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Wildlife Sanctuaries in Bhutan,Wildlife Sanctuaries,Royal Manas National Park,Phrumsengla National Park,Jigme Dorji National Park

10th June 2024

10 Most Popular Wildlife Sanctuaries in Bhutan You Must Visit (2023)

Looking to uncover the wildlife sanctuaries in Bhutan? Well, you’re in for a treat! In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual journey through the breathtaking landscapes, remarkable wildlife, and cultural wonders of these incredible destinations.

From our past experience of leading group trips here and our last visit to this place, we learned that Bhutan’s wilderness is a true haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Did you know that Bhutan is home to some of the oldest and largest national parks in the world?

It’s true! From the crown jewel of Royal Manas National Park to the alpine wonderland of Jigme Singe Wangchuck National Park, and the hidden gem of Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan’s protected areas offer an incredible array of experiences.

Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a birdwatching aficionado, or simply seeking solace amidst nature, these destinations have something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and let us be your guide as we take you on a journey through Bhutan’s pristine wilderness.

Get ready to be captivated by its beauty, enriched by its culture, and inspired by its commitment to conservation. Let’s embark on this unforgettable adventure together!

Best Wildlife Sanctuaries in Bhutan

1. Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas National Park

Located in southern Bhutan, Royal Manas National Park is a true gem. Covering an expansive area of over 1,057 square kilometers, it is the oldest and largest national park in the country, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This biodiverse haven is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, greater one-horned rhinoceroses, and rare species like the clouded leopard and golden langur. 

Within the park, visitors can embark on thrilling wildlife safaris, where they may have the chance to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Birdwatching enthusiasts will be delighted by the park’s rich avian diversity, with over 365 species recorded.

The park also offers numerous hiking trails, allowing adventurers to explore its lush forests, pristine rivers, and stunning waterfalls. 

  • Address: Southern Bhutan, near the border with India. 
  • Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset. 
  • Entrance Fee: INR 500 per person.
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March for pleasant weather and higher chances of wildlife sightings. 

2. Jigme Singe Wangchuck National Park

Jigme Singe Wangchuck National Park

Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, Jigme Singe Wangchuck National Park is a breathtaking alpine wonderland. Spanning an area of 1,730 square kilometers, this park showcases a remarkable range of ecosystems, including pristine forests, high-altitude lakes, and snow-capped peaks. 

The park is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, with over 100 mammal species and 300 bird species recorded.

Wildlife enthusiasts may encounter elusive creatures like the snow leopard, takin, red panda, and black-necked crane.

Adventure seekers can embark on thrilling trekking routes, such as the famous Snowman Trek, which takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the Himalayas.

  • Address: Eastern Bhutan, covering parts of the Bumthang, Lhuntse, and Trashigang districts.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Entrance Fee: INR 300 per person.
  • Best Time to Visit: April to June and September to November for favorable weather conditions and wildlife sightings. 

3. Phrumsengla National Park

Phrumsengla National Park

Phrumsengla National Park, a mesmerizing destination in Bhutan, is renowned for its majestic mountain landscapes and glacial lakes. Located in central Bhutan, the park covers an area of approximately 905 square kilometers.

This pristine park boasts an impressive array of biodiversity, with a wealth of alpine flora and numerous bird species. Visitors may catch glimpses of stunning creatures like the Himalayan monal, blood pheasant, and musk deer.

The park offers an array of hiking and trekking opportunities, with trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints overlooking the mountains and serene lakes.

  • Address: Central Bhutan, covering parts of the Trongsa and Bumthang districts.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Entrance Fee: INR 200 per person.
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to November for pleasant weather and blooming wildflowers. 

4. Jigme Dorji National Park

Jigme Dorji National Park

Encompassing a vast expanse of the western Himalayas, Jigme Dorji National Park is Bhutan’s largest protected area. Spanning over 4,316 square kilometers, this park showcases an incredible variety of ecosystems, ranging from lush subtropical forests to alpine meadows.

The park’s diverse wildlife includes the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan blue sheep, takin, and countless bird species.

Adventurers can partake in thrilling wildlife spotting expeditions, camping amidst the park’s pristine natural surroundings, and fishing in its crystal-clear rivers.

The park also offers opportunities for cultural exploration, with nearby attractions like ancient monasteries and traditional villages to discover.

  • Address: Western Bhutan, covering parts of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Wangdue Phodrang districts.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Entrance Fee: INR 300 per person.
  • Best Time to Visit: October to November and April to May for favorable weather conditions and wildlife sightings.

5. Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

Tucked away in the remote corners of Bhutan, Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Located in the eastern part of the country, this sanctuary is not only a sanctuary for wildlife but also for the unique culture of the semi-nomadic Brokpa people.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is teeming with biodiversity, providing a habitat for rare and endangered species.

Keep an eye out for the iconic red panda, the Himalayan black bear, and the black-necked crane, which visits the sanctuary during its migration.

Exploring the sanctuary’s tranquil trails and encountering the rich cultural heritage of the Brokpa community is an enriching experience. Immerse yourself in their customs, witness their traditional festivals, and gain insights into their way of life.

  • Address: Eastern Bhutan, covering parts of Trashigang district.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Entrance Fee: INR 200 per person.
  • Best Time to Visit: April to June and September to November for favorable weather and cultural experiences. 

6. Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary

Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhutan’s conservation efforts extend beyond its well-known national parks. Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary and Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, though lesser known, are equally captivating destinations for nature enthusiasts.

Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the northeastern part of Bhutan, is a sanctuary of pristine forests and high-altitude wetlands.

The sanctuary is a haven for diverse bird species, including the endangered white-bellied heron and the vulnerable rufous-necked hornbill.

Birdwatchers will be treated to a delightful avian display amidst the sanctuary’s serene surroundings. On the other hand, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in western Bhutan, boasts a remarkable collection of plant species and provides a vital habitat for wildlife.

Both sanctuaries offer opportunities for nature walks, where you can soak in the tranquility and marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Engaging with local communities, learning about their sustainable practices, and staying in rustic accommodations will provide an authentic experience.

  • Address: Northeastern Bhutan, covering parts of Trashiyangtse and Lhuntse districts.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Entrance Fee: INR 200 per person.
  • Best Time to Visit: Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary – November to March for birdwatching; Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary – April to June and September to November for pleasant weather. 

7. Wangchuck Centennial Park

Wangchuck Centennial Park

Wangchuck Centennial Park is known for its stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity. The park is named in honor of the centenary celebration of the Wangchuck dynasty, which has played a crucial role in Bhutan’s history and conservation efforts.

Wangchuck Centennial Park is home to a wide range of plant and animal species. The diverse flora includes various species of rhododendron, pine, oak, and juniper, among others.

The park’s landscapes vary from rugged mountain ranges, pristine alpine meadows, and dense forests to cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear rivers. The high-altitude regions are adorned with snow-capped peaks, offering breathtaking panoramic views.

  • Location: Located in northern Bhutan.
  • Opening Hours: The park is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

8. Toors Strict Nature Reserve

Toors Strict Nature Reserve

Toorsa Strict Nature Reserve is known for its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems. The reserve spans various altitude zones, ranging from subtropical forests to alpine meadows, offering a wide array of habitats for wildlife.

The reserve is characterized by lush forests that are home to a diverse range of plant species. Visitors can explore the dense vegetation, including various types of trees, flowering plants, and medicinal herbs. The reserve’s vegetation provides essential resources for the abundant wildlife that inhabits the area.

  • Location: Situated in western Bhutan.
  • Opening Hours: The reserve is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

9. Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary

Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary

Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary is a remarkable sanctuary located in southeastern Bhutan. Nestled amidst breathtaking landscapes, this sanctuary offers a diverse range of habitats, from subtropical forests to alpine meadows.

It serves as a haven for numerous wildlife species, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Within the sanctuary, you can spot a variety of fascinating creatures, including the elusive clouded leopard, the beautiful Asian golden cat, and the elusive marbled cat.

The sanctuary is also home to a wide array of bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. The vibrant avian population includes colorful species like pheasants, hornbills, and various songbirds.

  • Location: Situated in southeastern Bhutan.
  • Opening Hours: The sanctuary is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

10. Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary

Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary

Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary is a pristine sanctuary located in southeastern Bhutan. It is renowned for its diverse range of habitats, ranging from lowland subtropical forests to high-altitude alpine meadows.

The sanctuary provides a haven for various wildlife species, including elephants, tigers, gaurs (Indian bison), golden langurs, and numerous bird species.

With its lush greenery, scenic landscapes, and abundant wildlife, Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary offers a unique and immersive experience for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Exploring the sanctuary provides an opportunity to witness the rich biodiversity of Bhutan and appreciate the country’s commitment to environmental conservation.

  • Location: Located in southeastern Bhutan.
  • Opening Hours: The sanctuary is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Conclusion – Wildlife Sanctuaries in Bhutan

In conclusion, Bhutan’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are a treasure trove of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and biodiversity.

From the majestic Royal Manas National Park to the alpine paradise of Jigme Singe Wangchuck National Park, each destination offers a unique experience for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Explore the hidden gems of Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, immerse yourself in the tranquility of Phrumsengla National Park, and discover the lesser-known treasures of Bumdeling and Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuaries.

With their breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural experiences, these protected areas truly showcase the best of Bhutan’s pristine wilderness.

Embark on an unforgettable journey and be captivated by the magic that awaits Bhutan’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

FAQs – Wildlife Sanctuaries in Bhutan

What makes Bhutan’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries special?

Bhutan’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are special for several reasons. Firstly, they are home to a wide range of unique and endangered species, offering incredible wildlife spotting opportunities. Secondly, the pristine landscapes, from towering mountains to serene lakes, provide a breathtaking backdrop for nature enthusiasts. Lastly, Bhutan’s commitment to conservation and sustainable practices ensures that these protected areas remain untouched and preserved for future generations.

What are the must-visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Bhutan?

There are several must-visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Bhutan. Royal Manas National Park, with its diverse ecosystems and rich wildlife, is a top choice. Jigme Singe Wangchuck National Park, known for its alpine meadows and rare species like the snow leopard, is another favorite. Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, and Phrumsengla National Park also offer unique experiences and hidden gems waiting to be explored.

Are there any accommodation options within these national parks and sanctuaries?

While accommodation options within the national parks and sanctuaries themselves may be limited, there are usually guesthouses, lodges, and resorts available in nearby towns and villages. Additionally, some sanctuaries offer the opportunity to stay in rustic accommodations like homestays, providing an authentic cultural experience.

What is the best time to visit these national parks and wildlife sanctuaries?

The best time to visit Bhutan’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries varies depending on your interests. For pleasant weather and optimal wildlife sightings, October to November and April to May are generally recommended. However, if you’re specifically interested in birdwatching, November to March is the ideal period. It’s always a good idea to check the specific park’s weather patterns and wildlife migration seasons for the most accurate information.

Can I engage in activities like trekking and hiking in these areas?

Yes, many of these national parks and wildlife sanctuaries offer opportunities for trekking and hiking. Trails range from easy walks to challenging treks, catering to different fitness levels. Exploring these areas on foot allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, discover hidden viewpoints, and connect with nature on a deeper level. Just make sure to follow park regulations and guidelines to ensure your safety and minimize your impact on the environment.

Are these national parks and sanctuaries suitable for family visits?

Absolutely! Bhutan’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are suitable for family visits. They provide a fantastic opportunity for children to connect with nature, learn about wildlife conservation, and experience the outdoors. However, it’s important to choose activities and trails that are suitable for the age and capabilities of your family members and ensure that you adhere to safety precautions while exploring these natural areas.

How can I contribute to the conservation efforts in these national parks and wildlife sanctuaries?

Visitors can contribute to the conservation efforts in these national parks and wildlife sanctuaries by following responsible tourism practices. This includes respecting park rules, minimizing waste, staying on designated trails, and supporting local conservation initiatives. Additionally, you can learn about the local culture and traditions, which play a significant role in conservation, and engage in activities that promote sustainable practices, such as supporting local communities and purchasing locally made products. Together, we can help preserve the beauty and biodiversity of these natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.
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