Their account and collections are the greatest source of information in Bhutanese botanical studies as well as in any natural studies. The early 1800s and 1900s brought a number of professional plant hunters searching for new ornamentals for European and American gardens.
The exploits of William Griffith (1838) and Roland Cooper (1914, 1915) and others are legendary and many of their collections have found the way to many European Gardens. Still, Bhutan remains unexplored largely. So far, about 4500 species of flowering plants have been documented.
Day 1: Arrival Paro International Airport. Welcome and introduction to the biodiversity of Bhutan. Overnight Paro.
Day 2: Sightseeing Paro and afternoon drive to Thimphu. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 3: Sightseeing Thimphu and afternoon drive towards Dodena. Walk along Thimphu Chu in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Park. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 4: Drive to Dochula pass. Dochula is home to 16 species of Bhutanese Rhododendrons and species such as Primula, Lauraceae such as Litsea, Cinnamomum, Neolitsea etc., oaks, Virburnum, Magnolia, Daphne, Arisaema spp. Gentian, Himalayan Acer, and many others. On fine days, you'll have fabulous views of the mountain ranges to the North. We will trek 30-40 minutes. Overnight Punakha.
Day 5: Drive to Tashithang, a part of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park. Tashithang is situated in warm subtropical zones and vegetation is mainly subtropical including epiphytic orchids such as Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Bulbophyllum, Coelogyne, Liparis, Pleione etc., as well as ground orchids such as Calanthe, Goodyera, Cephalanthera, etc. are found here. Wild Bananas (Musa) also thrive and you will species such as Engleherdia, Tauluma, Magnolia, Symploccus, Litsea, Cinnamomum, Rubus spp. Overnight Punakha.
Day 6: Drive towards Gantey Gonpa. On the way, we will drive through part of Pele La (commonly known as black mountains) pass that separates East and West Bhutan. We will be able to see different species of Rhododendrons, Legumes, Magnolia, weeping Cypress (national tree of Bhutan), etc. Overnight Gantey Gonpa.
Day 7: Drive to Trongsa valley, via Pele La pass, more species of Rhododendrons, bamboo thickets (Yushiana spp.) usually browsed by Yak and some spectacular villages. Trongsa was formerly home to the Royal family and seat of power with the biggest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight Trongsa.
Day 8: Drive towards Bumthang valley, via Yoetongla pass. The most commonly seen species will be Rhododendrons, Rubus, Acer, Aconitum, Delphinium, Ranunculus, Clemantis, few species of orchid such as Coelogyne, Pleione, Cephalenthera, conifers such as fir, hemlock, Pine, Juniperus, Primulas, Androsac, etc. We may join the local people at the Ura monastery to witness the annual festival in this remote village. Overnight in Ura.
Day 9: Drive to Thriumshing La National Park. In 2001, the Royal Government of Bhutan designated one of the areas close to the pass a Rhododendron garden. The National Park is home to many endemic species such as Daphne ludlowii, Lobelia nubigena, Vanda griffithii, Rubus sengorensis, and Pedicularis spp. Fauna can be seen including the Red Panda, reptiles, amphibians and a variety of birdlife. Afternoon drive back to Bumthang with stop at Ura to enjoy the 3rd day of the festival. Overnight Bumthang.
Day 10: Drive back to Wangdue with botany stops en route Overnight Wangdue.
Day 11: Drive to Thimphu (overnight).
Day 12: Drive to Ha valley, recently open for tourists. Situated in the temperate region among the Blue pine forest, Ha used to be very important district in ancient time as a gateway to Western Bhutan. We will see different species of flora and fauna, trees such as Populus, Altingia, Hammelidaceae, Pine, Acer, and shrubs such as Leycesteria, Lonicera, Coriaria, Rubus. Cotoneaster, Philadelphus, Hydrangea, and many herbeceous species. Overnight Ha.
Day 13: Drive to Paro via Chele La Pass (3800 meters), historically one of the important routes for any travelers visiting Bhutan from Northwestern India. It has been mentioned repeatedly in most of the writings by British Political envoys such as George Boyle, J. C. White as well as other botanists. Ludlow and Sherriff, two naturalists who visited Bhutan seven times and collected a historic record of 21000 Bhutanese plants crossed this pass during their visit in 1938. Chele-la harbors one of the most exciting sites for Bhutanese flora with Primulas, Rhododendron, Iris, Betula, Lilies (such as Notholirion, Lloydia and Fritillaria), Saxifraga, Bergenia, Aconitum, Pedicularis, Gentians etc. Overnight Paro.
Day 14: Transfer to airport for departure.
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