Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

Tour Details

12 Days 11 Nights

Day 1: Arrival at Paro – Drive to Thimphu

Landing in Paro Valley is the perfect introduction to Bhutan. Fields of brown or green cover most of the valley floor while hamlets and isolated farms dot the landscape. On arrival, your visa is processed and you then pass through customs where your Bhutanese guide meets you for a one hour journey to Thimphu. Situated in a large valley traversed by the Wangchu River and overshadowed by high peaks, the capital is a stunning Himalayan city.

After lunch, take some time to relax or begin exploring the city. Begin at the Memorial Chorten, with its golden spires and an endless procession of locals circling it. Constructed by the royal grandmother Ashi  Phutsho Chodoen in memory of her son King Jigme Dorje, the structure now contains an immense collection of Buddhist statues and remains a center for Buddhist philosophy. This evening, enjoy a walk down the high street lined with quaint shops filled with everyone from ubiquitous monks to Bhutanese businessmen and farmers. 

Hotel Migmar
Le Meridian
Namgay Heritage

Day 2: Thimphu sightseeing

Today you further explore sights of Thimphu. Begin with the Kuensel Phodrang, home to the Buddha Dordenma, one of the largest Buddhas in the world. Continue on to the Folk Heritage Museum, Vast Art Gallery, and Royal Textile Museum where visitors can learn about Bhutan’s living national art of thagzo (weaving) and get a glimpse into the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle. In the evening, you drive towards the Tashichho Dzong, also known as the ‘fortress of the glorious religion’. Originally built in 1641, the Dzong houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. This afternoon take a walk through town and visit the many textile and handicrafts shop which line up the streets of Thimphu or visit the newly opened Craft Bazaar, a government initiative aimed at promoting local craftsmanship. 

For those who prefer something a bit more active, you can set off on a short hike to the Tango and Cheri Monasteries in preparation for your trek. About an hour’s drive north of Thimphu, the uphill hike to these two premier Buddhist academic institutions takes about 90 minutes to walk through the stunning and picturesque forest.

Hotel Migmar
Taj Hotel
Le Meridian

Day 3: Geynekha – Gur – Dagala Trek

Following breakfast, depart Thimphu on a short drive to the starting point of your trek. Today’s trail takes you through terraced fields and conifers to the beautiful Genekha Village. After a short descent and river crossing, you’ll start climbing towards a massive rock platform from where you’ll have a picturesque view of the valley below. From here another two hours will bring you to Gur, a quiet spot amidst yak pastures where you will spend the night.

Hiking Distance: 4.5 miles (7 km) / 5 hours 

Day 4: Gur – Labatama – Dagala Trek

While trekking across the ridges, enjoy the beauty of the rugged mountain flowers and vast meadows. Weaving through tiny streams, you will climb gently through scattered birches and rhododendrons to arrive at Pagalabtsa Pass. From here, you can take in spectacular views of Kanchenjunga (Sikkim) along with a number of other Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. As you descend through the pass you will be able to view the entire Dagala Range and nearby yak herders camp where a delicious lunch awaits. Afterwards, descend into the Labatama Valley until you reach Utsho Lake where golden trout are abundant. Your campsite tonight is right next to the lake.

Hiking Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km) / 4 hours 

Day 5: Labatama – Halt – Dagala Trek

Enjoy a day at leisure relaxing and exploring the Labatama valley. Those who are feeling energetic can choose from a range of day excursions to either RelitshoHentsho, or Jametsho Lake

Day 6: Labatama – Panka – Dagala Trek

Today’s trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 14,800 ft from where you soak in a majestic view of the Himalayan peaks including Everest (Nepal), Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Jumolhari, Jitchu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tshenda Gang, and Gangche Ta. If you crave an even better view, you have the chance to climb a peak close to the saddle with an altitude of 15,500 ft. From the saddle, the path descends, passing yak herder huts to Docha Chu. Continue to follow the river for as reach your camp for the evening at Pankha.

Hiking Distance: 5 miles (8 km) / 6-7 hours 

Day 7: Panka – Tsheregang – Dagala Trek

Head off for another trek, this time crossing several passes abundant with mountain birds though none of them affording a major climb. After crossing the last pass, Tale La (13,700 ft) you start a long descent to Talikha Goempa. This evening you camp at Tsheregang from where you can experience impressive views of Thimphu below.

Hiking Distance: 5 miles (8 km) / 5-6 hours

Day 8: Tsheregang – Chamgang – Drive to Paro

From the monastery, embark on the short hike down to an unpaved road which will lead you to the village of Chamgang where your transport will be waiting to transfer you to Paro.

Hiking Distance: 4 miles (6 km) / 3 hours 

Day 9: Paro Festival

One of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district), the Paro Tsehchu occurs each spring and draws in people from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration, the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) of the Guru Throngdel inside the dzong. Later proceed to the Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong), one of the kingdom’s finest examples of traditional Bhutanese architecture, and visit the Ta Dzong (watchtower) above, home to the National Museum. After lunch, return to your transport via the traditional wooden covered bridge and continue on to visit the Kyichu Monastery and Drugyel Dzong ruins.

Metta Resort
Uma Resort

Day 10: Day Tour to Ha Valley via Cheila Pass

Early this morning, set off on your drive to the Ha Valley via the Chele La Pass, Bhutan’s highest navigable road at over 12,000 feet. On a clear day, the sweeping view captures the snowy cap of Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari (23,400 ft), and the Ha Valley, which only opened to foreigners in 2002 due to its proximity to the border with Sikkim and Tibet. This unspoiled valley harks back to a simpler, more traditional time. Continue on past a sky burial site as you descend for the two-hour hike through dense forest to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside below. After having made your offerings and perhaps being blessed, it is time to return to the main road for your drive back to Paro.

For those who prefer a more leisurely day, there is the option to drive from Chele La Pass down the other side to the Ha Valley. 

Day 11: Hike to Taksang Monastery

After breakfast, you drive around 25 minutes to Ramthanka Base for a hike to view one of  Bhutan’s most revered pilgrimage sites, the Taktsang Lhakhang, popularly known as the “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery. The trek offers spectacular views of the sacred monastery perched precariously on a sheer rock face 3000 ft above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, father of Bhutan’s stream of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived in the Paro Valley more than a millennium ago on a back of a tigress before meditating for three months in the cave which eventually became this monastery. 

You begin your hike from the base to the cafeteria which will take around 1.5 hours, and from where another hour’s trek brings you to the monastery. On your return, you stop by the cafeteria once more for lunch before beginning your descent. After an exciting day, feel free to relax with a traditional hotel stone bath

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours 

Day 12: Depart

In the morning you are transferred to the Paro airport for your international flight back home. 

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Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys.

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