Gangtey Valley Trek - 10 Days

Overview

Gangtey Valley Trek is a short trek in the valley of Gangtey of five days along with the remaining days spent on cultural sightseeing in Thimphu and Paro in the majestic Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan.

This short trek, called Gangtey Valley Treks place mainly in the valley known as Gangtey valley which has for subsections to it. Once you get to it, you will hike to various places and back of the note. Gangtey Valley is a cultural diverse valley, which has many Shrines, Temples better known as Lhakhang in Bhutanese language, Monasteries made in a number of styles and designs suited for the natural landscape and fortresses better known as Dzongs in the language dot the landscape, which was previously used for defense of the country. When the hiking part of the trip is over, then you will have road excursions to various places especially in the two major cities of the country, Thimphu, which is the capital of the country and Paro, a lush green valley city nearby. There again you will visit shrines, temples, fortresses, farmhouses, the centenary market and much, bring out the cultural aspect of the country and the people of Bhutan in this tour cum hike.

Why should you take a trek of this kind to Bhutan? The simple reason for this is that Bhutan has some of the living memories of the past still intact in the way they are kept, all come forth from the way it follows and the philosophies which it does. Bhutan is a country, which exists in the Himalayan region in the east of it. It is surrounded by India on three sides to the west, south and east and the autonomous region of Tibet to the North. Plus, Bhutan happens to be the only country with a negative carbon rating due to its large coverage of forest which is over sixty percent of the total landmass. In addition to this, it also follows what is known as gross domestic happiness in contrast to gross domestic products of other countries. This stems from its Buddhist philosophical trend. Thus taking this Gangtey Valley trek or any other trek in the country like Druk Path Trek Laya Gasa Trek Bumdra Trek, or a Cultural Tour in the country would naturally highlight the difference of this destination.

Some of the significant aspects of this trek which you will get to taste and give you a lasting memory of it is, even before you do the trek, you will reach this Himalayan Nation aboard its National Carrier called Druk Air over some of the most stunning terrains that the earth has to offer. The Himalayan mountains will showcase their height with their peaks covered with snow to the north and just below them which you will fly over to land are the lush green hills with villages atop them and valleys with fast flowing rivers where some of them have cut gorges. For all of these rivers come from the foot of the glaciers of the High Himalayan Mountains. Then you go on tour Monasteries, Shrines, Temples, Dzongs and see the landscape with each having some natural story to line them in keeping to the difference which you might have seen elsewhere, both while touring and trekking. Then the terrain in which you do the trek, while also have a repercussion on your mental aptitude as they have their unique diversity, so different from what you might see elsewhere. Not forgetting to mention the Taktsang Monastery, which becomes a must as being built not only nearly 3000 meters high above sea level but has tales and architecture to make it seem true. For it is built against a vertical cliff as if hanging onto it. It is believed the Guru Rinpoche, supposedly came flying here to meditate on the back of a tigress for three months. Getting to the temple of the Divine Madman who is so-called affectionately for it was his strange spiritual ways the blessed childless couples with children. The Dzongs in the tour and on the hike that you will come across have their own stories to tell with the splendour of their architecture and so well integrated into the natural landscape. They were used in times of the past as fortresses but now use as administrative, religious block and at times cultural assets. So much so, when you have completed this hike, you will return home with vivid memories of them.

What kind of trek is this?
It is both a daily hike to various places in Gangtey as well as cultural sightseeing while in the major cities of the country. Basically, it can be termed as a cultural hike and tour.

Outline Trekking Itinerary for Gangtey Valley Trek
Day 1: Arrival Paro (2,250m)
Day 2: Paro – Thimphu (2,350m)
Day 3: Thimphu – Gangtey Gompa (2,900m)
Day 4: Trek to Gogona (3,100m)
Day 5: Trek to Khotokha (2,790m)
Day 6: Trek to Tikke Zampa and drive to Punakha (1,310m)
Day 7: Punakha – Thimphu (2,350m)
Day 8: Thimphu – Day excursion to Haa Valley (2,740) – Paro
Day 9: In Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3,120m)
Day 10: Depart Bhutan

Trip Highlights

  • Witness majestic panorama of the world’s high Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro.
  • Discover the tiny town of Paro exploding with colors.
  • Visit the tiny capital of Thimphu.
  • Trek into the beautiful glacial Phobijikha Valley.
  • Hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan.
  • Visit Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan.
  • Commence short hike to Chime Lakhang- the divine madman’s temple.
  • Explore the Gangtey Valley & the great 17th century Gangtey Monastery
  • Witness the Bhutanese culture, tradition and lifestyles.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Paro (2,250m)

Today you arrive aboard the National Carrier over the High Himalayan Mountains landing at the lush green valley of Paro. You will then be taken over by the tour guides there and taken for lunch at Paro. Later you will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, now it is the seat of administration then you cross the roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. You stay the night at hotel in Paro.

Day 2
Paro - Thimphu (2,350m)

After completing breakfast you follow the Pa chhu River downstream in a one hour drive to Thimphu. Once there, you will be taken to Buddha Point for a stunning view of Thimphu valley. Then you take a drive to see the national animal of Bhutan Takin. Then it is a majestic view of Tashichoe Dzong before circumventing the Memorial Chorten, a monument erect for the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Later, we visit the farmers market and the national museum for Traditional medicines and the Folk Heritage Museum which is now housed a 300 year old house.

Day 3
Thimphu - Gangtey Gompa (2,900m)

Today it is a six to seven hour drive to Gangtey Gompa. The first three house is a cool drive ot Wangdue via the Dochula Pass at 3,150 metres with views of Gangkhar Puensum at 7,541 metres, the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. Then we descend through a forest of Magnolias and Rhododendron forest and then a semi-tropical forest of oranges, bananas and cactus plants to the valley of wangdue. On completing lunch we drive onto Gangtey Gompa where we will be accommodated in a farm house in their guest house.

Day 4
Trek to Gogona (3,100m)

Today, we head to Gogona at (3,100m) from Tabiting on foot. It is a moderate day’s trek through meadows, fields which ascend to the Tselela pass at 3,440m through a forest of bamboo, Rhododendron and Magnolia forest. When we finish crossing the Tselela Pass, we cross quite a few Meadows and down through forest to Gangtok. The place Gangtok is a small village on the top of a hill with a lovely monastery. We come across people speaking various dialects called Bjop-kha. We stay the night in camps here.

Day 5
Trek to Khotokha (2,790m)

Today you hike up at first from Gogona village and into a forest of oak, fir, spruce, dwarf rhododendron, small azaleas, juniper and cypress. With a slow climb up we hit Shobju La Pass at 3,410 metres. Then we go down a rocky trail from the pass crossing a river a number of times. When we hit 3000 metres we reach a rough tractor track which we follow to Dolonaga at 2,830 metres. Still following the same trail we reach a clearing in Chorten Karpo. We set camp in this clearing for the night.

Day 6
Trek to Tikke Zampa and drive to Punakha (1,310m)

We begin the day by makinga short climb to Tashila Pass at 2,800m. Then it is down through a pretty forest of chaning rhododendron, magnolia, fern and dwarf bamboos. You get some of the finest bird watching done here. The the path takes a dive down a steep terraced wheat filed to a cluster of houses in Whachay where we finally come to the Tikke Zampa at 1,500 metres. From here it is a half an hour drive to Punakha. We stay at a hotel here in Punakha.

Day 7
Punakha - Thimphu (2,350m

In the mornig we visit Punakha Dzong which is located at the junction of Pho and Mo-cho that is supposedly the best in the country. Then it is a short hike through the rice field to the Chimmi Lhakang, a temple dedicate to Drukpa Kuenley affectionately known as the divine madman. People who are childless usually pay this temple a visit. Afterward, we drive to Thimphu in a three hour drive. We stay the night at a hotel.

Day 8
Thimphu - Day excursion to Haa Valley (2,740) - Paro

Completing breakfast, we drive tothe Chelela Pass at 3,899 metres. Here get a good view of the different Himalayan Ranges. WE then head onto Haa Valley. It is a valley made up of five districts. We visit the Wangchuklo Dzong which dates back to the 1915 and then visit the Lhakhang Nakpo and Lhakhang Karpo. We retunr to Paro and stay the night at a hotel.

Day 9
In Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3,120m)

Today, we go to the base of the Taktsang Monastery and make a two hour hike up to it. It is perched against the cliff at nearly three thousand metres above sea level. It is believed that the Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress to meditate here for three months. Then we drive to Kyichu Lhakhan, the oldest and sacred monastery in Bhutan. We stay the night in a hotel.

Day 10
Depart Bhutan

Since, now your tour and hike is over, you will be taken to the airport by the hiking staff and bid farewell to your next destination.
At Breakfree Adventures, we hope that you had a fabulous time where we take your security and comfort of high importance.

Cost

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation throughout your Bhutan stay (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium). Camping while on trek.
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing.
  • Route Permit.
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours.
  • Three meals per day - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner (only breakfast on last day)
  • A licensed English Speaking Bhutanese trek/tour guide.
  • All land transportation by a private vehicle.
  • Trek & sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Monuments entrance fees wherever applicable.
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • All internal taxes and charges.
  • A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • Airfare & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips & Gratuities.
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.
Gangtey

Gangtey is the largest village in Phobijikha Valley located south of the main road and east of Wangdue Phodrang. Gangtey monastery situated on a small hilltop dates back to the 17th century. The monastery is surrounded by a large village.

How much is Gangtey Bhutan altitude?

Gangtey Bhutan altitude is at 2900 meters.

Where is Phobijikha Valley?

Phobijikha Valley is where Gangtey village is located in central Bhutan and it’s u shaped valley. It’s one of the beautiful valleys in Bhutan where impressive Gangtey monastery is situated. The valley is home to black-necked cranes during winter which flies all the way from Tibet and returns back after winter.

How is Gangtey Valley trek?

Gangtey Valley trek is the most beautiful hike into the Phobijikha Valley. It’s the low altitudes easy trekking at an altitude of 3000 meters. The trek is for anyone who wishes to be with beautiful nature and witness Bhutanese culture and traditions.

Is Phobjikha valley trek and Gangtey Valley trek the same?

Yes, Phobjikha valley trek and Gangtey Valley trek are the same trek which starts from Gangtey monastery and into the Phobijikha Valley.

What is the best time for Gangtey Valley trek?

The best time for Gangtey Valley trek is March to May and September to November. The trek can be also done during winter (Dec-Feb) but be prepared for colder weather and maybe snow.

Will I go for hike to Taktsang monastery?

Yes, you will go for hike to Taktsang monastery which is at the end of the tour after you finish Gangtey trek and visiting Thimphu, Punakha.

How are the accommodations on Gangtey Trekking?

The accommodations on Gangtey Trekking is in tents since this is a camping based trek and there are not lodges o the trekking trail besides Gangtey. However, besides trekking all the accommodations is at hotels, usually 3-star properties, in places like Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey.

Is Phobjikha Valley Trek Bhutan a camping trek?

Yes, Phobjikha Valley Trek Bhutan is a camping trek. It will be a fully organized camping trek with trekking staff support accordingly.

Where does Bhutan Gangtey Trek start and end?

Bhutan Gangtey Trek starts from Tabiting in Gangtey and start trek to Gogona, Khotokha, Tikke Zampa and drive to Punakha.

Is 3 Days Bhutan Gangtey Trek difficult?

3 Days Bhutan Gangtey Trek is easy graded trekking done at the lower altitude, You will require a normal level of fitness to accomplish the trek and previous hiking experience will be an added advantage.

Trip Information

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below:
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons. During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May.

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing.

The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.

WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.

Other requirements:
A quality sleeping bag.
Waterproof gators.
A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
Binoculars and Camera.
Small day pack.
Water bottle
Towel
Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
Mini-flashlight

DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.

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Gangtey Valley Trek

Trip Facts

  • Bhutan
  • 09 Nights/10 Days
  • Spring (March-May) & Autumn/fall (September-November)
  • Private vehicle
  • (Tiger Nest Monastery (3,120 meters)
  • Easy
  • Thimphu
  • Punakha
  • 6 - 7 hours each day
  • Sightseeing/Hiking tour
  • Taktsang Monastery, Gangtey Monastery, Paro Ringpng Dzong, Buddha's Point-Thimphu, Dochula pass, Punakha dzong
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above/Tent during camping

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