Culture Tour of Bhutan - west to central, with Dagala Trek
Bhutan is a rich mosaic of different cultures, traditions, life styles, ethnic groups, languages and belief systems. It is astounding that a country with a population of just over half a million speaks as many as nineteen different dialects and a few major languages. Diverse as it may seem, yet the Bhutanese socio-culture fabric is well interlaced and harmonized mainly due to the common thread of simple Buddhist values that the people share.
Our cultural tours are the easiest way to get a taste of Bhutan. With comfortable nights in hotels and luxury busses or cars during the day, we will give you a tour of all the major towns. Each town has a Dzong dating back from the 1600s, and many old temples and monasteries, architectural marvels in their own rights. We will also organize a cultural show for you to heighten your experience.
The below programme will take you on a cultural experience with the Dagala Trek.
Day1. Arrive Paro and drive to Thimphu. o/n 2N Taj Tashi Luxury suite.
As you land at Paro, you have a dramatic experience and weather permitting you also have some views of the Himalayas. On arrival at Paro, your guide will receive you at Paro and drive you to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan with appx. 100,000 people. The drive is 1hr through the hamlets of Paro adjacent to the Paro river and later Thimphu river. Based on your convenience, you can start Thimphu sightseeing by visiting the Memorial stupa of the 3rd King of Bhutan.
Paro/Thimphu- altitude 2300m.
Day2. Sightseeing Thimphu.
Visit the view point of Thimphu, see the Takin the national animal of Bhutan. Visit the Zilukha nunnery and the Thimphu Dzong which also is the office of the 5th King of Bhutan and most Ministers. You will have the option to do a hike of about 6km through the pine forests or do some city sightseeing.
Day3. Drive to Gangtey. 144km appx. 5hrs drive. 2N Aman Kora suite Gangtey.
Drive to Wangdue region over the Dochula pass at 3200m. The views of the eastern Himalayan range is stunning weather permitting, along with 108 chortens/stupa built for the well being of the country. Visit the Wangdue Dzong which is built in the form of a sleeping bull. Later drive to Phobjikha valley which is a large glacial valley. Visit Gangtey Monastery and view the Black neck cranes, they come from Tibet to roost here for the winter. The drive is scenic and all along you have views of the villages of Sha and the black mountain ranges weather permitting.
Day4. Gangtey sightseeing.
Gangtey or Phobjikha valley is a huge glacial valley. You can hike around the trails in Phobjikha through the villages and visit the Gangtey Monastery.
Day5. Gangtey to Punakha. 68km appx. 3hrs drive. 2N Aman Kora suite.
On reaching Punakha visit the Punakha Dzong, which is one of the most beautiful Dzongs in the country built on the confluence of the two rivers the phochu and mochu (male and female rivers).
You can also visit Chimey Lhakhang Monastery or the fertility temple which is in Punakha and hike for about 20 minutes from the road head.
Day6. SS at Punakha.
Today you can opt for a rafting session on the Punakha river or a hike to the Khamsum yuelley stupa.
Day7. Punakha to Thimphu. 78km appx 3hrs. o/n Taj Tashi luxury suites.
Drive to Thimphu, explore the city or can drive north of Thimphu to view the villages and a stupa at Begana or be free to enjoy the facilities of the Hotel.
Day8. Start the Dagala Trek. Thimphu- Genekha (14 km, 4 hours)
Drive for 45 min to reach starting point of the trek. The first day walk, over mule path, will end after four hours at the signboard of Genekha School. All through the trail, terraced fields and coniferous vegetation are abundant. Overnight camp at Genekha alongside a stream at 2,800m.
Day9. Genekha-Gur (15 km, 4 hours)
Today’s trek which is a true communion with the nature starts with alpine flora and fauna (birds are common). Two hours of gradual uphill walk and rest at huge rock platform, offers a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours, the trek ends. Camp at Gur, where flowers are abundant in spring.
Day10. Gur-Labatama (12 km, 5 hours)
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek is amidst flowers and wild asparagus (in spring). The meadows freshen the trekkers with poetic sentiments. The first pass symbolized by huge cairn gives a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range, meadows and yak herders camp. Lunch at nearby yak herder’s camp. After lunch, walk across hills and meadows, ending the third day of trek. Camp near Yutsho Lake where golden trouts are in abundance.
Day11. Labatama- Panka (8 km, 4 hours)
Walk for 20 min upwards and later you will have majestic view of Himalayan peaks during descent. This point is around 4,460m. The mountains peaks include Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tsendegang and Gangche Ta. Here the Himalayan monal peasants are common sight, apart from yaks and horses.
Day12. Panka-Talekha (8 km, 4 hours)
This day entails the crossing of several passes, each one more impressive than the other. Search for different verities of Blue Poppy (June-July) and mountain birds. Lunch at the point, where one trail leads to Talekha and other to Wangdiphodrang. After lunch, an hour’s gradual climb brings you to the tip of the last Dagala range from where view of Thimphu is spread in the palm of observer’s hand. An hour’s walk and you are at the last camp, little above Talekha monastery.
Day13. Talekha –Thimphu –Paro. Uma Paro Villa 3N
Passing through alpine and mixed vegetation (bamboo thickets and mixed wild flowers), one reaches Talekha monastery and village and once again Thimphu view is superb. Passing through mixed vegetation and apple orchards, one reaches the main road to Thimphu where your transport will be waiting. Drive to Thimphu for lunch and drive to Paro.
Day14. Paro sightseeing.
Visit the national muesuem, Paro Dzong, Paro town and visit the Kichu monastery which is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan built in the 7th century by the Tibetain King Songsten Genpo who built 108 monasteries around the region with the heart being Lhasa in Tibet.
Visit the archery grounds and see the shooting as people indulge in the national sport of Bhutan where arrows are shot at targets of 3ft x 1ft from 130m.
Day15. Paro. Taktsang Monastery Hike.
Take a hike to the Taktsang Monastery, Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche did his meditation here for 3 months. The hike takes about 3 – 4 hrs depending on the capability of the hikers. This is also a photographer’s delight; the monastery is adorned with prayer flags and stands in the cave of granite rocks 300m above the valley floor. Lunch will be served in the viewpoint cafeteria.
After breakfast airport transfer.
We arrange :
-Bhutan Visa and permits.
-All transfers in luxury coaches. (Landcruisers/coaster bus).
-English speaking guide.
-Trek arrangements with toilet, dining, kitchen, cook, helpers, pony man etc.
-All trek animals, and 1 riding horse/mule in case someone has a difficulty.
-All entry fees where applicable.