will find Arachnis clarkei, a very rare specimen.
DAY 9: Trongsa to Jangbi
Drive to Jangbi village where you will stay the night before your trek begins. Sightseeing on the way e.g. Kuenga Rabten palace and a nunnery if you are interested. Orchids along the trek over the next 4 days are similar to the ones that can be found in Tangsibji area.
DAY 10: start of trek: Jangbi to Phrumzor
4-5 hour trek
DAY 11: Phrumzor to Kubdra
4-5 hour trek
DAY 12: trek: Kubdra to Nabji
4-5 hour trek
DAY 13: end of trek: Nabji to Korphu
4-5 hour trek
DAY 14: Korphu to Tingtibi
Drive along farmroad approx. 1-1,5hs to Nyimshong and Riotala road point and continue to Tingtibi in Zhemgang. Meet with Khenrig Namsum Cooperative.
DAY 15: Tingtibi
Orchid excursion along a forest trail accompanied by an additional local orchid-guide. Look out for beautiful birds like the Great hornbill.
DAY 16: Tingtibi to Pangbang
Drive to Nanglam (5,5-6hrs), on the way enough time for photo stops and short excursions into the forest.
DAY 17: Pangbang
In Pangbang village you will already see many Cymbidia, Dendrobia and Aerides. Excursion to Manas National Park for some more exploration.
DAY 18: Pangbang to Pemagatshel
Long drive to Pemagatshel along scenic route lined with beautiful forest and waterfalls, start early.
DAY 19: Pemagatshel to Samdrup Jongkhar
Visit Gomdar on the way where, despite the deforestation, there is a tiny spot with Vanda bicolor and the endangered terrestrial orchid Paphiopedilum fairrieanum. Along the road to S/J you will find large populations of orchids such as Bulbophyllum gamblei, Coelogyne nitida and Arundinea graminifolia.
DAY 20: Samdrup Jongkhar
Full day excursion in the area around Samdrup Jongkhar with local orchid guide.
DAY 21: Departure
Transfer to Guwahati airport.