Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek
Summary: Best cultural trek that takes you through villages, temples, monasteries and farmlands.
Season: April, September – October
Duration: 7 days
Start: Genin Zampa
Difficulty rating: Medium
Maximum elevation: 4520m
Day 1: Arrive Paro
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide and transfer to the hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. The museum has wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic display and “field of Buddhas”, which helps one to visualize while meditating. Then walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. Next visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the evening, you can stroll in Paro town. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
This morning you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. It is absolutely breathtaking, situated at 10,400 feet and perched on the edge of a steep cliff about 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley. Guru Rinpoche (the great Buddhist spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch is served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. Explore the monastery and, if you wish, you can sit for a short meditation before you hike down to the valley floor. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 3: Paro-Thimphu
In the morning, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The road leads through the Paro Valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chuzoum (confluence). Three different styles of Chortens adorn the confluence. A short way beyond, on the left is the Tachogang Lhakhang built in 15th century by Thangthong Gyelpo, a trader who first introduced Iron Bridges in Bhutan. Check into hotel on arrival. Afternoon sightseeing in Thimphu includes, Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, National Institute of Traditional Medicine and School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school), Textile Museum, Handicraft Emporium, majestic Tashichhodzong and giant Buddha statue on a hill overlooking Thimphu which is reputed to be the largest Buddha Shakymuni in the world. In the evening, you can stroll in Thimphu town. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 4: Thimphu-Geynizampa Trek starts
14KM / 4 HOURS / 200M ASCENT 150M DESCENT
Drive for 45 min to reach starting point of the trek. Leave the road and follow the trail that leads to Chorten overlooking the fields of Genekha (2950m). From here you will ascend till ruin house on the ridge to the northeast and then route descends to a small stream, and follow it down to an excellent camping place in a forest of blue pines. Overnight camp at 2,800m.
Day 5: Geynizampa-Gur
5KM / 4 HOURS / 550M ASCENT 60M DESCENT
Today’s trek the 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, where flowers are abundant in spring.
Day 6: Gur-Labatama
12KM / 5 HOURS / 1040M ASCENT 110M DESCENT
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek is amidst flowers and wild asparagus (in spring). The meadows freshen the trekkers with poetic sentiments. The first pass symbolized by huge cairn gives a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range, meadows and yak herders camp. Lunch at nearby yak herder’s camp. After lunch, walk across hills and meadows, ending the third day of trek. Camp near Yutsho Lake where golden trouts are in abundance.
Day 7: Labatama halt
Extension 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 5,050m peak. Lunch at summit with spectacular view around, can be memorable experience. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.
Day 8: Labatama-Panka
8KM / 6-7 HOURS / 260M ASCENT 520M DESCENT
Walk for 20 min upwards and later you will have majestic view of Himalayan peaks during descent. This point is around 4,460m. The mountains peaks include Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tshendegang and Gangchen Ta. Here the Himalayan monal peasants are common sight, apart from yaks and horses.
Day 9: Panka-Talekha
8KM / 6-7 HOURS / 180M ASCENT 1100M DESCENT
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 Wangduephodrang. 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 10: Talekha–Thimphu (6 km, 3 hours) Trek ends
6KM / 3 HOURS / 440M DESCENT
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 motor road to Thimphu where your transport is waiting. Drive to Thimphu for lunch. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 11: Thimphu-Paro Depart
After early breakfast, drive to airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.