12 days Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

dagala-thousand-lakes-trek

This six day trek takes you into an area adorned with a multitude of pristine, crystal clear lakes.  As you walk amidst the shimmering lakes you will be treated to stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range and some of the world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest, Jomolhari, Masang Gang, Jichu Drakey, Gangche Ta and many more.

During the trek an entire day will be dedicated to visiting some of the more picturesque lakes, fishing and resting.  The trail also take you through several Bhutanese villages so you can get a good idea of traditional Bhutanese village life as you make your way back from the lakes.

While this is a somewhat strenuous trek, it is well worth the effort because of the tranquility and beauty of natural landscape that you will enjoy during the journey.  The best time to embark on this trek is between April-June and September-October.

Day 1:PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - PARO (L/D) 

Upon arrival at Paro International airport, you will be met by your guide. In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to explore the beautiful town of Paro.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 2: TAKTSANG MONASTERY OR TIGER’S NEST (B/L/D)

After breakfast we will drive you to the trail head to commence a climb through beautiful pine forest. We will stop for light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria before walking on to the famous, Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s Nest. The primary Lhakhang or main temple was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in the east.

After lunch, we will visit Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress), 16km away from Paro. Although it is now in ruins, this dzong has great historical importance for the people of Bhutan. It was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion. On a clear day one can view sacred Mt. Jhomolhari (Mountain of Goddess). We will also visit Ta Dzong (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rinpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 3: PARO – THIMPHU (B/L/D) 

After breakfast drive to Thimphu, the capital city of the country and visit Simtokha Dzong on the way. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 AD. It houses the largest monastic school in the country.

Lunch at your hotel in Thimphu.

In the afternoon visit the Wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. Then visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Afterwards, visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit the mini zoo where the national animals are kept and drive to Sangaygang where there are spectacular views over the Thimphu valley. Visit a nunnery in Zilukha before inspecting the Tashichho Dzong, the main administrative building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the Central Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: THIMPHU – GEYNEKHA – GUR (Distance: 7km, 5hrs, 550m ascent, 210m descent, camp altitude 3290m) (B/L/D) 

Drive to Geynekha to begin the 6-day trek. The trek starts at beautiful Gyenekha village through terraced paddy fields and coniferous forests with a short descent to the river.  After crossing the river you start climbing until you reach a

huge rock platform from where you have a picturesque view of the valley below.  After another two hours you reach Gur, an area of yak pastures located just below the main trail.

Dinner and overnight camping at Gur.

Day 5: GUR – LABATAMA (Distance: 12km, 5hrs, 1220m ascent, 110m descent, camp altitude 4300m) (B/L/D)

On the second day, the trail takes you across the high ridges from where you can truly appreciate the rugged beauty of your surroundings and the mountain vegetation.  The path winds through refreshing meadows adorned with wild flowers and asparagus (in spring).

The first mountain pass you cross is marked by a huge cairn and gives a spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjunga in Sikkim, and a number of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks.  As you descend the pass you will be able to see the entirety of the Dagala mountain range include meadows and yak herder camps.  Once you have descended into the Labatama valley you begin climbing gradually through the valley, passing several yak herder huts before you arrive at Utsho Tsho (Lake).

Dinner and overnight camping near the lake at Labatama.

Day 6: LABATAMA (B/L/D)

This day will be dedicated to relaxing and recuperating at Labatama.  It is an idea to take an excursion to any of the three nearby lakes such as Reli Tsho, Hen Tsho and Jama Tsho.  Hikers are encouraged to take the opportunity to engage in some trout fishing as the location is ideal. If you are interested, we will arrange permits.

Dinner and overnight camping at Labatama.

Day 7: LABATAMBA – PANKA (Distance:  8km, 6-7hrs, 260m ascent, 520m descent, camp altitude 4000m) (B/L/D)

The trail climbs along the western side of the Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 4520m.  From here onwards you will have a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayan peaks throughout the descent.  The mountain peaks visible include Mt. Everest in Nepal, Mt. Jichu Drake, Mt. Tsherim Gang, Mt. Kangbum, Mt. Masang Gang, Mt. Tsende Gang and Mt. Gangche Ta.  If you want an even better view, you can climb a peak close to the saddle at an altitude of 4720m.  From the saddle, the path descends, passing some yak herder huts to Dochha Chhu.  You follow the river for a while, but stay higher up on the slope to reach Panka with ascents and descents along the way.

Dinner and overnight camping at Panka.

Day 8: PANKA – TALAKHA (Distance: 8km, 5-6hrs, 180m ascent, 110m descent, camp altitude 3080m) (B/L/D)

This day entails the crossing of several passes but none of them require a major climb.  You should keep your eyes open for different varieties of blue poppy (June-July) and mountain birds while in this area. After crossing the last pass, Tale La (4180m) you start a long descent to Talakha Gompa.  You will camp right beside the monastery and wake up to the early morning prayers of the monks.  From here you will be treated to a great view of Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu.

Dinner and overnight camping near the monastery at Talakha.

Day 9: TALAKHA – CHAMGANG (Distance: 6km, 3hrs, 440m descent) – Thimphu (B/L/D)

From the monastery it’s a short walk down to the feeder road which will lead you to the village of Chamgang.  From here, you will be met for a drive through to Thimphu.

After lunch we will be sightseeing in Thimphu including the National Institute of Traditional medicine and visit the National Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the Third King of Bhutan, His Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The paintings and statues inside provide a rare insight into Buddhist philosophy. Your evening will be free for shopping and leisure.

Dinner with traditional dance and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 10: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (B/L/D) 

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we will stop for a while to view the higher Himalayan mountains. Upon arriving in Punakha, we will visit the Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo.

En-route stop a while to visit Chimi Lhakhang also called the “Temple of Fertility” built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley who is popularly known as “Devine Madman”.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

Day 11: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO (B/L/D) 

After breakfast drive to Thimphu. Lunch in Thimphu. After lunch, drive to Paro.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 12: PARO – PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (B) 

In the early morning drive to Paro International Airport where your guide will accompany you to bid you farewell.

Cost Information

Peak-Season (Mar, Apr May, Sep, Oct and Nov)
Number of days: 12 days (6 days trekking & 6 days cultural sightseeing)
Price:
US$ 4,110 single per person
US$ 3,700 twin/double per person
US$ 3,355 triple per person
Off-Season (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec)
Number of days: 12 days (6 days trekking & 6 days cultural sightseeing)
Price:
US$ 4,000 single per person
US$ 3,500 twin/double per person
US$ 3,300 triple per person

Trekking Dates

Any date on a private basis