Days: 10 / Difficulty: 2 of 5 (Moderate)
GANGTEY / GOGONA TREK.
This trek leads you to the beautiful Phobjikha valley (3,000m), one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan, which lies in the East Mountains of Wangduephodrang. After crossing over the pass you soon come to the great monastery of Gangtey which was established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few kilometers down from the monastery, on the valley floor. This quiet, remote valley is the chosen winter home of the rare black necked cranes, who migrate here annually from the Tibetan plateau. This moderate trek visits the villages of Gogona and Khotokha, passing through meadows and fields, then forests of juniper, magnolia and rhododendrons in full bloom in April. It is one of the finest low level treks in Bhutan. Season: The best times for this trek are March to May, and September to November. The best months are April and early May when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
DAY 1: Arrival in Kathmandu and meet our staff/crew at the airport and transfer to Hotel.
Welcome drink and briefing about Bhutan trip, equipment check and relax in Hotel.
DAY 2: Arrive at Paro International Airport from Kathmandu.
Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel. There should be time in the afternoon to visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You can also visit the National Museum. This was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. Unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2011 damaged the Ta Dzong and the contents of the museum were moved to a neighboring building. You can still see a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artefacts — costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps. The National Museum is due to reopen in the Ta Dzong in 2015. Overnight in Paro .
DAY 3: Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger's Nest’,
‘Tiger's Nest’, is the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 meters’ above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighboring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. Afterwards if there is time you can visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan. This evening you can sort out your luggage for the trek. Anything you don’t need to carry with you will be driven safely to Thimphu to await your arrival.Overnight in Paro.
DAY 4: TSALUNA TREK DAY 1. Paro to Jili Dzong. 4 hours' walk.
The first day of the trek is a long slow climb; the trek follows the gravel road passing through the village. The wide trail climbs through blue pine and fir forest to a mani wall. It is then a long, but not steep, climb through forests to a camping place in a large pasture just below Jili La, marked by a cairn at 3560m.
Overnight in camp
DAY 5: TSALUNA TREK DAY 2. Jili Dzong to Tsaluna. 5 to 6 hours' walk.
Today we will take a detour from the main trek path, avoiding the steep climbs, by descending towards the south-east through silver fir, pine, and rhododendron and hemlock forest. The route takes you through the forest and then past a couple of houses to camp nearby a small river at about 3000 metres. We can also visit Tsalu Ney, a small 14th century temple, where the Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated.Overnight in camp.
DAY 6: TSALUNA TREK DAY 3.Tsaluna to Phajoding. 5 to 6 hours' walk.
Today we continue with our detour, upwards to Pumo La at about 3400 metres. About two hours after the pass we will reach Phajoding at 3750 metres where we will camp. Numerous meditation centres and temples are scattered across the hillside and the large buildings of Phajoding monastery are just below the campsite.Overnight in camp.
DAY 7: TSALUNA TREK DAY 4. Phajoding to Thimphu.
The final day’s trail to Thimphu descends through blue pine forests (2 to 3 hours). In the afternoon you will be free to relax and wander round town, soaking in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress and begin your sightseeing.Overnight in Thimphu
DAY 8: Thimphu sightseeing.
We will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely homemade articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.In the evening take the short drive along the Paro and Thimphu valleys to Paro.Overnight in Paro.
DAY 9 Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck).
DAY 10 Final Departure:
After breakfast depending on your schedule transfer to International Airport for the final Departure.
Our Gangtey Gogona Trek Package Cost includes;
* Airport/Hotel/Airport pick up and transfer by private car/van.
* 2 nights accommodation in twin bed sharing basis with breakfast at standard hotel in Kathmandu.
* Guide - guide throughout the tour from arrival to departure.
* Sightseeing - all sightseeing and entrance fees including any festival visits.
* Transport - meet on arrival, airport transfers on arrival and departure and all overland transport within Bhutan.
* Accommodation - accommodation in standard hotels.
* Food - full board throughout the trip in Bhutan.
* Office Service charge.
* All Government Tax.
Our Gangtey Gogona Trek Package Cost doesn't include;
* Any meals in Kathmandu other than breakfast.
* Travel insurance (if you want us to arrange your travel insurance, we would greatly be happy to assist).
* International air fare to and from Nepal and to and from Bhutan.
* Nepal Tourist Visa fee.
* Visa Fee and Fees for Tourism development Fund (USD 50)
* Items and expenses of personal nature.
* Any kind of alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry, phone call, internet.
* Personal Trekking Equipments like sleeping bags, jackets (can all be hired in KTM)
* Emergency Evacuation (Helicopter Rescue).
* Any costs which arise due to a change of the itinerary, because of landslides, political disturbance, and strikes etc.
* Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost included.
* Tips for guide, porters, driver...
Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory.
Customize Your Gangtey Gogona Trek: This is a general itinerary, which can always individually be “tailormade”. The trek package can be redesigned or redeveloped as per your taste, For more information please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: In case of emergency during the trip, Helicopter will be arranged by Swiss Family Treks & Expedition (P) Ltd. The charges must be paid by the clients themselves.