Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is no ordinary place. This is a country where buying cigarettes is illegal, where the rice is red and where chillies aren’t just a seasoning but the entire dish. It’s also a deeply Buddhist land, where men wear a tunic to work, where giant protective penises are painted on the walls of most houses, and where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product. Tourism in Bhutan is also unique. Bhutan offers many opportunities for trekking with its splendid scenic beauty, lofty mountains and deep valleys untouched by modernization.
Trekking in this Himalayan kingdom is a wonderful experience for any one who enjoys hiking and camping in rich natural habitats, meeting indigenous people and their cultures. It is quite different from trekking in Nepal where we may meet other trekkers at every bend. Among various trekking in Bhutan, trek to Gangtey Gompa is one of the popular treks. This is a good trek for average hikers. It is one of the finest low level treks in Bhutan.
This trek is to the beautiful Phobjikha valley (3,000m), one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan, which lies in the mountains east of Wangduephodrang. The Phobjika valley is also well known as one of the last wintering grounds of the endangered and graceful black-necked cranes that fly in from northern China, Mongolia and Siberia. This trek is for average walkers and gives us an opportunity to visit the isolated valleys of Gangtey Gompa/Phobjikha, Gogona and Kothoka. The valley of Gangtey is awesome with the houses of the century Gangtey monastry considered as the only Nyingmapa monastry in Bhutan. The trek visits the village of Gogona and Khotokha passing through the meadows, fields, juniper forest, magnolia and Ethometo.
Important Note :
Your safety is of paramount importance to us at Alpine Club of Himalaya. We have the absolute authority to cancel the trip or change the itinerary, when deemed necessary or when we have reason to believe your safety is at stake. Weather conditions, the health condition of a group member, natural disasters, and such, can contribute to changes in the itinerary when traveling in remote mountainous regions. In these extreme situations, we kindly request that you offer your full co-operation to the trusted leader of the group appointed by Alpine Club of Himalaya. However, we assure you that we will make every effort to keep to the above itinerary.
Day 1 Arrival in PARO
When you arrive in Paro airport, you will be met by our Bhutanese representative and guide who will escort you to the hotel after the custom formalities at Paro airport. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Welcome Dinner
Day 2 Drive to GANGTEY
We drive to Gangtey which is 90 kilometer from Thimpu. On the way, halt at Dochula pass for tea and snacks. On a clear day, the most spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan mountain ranges can be seen. We can visit Punakha (60 kms) the former capital of Bhutan . The Punakha Dzong lies between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which means male and female River. Gangtey is a beautiful place of rolling hills and green meadows surrounded by snowcapped mountains. It is situated at an altitude of 3000 meters. From Gangtey, we can closely view the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley. Gangtey Gompa (Gangtey Monastery) is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomehens (Lay Monks). The Gangtey Gompa is the only Nyingmapa Monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains and is also the biggest of its kind. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 Trek to GOGONA
We begin the Gangtey Trek. Riding ponies can be provided if required. The trail from Gangtey to Gogona winds through meadows and fields and the climb takes us through a mixed forest of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron to Tselela pass (3320 mtrs) The approximate distance is 16 km, and time taken is 5-6 hrs. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Trek to KHOTOKHA
The trail winds up gently above Gogona village, climbing into a forest of fir, oak, spruce, rhododendron, cypress and juniper. A long and gradual climb leads to Shobju-la pass (3,400m/11,155ft). Later the path leads down to a wide valley of Khotokha, where the people of Sha (under Wangduephodrang district) come in summer to graze their animals. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Trek to CHAZAM and Drive to PUNAKHA
A short ascent takes us to a pass, from where the path descends steeply through ever changing vegetation till finally reaching the bridge at Wangduephodrang. From here it is a 30minute drive to Punakha. The trek ends here Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Drive to THIMPU
After exploring the attractive Wangduephodrang and Punakha valleys,we head to Thimpu. The different places to visit in Thimpu includes: Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, Handicrafts Emporium, Papermaking Factory and market. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Drive to PARO
After early breakfast, we drive to airport for departure. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Farewell Dinner
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