Bhutan Trekking
 
Dagala 1000 Lakes Trek - 12 Days

Season: April to June and September to October
Number of Days: 12 Days
Grade: Moderate

Day 1: Arrival at Paro International Airport:
Fly on Druk Air to Paro. Druk Air is a Bhutan national flag bearer, which has an exclusive right to fly to Bhutan from 6 other sectors. Limited flights allow only restricted number of flyers into this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom, thereby preserving and conserving valuable culture and environment that has remained intact for centuries. On clear days, during this flight, you will experience breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains including Mt. Everest, Jichu Drak and Jumolhari in Bhutan. You will land in the beautiful valley of Paro, located at an elevation of 7,400 ft. At Paro International Airport you will be received by representative of Druk Yul Expeditions. White Khaddar or scarf with Buddhist blessings will be presented to you to be carried along your journey. Take a short drive to your hotel and check-in for lunch. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong), earlier a watchtower for the Rinpung Paro Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968 and stands on a strategic site on the top of hill overlooking the Paro valley. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A Dzong in Bhutan is a fortress. Today there are about 20 Dzongs around the country, most built during early part of 17th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. This huge fortresses are equally shared, keeping in tradition from past. It was from these fortresses that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through walled flat stone pavements, and in about 10 minutes, you will pass through beautiful ancient wooden bridge with shingle roofing, with two guardhouses on each entrance. In the evening, we will walk through the small and picturesque Paro town. Enjoy evening meal at a cozy restaurant. Our representative will conduct detailed briefing about the upcoming tour program.

Day 2: Paro (Excursion):
After breakfast visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong), earlier a watchtower for the Rinpung Paro Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968 and stands on a strategic site on the top of hill overlooking the Paro valley. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A Dzong in Bhutan is a fortress. Today there are about 20 Dzongs around the country, most built during early part of 17th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. This huge fortresses are equally shared, keeping in tradition from past. It was from these fortresses that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through walled flat stone pavements, and in about 10 minutes, you will pass through beautiful ancient wooden bridge with shingle roofing, with two guardhouses on each entrance. In the evening, we will walk through the small and picturesque Paro town. Enjoy lunch at a cozy restaurant. In the evening take a stroll around the town. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Paro - Thimpu:
Early morning after breakfast, drive down to Thimpu. Today’s sightseeing in Thimpu valley includes visits to: National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is a both a memorial to the late king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’), and a monument to world peace. The painting and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy; National Library: This holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School): where student undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. National Institute of Traditional Medicine: where the medicinal herbs, mineral, and animals organs available in abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed by traditional pharmacist and medical practitioners. This indigenous healing method is popular in entire Bhutan. Here you will have exclusive privilege of talking to a renowned traditional healer. Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insight into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

Day 4: Thimpu – Talekha:
Drive from Thimpu to Gyenekha. The trek starts from this small village where the ponies, camp gear and our staff will be waiting. Pack up the horses. Your trek includes the finest of high altitude tents and warm sleeping bags and mattresses. You only have to carry a small pack for your daily needs. Overnight at Gyenekha Campsite.

Day 5: Gyenekha – Gur (Altitude - 3,290m | Distance - 7 km (5 hours):
The trek starts from the beautiful Gyenekha village with a short descent down to the river. From here, after crossing the river, you start climbing till you reach a huge rock platform from where you have a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours you reach Gur, some yak pastures below the main trail and your campsite for tonight.

Day 6: Gur - Labatama (Altitude - 4,300m | Distance - 12 km (6 hours):
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. The path winds through flowers and wild asparagus (in spring). The meadows are refreshing and inspiring. The first pass symbolized by a huge cairn gives a spectacular view of Kangchendzonga (Sikkim) and more or less all the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. Descending the pass one will see the whole Dagala range, meadows and yak herders camp. Once descended into the Labatama valley you ascend gradually through the valley passing some yak herder huts till you reach Uthso Tsho. The campsite is right next to the lake.

Day 7: Labatama – Rest Day:
This day is ideal for an excursion to any of the three lakes: Reli Tsho, Hen Tsho and Jama Tsho.

Day 8: Labatama - Panka (Altitude - 4,000m | Distance - 8 km (6 – 7 hours):
The trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 4520m from where you have again a majestic view of the Himalayan peaks during descent which include Everest (Nepal), Kangchendzonga (Sikkim), Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tsenda Gang and Gangche Ta. If you want an even better view you can climb a peak close to the saddle with an altitude of 4720m. From the saddle the path descends passing some yak herder huts to Doccha Chhu. You follow the river for a while and then clamber up the slope to reach Panka with some ups and downs on the way.

Day 9: Panka - Talekha (Altitude – 3,080m | Distance - 8 km (5 - 6 hours):
This day entails the crossing of several passes, none of them affording a major climb. Search for different varieties of blue poppy (June - July) and mountain birds. After crossing the last pass, Tale La (4,180m) you start a long descent to Talekha Gompa. You will camp right besides the monastery and wake up with the early morning prayers of the monks. One has a great view of Bhutan’s capital Thimpu.

Day 10: Talekha - Chamgang and drive to Paro (Distance - 6 km (3 hours):
From the monastery it’s a short walk down to the feeder road which will lead you to the village of Chamgang. Further down, a short walk will bring you to the motor road where your transport will be waiting. Drive about one hour to Paro. Enjoy sumptuous dinner with wine at a charming local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11: Paro (Taktsang Hike):
Drive to Ramthongkha and then hike to viewpoint of Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest (one and a half hours). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you a little more than a 1000ft above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang monastery built on the cliff is a spectacular sight. It is a great pilgrim site for the Buddhists and also it is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorje Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava. The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. The image of Dorje Drolo inside the temple is shown standing on a tiger. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Here you can meditate awhile before beginning the descent. Nearby there is a teahouse, where you can stop for lunch or a snack. In the evening, visit a farmhouse in Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 12: Thimpu - Paro Departure:
All departure formalities will be completed in advance, and assisted by your guide. After an early breakfast at the hotel drive to the Paro Airport to board the flight back home.
Trip ends

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