DAGALA TREK COMBINED WITH GANGTEY TREK AND CULTURAL TOURING
The Tour is a combination of the beautiful Dagala trek, cultural touring and hikes around Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Bumthang. This tour also takes you to the secluded Khotokha valley which is a hike from Wangdue district and from there trekking on the Gangtey trek. An experience of sleeping in a monastery at Khotokha Rinchenling monastic school. It then goes on till Bumthang and the visit can be combined with visiting a festival in Bumthang.
Day1. Arrive Paro airport from Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu or Delhi.
Alt: 2300m/ 7544 ft.
Received at the airport by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your flight timing, sightseeing will be arranged accordingly to visit the Dzong, the market, a monastery.
Day2. Paro acclimatization hike to Taktsang Monastery.
The magical monastery is perched on a granite cliff 900m/2952ft above the valley floor. The hike trail is a well maintained and a hiker’s paradise. The hike usually serves to acclimatize to the altitude before doing any big treks in Bhutan. It takes about 5-6hrs hike back and forth from the road head depending on the hikers.
Day3. Drive appx 1hr to Genekha village and start the Dagala Trek: Genekha-Gur
Distance 7 km, 5 hours, 550 m ascent, 210 m descent, camp altitude 3,290 m/10,791 ft.
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.
Day 4: Gur-Labatama (12 km, 5 hours)
Distance 12 km, 5 hours, 1,220 m ascent, 110 m descent, camp altitude 4,300 m/14,104 ft.
On the second day, the trail takes you across the high ridges from where you can truly appreciate the rugged beauty of your surroundings and the mountain vegetation. The path winds through refreshing meadows adorned with wild flowers and asparagus (in spring). The first mountain pass you cross is marked by a huge cairn and gives a spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga-3rd highest peak in the world (Sikkim) and a number of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. As you descend the pass you will be able to see the entirety of the Dagala mountain range including meadows and yak herder camps. Once you have descended into the Labatama valley you begin climbing gradually through the valley, passing several yak herder huts before you arrive at Uthso Tsho. The campsite is right next to the lake where golden trouts are in abundance.
Day 5: Labatama halt
This day is for relaxing and recuperating or for an excursion to any of three lakes.
Excursion to Setsho and nearby lakes. Hike to Setsho Lake is easy and interesting. Afterwards walk over a small ridge and then down to Jagetsho Lake. You can also attempt to climb the Jomo a 5,050 m peak. Lunch at summit with spectacular view around, can be memorable experience. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day. You can try your luck trout fishing in the lakes.
Day 6: Labatama- Panka.
Distance 8 km, 6-7 hours, 260 m ascent, 520 m descent, camp altitude 4,000 m/13,120 ft.
The trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 4,520m. From here onwards you will have a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayan peaks all through the descent. The mountain peaks visible include Mt. Everest (Nepal), Mt. Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake, Mt. Tshering Gang, Mt. Khangbum, Mt. Masang Gang, Mt. Tsende Gang and Mt. Gangche Ta. If you want an even better view, you can climb a peak close to the saddle with an altitude of 4,720m. From the saddle the path descends, passing some yak herder huts to Doccha Chhu. You follow the river for a while, but stay higher up on the slope to reach Panka with ascents and descents along the way. Here the Himalayan monal peasants are common sight, apart from yaks and horses.
Day 07: Panka-Talekha.
Distance 8 km, 5-6 hours, 180 m ascent, 110 m descent, camp altitude 3,080 m/10,100ft.
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.
Day 08: Talakha – Chamgang – Thimphu.
Distance 6 km, 3 hours, 440 m descent. Thimphu altitude 2300m/7544ft.
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. Evening drive back to Paro.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day9. Thimphu sightseeing.
Today enjoy the well deserved rest after your trek. Also feel free to explore the Thimphu city with its many cultural attractions like Dzongs/forts, Big Buddha statue, Monasteries etc.
Day10. Thimphu to Punakha. 77km appx. 2hrs drive.
Punakha altitude: 1200m/3936ft.
Drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass at 3200m. Weather permitting you have great views of the eastern Himalayan range. There are also 108 stupas at this pass and makes a nice experience to walk around the stupas and enjoy the views. Hoisting a prayer flag at this location brings good Karma the locals believe. Hence the whole hill is adorned with colourful prayer flags.
On reaching Punakha, visit the Chimi Lhakhang monastery or the fertility temple, here locals come to get blessing from the Devine Mad monk, or Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who was an unorthodox saint of the 15th century who preached the Dharma using unconventional means and many folk lore revolving around wine and women.
In the evening visit the Punakha Dzong built at the confluence of two rivers, the pho Chu and mochu (male and female rivers). The Dzong is very beautiful with a lavish display of Bhutanese colors, art and architecture.
Day11. Punakha sightseeing.
Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten/Stupa stands out on a beautiful ridge above the Punakha valley. Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck built it. It took nine years to build, and Holy Scriptures rather than engineering manuals were consulted to construct this 4-storey temple. It is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions. This temple has been dedicated for the well being of the kingdom, its people and all sentient beings. It is a 15-20 mins hike from the suspension bridge.
The Chorten would take a one-hour hike to approach. It offers a beautiful view of the Punakha Valley. Later visit a farm house while walking the villages.
Day12. Punakha to Wangdi (Nyzergang) and start hike to Khotokha valley.
Drive from your hotel to the starting point of a hike to the hidden Khotokha valley, a pristine unexplored valley. The hike will take about 6-7hrs, climbing a pass and then into the valley.
Once at Khotokha stay overnight in a Rinchinling shedra /Monastery or a farm house.
Day13. Khotokha to Gogona end hike and drive to Phobjikha valley.
Distance 15 km, 6-7 hours, 610 m ascent, 410 m descent.
Trek from Khotokha valley to Gogona. The trail winds through meadows and fields and the climb takes you through a mixed forest of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron to Tsele La (3430m). From here you descend into the Gogona, well known for its “Gogona Cheese” production. At Gogona your vehicle will be waiting for you and drive to Phobjikha valley. (3100m/10168ft).
o/n Hotel at Phobjikha/Gangtey
Day14. Gangtey to Bumthang. 188km appx.6- 7hrs drive.
Drive from Gangtey to Trongsa and then to Bumthang. Visit the Trongsa Dzong enroute. Before reaching Jakar valley, visit the yathra/woolen fabric weaving shops at Chumey. Bumthang is also called the Switzerland of Bhutan with its similarity to the Swiss alps, except that the hills are dotted with many monasteries and prayer flags.
Bumthang altitude 2800m/9184ft.
You can visit a festival in Bumthang or option to do excursions to one of the valleys nearby like Tang valley.
Day16. Bumthang sightseeing/Festival.
You can visit a festival in Bumthang or option to do excursions to one of the valleys nearby like Ura valley or explore the Jakar valley with its many ancient temples, village hike etc.
Day17. Fly Bumthang to Paro.
Domestic flight to Paro from Bumthang. Visit the national muesuem, local sightseeing.
Day18. Paro local sightseeing.
Complete sightseeing at Paro with options to visit the Chelila pass and Haa valley, Kila gonpa nunnery, Dzongdrakha monastery.
This day is also kept as a buffer incase of flight cancellations from Bumthang to Paro due to bad weather etc.