National Parks in Bhutan and Wildlife Sanctuaries to Feel Close to Nature

Wildlife & Nature

Located at the foot of the majestic Himalayas, the kingdom of Bhutan boasts of incredible flora and fauna. Its dense forests present an exquisite experience for anyone seeking out nature at its finest. Much of the land is made of protected areas set aside since the 1960s. From the chilling climate in the north to hot, humid weather in the south, each bountiful region of the kingdom has a fascinating story to tell. It comes as no surprise that Bhutan is truly the land of parks and sanctuaries – the constitution even mandates that it maintain at least 40% of land under forest cover!

Here is the list of 10 National Parks in Bhutan and Wildlife Sanctuaries to Feel Close to Nature

1. Jigme Dorji National Park - the Second Largest National Park in Bhutan

Jigme Dorji National Park - the Second Largest National Park in Bhutan
4.2 /5

Timings: Monday to Friday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: BTN 150

The Jigme Dorji National Park spans a whopping 4,350 square kilometres, making it one of the largest national parks in Bhutan. It was named after the late Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan till 1972. It was included in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Site inclusion as the only park in Bhutan where the country’s four symbols can be found: the national tree (cypress), national flower (blue poppy), national bird (raven) and national animal (taken). In fact, it hosts the largest population of Bhutan takin.

2. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park - Bhutan's Largest Black Mountain Range

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park - Bhutan's Largest Black Mountain Range
3.7 /5

Timings: All Day
Cost: No Entry Fee

A perfect example of serenity in nature, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is one of the country's largest national park areawise. The National Park of central Bhutan covers most of the districts of Trongsa, Sarpang, Wangdue Phodrang, and Tsirang. Its central location is vital for many migratory bird species that visit the park on their seasonal routes between summers and winters.

3. Royal Manas National Park - the Oldest National Park in Bhutan

Royal Manas National Park - the Oldest National Park in Bhutan
3.6 /5

Timings: 5:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Cost: No Entry Fee

The oldest national park in Bhutan, Royal Manas National Park is one of the largest national parks in the country. Known as the "conservation showpiece of the Kingdom", it is the largest example of tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems in Bhutan. Occupying south-central Bhutan, it shares its southern borders with Manas Tiger Reserve in India. Rich in wildlife species, including many of the endangered ones, it is a natural marvel that displays the distinct flora and fauna of Bhutan and the Himalayan Region.

4. Phrumsengla National Park - Bhutan's Second Highest Mountain Pass

Phrumsengla National Park - Bhutan's Second Highest Mountain Pass

Timings: Open 24 hours
Cost: No Entry Fee

Formerly the Thrumsingla National Park, Phrumsengla is a national park in Bhutan, found in the central and eastern regions. Spanning nearly 770 square kilometres, it is located in the Bumthang, Lhuetse, Mongar and Zhemgang districts. Phrumsengla National Park is home to more than 340 species of birds, including 6 species of endangered birds. The best time to visit the park for trekking is from April to June and September to November.

5. Wangchuck Centennial Park - the Largest National Park in Bhutan

Wangchuck Centennial Park - the Largest National Park in Bhutan

Timings: Monday - Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM,
Cost: BTN 150

At 4,900 square kilometres, the Wangchuck Centennial Park is the largest national park in Bhutan. Formally inaugurated in June 2008 in honour of the Wangchuck dynasty, Wangchuck Centennial Park is located in the northern region of the country. It’s so large that it spans 5 districts: Gasa, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa, Lhuetse, and Bumthang. To its east is the Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary and to its west is the Jigme Dorji National Park.

6. Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve

Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve

Timings: Monday - Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: No Entry Fee

Formerly known as Toorsa Strict Nature Reserve, Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve was renamed in appreciation of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s dedication to environmental conservation. It spans an area of 609 square kilometres across the Haa and Samtse districts, with altitudes varying from 1,400m (4,500 feet) to 4,800m (15,700 feet). Sharing a border with Sikkim as well as Tibet, it became operational in 2010. Aside from its conservation, it does contain a military area close to the Chinese border.

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7. Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary - Home to Bhutan's Endemic Butterfly

Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary - Home to Bhutan's Endemic Butterfly

Timings: Monday - Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: No Entry Fee

Also spelt ‘Bumdelling’ or ‘Bomdeling’, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan was planned in 1995 and established in 1998. In 2012, it was proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its cultural and natural importance in Bhutan. The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary hosts 42 species of mammals, over 700 species of plants, 18 species of snakes, more than 340 species of birds, 4 species of lizards and 200 species of butterflies. In fact, it is home to the only endemic butterfly of Bhutan called Ludlow’s Bhutan Swallowtail.

8. Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary - the Smallest Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan

Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary - the Smallest Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan

Timings: Open 24 hours
Cost: No Entry Fee

Formerly known as Khaling Neoli Wildlife Sanctuary, Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary is in the southern region of Bhutan. Located in the Samdrup Jongkar district that shares a border with Assam, this sanctuary is found at altitudes ranging from 400 m (1,300 feet ) to 2,200 m (7,200 feet). The Nyera Amu Chhu river flows on its western end while Martshala and Shinkar Lauri flow on the northern end. Measuring at around 275 square kilometres, the Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary is the smallest protected area in Bhutan.

9. Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary - Home to the Red Panda in Bhutan

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary - Home to the Red Panda in Bhutan

Timings: Monday - Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: BTN 150

Officially launched in 2003, Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is the newest protected area in Bhutan. Spanning 650 square kilometres on the easternmost region, it shares a border with Arunachal Pradesh in India. This sanctuary is known as the ‘paradise of rhododendrons’ as it costs around 35 species of the 46 rhododendron species found in Bhutan. Amongst mammals, the sanctuary is home to species like the barking deer, Hoary-bellied Himalayan squirrel, and the Red Panda.

10. Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary - Home to the Spotted Deers

Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary - Home to the Spotted Deers

Timings: Open 24 hours
Cost: No Entry Fee

Another smaller protected area in Bhutan, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary is found in the southern border of the country in the Sarpang and Dagana districts, with the Punatsangchu river flowing in its west and Dhanishri ridge making up its northern ridge. It’s only slightly larger than Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary at 279 square kilometres. In terms of its wildlife, it’s popular for the spotted deer (chital), Bengal tigers, and Ganges dolphin. It’s also the only protected area in Bhutan with sal forests, a slow-growing evergreen tree.

In keeping with their religious beliefs, Bhutan works hard to maintain a peaceful balance between man and nature through their national parks, sanctuaries, and reserves. From magnificent trekking trails and bird watching experiences to mushroom picking and hot springs, the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Bhutan have plenty to offer the enthusiastic nature lover.

This post was published by Holidify.com

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FAQs on National Parks in Bhutan and Wildlife Sanctuaries to Feel Close to Nature

How many national parks are there in Bhutan?

There are 5 National Parks, 4 wildlife sanctuaries, and one nature reserve in Bhutan. 

How do i get to Jigme Dorji National park?

After landing at the Paro International Airport, you can hire a car to reach Jigme Dorji National Park. From the airport, it will take around 5 hours to reach the national park. You can either opt for a bus or a taxi from the airport to reach your destination. If you are in Thimphu, you can reach Jigme Dorji National Park by road and it is essentially the most convenient way to reach the national park. It takes around 4 hours to reach Jigme Dorji National Park from Thimphu if the roads are free from traffic. However, it is advisable to keep at least an hour or so at hand in order to reach the park on time in case there is any traffic on the way.

How much of Bhutan is forest?

71 per cent of Bhutan is under forest cover. 

Why does Bhutan have rich biodiversity?

Bhutan is one of the ten most important biodiversity hotspots in the World. The ecosystem in Bhutan is diverse because of its geographical location.

Are there Tigers and Bears in Bhutan?

Bhutan has over 103 tigers, Himalayan black bear, sloth bear and brown bear in Bhutan. 

Which is the National animal of Bhutan?

Takin. Bhutan has the Motithang Takin Preserve.

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