Red panda pictures are easy to find on social media channels these days but where can you see real live red pandas in the wild? Red Panda Network offers guided ecotrips in Eastern Nepal that make it possible to see red pandas in their natural habitat! Here are the top 10 reasons why you might want to add this to your bucket list!

redpanda 1. See the red panda, an endangered species, in its natural habitat! The number one reason most people go on a Red Panda Network ecotrip is to see red pandas in the wild. Unless you are lucky enough to live near a zoo that breeds red pandas in captivity, odds are you have never laid eyes on this adorable animal. And while Red Panda Network does not guarantee spotting a red panda in the wild, our forest guardians and ecotrip field guides are red panda experts and have enjoyed a very high success rate (roughly 95%) locating and viewing red pandas on previous ecotrips.

2. See dozens of bird species. Sightings of more than 30 bird species have been reported by previous ecotrippers, including: Fire-tailed Myzornis, the White-collared Blackbird, the Orange-flanked Bush- robin and the uncommon White-capped Water Redstart. Additional sightings of the Rufous-vented Niltava, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, a Steppe Eagle, an Oriental Honey Buzzard, the Asian Barred Owlet and a White-capped Water Redstart have been reported from past Red Panda Network ecotrip participants.

3.Amazing Adventure Red pandas are elusive and live in remote forested areas, so get ready for an adventure! The journey includes a long, bumpy jeep ride, modest accommodations and challenging hikes through thick vegetation and up or down steep ravines. Sometimes unpredictable weather can impact our adventure, as well as other unforeseen delays. But don’t worry! We’ve seen it all and done it all many times before! Get ready to work up a healthy appetite exploring the gorgeous scenery!

4. Spectacular Scenery in addition to searching for red pandas and other mammals and bird species, a portion of the trip is devoted to taking in spectacular views of Nepal’s unique spin on Mother Nature: including forested ridges extending tens of miles into the distance, fading in the distant mist, rhododendron forests and breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga and Everest!

5. Unforgettable People 
From your tour guide to the forest guardian(s) in charge of tracking the red panda in the wild, our Red Panda Network team takes pride in providing wonderful service. We think you will also enjoy meeting the Nepali people you encounter along the way. Slow down and enjoy the journey, along with the destination!

RedPandaNetwork_Ecotrip_meal6. Simple, Slow Food Leave your food habits behind and embrace the simplicity of the Nepali diet, which includes a lot of Dal, Bhat and Tarkari – (Lentils, Rice and Curried vegetables). You may be also be served combined dishes of dal-bhat tarkari. Breakfast might be something like sukkah roti, aloo-chana, noodles, omelet, jam and peanut butter. Tea and coffee are served any time. Lunch and dinner mainly consists of rice, Mo:Mo, Paratha and chapatti, which are served with daal (lentil soup) and vegetables.

7. Tea and Tongba! Red Panda Network ecotrips begin and end in Ilam, home to one of the oldest tea plantations in Nepal. Test the world-renowned tea and make use of this stop to purchase a few gifts. Once you reach the hills of eastern Nepal, you may also be offered Tongba (a popular liquor in the hills, made by pouring hot water into a pot of fermented millet and drunk with a bamboo straw). Cheers!

8. Red Panda Network ecotrips are very economical, once you get there! Our ecotrip packages include lodging, food, local travel, and experienced tour and field guides. Groups of 2-4 receive a %10 discount and groups of 5-8 get %20 off the total cost!

Chiyabari-Cottage-Ilam (2)9. Many ecotrip guests enjoy the Red Panda Network Homestay accommodations, which offer interaction with the local Nepali people that you won’t get by staying in a hotel. A recent ecotrip guest described the accommodations as “neat, well-lit house with clean bedding and sleeping arrangements to fit up to a group of 14-15.”

10. Channel the magnificence of the Himalayan region, home to Mount Everest and the highest mountains in the world!

Learn more about Red Panda Network Ecotrips! Are you affiliated with a zoo? If so, please check out our ecotrips for zoo staff and volunteers!

Check out what Lex Limbu, a popular Nepali blogger, says about his May 2014 ecotrip with Red Panda Network.

Read another blog post by Sacramento Zoo zookeeper, Mike Owyang, who participated in a Red Panda Network Zookeeper Only Ecotrip in 2013.

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