Commencing our journey, we fly over passing by Mountains of 5500 meters to Paro. Paro is a beautiful valley and is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and temples, and the country’s only international airport. The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth including Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake peak. Paro Airport has been described as “the most difficult commercial airport in the world”. 1980 meter runway length presents a double challenge, due to the extremely low density altitude at the site. So, only a handful of well experienced pilots are certified to operate commercial airplanes here thus, making least number of flights in a day.
After immigration and custom formalities, check out from the departure lounge. There you will meet one of the representatives of Nature Trail Travels & Tours, Trekking & Expedition who will greet you and then escort you to Thimphu. En route you can visit Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rinpung Dzong, meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’ to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centers, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, we’ll go to Takin Sanctuary and Zilukha Nunnery. The Takin (a goat-antelope) was declared the national animal of Bhutan because it is strongly associated with the country’s religious history and mythology. Today’s last destination is Thimphu Dzong (Tashichho Dzong), a Buddhist monastery and fortress. It also houses Bhutan’s central government. Then drive to Thimphu following the Pachu River. Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Stay overnight at Thimphu.
After an appetizing breakfast, drive towards Gangtey village, a beautiful place surrounded by snow-capped mountains in the distance with a landscape of rolling hills and green meadows. Enroute, enjoy a panoramic Mountain Views of eastern Himalayas from Dochu-la where we will stop for a tea break. On a clear day we can get spectacular views of the Himalayas such as the Gangkar Puensum, table mountain, Jeje Khang, Masakhang Gangchey from Dochu-la. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests and reach Punakha Dzong (fortress) built between the confluences of two rivers the Pho (male) river and Mo (female) Chu. This dzong is the winter home of the state monastic body and houses the District Administration office. On the way back to your hotel at Wangdi, take a short walk to the Chimmi Lhakhang temple of the Divine Madman Lam Drukpa Kuenley where couples unable to have siblings come here to pray and their prayers are granted. Spend your overnight at one of the guesthouse.
Wake up and stroll around the village where you can spot black-neck cranes. After breakfast, start your trek from Gangtey. Our today’s destination is Gogona village, which is 16 kilometer walk from Gangtey. Riding ponies can be provided if required. The trail winds through meadows and fields and the climb takes us through a mixed forest of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron to Tsele-la pass (10,900 ft.). The walk is of moderate level and the trek can be completed within the estimated time. Stay overnight at Gogona village.
On the following day, we start our trek after breakfast covering a distance of almost 16 kilometer to reach Khotokha, our today’s journey’s end. The trail gently ascends until we reach Shobju-La Pass which is situated 11100 feet above sea level. Afterwards, the trail descends down from the pass and leads to the wide-open valley which is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. During the walk, you will experience the changing vegetation from Gogana to the wide and temperate valley of Khotokha, the summer home for nomads of Wangdi region.
On the last day of our Gangtey trekking tour, we will have a short ascend towards the Tashila Pass which is situated 9100 feet above sea level. Then the trail descends down through the changing vegetation and ever-changing landscape into the drainage of Dangchu. Then further continue your trek until you reach Chuzomsa, from where you will meet a motor road. Upon your arrival at Chuzomsa, private vehicle will be at your service in order to escort you to Paro.
Ending our trip, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to home. During the flight you will enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks that include sacred Bhutanese mountains such as Jomolhari and Jitchu Drake.
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