Royal Manas National Park

Weather :

Ideal time : 2 - 3 Hours

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Timings : All Day

Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan Overview

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.

Officially set up in 1966 as a wildlife sanctuary, the  Royal Manas National Park was later converted to a National Park in 1993. Spread across an area of 1,057 square kilometres, it covers the districts or dzongkhags of Zhemgang, Sarpang and Pemagatshel in Southern Bhutan.

Elephants in Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
Asiatic Elephants found at the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan (Source)
Known for housing various plants and animal species, it is a proud home to Royal Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants, Himalayan Black Bears and several more animals. Distinct plant species, used in medicinal, religious, commercial and food purposes, are the crown jewels of this national park.

Apart from being a haven to flora and fauna, it has appreciably good connectivity with other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries via biological corridors. It is connected to other natural reserves of Bhutan like the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park in the northwest, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in the southwest, Phrumsengla National Park in the northern centre, Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary in the south-east.

Manas River, Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
The Holy Manas River and its Tributaries Flow through the Royal Manas National Park (Source)
The holy Manas River and other small streams and tributaries also form a part of the national park and make it look even more beautiful and natural.

Photos of Royal Manas National Park

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Flora and Fauna at the Royal Manas National Park

Royal Bengal Tiger, Royal Manas National Park Bhuan
The Royal Bengal Tiger, One of the Many Exquisite Wildlife Species of the National Park (Source)

  • A haven for animals, birds and plants, Royal Manas National Park houses distinct varieties of wildlife and plant species within its boundaries, including some rare endangered species.
  • 558 species of flora, 65 species of mammals, 489 species of birds, 60 species of fishes and more than 180 species of butterfly are the recorded number of species that are found here.
  • Royal Bengal tiger, golden langur, clouded leopard, Asian elephant, Asiatic water buffalo, dhole and Asiatic gaur etc. are the various mammal species found here. Endemic and globally threatened species such as Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog can be spotted in the national park.
  • In fact, out of the 65 mammal species, 2 are critically endangered, 8 endangered, 9 species are almost threatened and 11 others come under vulnerable list.
Golden Langur, Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
Golden Langur at the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan (Source)

  • The presence of such diversity and richness accounts for its immense popularity of the Royal Manas National Park all across the globe. The national park also holds the honour of housing about 70% of the country's birds population within its boundaries.
  • Three of them, i.e White-bellied Heron, White-rumped Vulture and Red-headed Vulture, come under the category of Critically Endangered Species. Many other species come under near threatened and vulnerable species as well.

Things to Do at the Royal Manas National Park

Rufous-Necked Hornbill, Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
The Rufous-Necked Hornbill, One of the Many Birds at the Royal Manas National Park (Source)

There are many activities you can engage in while at the Royal Manas National Park. Some of them are:
  1. Birdwatching: There are many distinct bird species at the Royal Manas National Park, including the Rufous-Necked Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Pied Hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Pigeons, Swifts, Bustards and so on.
  2. Mountain Biking: Mountain Biking is a famed activity not just at the Royal Manas National Park, but throughout Bhutan due to its terrain.
  3. Take a Hot Stone Bath: Hot Stone Baths are one of the unique and popular activities of Bhutan. The medicinal and recreational properties of these baths are numerous, relaxing your body and mind to a new level.
  4. Experiencing Bhutanese Culture: The Royal Manas National Park is home to many Bhutanese Villages, as it spans across three Dzongkhags. You can visit one of the many villages present in the accessible areas, experience the culture here, and if you're lucky, attend a local festival too!
  5. Camping: The beautiful surroundings of the Royal Manas National Park make it a prime site for camping. There are certain areas that the Royal Government of Bhutan allows camping in.
Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
Source

Royal Manas National Park Area

Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
Area of the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan, marked by Red (Source)

Spread across an area of 1,057 square kilometres, the Royal Manas National Park covers most of the Sarpang District, the Western half of Zhemgang District, and Western Pemagatshel District in Bhutan.

Royal Manas National Park Ecology

Royal Manas National Park
Source

Royal Manas National Park is ecologically rich and diverse. Depending upon altitude, the following types of forests are found in here: 

1. Tropical Monsoon Forests (found in altitudes less than 500m)
2. Subtropical Forests (found between 500m - 1000m)
3. Warm Broadleaf Forests (1000m - 2000m)
4. Cool Broadleaf Forests (found between 2000m - 2714m)

Tips on Visiting the Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
Source
  • Keep enough water bottles with you.
  • Do not disturb the animals and birds, otherwise, there is always a possibility of them turning violent.
  • Littering is strictly prohibited.
  • Many areas of the park are restricted.
Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
The Royal Manas National Park, the oldest National Park in Bhutan (Source)

The rich ecological and biological diversity of the Royal Manas National Park is overwhelming, making this place one of the must-visit sites of Bhutan.

Best Time to Visit Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas National Park Bhutan
Source

November to February (Winter season) is the best time to visit the Royal Manas National Park. All seasons, except for monsoon season, are fairly good to visit the national park.

How To Reach Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas National Park
Entrance to the Royal Manas National Park (Source)

Only certain areas of the Royal Manas National Park are accessible to the public, clearly demarcated within the area. To reach the Royal Manas National Park, you must travel to the South Bhutanese town of Gelephu, situated on the Bhutan-India border. From Gelephu, you need to cross the Indian border to enter the Assamese town of Kokrajhar and then make your way to the border village of Panbang in Bhutan, in order to access the park.

Alternatively, you can travel to Trongsa and make your way to Gomphu through Zhemgang. A four-day eco trek from Gomphu will allow you to reach the Royal Manas National Park from its North-West entrance.

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