Rhododendrons, Birding, and Cultural Immersion
in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. April 19–May 2, 2018.
In the Himalaya foothills located between India and China is the mystical Kingdom of Bhutan, called the Land of the Thunder Dragon. It is home to 46 different Rhododendron species.
Bhutan is a tiny land of 700,000 Buddhists, in a space the size of Vermont, which has set aside 50% of its land for national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and nature reserves, with protected corridors for its rich biodiversity, so wild animals and birds may move freely within a vast natural range.
In addition to the 46 species of Rhododendrons, there are 469 species of Orchids, over 500 species of medicinal plants, 723 resident bird species, Red Pandas, Leopards, Tigers, Yaks, Barking Deer, and Blue Sheep.
The Tour will be led by English-speaking Master botanist Sonam Tshering. Sonam has 44 years deep expertise in Bhutan’s forests, in key roles, including environmental studies for conservation of biodiversity and management in all of the major national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, across Bhutan, including management of the spectacular Royal Manas National Park.
Sonam has guided international botanists in areas ranging from sub-tropical forest to alpine zones, throughout the Kingdom of Bhutan. He has played a leadership role in Bhutan’s forestry preservation, with decades of dedication to finding, identifying, and protecting all 46 varieties of Rhododendrons and hundreds of medicinal plants.
Discovering and enjoying Bhutan’s stunning Rhododendrons with this flora scholar and Rhododendron field expert, is a rare opportunity.
This Insider’s Tour is an opportunity to interact with Buddhist monks, nuns, lamas, scholars, and village artisans. We will visit sacred monasteries, nunneries, artisan markets, and experience authentic village life, which has changed little over centuries. We will hike the iconic Tiger’s Nest and luxuriate in this rich, spiritual kingdom.