Although the trek is possible throughout the whole winter, the best seasons for the Gangtey Trek are March to May and September to November. It is a short and relatively easy trek with villages and monasteries en route.
Phobjikha Valley, at 2900meters is in one of the few glacier valleys in Bhutan. It is the chosen home of the rare black necked cranes which migrate here in winter from the Tibetan Plateau. The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful places in Bhutan and the Gangtey Gompa monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black mountains. This moderate trek passes through the village of Gogona and Khotokha, through meadows and fields, then forest of juniper, magnolia and rhododendrons. One of the finest low level treks in Bhutan.
The Best time to trek is from Jan – May and Sept – Dec.
Day 01: ARRIVE AT PARO (BY DRUK AIR FLIGHT)
On arrival, representative from Bhutan Wisdom Liberty will receive you at the airport and drive you the short distance to the hotel. After Lunch
Day 02: THIMPHU
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and then Changangkha Lhakhang, Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch vVisit Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichhoe Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Over night in Hotel.
Day 03: THIMPHU-PUNAKHA
After breakfast, Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, visit Chime Lhakhang also known as fertility temple, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his ‘Magical Thunder bolt’. Visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal . And thereafter the Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new National Assembly here in 1952. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 04: PUNAKHA-PHOBJIKHA
Today after breakfast, we will drive to Phobjikha which would take two and half hour drive. This place is a winter residence for the endangered species Black Necked Crane which flies from the Tibetan plateau in winter. En-route, you can Wangduephodrang Dzong. Once in Phobjikha, visit Gangtey goemba the only nyingma monastery in the western slope of black mountain range. If you wish too, there is a beautiful natural trail which passes through the village and over the view point of the roasting place of the big birds. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 05: PHOBJIKHA-GOGONA (TREK BEGINS)
Hike time: 6 hours Estimated distance: 15km Elevation: 610m ascent, 410m descent. Camp at 3090m
The trail winds up on a slow climb through field and then ascends the Tselela Pass for your lunch stop. Then the trail descends gradually for some time trough forest of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron. After the last short climb you will reach Gogona village. The people of Gogona were originally nomads and they speak a language, ‘Jopkha’ (language of the nomads).
Day 6: GOGONA-KHOTOKHA
Hike time: 6-7 hours Estimated distance: 16km Elevation: 450m ascent, 860m descent. Camp at 2650m
In the morning you will climb up a gentle slope to Shobjula (3450m) for your lunch stop. Then the path leads down to a wide valley of Khotokha, a summer place of the people of Sha (under district of Wangduephodrang).
Day 7: KHOTOKHA-TIKI ZAMPA
Hike time: 4-5 hours Estimated distance: 12km Elevation: 120m ascent, 1340m descent.
A short ascend leads to Mulaila pass (2800m) then the path descends through ever-changing vegetation till the bridge in Wangdi Phodrang. Your trek ends here and your car will pick you and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in the hotel in Wangduephodrang.
Day 8: WANGDIPHODRANG-LUNCHUTSE-THIMPHU
After breakfast, drive to Dochula pass. You can start your hike to Lungchutse temple which was built by one of the treasure revealer Terton Drukdra Dorji in 12th century. From the pass it takes approx. 2 hours (one way). The trail ascends gradually through the rhododendron trees. Later drive back to Thimphu. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 9: THIMPHU-PARO
After breakfast, you can drive to paro. In Paro, visit Ta Dzong (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning ‘Heap of Jewels’), built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridged where you will be waiting to be driven to Thimphu. Over night in Hotel.
Day 10: PARO-EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG
In the morning after breakfast, a short drive from the hotel to Ramthangka (start point). To avoid the hot sun an early start is advisable for the two-hour climb, via the cafeteria, to the tigers nest viewpoint. Descend steeply, and then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall. One of the amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba defies logic, gravity, and reason. Legend has it that cliff side was where Guru Rimpochoe (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of the flying Tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. Dinner and halt in the hotel.
Day 11: DEPARTURE
Early morning, drive to the airport and farewell.