12 Nights | 13 Days
The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek passes by picturesque lakes, Alpine meadows, abundant wildlife and many yak herder camps set to a backdrop of magnificent mountainous landscapes. The centrepiece of this communion with nature is time spent exploring the high altitude lakes overflowing with trout and mystical history. It is a moderate trek with mostly short trekking days, but includes a few steep climbs. This trek is a great option for those with a desire to experience the variety of flora and fauna in Bhutan, and capture a glimpse of the local nomadic lifestyle. Also includes a tour of the fascinating sites of Thimphu and Paro.
Season: April – Sep and October.
DAY 01: ARRIVE AT PARO AIRPORT
During the journey to Paro, one will experience a breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan and particularly exciting is the section through the Bhutanese foothills and the thrilling landing. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by representatives of our company, who will escort you for sightseeing, visiting the National museum of Bhutan, visit Paro Rimpong dzong and lunch at Paro Town. After lunch visit Kyichu temple, which was built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659 AD.
In the evening, take a stroll of the town and drive back to hotel for the night halt.
DAY 02: EXCURSION OF THE TIGER’S LAIR (TAKTSANG)
After breakfast, we will drive to Ramthangka, which is the base camp of the five hour (round trip) to the Tiger’s Lair, Taktsang. The trail is an old path marked by river powered prayer wheels. Taktsang monastery is the country’s epitome of architecture as well as a place of great religious significance. The monastery stands perched on a hillock, a granite cliff at 3,000 above the valley floor.
Taktshang is renowned in the Himalayan Buddhist world as one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage. Associated with the eight century tantric Saint Padmasambhava, it was within a cave in the temple that he subdued evil forces obstructing the teachings of the Buddha. It is said that he came riding on a tigress in a wrathful form.
After Taktshang, you will visit the ruins of Drugyel Dzong, the fortress known as the “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, built in 1646, as a symbol of Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetan invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries. On a clear day you can get a view of Mt Jomolhari.
Enroute to the hotel, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Temple which is believed to have been built on a place that resembled the left knee of a giant ogress.
DAY 03: PARO – THIMPHU
After breakfast we will drive to Thimphu and en-route visit Tachogang Lhakhang, founded by the Bridge Maker, Tibetan Saint, Thangton Gyalpo (1385-1464). Upon arrival at Thimphu, we will check into a hotel and in the evening visit the Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodrang , where Buddha’s largest Buddha statue is nearing completion.
From there, you can have a 360 degree view of the Thimphu valley. We will also visit the Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the Third King and Father of Modern Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and the 12th century Changangkha Lhakhang. We then drive back to the hotel for the overnight stay.
DAY 04: INSIGHTS OF MODERN BHUTAN – THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
In the morning we will visit places of historical significances and beauty such as the Folk Heritage Museum, National Institute for Zorig Chusum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a Nunnery, and then drive back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch, we will take a break and begin preparing for the next day’s trek to Dagala. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 05 : THIMPHU – TALEKHA
The trek begins with a short drive to Semtokha Rigney School, the institute of culture and language studies. Our ponies will be there and the trek will begin through a trail of blue pine forest and scrubs of evergreen oak forestation till Talekha Monastery, which lies at an altitude of 2,925m enveloped by tall, fresh blue pine trees and offering a view of Thimphu valley. After four hours, we reach Talekha, our camp for the night.
DAY 06: TALEKHA – JAPHUNA
The trek from Talekha is a gradual climb through thick forests of blue pine and ever green oak trees initially, and then into forest carpeted by soft pine and spruce for about 2 ½ hours, until you arrive at a yak herder’s camp. This is our lunch spot.
The tree line ends here and for another half an hour, you will be climbing through high altitude plants like Khems and other scrubs. You will then reach Jelezela (Pass) at 4,000 m, from where you can have a breathtaking view of Thimphu town and surrounding places like Phajoding, Yuesepang and others. On the north you will see the spectacular peaks of the Himalayas, such as, Jichu Drake Gang, Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, Jom Gang, Gangchen Ta, Masagang, Tseda Gang, Table Mountain and Gangkhar Punsum. The entire Dagala range can also be seen.
Once you cross the pass, the trek descends for about an hour. You will then cross two ridges and arrive at a Yak camp called Japhuna(3,800m), your camp for the night.
DAY 07: JAPHUNA – JADULA
From Japhuna, the trail ascends and descends over ridges and down to a small valley. This takes about four hours after which you will reach a small stream. There, you see two trails, one crossing the stream and the other going up the stream. Both the trails will lead you to the same destination.
The hike till the stream is an enchanting one, where you will encounter several small lakes, all of which are not named. The lunch spot will be near one of the lakes.
After another hour and a half trek, you will be ascending through trails enveloped by Rhododendron bushes till you reach another yak herder’s camp, called Jadula. This is at a height of 4,100 m and your camp for the night. From the camp you can see the rocky Aum Jomo peak, the highest in the whole Dagala range.
DAY 08: JADULA – LABATAMA
From Jadula there are two trails, one going on the left of Aum Jomo over Hetsogue Pass to Hetso-Hentso lakes and the other on to the right of Aum Jomo over Jomigue pass to Setso Yumtso lakes. From Jadula you follow the trail that goes on the right of Aum Jomo. After an hour and a half’s climb, you reach Jomigue pass (4,460 m.), after crossing DungkaTso (lake). From the pass the mountains of northern Bhutan can be seen. You will then descend for about 2 hours and reach Yumtso Gewa. Tou will halt for the night at Labatama yak herder’s camp, which is by the side of Yumtso.
DAY 09: CHERISHING LABATAMA
You can make a day’s excursion with pack lunch to Hentso Lake and try fishing. You can either return to the camp after lunch or make a day’s excursion to either Jamatso or Relitso.
DAY 10: SECOND DAY AT LABATAMA
In the second day, you can make excursions to Setso and nearby lakes. The hike to Setso is an easy one and takes 15 minutes. Later, you can go over a small ridge and then down to Jagetso, Pemitso etc. You can dedicate the entire day to fishing and exploring the landscapes. There is also another expedition you can undertake. Start quite early with pack lunch and follow the same trail passing to Jagetso, and Dagetso up to Jomigue pass. From the pass you start the real climb to Jomo. After 2 hours you reach the summit of Aum Jomo, (5,050 m.) from where one can have a spectacular view, far and wide. Lunch will be at the summit if it is not too cold for you.
DAY 11: LABATAMA – GENEKHA
You bid farewell to the lovely Labatama and move to the Gautama winter yak pasture in the tree line right below Dagala range. After three hours of gradual climb over a fascinating landscape, you reach the highest point for the day, Pagalaptsa, (4,170 m), from where you can view the village of Genekha and the starting point of Paro valley. From the pass you descend through rhododendrons and other shrubs and enter a trail of thick forest made of conifers and ever green oak-forest. You will then reach another yak pasture range called Goe Tama, your camp for the night. This trek is approximately 8 km, and would take about 6 hours.
DAY 12: GOE TAMA – PCHECHU GOMPA – PARO GOE TAMA TO PCHECHU GOMPA
A four hour trek, the trail leads through oak and conifer forest downhill till Genezampa (bridge) and then gradually up hill, until Genekha village. You will pass a school, an old monastery ‘Pchechu Gompa’ of Genekha and Wang Baba village (2,800 m) approximately. You can choose to camp at Pchechu Monastery or continue the journey to Paro by vehicle and spend the night at a hotel.
DAY 13: DEPARTURE
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Paro international airport for your flight out of Bhutan. Our company’s representative will see you off.