A Complete Guide To Exploring Royal Manas, Bhutan’s Oldest National Park

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Royal Manas National Park has been called the “conservation showpiece of the kingdom”, it is the oldest park of its kind in Bhutan. With a rich genetic stock of invaluable plants, the protected area has tropical and subtropical ecosystems that favor the growth of an abundance of flora and fauna., The park is bordered by the eponymous park of Assam in India to the south and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park to the north.

With over 900 plant species – from Golden Langurs to Rufous Necked Hornbills – the rare and endangered list of fauna in the park, the 5-year conservation plan addresses it all. The Nature Conservation Division of Bhutan and the World Wildlife Fund have contributed to maintaining the biological balance of the park by developing the park’s infrastructure, observing various surveys at socio-economic levels and training park officials.

Basic facts about Royal Manas National Park

Basic facts about Royal Manas National Park

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Place: 2PJ8+64 covers the western part of Gon Phu, Pemagatshel District and Zemgang District, and the eastern part of Sarpang District.
opening time: 5:30 am to 6:30 pm all week
Area: 408 square miles (1,057 square kilometers)
Year established: 1966

Royal Manas National Park Entry Fee

Royal Manas National Park Entry Fee

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The daily rate is 250 USD, except from December to February and June to August, when the price is reduced to 200 USD. Both the Bhutanese Ngultrum (NU) and the US Dollar are currencies in force.

For those traveling in groups of 1-2, there is a 40/30 USD surcharge to include transportation, accommodation, meals, guides and entrance fees. Additional costs will apply for rafting, mountain biking, horse riding etc. Children under the age of twelve are exempt from the 65 USD royalty component.

Must read: 8 amazing wildlife sanctuaries in Bhutan that all nature lovers must visit

Royal Manas National Park Map

Best time to visit Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan

Best time to visit Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan

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The best time to visit this park to see migratory birds and endemic animals is during the winter months of November to February. Nevertheless, the park is open throughout the year and seeing animals is subject to luck and the guidance of the park authority.

From November to February, the weather in Royal Manas National Park remains pleasant. Climate variations are quite common, although the winter season sees minimal rainfall. About 5,000 mm of rainfall is observed every year from May to September.

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How to reach Royal Manas National Park?

How to reach Royal Manas National Park?

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When you are considering how to reach Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan, the following options will be viable:

By air: The only internationally connected airport is Paro International Airport, close to the capital Thimphu.
By car/bus: State and private buses can take you from Thimphu to Gelephu, Panbang, Trongsa, Dzongkhag, Zhemgang, Tingtibi etc. Hiring a private car would be a good option to reach Panbang from Gelephu after crossing the Indian city of Kokrajhar in Assam.
Tracking by: To know the natural story of Royal Manas closely, the eco trek from Gomphu to Royal Manas in the Eastern Himalayas can be a great option. Refer to the Royal Manas National Park map to plan your trek route, which takes a maximum of 4 days to complete.

Things to do in Royal Manas National Park

Here is detailed Royal Manas National Park travel information regarding the activities you can enjoy:

1. Hiking

hiking

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Once you reach the park, you can explore numerous hiking trails, most of which connect to the park’s 8 natural salt lakes. Instead of taking a car from Thimphu to Royal Manas National Park, a four-day eco-trek from Zemgang via Gomfu to Norbugang or Gelephu via Gomfu to Norbugang would be a great idea. You will not only get to see the native fauna, but also be introduced to the diverse flora of tropical and sub-tropical rainforests, cool and warm broadleaf forests as well as evergreen oaks.

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2. Wildlife watching

wildlife watching

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Wildlife visitors will get a great opportunity to see Royal Bengal Tigers, Clouded Leopards, Gaur, Hispid Hare, Pygmy Hog, Black Bear, Asian Elephant, Golden Langur, Wild Water Buffalo and One Horned Rhinoceros. Snakes like flying snake, king cobra, banded krait and vine snake are also common. Among the 365 bird species, you will find Emerald Cuckoo, Spotted Wren-Babbler, White-bellied Heron, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle, Wretched Hornbill, Pied Hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill and Rufous-necked Hornbill.

3. Tropical Safari

tropical safari

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Make your Royal Manas National Park tour memorable with an elephant ride while seeing the world from a different perspective. Mahouts will guide the elephants through the grasslands where you might catch the elusive one-horned rhinoceros in action. While walking through the forest, golden langurs and hornbills will seem to be within arm’s reach!

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4. Boating, fishing and swimming

sailing, fishing and swimming

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Take a 3-hour walk from Park Road to Panbhangto to reach the Manas River confluence. Book a boat ride for half an hour on the turbulent waves and try fishing with the rare migratory Golden Mahseer, Deep-bodied Mahseer, Chocolate Mahseer and Golden Mahseer. The endangered Ganges dolphins can also be seen in the pod and it is worth a visit!

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5. Explore the native culture

Explore native culture

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When you visit Royal Manas National Park, a day with the indigenous Khengpa people will give you an insight into their rich culture. Participate in traditional games with them or enjoy their traditional performances. Don’t forget to sit with them and enjoy their local food. Learn about their lifestyle and their house with bamboo walls under a banana leaf roof.

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Accommodation in Royal Manas National Park

Check out information about log cabins in Royal Manas National Park if you want to stay in this park in Nepal. Each eco-camp has 2 eco-lodges and they are equipped with camping areas, fencing, drinking water, washrooms, kitchens, running water, electricity and even hot springs in some luxury lodges.

1. Mathanguri Forest Lodge

Mathanguri Forest Lodge

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Situated on the banks of the Manas River near the border of the Royal Manas National Park, this Royal Manas National Park accommodation in the jungle offers generator service, jeep safari, elephant rides and meals. Enjoy the view from the balcony and with a little luck, you may even spot wild animals at night and birds in the morning. However, due to its prime location, it may be difficult to get a reservation here.

2. Jigme Suit

Jigme Suit

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This 3-star aparthotel is located 2.3 kilometers from Simtokha Dzong and offers kitchen, restaurant and in-room kitchen with complimentary WiFi connection. Continental breakfast is available from 7.30 to 10 am. Free parking and airport shuttle facilities are added benefits. Additionally, you can enjoy a drink at the hotel bar or lounge.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Royal Manas National Park

Where is Royal Manas National Park located?

One of the oldest and most beautiful national parks in the world, Royal Manas National Park is located in Bhutan and is considered the state’s conservation showpiece for wildlife.

How do you reach Royal Manas National Park?

Royal Manas National Park located in Bhutan is easily accessible. By air, Bhutan has Paro International Airport which is just a few kilometers from the national park. To cover the distance between two places one can hire a taxi which is easily available at the airport. By road, both government and private buses are available or one can hire a taxi to reach Panbang from Gelephu.

Is there any entry fee for Royal Manas National Park?

Yes, while visiting Royal Manas National Park one needs to pay the following entry fees:
1. March to May and September to November: INR 17,800 or USD 250
2. December to February and June to August: INR 14,240 or USD 200
3. Children under 12: Free
4. Additional charges apply for rafting, mountain biking, horse riding etc.

What is the best time to visit Royal Manas National Park?

Summer and autumn seasons are the best time to visit Royal Manas National Park. The months of March to May and September to November see an impressive increase in the number of tourists visiting this national park.

Is there any accommodation in Royal Manas National Park?

One cannot find accommodation in the national park, but there are many places to stay around this natural reserve. Some of the famous accommodations near Royal Manas National Park are Hotel Minjur Pelari, Manas Hotel, The Bansbari Lodge, Musa Jungle Retreat, The Sikhari Cottages and many more.

Which species of wildlife can be seen in Royal Manas National Park?

Clouded Leopard, King Cobra, Asian Elephant, Hispid Rabbit, Royal Bengal Tigers, Water Buffalo, Flying Snake, Vine Snake, various species of birds and much more can be found here.

Why is Royal Manas National Park famous?

Royal Manas National Park is one of the oldest parks in the world rich in priceless plants and some of the most exotic species of flora and fauna. This is what makes Royal Manas National Park famous.


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