If you want to visit Bhutan for its wilderness or for Bhutan bird watching tour and want to travel far , off the beaten path, then you got to include Royal Manas National Park Visit in your Bhutan tour itinerary. It is located in one of the remotest place in Bhutan.
Royal Manas National Park
With an area of 1023km2 , it is one of the first and the oldest national park in Bhutan. It was notified as wildlife sanctuary in 1966 and in 1993 it was upgraded to a national park. The park is rich in biodiversity with hundreds of wildlife, birds of Bhutan and plant species. The endangered animals like Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, wild buffalo, wild dog, common leopard, black panther, marveled cat, golden cat, clouded leopard and Chinese Pangolin are also found in Royal Manas National Park.
Royal Manas National Park is famed for harboring one of the greatest populace of wildlife diversity. The park has 558 species of flora,65 species of mammals,489 species of birds,60 species of fishes and more than 180 species of butterfly recorded till date. Out of 65 mammal species recorded, 2 species are critically endangered,8 species are endangered,9 species are near threatened and 11 species belong to vulnerable list.
How to visit Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan
There are many routes that can take you to Manas . The shortest route will be by taking a domestic flight to Gelephug . And from there we can take another 6 hours drive /190 Km to reach Panbang where the Manas is situated.
However you can also chose the longer route Thimphu – Trongsa – Bumthang- Mongar- Panbang via road, if you enjoy bird watching, good landscape, and check out the rustic way of life in Eastern Bhutan. Or you can choose the shortest route via road , Thimphu-Gelephu-Panbang.
While at Manas you can try out eco-camps .One of the most popular eco-camp is Marandut Jungle Eco camp. It is the Bhutan’s first true jungle camp located 13Km away from Royal Manas National Park.They have 8 luxurious Thatched camp and have modern bathroom and shower facilities. They serve very good organic food. The camp also organizes rafting, fishing and bird watching tour.
In the evening they serve you with local drink called ‘Tongba’. The local alcoholic beverage made from millet or maize and served in bamboo containers. You should try this in your visit to Manas.
It is really a beautiful place to be in close to nature; you sleep along with the murmuring of Marandut river , and wake up with the chirping of birds. You can also choose to go for a hike to the nearby forest or visit the riverside and do bird watching.
Rafting to Manas
Rafting at Royal Manas National Park
From your eco camp(Mandrut Eco Camp) you can either choose to take the 13Km rafting down the Manas river or take a dirt road that drive to Manas Park. The rafting can be fun , occasionally you could catch the glimpse of water birds and some Langurs. Nevertheless, the park is rich in biodiversity . It has hundreds of wildlife’s , birds and plant species but kindly note you are not allowed to enter the deeper part of forest for security and safety reasons.
Just adjacent to Bhutan Royal Manas , we have Indian Manas, if you like you can pay out some amount( INR2500 or so) and go for a jeep Safari at India side but you need to have Indian Pass to enter Indian part of Manas.
Royal Manas Safari
Besides the rich biodiversity , there are also several hiking trails within the park. If you enjoy bathing elephants, Manas Park offers elephant safari. The pristine rich forest, diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscape lend a unique charm to the rich wilderness area. The best time to visit Royal Manas Park would be winter.
Other Tourism Activities
Along with the visit to Park, you can also try out other tourism activities like- River rafting, Fishing, Trekking, Wildlife viewing and Bird watching, Floral diversity, Artisan market and local product, Traditional Farming, Hot springs, Cultural classes, Home stay and Jeep safaris . You can also visit the the rustic mud thatched villages.
Kindly note for nationalities other than Bhutanese has to get special permit to enter Royal Manas Sanctuary.
Check out for Royal Manas Tour Itinerary and cost here
Contributed by: Namgyelma