- Trip Duration : 10 Days
- Start - End : Kathmandu - Kathmandu
- Highest Altitude : 3400 m
- Difficulty : Moderate
- Season : Mar-May, Sep-Nov
- Activity : Sightseeing- Trekking
- Trip Grade :
Gangtsey – Gogona Trek
The trip is combination of cultural sightseeing and moderate trek through field and forest to reach Gogona village. We then take a path leading wide valley and ever changing vegetation and drive back to witness Archary match.
Phobjikha Valley, at 3000 meters is one of the most beautiful few glacial valleys in the Himalayas. 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.
|Day 01 :||Kathmandu - Paro (2280 m)|
|Day 02 :||Thimphu Sightseeing (2320m )|
|Day 03 :||Thimphu – Punakha (1310 m)|
|Day 04 :||Thimphu – Punakha (1310 m)|
|Day 05 :||Punakha - Gangtey (3120m)|
|Day 06 :||Gangey - Gogona (2950 m) Start of Trek|
|Day 07 :||Gogona – Khotokha (2600 m)|
|Day 08 :||Khotokha – Chazam – Wangdiphodrang (1310m)|
|Day 09 :||Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu (2320m)|
|Day 10 :||Departure|
Day 01: Kathmandu - Paro 2280 meters
Upon arrival at Paro airport, you will be received by a Representative of Yak Holidays, transfer to the hotel.
After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center 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 bridge. Dinner and over
Day 02: Paro 2280 meters
Excursion to Taktsang. After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, the trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.
After Lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang that was built in 659 by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Dinner and over night
Day 03: Thimphu Sightseeing 2320 meters
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Then we ride to Buddha Point to see the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world, Changangkha Lhakhang, Takin Preserve Center and the View Point.
After lunch, ride to Cheri Monastery. In the evening, visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight
Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha 1310 meters: (76 Kms, 3 hours drive)
After EARLY 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, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
While in Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952.
Day 05: Punakha - Gangtey
After breakfast, drive for 2 hours to Gangtey. On the way, visit Wangduephodrang Dzong built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey. Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery from outside. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Dinner and overnight.
Day 06. Gangey - Gogona 2950 meters
Start of Trek - 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). Distance 15 km, about 6 - 7 hours.
Day 07: Gogona – Khotokha 2600 meters
In the morning you will climb up a gentle slope to Shobjula (11,155 ft.) 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) Distance 15 - 16 km. Time about 6 - 7 hours.
Day 08: Khotokha – Chazam – Wangdiphodrang (3 -4 hrs. walk)
A short ascend leads to Mulaila pass (9200ft.) then the path descends through ever-changing vegetation till the bridge in Wangdi Phodrang. Your trek ends here at. Dinner and overnight in.
Day 09: Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. After Lunch, witness Archery Match, visit to Philatelic office. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 10: Departure
Early morning, drive to the airport and farewell.
Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of fellow travelers can all contribute to changes. We will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but an easy going nature will be an asset!
Bhutan Visa formalities/Visa for Travel to Bhutan
Except for Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa.
We will arrange the visa for you to travel to Bhutan and are issued from Thimpu. To enable us to process your visa on time, your passport copy and visa application must reach us at least 60 days before the date of travel. We apply for visa on your behalf and get the visa clearance for you which take minimum 10 days. We will send you the visa approval letter which you need to present it to board the flight to Bhutan and also need to present it upon your arrival in paro airport and actual visa will be issued and stamped in your passport when you arrive at paro airport.
Bhutan experiences four distinct seasons, similar in their divisions to those of Western Europe: spring, monsoon, autumn, and winter. Most tourist visit Bhutan in spring and autumn.
Spring is the time when Bhutan’s rich flora is at its best as hundreds of varieties of flowers bloom. And during this time around, the skies are clear and you can see towering snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas.
Even in spring Bhutan’s fierce winter, especially in high altitudes, isn’t over. Tourists who intend to visit during this time are advised to bring along some winter clothes. Spring season starts from March and ends roughly in June.
Another good time of the year ‘autumn’ begins from September and lasts till the end of November.
Monsoon brings heavy downpours and occurs between June and August when the temperature is normally between 8° and 21°C (46°-70°F).
Winter in Bhutan is cold and dry with most high lying places snow-covered. Winter lasts from December to February.
Summer is humid and the country experiences heavy rains and frequent road blocks.
However, Bhutan’s climatic conditions are different at different places and locations because of country’s geographyCheck list:
Please check the checklist carefully for details of what you need to bring on the tour and please arrange it according season wise.
- Loose comfortable T-Shirts
- Long sleeved shirts for sun protection
- A warm jacket and a fleece pullover
- A thermal layer (shirt and pants)
- Water and wind proof jacket
- Water and wind proof trousers
- Woolen or thermal gloves
- Sun hat and sun glasses
- Woolen or fleece hat
- Normal/warm woolen socks
- Comfortable shoes
- A comfortable day pack with adjustable waist and shoulder straps
- Personal toiletries - shampoo, soap, shavers, moisturizer, and travel towel etc
- Sun block and lip balm
- Personal first aid kit and any personal medications you need to take
- Camera, music and books
- Rucksack for your cloths and other accessories
- An airtight ‘dry bag’ is great for storing your dirty laundry!
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping bag liner – either silk, cotton or fleece
- HEAD TORCH!
- Batteries for camera, torch etc..
- A big smile for all and your sense of humor and adventure!
THINGS TO BRING FOR A TREKKING IN BHUTAN:
- Personal clothing: strong normal clothing (according to season). Preferably cotton, even for summer, woolen clothing for the evening and winter.
- For Trekking, one must bring:
- Strong comfortable trekking boots, water-resistant for the rainy period: June-August.
- Flash light
- Rain coat (especially for rainy period –June-August)
- Head gear/hat/cap; sun and rain protection
- Water pills – for extra caution in purifying stream; (boiled water is provided at all times during the trek)
- Aspirin – incase of altitude sickness
- Lots of socks
- Warm clothes
OPTIONAL ITEMS TO BRING FOR TREKKING IN BHUTAN:
- Head gear
- Folding umbrella (only for wet months — July and August)
- One towel
- Pillow case
- Wet-packed tissue paper.
All tour participants should obtain their own personal insurance which covers medical and emergency evacuation at a minimum. Helicopter evacuation is provided in emergency cases but please make sure that you insurance cover the cost of the evacuation. You will of course also want cover for loss or damage to personal effects, flight or trip cancellation etc.
Tipping and cash requirement
Bhutan’s currency is the ngultrum (Nu.) and is on par with the Indian Rupee, also an accepted legal tender in the country. The approximate exchange rate is Nu 45 for 1 US$. It is however recommended that you carry travelers’ checks or cash, preferably American Express and US dollar instead, as the ATM facilities for foreign currency is limited to just few towns including the capital city Thimphu. Visa and American Express credit cards are also widely accepted. You may change dollars, Euros, traveler’s checks, and a few other convertible currencies at banks and bigger hotels in all major towns. A Forex is also located in the heart of Thimphu.
Tipping is now common in Bhutan but there is no strict rules about how much the tip should be. You could tip if you are satisfied with the service.
ALTITUDE AND PREVENTING ALTITUDE SICKNESS WHILE TREKKING IN BHUTAN
Being in a hurry in the mountains can be deadly. Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends to higher altitudes.
Ascending slowly, with appropriate rest days and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways not to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
You should not plan to go to high altitude if you have heart disease, difficulty breathing at sea level or are pregnant. You should consult your doctor about any known medical conditions if you are considering trekking in high altitude (over 2500m).
Avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking while at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and lead to AMS. Data indicates that drinking 3-4 liters of fluids (water, soup etc) per day to avoid dehydration helps in the acclimatization process. Never try to attempt to go higher up if you have altitude sickness, stay either in the same elevation or if got worse trek to the lower elevation.
The first aid kit carried by your guide includes Diamox and he/she is trained in the identification of AMS symptoms and their treatment. You MUST take their advice.
You will be given a comprehensive briefing about what to expect and what to do to avoid AMS before embarking on your trek.