BHUTAN – Known as the “Preserve of the Kingdom,” Royal Manas National Park is Bhutan’s oldest national park.
With a rich genetic diversity of invaluable plant species, this preserve is blessed by nature with tropical and subtropical ecosystems, creating favorable conditions for the development of various flora and fauna.
From the Golden Langur to the Rufous-necked Hornbill, a list of rare and endangered species within the park, along with over 900 plant species, a 5-year conservation plan is in place to address all these concerns.
The Bhutan Department of Nature Conservation and the World Wildlife Fund have contributed to maintaining the park’s ecological balance while developing the park’s infrastructure, conducting various socioeconomic impact assessments.
Basic Information about Royal Manas National Park
- Location: Encompassing the western part of Pemagatshel district, Zhemgang district, and the eastern part of Sarpang district.
- Opening Hours: 5:30 AM – 6:30 PM, seven days a week
- Area: 408 square miles (1,057 square kilometers)
- Established: 1966
Royal Manas National Park Entrance Fees
The daily rate is 250 USD, except during December to February and June to August when it drops to 200 USD. Both Bhutanese Ngultrum (Nu) and U.S. Dollars are accepted.
For groups of 1-2 people, there’s an additional 40/30 USD fee covering transportation, accommodation, meals, guides, and entry fees. Additional fees apply for rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, etc. Children under 12 years old are exempt from the 65 USD royalty fee.
Best Time to Visit Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan
The best time to visit the park is during the winter months, from November to February, to witness migratory birds and endemic wildlife species. However, the park remains open year-round, and wildlife sightings are subject to luck and guidance from park authorities.
From November to February, the weather in Royal Manas National Park is generally pleasant. While climate variations are common, minimal rainfall is observed during the winter season. Approximately 5,000 mm of rain is witnessed annually from May to September.
How to Reach Royal Manas National Park
When considering how to get to Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan, the following options are feasible:
- By Air: The only international airport connected to Bhutan is Paro International Airport, which is close to the capital, Thimphu.
- By Car/Bus: State-owned and private buses can transport you from Thimphu to Gelephu, Panbang, Trongsa, Dzongkhag, Zhemgang, Tingtibi, and more. Renting a private car is a good option to reach Panbang from Gelephu, crossing the Indian town of Kokrajhar in Assam.
- By Foot: Trekking from Gomphu to Royal Manas in the Eastern Himalayas can be a fantastic way to explore the natural story of Royal Manas. Consult the Royal Manas National Park map to plan your trek, which takes a maximum of 4 days to complete.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/KRAkkC3uL1tkDjTWA
Recreational Activities at Royal Manas National Park
Here’s detailed information about the recreational activities you can enjoy at Royal Manas National Park:
When you visit the park, you can explore numerous long-distance hiking trails, most of which are intertwined with the park’s eight natural salt licks.
An eco-trek over 4 days from Zhemgang to Gomphu to Norbugang or from Gelephu to Gomphu to Norbugang, instead of driving from Thimphu to Royal Manas, is an excellent idea.
This allows you not only to observe native wildlife but also become acquainted with the diverse flora of the tropical and subtropical rainforests, temperate and warm broad-leaved forests, as well as the growth of evergreen oak trees.
Wildlife enthusiasts have a golden opportunity to spot Royal Bengal Tigers, Red Pandas, Clouded Leopards, Hispid Hare, Gaur, Asian Elephants, Golden Langurs, Wild Water Buffaloes, Indian Rhinoceros, and One-horned Rhinoceros. Snakes like flying snakes, king cobras, Krait snakes, and tree snakes are also prevalent.
Among the 365 bird species, you can find the Satyr Tragopan, Blood Pheasant, White-bellied Heron, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Indian Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, and Oriental Pied Hornbill, to name a few.
Make your visit to Royal Manas National Park memorable by riding elephants while observing the world from a different perspective. Mahouts will lead elephants through meadows where you can spot One-horned Rhinoceroses.
Boating, Fishing, and Swimming
A 3-hour hike from Park Road to Panbhangto will take you to the confluence of the Manas River. Arrange for a half-hour boat trip on the turbulent waters and try your hand at fishing rare migratory species like Golden Mahseer, Deep-body Mahseer, Chocolate Mahseer, and Golden Mahseer.
The endangered Gangetic Dolphin may also be spotted and is a sight worth beholding.
Explore Indigenous Culture
When you visit Royal Manas National Park, spending a day with the local Khengpa people will provide you with a deep insight into their rich cultural heritage.
Participate in traditional sports with them or enjoy their traditional performances. Don’t forget to savor their local cuisine while sitting with them. Learn about their way of life and their bamboo and thatched-roof houses.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you reach Royal Manas National Park?
Located in Bhutan, reaching Royal Manas National Park is easily achievable.
- By air, Bhutan has the Paro International Airport, which is the only international airport connected to Royal Manas National Park by a short distance. You can hire a readily available taxi at the airport to cover the distance between the two points.
- By road, there are government-owned and private buses, or you can hire a taxi to reach Panbang from Gelephu.
Is there an entrance fee for Royal Manas National Park?
Yes, visitors need to pay the following entrance fees when arriving at Royal Manas National Park:
1. March to May and September to November: 250 USD
2. December to February and June to August: 200 USD
3. Children under 12 years old: Free
4. Additional fees apply for rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, etc.
What is the best time to visit Royal Manas National Park?
Summer and autumn are the ideal times to visit Royal Manas National Park. The months from March to May and September to November witness a significant increase in tourist numbers in the park.
Are there accommodations within Royal Manas National Park?
One might not find accommodations within the national park, but there are plenty of lodging options around this natural conservation area. Some well-known places to stay near Royal Manas National Park include Hotel Minjur Pelri, Manas Hotel, The Bansbari Lodge, Musa Jungle Retreat, The Sikhri Cottages, and many more.
What kind of wildlife can be found in Royal Manas National Park?
You can find Red Pandas, Clouded Leopards, Asian Elephants, Royal Bengal Tigers, Wild Water Buffaloes, Indian Rhinoceros, Gaur, One-horned Rhinoceros, various bird species, and a variety of snakes, to name a few.
Why is Royal Manas National Park famous?
Royal Manas National Park is famous as one of the oldest national parks globally, blessed with invaluable plant species and some of the most unique and rare animal species. This is what makes Royal Manas National Park renowned.
Discover more: Travel experiences in Bhutan.