Recommended Season: Mid March to Late May, Late September to Late November
Maximum Elevation: Approximately 4500 meters
Popularly known as the Dagala thousand lakes trek. The questions on everyone’s tongue is ‘are there really thousand alpine lakes?’. No, but most elders of the area agree to the approximate figure of a 100 back in the day. You will sight/count more than 10 on your trek.
This route is a spinoff of the ancient trail Daga trail. It was used by the people from the south, mainly Daga Dzongkha (district), to travel to Thimphu and Wangdue, for trade and migration. Those former routes are rarely travelled by locals now. However, there has been a recent interest from the tourism board and locals alike to revive and open the route.
The route mentioned in this itinerary is mainly for trekking and other adventures. Some highlanders still use it to travel between Dzongkhags and therefore the route is well established for the most part. The entire route is about 40 km (without clocking the 2nd day of trek) and the highest point of the trek is at about 4500 meters (the high pass on the 3rd day of the trek). Since the gain in elevation on the first day is more than the recommended figure, but can be achieved with the right preparation, we will spend two days before the trek acclimating and sightseeing around Thimphu.
Note: The sighting of the flora and fauna is seasonal.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Paro airport. Transfer to Thimphu, the capital.
Day 2: Thimphu
Short hike to Tangu College of Buddhist Studies in the morning. Sightseeing in the afternoon around Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu
Acclimatization hike to Phajodhing monastery and Thuji Dra. Prepare for the trek
Day 4: Trek Day 1: Genekha to Labatama
Distance: Approximately 16 km about 7-9 hours. Campsite Altitude: Approximately 4200 meters.
Start from the hotel early in the morning. The drive to the trailhead from your hotel will be a little over 2 hours. The walk today today will be a gradual uphill till the pass at Pagalabtsa. From here the campsite is another 2 hours on fairly flat ground with a mix of short ascents and descents.
Day 5: Trek Day 2: Exploration Day! Visit the lakes!
We will spend the day exploring the area and visiting the lakes. After hiking a few hundred meters from our campsite, we come across the first lake, Uetsho (turquoise coloured lake). We keeping following the group lakes clockwise while taking in the views of the landscape and the snowcapped mountains in the horizon. We will be covering about 8-10 km today.
Day 6: Trek Day 3: Labatama to Pangkha
Distance: Approximately 10 km about 4-6 hours. Campsite Altitude: Approximately 4000 meters.
The trail immediately climb ups a mountain as we leave our campsite. After an hour or so we reach a saddle, if the weather permits we will have spectacular views of the snowcapped mountains and rolling valleys throughout the day. After several short climbs we reach Labajong pass (approx. 4500 meters). From here, the trail descends until the campsite. Pangkha is one of the most beautiful campsite according us. The campsite sits like a bowl on the shoulder of the ridge with a small stream meandering through it, adding to the charm of the place. Walk to the edge of the campsite and get the morning view the next day, it is simply breathe taking!
Day 7: Trek Day 4: Pangkha to Chamgang (Thimphu)
Distance: Approximately 16km about 7-9 hours.
The day again, begins with a climb as soon as we leave the campsite. Gradually climbing till Talela pass after which it is mostly downhill with several steep sections of drop, time to grease the knees. The car will be waiting for us at the end of the trail to take us to the hotel for a nice hot shower.
Day 8: Transfer to Punakha in the afternoon
Drive Time: 2-3 hours.
A slow and relaxed morning to recuperate from the trek. Transfer to Punakha after Lunch.
Day 9: Punakha
Sightseeing around Punakha.
Day 10: Transfer to Paro
Drive Time: 2-3 hours.
Transfer back to Paro through the same route. Stop at the botanical garden at Lamperi. After arriving in Paro you do some sightseeing and walk around town.
Day 11: Hike to Taktshang
Hike to Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest).
Get a relaxing hot stone bath and massage at the hotel in the evening.
Day 12: Departure
Depart from Paro Airport