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Fly fishing tour

12 nights / 13 days

Trip Highlights

  • Embark on an exhilarating adventure as you pursue the legendary Himalayan golden mahseer along Bhutan's breathtaking rivers, encountering thrilling challenges along the way.

  • Indulge in the serenity of a riverside overnight stay, immersing yourself in nature's embrace while relishing a delightful evening of barbecues and refreshing drinks.

  • Brace yourself for an unforgettable battle against the formidable strength of the Himalayan golden mahseer, as you feel the adrenaline surge through your veins once it's hooked.

  • Experience the exhilarating struggle of reeling in a massive goonch, as you face the thrilling fight it puts up during the landing.

  • Capture a rare glimpse of the majestic golden langur, an extraordinary primate species found in this region, adding to the uniqueness of your journey.

  • Embark on an unforgettable white water rafting expedition, accompanied by the magnificent presence of an elephant, creating an unparalleled adventure.

  • Immerse yourself in awe-inspiring sights as you marvel at the grandeur of ancient fortresses and the picturesque landscapes of the Himalayas.

 

*Please note that fishing permits are required in Bhutan, and it's essential to adhere to local regulations and respect the environment. Also, keep in mind that the specific itinerary and fishing locations may vary based on your preferences, the season, and local conditions. Your local guide will be able to provide more specific details and tailor the itinerary to your needs.

Fishing equipment information
 

Fly fishing tackle recommendations:

  • Fly fishing tackle includes a fly line, fly fishing rod, leader, and reel.

  • Choose a fly line with the desired weight and density for proper fly presentation. Options include float lines, intermediate lines, and sinking lines.

  • For Golden Mahseer fishing, use a 9-weight rod and reel with a capacity of at least 300 yards of 30 lb backing line.

  • If trout angling, a 5-weight reel and rod are recommended.

  • Essential items include waders with fishing boots, landing net, leader, and tippet (both sinking and floating), and an indicator.

  • Recommended fly patterns include those that imitate small fish like minnows, such as Seducers, Clouser Minnows, Matukas, Woolly Buggers, and nymphs. Weighted flies are preferable for faster sinking.

Spin fishing tackle recommendations:

  • Use a good-quality travel rod around 8-9 feet long, such as Ugly Stik Shakespeare or a similar type.

  • Pair the rod with a reel (3BB+1RB) and use 15-20 lb line.

  • Recommended lure options include 10-15cm sinking type or countdown Rapala plug baits and Mepps Aglia Spinner silver type (number 4 and 5).

 

These recommendations are tailored for fishing in Bhutan and should

help you have an enjoyable fishing experience ~

Itinerary 

DAY 1: Paro (2250m)

Arrival & Welcome 
 

Your friendly tour guide will be eagerly awaiting your arrival with your surname written on a plaque outside the exit doors at Paro International Airport. You will be driven to your hotel to unpack and enjoy a cup of tea then head out for some sightseeing if you wish. Note: Depending on the time of arrival, certain destinations below may have to be forgone if your arrival time is in the afternoon. This will be discussed during the booking process. We will take a short drive to see the Drukgyel dzong (fortress) with its stunning forest and mountain vistas. This dzong (the name literally translates to ‘the fortress of the victorious Drukpas’) was built after the victory over the Tibetan – Mongols in 1649. Then onto Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan which is said to have been built in 7th century by a Tibetan King known as Songtsen Gampo. There is an orange tree in its grounds that quite miraculously perpetually bears fruit. After an early lunch we will visit the national museum known as Ta dzong which houses a fine collection of ancient thangka paintings, textiles, weaponry, and other artefacts. Then you are free to roam the quaint streets of Paro at your leisure as you acclimatise to the altitude. Overnight: Khangkhu resort (L, D)

DAY 2: Paro valley

Fly fishing in & around the Paro Valley
 

We will begin our day by embarking on a captivating fly-fishing adventure on the pristine Paro River. As you cast your line, immerse yourself in the serene ambiance and picturesque surroundings of the Paro valley which is one of the most picturesque valleys in Bhutan and a valley blessed by many revered Buddhist masters of the past. We will spend the day honing our angling skills and seeking out the elusive brown trout and vibrant rainbow trout that inhabit these waters. The process of fly fishing goes beyond merely catching fish; today, you will have an opportunity to connect with the unique ecosystem on a deeper level. You will learn to read the waters and understand the behaviour of the fish then you will be confident to cast the fly and present it to the fish in a manner that imitates the organisms found in the fish's natural habitat. To unwind and rejuvenate after a busy day we will indulge in a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath. Experience the therapeutic properties of heated river stones submerged in a wooden tub, as the warmth seeps into your muscles and revitalizes your body and mind. Our gracious host will also serve us a traditional Bhutanese banquet fit for a king. Then, in what’s left of the evening, you will have the option of roaming around the quaint town of Paro town before retiring for the night. Overnight: Khangkhu resort (B, L, D)

DAY 3: Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery 

Taktsang Monastery (3100m)
 

After breakfast we will embark on a hike to the renowned Taktsang monastery, famously referred to as ‘Tigers Nest’. The ascent to the viewpoint will take 1.5 hours, rewarding us with a breathtaking panoramic view of the monastery, which seemingly clings to the side of a cliff. Take a moment to rejuvenate at the Viewpoint cafeteria, soaking in the surrounding beauty. Subsequently, continue our journey towards the monastery, which entails an additional hour of walking. Legend has it that in the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche flew the distance from Tibet on the back of a tigress finally meditating in a cave here for three months. The main monastery within the present monastic complex traces its origins back to 1692. Despite suffering significant damage from a fire in 1998, Taktsang has been meticulously restored to its former grandeur. Once we have explored the monastery, we will retrace our steps, pausing for a satisfying lunch at the Viewpoint cafeteria, before continuing our descent towards the road point. Overnight: Khangkhu resort (B, L, D)

DAY 4: Thimphu

Exploring Thimphu town
 

Today we will head off to explore a few sites in and around the Thimphu valley. We will firstly make our way to the Buddha Dordenma statue at Kuenselphodrang, which towers over the city of Thimphu. It is the largest sitting statue of the Buddha in the world at a height of well over 50 metres. From here you will be able to view the whole of the Thimphu valley as well as go inside the statue that contains hundreds of smaller replica statues of the outer statue and offer prayers if you wish. We will also visit the National Memorial Chorten, completed by the Royal Queen Mother as a memorial for the 3rd King who passed away in 1972. This is a wonderful place to observe the older devout Buddhist population circumambulating the chorten in their colourful national dress. We will then have a few options which will be discussed. We could make our way to the Textile Museum where you will be able to learn about the history of Bhutanese textiles. The museum was established in 2001 under the royal patronage of Her Majesty, the Queen Mother, Sangay Choden Wangchuck. Another option is a visit to the Zorig Chusum, the school of arts and crafts where you will be able to observe the students engaging in the 13 artistic skills or if arts is not your thing, we can visit the 12th century Changangkha temple and Zilukha nunnery and even the Takin preservation centre, the national animal of Bhutan. After lunch there will be time to wander around the streets of Thimphu. There is a craft market near the Pemako hotel where you will be able to purchase local handicrafts at a reasonable price. Numerous handicraft shops are also scattered throughout the town. For a nice cup of coffee, we recommend Ambient café which is located near the only traffic light in the whole of Bhutan which is manually operated by a traffic policeman with white gloves. There are also a handful of shops selling the traditional attire which your guide will be more than happy to take you to. You may also wish to visit the main post office which offers for sale a wide array of stamps for the avid philatelist or visit the vegetable market to observe the hustle and bustle. If you are active, there is always the option to go on a short hike to Wangditse monastery, a short distance above Thimphu town. At 4:30 pm we will regroup to visit the summer residence of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan known as Tashichho Dzong, which is also the seat of the government of Bhutan and houses His Majesty’s office. Overnight: The Willows hotel (B, L, D)

DAY 5: Thimphu to Punakha (2.5 hours drive which includes stopping at Dochu La to take in the view of the Himalayas)

Onwards to Punakha over the mountain pass
 

Today we will be having an early start to venture to Punakha. Enroute we will pass Semtokha dzong built by the founding father of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, in 1629. We will continue ascending to Dochu La (pass) to view the 108 stupas commissioned by the Queen mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, as a memorial to those who lost their lives during a conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutanese – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalayas. Before arriving in Punakha, we will stop at Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Ngawang Choegyel in honour of Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the divine madman due to his enlightened though unusual behaviours). It’s an easy 20-minute picturesque stroll through a traditional village and across rice paddy fields. Lunch at Nobgang B & B restaurant (12:30 – 2:30pm) After lunch we will visit the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body known as Punakha dzong. This dzong was also built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (in 1637) and was where he established his formal way of governing the land, known as the dual system of governance. Punakha dzong is one of the most breathtaking dzongs in Bhutan, situated at the confluence of two rivers. It is the second largest dzong in Bhutan after Trongsa dzong. We will enter inside the dzong as well as have time to stroll around the picturesque grounds. We will also visit the suspension bridge behind the dzong – a favourite amongst visitors. Overnight: Zhingkham resort (B, L, D)

DAY 6: Punakha to Panbang (8 hours drive)

Driving day to Panbang
 

Today, we embark on a picturesque journey towards our ultimate destination of Panbang, nestled within the magnificent Royal Manas National Park in the southern region of Bhutan which encompasses a total of 1057 square kms. As we embark on a long but captivating drive, we will be treated to breathtaking landscapes and panoramic vistas along the way. Panbang, located in the Zhemgang district, offers a gateway to the pristine home of the renowned Golden Mahseer, a prized catch among anglers. Our journey takes us on a scenic drive, ascending the Lawa La pass at an elevation of 3360m. After a short but adventurous stretch along a rugged road, we join the highway, embarking on a breathtaking ascent to the Pele La pass at 3420m. Here, we are rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of distant mountains, including the majestic peaks of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. Continuing our drive, we traverse through evergreen forests that gradually transform into broad-leaved forests as we descend through the charming villages of Rukubji and Sephu. Along the way, we pass by the picturesque Chendebji village, home to the renowned Chendebji Chorten. This magnificent structure pays homage to the architecture of the revered Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. We pause for a while, soaking in the spiritual ambiance before resuming our journey to Trongsa. Before reaching Trongsa, we make a delightful stop at the Drukwilling café, nestled in a captivating location next to a cascading waterfall. This charming café provides the perfect setting to unwind and savour some leisure time. After a long journey we will arrive at the Pangpang Eco Lodge. We will then meet with the local fishing guides to discuss the next few days of fishing and obtain fishing permits. Overnight: Deluxe tented camp (Pangpang Eco Lodge) (B, L, D)

DAY 7 – DAY 9: Panbang

Panbang fishing
 

We will spend a total of 3 whole days fishing for the elusive golden mahseer, staying a total of 4 nights at the Pangpang Eco Lodge in a deluxe camping setting. If you are interested, there will also be an opportunity to engage in white water rafting and even enjoy an elephant ride. The golden mahseer are considered one of the majestic of all fish species. Found in the fresh waters of South Asia and in Bhutan, it is revered as one of the eight lucky signs in Tibetan Buddishm - the golden fish. They are not just elusive and strikingly beautiful but are also a highly intelligent species. Amongst anglers, the golden mahseer is one of the world's most prized catches. Up to nine feet long and golden-hued with large scales, it had a reputation as one of the world's hardest fighting fish. There are only a few thousand golden mahseer left in the world today, making them an endangered species found only in the wild rivers of South Asia. Except here, in the idyllic Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, which is the last stronghold of the Himalayan golden mahseer. Also known as the tiger of the river, the golden mahseer are thriving as are other endangered species in the country, including tigers, white-bellied herons, and golden langur monkeys due to the strong environmental protections and the religious reverence bestowed upon them. Apart from the golden mahseer, there are also other species of mahseer in these water ways – the copper mahseer and the chocolate mahseer. There are also goonch (catfish) katla (south Asian carp) and snow trout. The challenge we will face during these 3 days is in seeking out the elusive golden mahseer and targeting it with the perfectly selected fly to trigger a strike. The volume of fish caught is secondary to the challenge of tempting the fish into biting. And with the golden mahseer, you certainly have a great candidate. Catching the golden mahseer will involve all your fly-fishing skills, as it’s more of an art rather than a sport. Overnight: Deluxe tented camp (Pangpang Eco Lodge) (B, L, D)

DAY 10: Pangbang to Trongsa (5 hours drive)

Trongsa sightseeing
 

This morning we will depart for Trongsa, which is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty and is often considered a gateway to the eastern and central regions of Bhutan. Trongsa Dzong is the largest dzong in Bhutan and holds deep significance in Bhutan's rich cultural heritage. It is strategically perched majestically above the Mangde Chu (river). After taking a tour of the inside of the dzong we will have the opportunity to visit the Trongsa Royal Heritage Museum, also known as Ta dzong. This remarkable museum serves as an archive of Bhutan's glorious history, offering a captivating glimpse into the kingdom's past. The town itself has a charming ambiance, with traditional Bhutanese architecture and colourful buildings lining the streets. Visitors can experience the local way of life and interact with friendly locals, Overnight: Yangkhil resort (B, L, D)

DAY 11: Punakha to Phobjikha (2.5 hours)

Beautiful Gangtey Monastery & valley
 

After breakfast we will head eastward to the Gangtey valley. The Gangtey valley is a broad glacial valley located in the central region of Bhutan, which is often referred to as the Phobjikha valley, and is one of the most beautiful destinations within the kingdom. The valley is home to the winter home of the black-necked cranes that arrive annually from the Tibetan plateau in late October and depart in mid-February. The locals believe that the arrival of these cranes bring with them a good harvest and blessings for the entire valley. During our stay in this sacred valley, we will be visiting the magnificent Gangtey monastery which was built in the 17th century and is home to the revered Nyingma Buddhist master, Gangtey tulku. We will wander around the grounds, meet with the monks, and take in the stunning views of the Phobjikha valley from the monastery. Afterwards we will go on a relaxed 2.5 hour hike along the Gangtey nature trail as well as visit the crane information centre to learn more about these beautiful birds and the natural environment. Overnight: Local farmhouse (B, L, D)

DAY 12: Phobjikha to Paro (5 hours)

Leisurely drive back to Paro. Time for roaming around the town
 

Today we will have an early start as it is a driving day, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. If we are lucky, we will come across the grey langur, one of several species of primates found in Bhutan. The Bhutanese believe that seeing one is a very auspicious sign. On the way we will stop briefly at the Royal Botanical gardens at Lampelri. On your return to Paro, you will enjoy free time to roam around Paro town which offers good shopping for traditional jewellery and handicrafts and houses a few quaint cafés serving locally roasted coffee. Overnight: Overnight: Khangkhu resort (B, L, D)

DAY 13: Paro (Departure)

Till next time
 

Free time to relax this morning before we leave for the airport and onward flights. In Bhutan we never say goodbye as we always believe we will have the good fortune of meeting again. So, from the team at Touch Bhutan Travel, we sincerely hope you enjoyed travelling with us. Take care until next time. (B)

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