More than any other of our featured destinations, the eastern Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is the least spoiled and most protected.

With tourism still relatively young in the country, The Government of Bhutan has impressively committed to retaining a minimum of 60% of its land mass to forest, with over a quarter of the entire country designated as protected habitat, comprised of National Parks and wildlife reserves. Importantly and intelligently, most of these areas are interconnected via conservationally commendable wildlife corridors.

North of Thimpu and Punakha, Jigme Dorji National Park is Bhutan’s second largest protected area, with its 4,349 square kilometres of diverse landmass covering three climate zones from the glacial Himalayan peaks at an altitude of over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft.) down to the broadleaved forests at 1,600 metres (5,250 ft).

This sparsely populated wilderness is home to some of the Asia’s most charismatic mammals, such as the enigmatic Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Bengal Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear and Red Panda. Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin, can also be found here along with Bharal (Himalayan Blue Sheep), sharing the evocative landscape with over 300 bird species and plant life, including the Himalayan Blue Poppy, Edelweiss, and Rhododendron. The area also contains many of the country’s trekking routes and sacred peaks.

Adjoining Jigme Dorji to the east, almost the entire north of Bhutan falls into a protected wildlife corridor connecting through Wangchuck Wildlife Sanctuary which, at 4,914 square kilometres, is the largest of Bhutan’s wildlife reserves, together with mountainous Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (1,545 sq. km) to the east and the highly forested Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park (1,300 and Thrumshingla National Park (768 sq. km) at the country’s centre, and through which over a hundred mammals, including leopards and tigers, freely wander.

The wildlife corridor continues southward from Bhutan’s central region to Royal Manas National Park, the most ecologically diverse area in Bhutan. Within its 1,057 square kilometres, Bengal tigers, Clouded Leopard, Asian Elephants, Gaur, Golden Langurs, Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, Pangolin, Himalayan Black Bear and Ganges Dolphins are among its denizens. The area is also home to some 365 bird species, including Rufous-necked Hornbills, Pallas Fishing Eagles and Emerald Cuckoos flying among over 900 plant species.

As well as connecting significantly to Manas National Park across the southern border in India, another corridor heads westward to the relatively small (278 Philsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary (273 sq. km) in the east.

At the far eastern edge of the country, Sakteng Wildlife Sactuary provides a further 650 square kilometres of newly protected area, an alpine landscape populated with Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, Himalayan Black Bears and Himalayan Red Fox among others sharing the landscape with isolated nomadic tribes and, according to legend, the Yeti.  

To the west, and connected by a biological corridor with Jigme Dorji National Park, an area of 610 square kilometres, comprised of broadleaved forest and alpine meadow, is entirely without resident humans.