Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek
This six day trek takes you into an area adorned with a multitude of pristine, crystal clear lakes. As you walk amidst the shimmering lakes you’ll be treated to stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range and some of the world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest, Jomolhari, Masang Gang, Jichu Drake, Gangche Ta and many more.
During the trek an entire day will be dedicated to visiting some of the more picturesque lakes, possible fishing and resting. The trail also takes you through several Bhutanese villages so you can get a good idea of traditional Bhutanese village life as you make your way back from the lakes.
The trek does have a few uphill hikes at altitude, and is well worth the effort because of the tranquility, and beauty of natural landscape that you will enjoy during the journey. Includes two days in the Haa Valley, one of the of last valleys open to tourism with a rugged timeless beauty. The best time to embark on this trek is between Mid March – June or September – October.
Highlights of the Dagala Thousand Lakes trek
The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek passes through a stunning variety of scenery set to a backdrop of magnificent mountains. It is a moderate trek with mostly short trekking days, but includes a few steep climbs. Also includes a tour of the fascinating sites of Thimphu, Punakha and Paro.
- Traverse Alpine meadows, high mountain passes, lakes, abundant wildlife and yak herder camps.
- Explore high altitude lakes overflowing with trout and mystical history.
- Capture a glimpse of the local nomadic lifestyle.
- Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
- Experience Bhutan’s unique culture up-close with farmhouse visits and village excursions.
- Trek and drive over high mountain passes affording sensational views of the Himalayan peaks.
- Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
- Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
- Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
Day 01 Arrive Paro, sightseeing, and overnight in hotel.
Arrive into Paro via DrukAir. The flight approach into Paro valley is breathtaking in both skill and viewing! You can see farmers in their fields and the leaves on the trees as you approach the runway. On arrival and after visa formalities you will be received by our staff and transferred to a comfortable hotel. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore Paro town with sightseeing and visit Paro Dzong. A Dzong is part fortress, part castle, part monastery and part administration building. Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan’s most impressive and well-known dzongs, and the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. The inward-sloping walls form a massive structure that towers over the town, and is visible as a great white monolith from vantage points throughout the valley. Paro is at 2280 metres (7500 ft). Paro is dotted with historical sites and is a wide open mainly agrarian valley. Visit the Kyichu Lhakhang which is one of the most revered of monasteries in Bhutan and is located among bucolic fields of rice.
02 Day hike to “Tiger’s Nest”. Overnight in Paro
Day hike of Taktsang Monastery, the famous “Tiger’s Nest”. The Monastery is built on the where guru Padmasambhava is reputed to have flown to on the back of a Tiger. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters above the Paro valley is a revered site for the Bhutanese. The walk up to the viewpoint takes roughly two hours and is an uphill climb through alpine forests. Lunch on the trail or can be eaten at the cafeteria, which provides a good view of the monastery. The total distance walked is about 4 KM (2.5 miles) one way. Overnight at comfortable hotel in Paro.
Day 03 Drive to Haa valley
Haa is one of the last valleys to open up to tourism and has a rugged timeless beauty. We visit the quaint Dumste Lhakhang in the morning and then set out for the adjoining valley of Haa. Haa is a reminder of the Bhutan of yore, and the drive to Haa is through Chele La Pass, which is one of the highest road passes in Bhutan (3988 meters/13,084 ft). The drive to Haa from Paro takes around 2 hours. The drive is magnificent and one can hike along the ridge at Chele La. The Chele La pass is also the area where the national flower the blue poppy grows. Fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Hike along the ridge and offer prayer flags for good luck. Overnight at Guest House/Lodge.
Day 04 Overnight in Haa
Haa valley boasts lovely rural houses and untouched country side. The most revered temple is the temple devoted to the local deity Aup Chundu. Lunch will be arranged at one of the quaint local hotels. Development in this area is very sparse. We visit the village of Katsho with a beautiful view of traditional houses and ruins. Enroute visit Bali Lhakhang which is dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, and also the privately owned Lungkha Lhakhang. Katsho Goenpa dedicated to Guru Rimpoche is sacred and also monastic. From the site you get terrific scenic views of the Haa valley. Overnight at Guest House/Lodge.
Day 05 Start of Dagala trek. Geynekha to Gur.
On the drive from Haa valley to the Dagala trek start point, which is about is 45 minutes from Thimphu, we will stop to visit the interesting Dobji Dzong (fort) en route. Trek from Geynekha to Gur: Distance 7 km, 5 hours, 550 m ascent, 210 m descent, camp altitude 3,290 m. Drive to Geynekha (2800m) and on reaching the junction we then go up the village road for another 40 minutes till the start of the trek route. The trek starts at beautiful Gynekha village and begins with a short descent to the river. After crossing the river you start climbing until you reach a huge rock platform from where you have a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours you reach Gur, an area of yak pastures located just below the main trail.
Day 06 Trek from Gur to Labatama
Distance 12 km, 5 hours, 1,220 m ascent, 110 m descent, camp altitude 4,300 m. On the second day, the trail takes you across the high ridges from where you can truly appreciate the rugged beauty of your surroundings and the mountain vegetation. The path winds through refreshing meadows adorned with wild flowers and asparagus (in spring). The first mountain pass you cross is marked by a huge cairn and gives a spectacular view of Kanjenjunga (Sikkim) and a number of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. As you descend the pass you will be able to see the entirety of the Dagala mountain range including meadows and yak herder camps. Once you have descended into the Labatama valley you begin climbing gradually through the valley, passing several yak herder huts before you arrive at Uthso Tsho. The campsite is right next to the lake.
Day 07 Labatama – Day free to relax and explore.
This day will be dedicated to relaxing and recuperating at Labatama. It is an ideal to taker an excursion to any of three nearby lakes: Reli Tsho, Hen Tsho and Jama Tsho. Hikers are encouraged to take the opportunity to engage in some trout fishing as the location is ideal. Permits are required (rules subject to change) for fishing so one needs to contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions Ltd., in advance of arrival to Bhutan to make the necessary arrangements.
Day 08 Trek from Labatama to Panka
Distance 8 km, 6-7 hours, 260 m ascent, 520 m descent, camp altitude 4,000 m. The trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 4,520m. From here onwards you will have a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayan peaks all through the descent. The mountain peaks visible include Mt. Everest (Nepal), Mt. Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake, Mt. Tshering Gang, Mt. Khangbum, Mt. Masang Gang, Mt. Tsende Gang and Mt. Gangche Ta. If you want an even better view, you can climb a peak close to the saddle with an altitude of 4,720m. From the saddle the path descends, passing some yak herder huts to Doccha Chhu. You follow the river for a while, but stay higher up on the slope to reach Panka with ascents and descents along the way.
Day 09 Trek from Panka to Tsheregang
Distance 8 km, 5-6 hours, 180 m ascent, 920 m descent, camp altitude 3,080 m. A clear early morning will reveal breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari and Jichu Drake amongst many more Himalayan peaks. The path takes you through a forest of rhododendrons populated by Himalayan pheasants.You should also keep your eyes open for different varieties of blue poppy (June-July) and mountain birds while in this area. You reach enormous cairns at Chole La Pass (4100m). From here, you drop down to Kiwi Chowa (4030m). Our route then continues to a pass at 3960m where four tracks converge. We follow the northern route past a ruin said to have once been a dzong to monitor the movement of locals between Wangduephodrang & Thimphu districts. A ridge leads to Talakha Peak (4300m) revealing great views of the Thimphu Valley. If there is a good weather, Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari and Jichu Drake should be visible from here. From Talakha peak you drop down steadily, sometimes steeply, to reach a mixed forest of fir, juniper, rhododendron, rose, bamboo and birch. You will camp at Tsheregang (3080m) One also has a great view of Bhutan?s capital, Thimphu from here.
Day 10 Trek from Tsheregang to Chamgang, drive to Thimphu
Tsheregang – Chamgang: distance 6 km, time 3 hours From the monastery it is a short hike down to the feeder road with will lead you to the Village of Chamgang. On completion of trek you will be met and transferred by road to your hotel in Thimphu, which is an hour away (30 minute by rough road and 30 minute by black topped road). Optional sightseeing for the rest of the day in Thimphu or relax at the hotel.
Day 11 Thimphu sightseeing
Thimphu: Lying at an elevation of 2320m above sea level, the capital of Bhutan is a blend of the traditional and the modern. It is the only capital in the world without traffic stop lights, relying instead on the elegant gestures of traffic policemen. The population of Thimphu is around 40,000. Geographically speaking the capital lies in a valley with the Thimphu River running through it. Sightseeing options include: School of Arts and Crafts. Traditionally there are 13 arts and crafts in Bhutan. The students sell the works in a shop nearby to supplement their income. The 13 arts and crafts are Painting, Carpentry, Carving, Sculpture, Casting, Blacksmith, Bamboo works, Gold Smithing & Silver Smithing, Weaving, Embroidery, Masonry, Leather works and paper works. One can visit the school to see the students master the crafts. If you wish, you can visit local emporium and handicrafts shops in the town. Open all weekdays and half day on Saturdays. Additional sightseeing at the Folk Heritage museum which documents traditional life in Bhutan. The indigenous hospital uses age old Buddhist techniques to heal and offers a tour of its premises. The wonder herb cordycep has deep popularity in eastern remedies. The Changangkha monastery offers a bird?s-eye view of the valley and is also the guardian monastery of the valley. Visit the site of the Buddha statue which is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world and which sits overlooking the valley. Thimphu is a growing bustling town/city and visitors can individually explore the town, and the little cafes/bookstores and handicrafts which have started abounding in the growing city. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu (or possibly Paro depending on flight departure times).
Day 12 Depart Paro for onward destination
Departure day with flight to Bangkok (or other cities). Our staff will provide a transfer on this day from your hotel in Thimphu (or Paro) to the Paro airport in time for flight Druk Air flight.