Gangtey Valley Trek - 10 Days

Trip Facts:

Trip Name: Gangtey Valley Trek
Trip Duration: 10 Days
Max. Altitude: 3,120m/10,240 ft (The Tiger Nest Monastery)
Best Season: March to May and September to November
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above
Transportation: Private vehicle

Trip Overview:

Gangtey Valley Trek is one of the low-altitude treks in Bhutan and also the easiest. The trek goes to the wide green lush and glacial valley of Phobjikha at an altitude of 3000 meters. The valley is also winter home of the black necked cranes migrating from Tibetan plateau. Ultimately the trek starts from Phobjikha Valley and ends at Tiki Zampa en-route passing over villages of Gogona and Khotoka. The trekking trail comes across mixed forests of juniper, magnolia and rhododendron and remote hamlets and farmlands. After crossing over the pass is the great Gangtey monastery established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies in a few kilometers down from the monastery on the valley floor. Besides the program goes to the colorful Paro, the tiny capital – Thimphu and the old capital- Punakha. Visits to many historical and religious sites like Punakha Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang, Chimi Lhakhang are also on the list plus the most interesting hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in a vertical cliff.

 

Trip Highlights:

  • Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro. 
  • Explore the tiny town of Paro exploding with colors and tradition. 
  • Discover the tiny capital Thimphu. 
  • Trekking into the beautiful Phobjikha Valley 
  • Visit Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan. 
  • Hike to Chime Lhakhang- the divine madman’s temple. 
  • Explore alluring Gangtey Valley. 
  • Experience Bhutanese culture, tradition and lifestyles. 

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2,250m) - Sightseeing
Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town for lunch. After lunch visit Ta Dzong. Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. It was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. Afterwards visit Rinpung Dzong. Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan; the Dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: Hike to Taktsang Monastery (3,120m) - Thimphu
Early in the morning, drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’. It’s about two hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, drive to Thimphu which is about 1 & half hours drive. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu – Gangtey Gompa (2,900m) 
Today’s drive will be 6-7 hours. The first half of the drive is about 3 hour’s leisurely drive over the Dochula pass (3,150m) to Wangdue. En-route spot some of the highest peaks in Bhutan including Gangkhar Puensum (7541m), the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The descend through the temperate forest colored with Rhododendrons and Magnolias will enter the semi-tropical zone of orange, bananas and cactus and to the valley of Wangdue. Visit the town of Wangdue, after lunch drive towards Gangtey Gompa for another 3 hours. Accommodation will be in a farm house at Tabiting (2830m) converted into a small guest house or camp if rooms are not available. Overnight at Lodge/Camp.

Day 04: Trek to Gogona (3,100m)
Start the trek from Tabiting at 2830m towards Gogona. Today is a moderate trek passing through meadows and fields then ascends the Tselela pass at 3440m through mixed forest of Juniper, bamboos, Rhododendrons and Magnolias. After crossing Tselela, the trail crosses several meadows, and descends through forest to Gangak (3020m) - a beautiful hilltop overlooking a long valley. Gogona us reached upon a short climb. Gogona is a small village with an outstanding monastery under the care of Gangtey Gompa. En-route come across people who speak different dialect called Bjop-kha (language spoken by nomads in Bhutan). Because of their isolation they continue using their own dialect and a life of their own. Overnight in Camp. Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs.

Day 05: Trek to Khotokha (2,790m)
The trial gently goes up from Gogona village and climbs into a forest of fir, oak, spruce, dwarf rhododendron, miniature azaleas, cypress and juniper. Then a long but gradual climb leads to Shobju La pass (3410m). The trail down from the pass is rocky and muddy, weaving through the forest and criss- crossing a small stream. Eventually, at about 3000m, the trail meets a rough trail used by tractors to collect wood from the forest. Follow the road, with a few short cuts through the woods, to sawmill and woodcutters camp at Dolonaga (2830m). Still heading down, the trail overlooks the broad Khothangkha valley and eventually reaches a clearing, Chorten Karpo, where four Chortens are located dedicated to the four Je Khenpos who came from this area. Set camp in this clearing at 2,790 m beside a forest of a large blue pines overlooking the valley and the village of Khothangkha. Overnight camp. Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs.

Day 06: Trek to Tikke Zampa & drive to Punakha (1,310m)
A short climb will reach the Tashila pass at 2800m. Then the trail does down through a beautiful forest changing from rhododendrons to magnolia to ferns and dwarf bamboos. This stretch of trail is one of the finest bird-watching areas in Bhutan where species like laughing thrush, shrike, magpie and woodpecker can be spotted. The trail then plunges down past steep terraced wheat fields to a cluster of houses at Whachay. The trail eventually meets the road near Tikke Zampa at 1500m. Drive from Tikke Zampa to Punakha which is around 30 minutes drive. Overnight at Hotel. Walking Duration: 5 hrs.

Day 07: Punakha – Thimphu (2,350m) 
In the morning, visit Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as "the Divine Madman". The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Afterwards, drive to Thimphu which is about 3 hours drive. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 08: Thimphu Sightseeing (2,350m) 
After breakfast, visit the National Memorial Chorten with it’s golden spines shinning in the sun, its tinkling bells built in honor of third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Institute of Traditional Medicine, where old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practiced. Also visit the Folk Heritage Museum, dedicated to the Bhutanese rural past with it’s exhibition of items & artifacts used in rural households, the Textile Museum, where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles rich in its colour and design.

Day 09: Thimphu – Paro (2,250m)
Drive back to Paro from Thimphu for about 1 & half hours drive. Upon arrival in Paro, drive 30 minutes to see the exterior of the remote ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (entry not allowed) and on clear day get rewarded with a view of snow-capped Mt Jhomolhari which is the third highest mountain in Bhutan. On your way back visit Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and have the opportunity to meet the local villages in a local farm house. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10: Paro depart 
After breakfast, drive to the Paro airport in time to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.

Cost Details:

The tour cost depends upon the category of hotels used and as per the group-size. Normally we use government approved 3 star and above hotels. Please contact us for the trip pricing. 

Our entire Bhutan tours are private journeys and tailor made programs suited for any independent travelers according to their chosen traveling dates. Should you wish, the tour can be easily customized as per your interest and activities you wish to get involve in or spend more time in your places of interest. Contact us to customize this tour as per your requirements. This tour can be undertaken round the year.

Normally during the monsoon seasons (Jun, Jul & Aug), the road condition in between Thimphu to Bumthang will be muddy road and bumpy ride. Other than Land-cruisers it’s not an easy journey but still with cruisers will be a bumpy ride. Another option will be flying into Bumthang and drive back or vice-versa. But in other seasons, such is not the case.

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