Gangtey (Phobjikha) Trek
(7 nights / 8 days)
The splendid valley of Phobjikha is one of the glacial valleys in the country situated about 3000m above the sea level. It lies to the east of Wangduephodrang. This quiet, remote valley is the winter abode of the rare black necked crane (known as Thrung Thrung Key Naag in Dzongkha). Unlike other trekking path in Bhutan, this trekking path is considered to be the easiest path in country.
Day 01: Arrive Paro (by flight) – Thimphu. The flight into Paro is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In a clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley. First gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. On that day, you will be transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive will take around 1 hour. In the evening, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu – Wangdue – Gangtey (Phobjikha) In the morning, we will visit the Folk Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households. Visit to Textile Museum shall give us overview of the art of weaving. The place also has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in its colors and design. After lunch, depart for Punakha, where the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for a tea, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan. From here a gradual climb takes you into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. This is also a winter home of black necked cranes that migrates from the Tibetan plateau. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Phobjikha – Zasa (Distance 15km, six to seven hours, camp altitude 3,130m) Trek day 01: The trek starts near the village of Tabiting. 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 Juge Kangkha Chu valley. Further on, the path leads to Gogona, well known for its “Gogona Organic Cheese” production. The campsite is a bit further on besides a small stream in a yak pasture called Zasa.
Day 4: Zasa – ChortenKarpo (Distance 16 km, five to seven hours, camp altitude 3,330m) Trek day 02: A gentle climb leads to Shobe La pass (3,480m). The descent from the pass leads to a wide valley, surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. Below the route, one can see Khothokha, a village with about 60 houses. You finally reach the campsite by climbing gently up till you see four chortens in a forest of blue pine.
Day 5: Chorten Karpo – Tikke Zampa (Distance 12km, four to five hours) Trek day 03: From the camp you climb till you reach a forest road. From here it’s an easy walk up to a little ridge at 2,800m. The walk down back into the valley leads you through Bhutan’s best bird watching areas. Overnight halt in hotel in Wangdue.
Day 6: Wangdue –Punakha-Paro Visit Punakha dzong which is remarkably located between the rivers of Pho chu and Mo chu. Take a hike to Khasum Yoeley Namgyel chorten through the terraced rice fields and overlooking village of Kabina. After lunch, drive to Paro. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day7: Paro-Sightseeing Visit Ta dzong, built in 1651 as a watchtower and in 1968 inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum. The collection includes art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, postage stamps, coins and handicrafts, as well as a small natural history collection. Below Ta dzong is Rinpung dzong ( Paro dzong), “the fortress of the heap of jewels”, built in 1646. In the afternoon, visit Kyichu lhakhang. Built by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, it is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 8: Paro-Departure Departure from International Airport