Tour overview

Although the trek is possible throughout the winter, the best time for the Gangtey Trek is between March-May and September-November. It is a short and relatively easy trek with several beautiful villages and monasteries en route.

The trail winds through forests of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendrons and over small streams of cold, clear mountain water. This trek is an excellent choice for those visitors not accustomed to trekking in the mountains as it offers beautiful views of the country with mostly gentle, forested slopes. The best time for this trek is between September-May.

Itinerary Outline
Day 1: Arrival at Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha Sightseeing
Day 3: Punakha – Gangtey
Day 4: Phobjikha – Zasa (Start of 3 Days Gangtey Trek)
Day 5: Zasa – Chorten Karpo
Day 6: Chorten Karpo – Tikke Zampa (End of Gangtey Trek)
Day 7: Gangtey – Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 8: Thimphu – Paro Sightseeing
Day 9: Taktshang Excursion
Day 10: Depart Paro

Included

  • Accommodation in 3-Star Hotels
  • Three meals a day
  • SUV or bus based on group size
  • Museum fees
  • English speaking professional tour guide licensed by Tourism Council of Bhutan
  • 2 litres of water per day per person
  • Sustainable Development Fee
  • Camping equipments

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Surcharges for less than 3 persons

Day 1: Arrival at Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing

Upon arrival, drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

En route visit Tachhogang Lhakhang, the Temple of the hill of Excellent Horses. This temple was built in 15th century as a result of visitation from Balaha, the Excellent Horse.

Optional
• Stroll through the Centenary Park at Changlimithang; or roam through Thimphu's main street

Overnight in Thimphu (1 Night)

Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha Sightseeing

After breakfast, proceed to Punakha valley, the ancient capital of Bhutan.

En-route, enjoy the scenic beauty of the pass with the majestic Druk Wangyal Lhakhang and 108 stupas on the crest of Dochu La. If the sky is clear one will also be able to enjoy the panoramic view of beautiful mountain ranges and peaks of the Greater Himalaya.

After an early lunch, visit the Grand Fortress of Punakha Dzong which houses the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot. This massive fortress, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, is situated between two rivers known as Pho Chu (male river) and Mo Chu (female river)

Then drive 7 km upstream Puna-Tshang Chu and hike up to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, perched high on the strategic ridge above Punakha valley. En-route, visit the Dho Jhaga Lama Lhakhang.

Overnight in Punakha (1 Night)

Day 3: Punakha – Gangtey

After breakfast, drive to Gangtey. Enroute you will be able to see the ruins of Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, built in 1639 AD..

Over an hour’s drive from Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is Gangtey. There, we will visit Gangtey Gompa (monastery) built in 1613 AD.

Take a two hour long pleasurable walk along the Nature Trail.

Lunch will be arranged at a farmhouse.

Then, explore Phobjikha valley, which is famous for being the winter home of endangered Black Necked Cranes. There, visit the crane centre.

Overnight at Gangtey (1 Night)

Day 4: Phobjikha – Zasa (Start of 3 Days Gangtey Trek)

Distance 15 km, 6-7 hours, 610 m ascent, 410 m descent, camp altitude 3,130 m.

The Trek starts near the village of Tabiting. The trail winds through meadows and fields and the climb takes you through a mixed forest of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron to Tsele La (3430m). From here you descend into the Juge Kangkha Chhu valley. Further on, the path leads to Gogona, well known for its “Gogona Cheese” production. The campsite is a bit further on besides a small stream in a yak pasture called Zasa.

Overnight at Zasa (1 Night Camping)

Day 5: Zasa – Chorten Karpo

Distance 16 km, 5-7 hours, 450 m ascent, 860 m descent, camp altitude 3,330 m.

A gentle climb leads to Shobe La pass (3,480m). The descent from the pass leads to a wide valley, surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. Below the route one can see Khothokha, a village with about 60 houses. You finally reach the campsite by climbing gently up till you see four chortens in a forest of blue pine

Overnight at Chorten Karpo (1 Night Camping)

Day 6: Chorten Karpo – Tikke Zampa (End of Gangtey Trek)

Distance 12km, four to five hours, 120m ascent, 1,340m descent.

From the camp you climb till you reach a forest road. From here it’s an easy walk up to a little ridge at 2,800m. The walk down back into the valley leads you through Bhutan’s best bird watching areas.

Overnight at Gangtey (1 Night)

Day 7: Gangtey – Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast, drive back to Thimphu. En route; visit Chimi Lhakhang, a temple built on a round hillock in 1499. The 14th Drukpa hierarch Lama Ngawang Chogyel built this temple, also known as The Temple of Fertility. Lama Ngawang Chogyel’s cousin, Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the divine madman, formerly blessed the site. It is believed that Drukpa Kuenley subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunderbolt”. The Chimi Lhakhang is worshipped as the Temple of Fertility

Once there, visit one of the oldest temples of Thimphu valley, the 15th century Changangkha Lhakhang.

In the evening, visit Tashichho Dzong, the massive structure that houses the office of the King, the Throne Room and part of Government Ministries. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the senior monks and the Chief Abbot (the Je Khenpo). It is the main Secretariat building. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1961 in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.

Optional:
Visit Motithang Takin Preserve. Originally a small zoo, it was later converted to a preserve when it was observed that these animals refrained from inhabiting in the surrounding forest, even when they were set free following the Royal Decree that mandated animals should not be captivated.

The animal owes a special place in the culture of Bhutan and hence is the national animal.

Overnight at Thimphu (1 Night)

Day 8: Thimphu – Paro Sightseeing

After breakfast, drive to Paro.

Upon arrival, visit Dungtse Lhakhang, which was built in 1421 by Dupthop Thangthong Gyalpo. It was later restored in 1841 and the names of donors can still be seen written on the wooden pillars of the ground floor.

Then, visit the National Museum, which once served as a Ta Dzong (watchtower) to protect the Paro Rinpung Dzong below from invasions from all directions. A visit through the galleries shows the country’s transition from the Stone Age to a modern Mahayanist Buddhist and multicultural kingdom with its cultural heritage intact.

Visit the Rinpung Dzong. Fortress built in 1644 now houses the government administration offices of the district and district monastic body.

Then visit Kichu Lhakhang. The Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo originally built this temple in the 7th century.

Optional
Drive to Chele La pass (3810m), the highest motor able pass in Bhutan. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of Haa and Paro valley.

Overnight in Paro (2 Nights)

Day 9: Taktshang Excursion

After an early breakfast, drive to Satsham Chorten in Paro for a 4 hour excursion to Taktshang (Tiger's Lair). Perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of 4000ft, Taktshang gets it's name from its foundation. It is one of the most venerated pilgrimme sites in the Himalayan world. Despite the fact that it has 13 holy places, most people can only visit the main site called Taktshang Pelphug.

Picnic lunch will be arranged at the Taktshang Cafeteria.

After the hike, visit the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Tenzin Drukdra built the dzong in 1649 at the behest of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over Tibetan invasion. Unfortunately, this massive structure was razed down by fire in 1950s.

In 2016, it was announced that the Dzong will be rebuild and restored to its formerly glory to commemorate important events including the birth of the Crown Prince, 400 years since the visit of Zhabdrung in 1616, and the birth year of Guru Rimpoche.

At the end of the day, you can enjoy Hot Stone Bath at a Farm House.

Day 10: Depart Paro

After breakfast, drive to the airport for your onward flight.