Dagala Trek is the off beaten track as you hardly see trekkers on the trail. As this moderate short day trek passes through various shimmering high altitude lakes, it is often named as the Thousand Lakes Trek. Trekking amidst the picturesque lakes, one will be treated with stunning views of some of the world’s highest Himalayan ranges including Mount Everest in Nepal, Jumolhari, Masanggang, Jichu Drake, Tiger Mountain in Bhutan and many more.
The trail also takes you through bird rich areas, alpine flowers, attractive meadows and several traditional Bhutanese villages.
Outline of the itinerary
Day 01: Arrival in Bhutan (Tashi Namgay Resort or similar)
Day 02: Paro (Tashi Namgay Resort or Similar)
Day 03: Paro – Genekha – Gur (Camping)
Day 04: Gur – Labatama (Camping)
Day 05: Labatama halt (Camping)
Day 06: Labatama – Panka (Camping)
Day 07: Panka – Thimphu (Hotel Tara Phendying or similar)
Day 08: Thimphu (Hotel Tara Phendyling or similar)
Day 09: Departure
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land.
The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control you are met by your guide and transferred to hotel in Paro.
Today afternoon you can go for Zuri Goenpa hike; this hike is a easy one with little climb of about 20 minutes above Uma Paro hotel and then levels along the slope above paro valley with spectacular view down below, finally finishing at the National Museum altogether taking about 2 hours. As you walk along the trail you will have an opportunity to witness the landing and taking off of Druk air which would remind you of the exciting landing you had earlier. It will also be of great opportunity to take pictures of paro valley including the Rinpong Dzong, Airport, Paro town and the surrounding mountains. You can visit Zuri Goenpa a 17th century monastery built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Zuri dzong also served as watchtower for the Rinpong Dzong down below.
Later on, take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar.
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for lunch.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.
7KM | 5 HOURS | 550M ASCENT | 60M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3290M
You will begin the day by driving for about 45 min to the beautiful Genekha Village from where your trek starts. The village is famous for producing masutake and chantarelle mushrooms. You will walk over mule path, through terraced fields and coniferous forests rich with alpine flora and plenty of birds. You will then descend down to the river and after two hours of gradual uphill climb you reach the huge rock platform at 3350m, which offers a picturesque view of the valley. After another two hours of trekking you will reach your campsite at Gur (3,290m), amidst abundance of wild flowers.
12KM | 6 HOURS | 1010M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4300M
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek is amidst flowers, wild asparagus (in spring) and large meadows, which freshens your mind. Weaving through tiny streams, you will climb gently through scattered birches and rhododendrons to arrive at Pagalabtsa pass (4,250m) marked by huge cairns. From the pass, you will have spectacular views of Kanchenjunga (Sikkim) and most of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. Descending from the pass one will view whole Dagala range meadows and yak herders camp. Lunch at nearby yak herder’s camp. You will descend into the Labatama valley and then ascend gradually through the valley passing some yak herder huts till you reach Utsho Lake (4,300m) where golden trouts are in abundance. Our campsite is right next to the lake.
You will spend the day exploring any one of nearby lakes such as Relitsho, Hentsho, Setsho and Jagetsho Lakes. These lake are full of trouts and your trekking leader will tell you mystic stories about these lakes. Lunch by the lakeside with spectacular view around can be a memorable experience. After lunch, you can also attempt to climb the Jomo peak at an altitude of 5,050m. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.
8KM | 5-6 HOURS | 220M ASCENT | 520M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4000M
You will walk along the western side of Dalatsho up to a saddle at (4520m) from where you have a majestic view of the prominent Himalayan peaks such as Everest (Nepal), Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Masangang, Tiger Mountain, Tsendagang and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. From the saddle the path descends, passing some yak herder huts to Doccha Chuu River. You will follow the river for a while, staying higher up on the slope until you reach Panka. Here the Himalayan monal peasants are common sight, besides yaks and horses. We will camp at Panka (4,000m).
14KM | 8 HOURS | 180M ASCENT | 1540M DESCENT
Today, you will be crossing several passes, each one more impressive than the other. Different varieties of Blue Poppy (June-July) and mountain birds can be found on the trail. Lunch at the point, where one trail leads to Talakha and other to Wangduephodrang. After lunch, an hour’s gradual climb brings you to the last pass, Tale La (4180m) from where the views of Dagala range and Thimphu is superb. Start a long descent through forest of spruce, birch, juniper and rhododendrons to Talakha Goempa (3080m). From the Talakha Goempa, you will hike down through mixed vegetation, apple orchards and feeder road to the Village of Chamgang. Your car will be waiting here to transfer you to Thimphu.
Today sightseeing includes visit to The National Post office; Our tour start with the visit to the National Post Office, along the Chang lam, is an institute itself where the most famous Bhutanese export is exhibited and sold: the various stamps. Stamp collectors all over the world know that Bhutan is the first country to diversify and export quality stamps. Interesting thing is that you can make your own personal stamp with your photo and then can sent to your friends and family.
The Buddha Dordenma site; The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfils an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 m, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world.
The National Memorial Chorten; the building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had wanted to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument to peace. You will find elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’. The Chorten is an extraordinary example of Buddhist architecture and artwork with its gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures.
Paper Factory: Jungshi handmade paper factory; The Paper Factory is situated on the other side of the river, about a 10-minute drive from the city. The art of handmade paper in Bhutan dates back to the 8th century, although usage was limited mainly to religious purposes. Today it is considered an important element in the preservation of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. The factory allows guests to view the papermaking process and purchase samples and gift items from their shop.
The Trashichodzong: the fortress of the glorious religion is the seat of government and the headquarters of the clergy in the capital Thimphu. The original dzong was built in 1216. It suffered three major fires over the centuries and was rebuilt three times. It was enlarged in the 1960s to become the symbol of the new capital after Punakha. This dzong housed the original National Assembly of Bhutan in one of its temples. It still houses the secretariat and throne room of the King of Bhutan and the headquarters of the Royal Government’s Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. The Dzong is the summer residence of the clergy.
The Centenary Farmers Market (Open: Friday, Saturday & Sunday); Located below the main town, near the Wang Chhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh and organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favourite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life. Across a cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts.
After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport in time to catch up your onward flight. Your escort from Discovery Bhutan Inc. will bid you farewell and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.