Phobjika Valley Tour

Why do the black-necked cranes migrating to Phobjika Valley in winter fly around the monastery at the hilltop and behave the same way when they return to Tibet? This is a mystery that intrigues everyone, but for the Bhutanese, it has established a strong religious link between these rare creatures of nature and religion. As a result the black-necked cranes are respected as holy birds in Bhutan. The marshland in Phobjika valley also provides habitat to at least a dozen other endangered species of birds besides the black-necked crane, so the government has declared it a protected area.
 

Thus a Phobjika valley visit is an ideal tour for nature lovers and birdwatchers. But the place is also a renowned tour and trekking destination as well for all kinds of travelers. The sceneries from the monastery at the hilltop are simply superb. When you see the settlements of the valley and the people busy with their farm works (they mainly grow potatoes here), you imagine that their life passes in a pastoral paradise. You will also visit the villages of Gogona and Khotokha, walking through meadows and fields, then forests of juniper, magnolia and rhododendrons.


Day 1: Arrive at Paro (2280m) and drive to Thimphu (2350m):

Day 2: Sightseeing in Thimphu:

Day 3: Drive from Thimphu to Gangtey (2800m) and sightseeing

Day 4 Trek from Gangtey to Gogona: 5/6 hrs

Day 5: Gogona to Khothakha (2720m) 5/6 hrs

Day 6: Khothakha to Wangdue Phodrang (trek end) and drive to Punakha (1200m)

Day 7: Visit Punakha Dzong and drive to Paro (2280m)

Day 8: Sightseeing in Paro

Day 9: Fly to Kathmandu


Day 1: Arrive at Paro (2280m) and drive to Thimphu (2350m)
As you fly to Paro from Kathmandu, you will enjoy captivating sceneries of a great section of the Himalayas from Nepal to Bhutan. If the weather is clear, you will see Mt Everest, Kanchanjunga and numerous other peaks in Nepal whereas you will see Chomolhari and Jichu Drek of Bhutan. At the airport, our Bhutanese counterpart will meet you and take you to Thimphu. The drive takes about two hours.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Thimphu
A number of attractions await you at Thimphu. One of them is Zorig Chusum School where traditional arts and crafts are taught. Tashichho Dzong is the grand royal palace of Bhutan and also the central secretariat building of the government. Visit the zoo and see takin—the national animal of Bhutan that belongs to goat family and is on the verge of extinction. Also go to nearby monasteries (including Cheri Monastery) if you want to see the Buddhist religious practices, monastic architecture and monks.

Day 3: Drive from Thimphu to Gangtey (2800m) and sightseeing
From early November to the end of March, the marshland in Gangtey valley receives the influx of black-necked cranes from Tibetan plateau. Besides them, the valley is a haven to at least a dozen other endangered birds of Bhutan. Also visit Gangtey Monastery that overlooks the entire valley from its lofty location on a hilltop.

Day 4: Trek from Gangtey to Gogona: 5/6 hrs
The trekking trail passes through grasslands and pastures, climbing through the mixed forest of rhododendron, bamboo, juniper, and magnolia. The highest point of course is the Hele Pass (3438m) and then climb down to a valley before erecting your camp at Gogona (3140m) that lies near a small village. You reach Hele La (pass) (3,438 meters) and after crossing some meadows, you will descend to a valley. There will be a short climb to the camp at Gogona.

Day 5: Gogona to Khothakha (2720m) 5/6 hrs
Make a gradual climb until you reach Shobju Pass (3410m), then start to descend. Walk past an old coal mine and you will reach Karpo Stupa, which actually is the collection of four chortens built in memory of four renowned monks who belonged to this area. The camp will be erected near the stupa.

Day 6: Khothakha to Wangdue Phodrang (trek end) and drive to Punakha (1200m)
You will climb down a forest teeming with birds and varieties of plants until you reach a bridge. Then drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, a town at the confluence of Pho Chu (river) and Mo Chu. The chief monk of Bhutan comes to stay here for the winter, followed by the entire crew of monks, because the valley has a pleasant temperate climate.

Day 7: Visit Punakha Dzong and drive to Paro (2280m)
The Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful Dzongs over entire Bhutan. Originally built in 17th century, the Dzong has survived the disasters of fire and, more frequently, of water because it stands perilously close to the river. It takes about 4 and half an hour to reach Paro from Punakha.

Day 8: Sightseeing in Paro
In the morning visit the legendary Taktshang Monastery in Paro. You can spend a whole day in Paro observing the ways of life of common Bhutanese. Also try out some Bhutanese cuisine.

Day 9: Fly to Kathmandu
Take breakfast in the morning and drive to the airport in Paro. Then come back to Kathmandu in a scenic flight.


Documents required:

  • scanned copies of passport sized photo and passport of each participant
  • travel insurance



Country: Bhutan
Duration: 9 days
Grade: Easy
Highest Alt: 3000m
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