Gangtey – Gogona – Khotokha Trek
This is a blend of a cultural tour and a trek that will take you to some of Bhutan’s most historical and important places. Apart from the beautiful landscape, flora and fauna, you will reach Gangtey Goempa (temple), the seat of the Peling school of Buddhism.
Simultaneously, you can visit Phobjikha valley, where the rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes fly in winter from Tibet and Mongolia. The highlight of this package would be your observation of how development and preservation can co-exist.
- Duration: 9 Days
- Standard: Easy
- Start: Paro
- Finish: Punakha
Day 01: Arrive at Paro:
You will land at Paro international Airport, after having experienced one of the most thrilling journeys of your lifetime – the flight to Paro, during which you experience a breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake. The landing at Paro, considered one of the most challenging is an enthralling experience.
At the airport, you will be received by our company’s representatives. After checking in and a brief stopover in one of the local hotels, you will be taken to see some of the standing treasures of Bhutan Paro houses. Visits to the National Museum of Bhutan and the grand Paro Rimpong Fortress will be the highlight of the morning. After lunch at a local hotel, you will visit Kyichu temple, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659AD.
Legend has it that the Buddhist King built 108 temples within a day, Kyichu being one.
Day 02: Paro – Excursion Taktsang
After an early breakfast drive up to Ramthangka (base camp) of Taktsang and begin the hike to Taktsang, the Tiger’s Lair. We follow an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels to the holiest Buddhist Shrine in Bhutan and the ultimate point of pilgrimage. A blend of the spiritual and architectural wonder, the monastery is perched on a 1000m cliff overlooking the valley. Legend has it that the great Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet to Taktsang on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Disciples of Guru built the temple, which was later enlarged by Zhabdrung in the 17th century.
After lunch we walk back down and en-route visit ruins of Drukgyel Dzong ”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” located 16 kilometers from Paro town. This Dzong was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the invading Tibetan forces in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu
Thimphu has lots to offer and the pick for you will firstly be the Memorial Chorten, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful stupas, built in memory of the Third King, Late His Majesty Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A short drive from there will take you to Buddha Point, where the statue of the World’s largest Future Buddha (Maitreya) will be seen.
From there we will move to the Handicraft’s Emporium, Weaving Centre and Changangkha monastery, one built in the 12th century. There will also be visits to the Takin zoo, Sangaygang, which offers a view point of Thimphu valley and a Nunnery.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, after which we visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved and the Wood Craft and Painting school.
In the evening, we will visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 04. Thimphu – Punakha
We begin our journey to Punakha. After about 45 minutes, we reach Dochula pass (3,100m), from where we get the first spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan ranges, consisting of snow-capped mountains, with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. The beauty of the pass is augmented by the spectacular 108 stupas (chortens), build around a mound.
From the pass, it is a gradual descend along outgrowths of rhododendron, short bamboo and other tress to the subtropical valley of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. At Wangdue, we will visit the ruins of Wangduephodrang Dzong (Fortress), which was gutted by a tragic fire in 2012. It was originally build by the Shabdrung in 1638. We then move to Chimey Lhakhang, built in the 15th century and associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk.” It is just an hour walk (back and forth) from the road point. After lunch at the Lhakhang, we move to Punakha.
As we reach Punakha, we can see the Dzong (Fortress), resembling a giant ship bed rocked on a mass of still water from far. Built by the Shabdrung in 1637, it is an architectural icon, located at the confluence of two rivers – the Pho (male) and the Mo (female) chus (rivers). The winter residence of the Chief Abbot and the clergy, it houses most of Bhutan’s sacred relics and treasures.
A visit will also be made to Khamsumyulley Namgyal chorten.
Overnight at a hotel.
Day 05: Punakha – Phobjikha
After breakfast, we begin the 105 km drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang. It will take us about 4 hours with the road gradually ascending till Lawala pass (1100 feet). Passing through Nobding village, the vegetation consists of high altitude dwarf bamboo, rhododendrons flowers, Magnolia, fir and pine trees. We will reach Phobjikha valley at 3,000m, in the Black Mountain Ranges. Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the very rare black necked crane. The birds migrate from Tibet to Bhutan in winter (from October -March). We will be visiting Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries that look like a small Dzong.
Overnight at Farm house or hotel.
Day 06: Gangtey Gompa – Gogona
A moderate trail winds through meadows and fields, then ascends to the Tselela pass through mixed forest of Juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron. The people of Gogona speak a language called Bjopkha – the language of the nomads. Their life in this isolated valley has kept the tradition, culture and the language still alive. Night halt in camp.
Day 07: Gogona – Khotokha
A gentle climb leads to the Shobjula pass, alt. 11,155ft. From here the descend leads to a wide valley, reminiscent of the big sky and views of mountains all around, Overnight in camp.
Day 08:. Khatokha – Chunzom – Thimphu:
A short ascend leads to the Tashila pass, alt. 9,200ft. Be sure to fill your water shortly after crossing the pass, as the descend is totally dry. Walk down through evergreen vegetation into the drainage of the Dangchu where one will reach the motor able road at Chunzom. Here a vehicle will be waiting to pick you up and head towards Paro.
Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 09. Departure:
After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international airport for your onward flight. A representative from our company will see you off.