Bhutan Mushroaming

Mushroaming Bhutan

Mushrooms, Mountains & Monasteries
August 11 to 24, 2024
Check out the subtitled photo galleries from 2018 trip,  2019 trip and 2023 trip

The clouds lifted and allowed a peek at the most stunningly located Taktsang Goenba, the Tiger's Nest (3050m / 9970ft).

Cheri's wooden cantilever bridge decorated with Five elements prayer flags.
Itinerary Mushroaming Bhutan 2024 
Date Location Program outline Accomodation
8/11 Sun Paro to Thimphu morning arrival, light sightseeing in Thimphu incl. veggie market and rest Druk Hotel
8/12 Mon Thimphu  Chagri monastery walk, picnic and some sightseeing in town Druk Hotel
8/13 Tue Thimphu to Jakar  Drive via Dochu la, Pela la, and Yotong la with plenty of stops on the way (8h) Rinchenling
8/14 Wed Jakar Visit Chokhortoe NP or mushrooming on the way to Dur village Rinchenling
8/15 Thu Jakar to Tang Hike to Tang Ogyen Choling
8/16 Fri Tang Hike through forest towards Phokpey or First camp to Rudungla trek Ogyen Choling
8/17 Sat Tang to Ura Mushrooming on the way  Bangpa Homestay
8/18 Sun Ura If no mushroom festival, then mushrooming in the area Bangpa Homestay
8/19 Mon Ura to Yongkhola Continue along an interesting route via Thrumshengla Pass - many king boletes! Trogon Villa
8/20 Tue Yongkhola Nature paradise for bird watchers but also mushrooms, mind the leech  Trogon Villa
8/21 Wed Yongkhola to Jakar Return drive to Jakar, mushrooming on the way (88 miles) Rinchenling
8/22 Thu Flight to Paro After arrival, drive towards Chela la Pass & mushrooming Hotel 
8/23 Fri Taktsang Hike to Eagle Nest - Taktsang  Hotel 
8/24 Sat Paro - Departure Stroll through Paro town & souvenir shopping, Bangkok flight in the afternoon    
Please note that we might still make a few changes to optimize the tour. Also we are trying to attend the Ura Matsutake Festival, which has not been scheduled yet, but we are t the right time in the area. 

We will upload a more detailed itinerary in a few weeks.

Also, this itinerary is not final. We might still need to do some changes and add a few more items. We are working with Bhutan Homestay, their web page gives a nice idea of the scope of possibilities. Regarding home-stays, during our Kongpo Tibet tour I fell in love with integrating home-stays in our trips. Many home owners are mushroom hunters themselves and accompany us into the woods. Once back, we can cook with the hosts or use their kitchen, the perfect setting!  I am very excited!  
In addition travel in Bhutan can be strenuous, one factor being altitude, furthermore the roads can be challenging, especially during mushroom season, which is of course during the summer monsoon. So rain ponchos and umbrellas are a good thing to bring along.  Also, hunting for mushrooms can include walking up steep slopes with no trails and there are possibly bears in the woods. You must be well on your feet since we will do some hikes as well, but we always offer alternative programs when the hikes a strenuous.


2018 Participant comment:
Daniel, I was just talking with a friend about our Bhutan trip and it occurred to me how meaningful the trip was
 -- not just the mushroom hunting (beyond awesome), the scenery (gorgeous) and the culture; and not just the people individually (what a great group) but the entire package was really so much more than the parts. I have been in the Himalayas a few times and this was the first time I felt profoundly connected to them.

Thank you for putting together an incredible experience.


Jerry Nickelsburg, PhD

Adjunct Professor of Economics - Anderson School of Management, UCLA



Links:  Druk Hotel    Ogyen Choling  Bangpa Heritage farmstay     Rinchenling lodge   Trogon Villa    Hotels can also be found on trip advisor 

Our guide Karma with delicious Himalayan Caesar mushrooms (Amanita hemibapha)

Land Costs: $ 4950 [with 10 to 13 participants] 
with 8-9 participants]
includes all accommodation, meals, overland transport, entrance fees
Single room supplement: $450
for registration after Jan. 10, 2024 add late fee: $400

Additional costs

to Bangkok: $600 - 1200 rt; International tickets to Bangkok need to be purchased individually by participants. However, we need to coordinate the flight to Paro, Bhutan from Bangkok (or Delhi). Costs of flights to Bhutan from Bangkok are around $900 rt and Delhi around $700 rt.
One flight within Bhutan on Aug. 20 from Bhumtang to Paro is about $205. Tickets and visas will be purchased by our agent in Bhutan

Other expenses: Souvenirs, alcoholic beverages, hotel bar, phone & laundry, herbal hot baths etc, tips for Bhutanese guides.
Link to my Fungi magazine article on Bhutan's Buddha Mushroom as pdf

A nice haul of Boletus reticulceps,  the Netcap King bolete, a spruce-associate common in subalpine forests in Bhutan and Eastern Tibet

Dances at the Ura matsutake festival. Note the food stands in the back!

Bhutan's inviting capital Thimphu is populated by about 100,000 people. In front Thimphu Chu running at 2250 m / 7400 ft.

Super tasty chanterelle pizza enjoyed at Druk Hotel in Thimphu!
A stone relief seen at Dochu La of Ngawang Namgyal or Zhabdrung Rinpoche (1594–1651) who unified Bhutan as a nation-state and also sought to create a distinct Bhutanese cultural identity separate from the Tibetan culture from which it was derived.

A stinkhorn, probably Phallus impudicus, which is common in pine forests. The core of the egg is quite enjoyable eaten raw.

Sese Shamu as Cantharellus cf cibarius is known in Dzongkha. The Chanterelle is highly esteemed and very popular in Bhutan and most are found in oak forests.
The Buddha Mushroom - Tricholoma matsutake. We will participate in a matsutake Festival in Ura, Eastern Bhutan.
Matsutake are mostly collected for export to Japan. Where ever found, markets have sprung up in the last decade.

Yeshe Tsogyal's retreat house in Tiger's Nest / Tak Tsang.
The Himalayan Gypsy (Cortinarius / Rozites emodensis) can be abundant in the woods. It is a choice edible closely related to the Gypsy mushroom (Cortinarius caperatus / Rozites caperata) of the Northern hemisphere. 

Allium wallichii, a wild Himalayan onion seen near Thowdrak, Bumthang 

The 2019 Mushroaming Fungal Fellowship.  During a short stop at an old-growth spruce forest we found Netcap King boletes (Boletus reticuloceps),  Ochre Himalayan Caesars (Amanita hemibapha var ochracea or now A. ochracea) and Blewits (Lepista cf nuda). The next mushroom meal was secured!

Trongsa Dzong is the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan, located in the centre of the country. Built on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangde River, a temple was first built here in 1543 by Ngagi Wangchuk. In 1647, his great-grandson Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (Shabdrung or Zhabdrung being his title) built the first dzong to replace the temple, which was added on through the Centuries. Photo: ©Bhutan Homestay.

Phajoding Monastery was founded in the 13th Century by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo (1184-1251). However most of the impressive buildings were constructed in 1748 by Gyelwa Shakya Rinchen (1710-1759), the 9th Je Khenpo who is considered to be the reincarnation of Rechungpa, the heart disciple of Milarepa. 
A sacred spring below Tango and Chari Goenba with a big carved and painted Padmasambhava image.
Two Bhutanese ladies selling chanterelles, corals and corn along the Thimphu-Paro highway.
A dark blue-gray chanterelle (Craterellus cornucopioides) known as the Horn of Plenty.
It is an excellent edible, but is not often eaten in Bhutan because of its dark color. We cooked it up and it was wonderful.
 Chanterelles, corals and matsutake are the most common commercial mushrooms.
Also visible in this picture in the lower center are "Ripongkar", a Lyophyllum.

The countryside in Zamto Village, Genekha, surrounded by oak-pine forests rich in matsutake and other fungal resources in an altitude of around 3000m.

A young sulfur shelf (Laetiporus sp.), a very tasty and unusual textured edible mushroom.
Matsutake-festival Ura Bhutan
Dances during the Matsutake-festival in Ura.
Terraced slopes with farm houses in Punakha.
Lush Himalayan forests along the Lungchutse trial.
Check out the photo galleries from our Mushroaming adventures in 2018 and in 2019

 Check out Bhutan Network USA, a small, but great NGO working on supporting rural Bhutanese making a living off the land, where I am serving on the board and working on their mushroom projects, like teaching people that their porcini are choice edibles and not poisonous as the local knowledge believes.
We support Bhutan Network Austria and BN USA project work in Bhutan


Farmhouses above rice fields near Paro.
Link to my Fungi magazine article on
Bhutan's Buddha Mushroom as pdf
Last revision Jan. 22, 2024

Last edited on Mon, January 22, 2024, 3:05 pm