Truly Bhutan

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13 Days

Dagala Thousand Lakes

There is no better way to feel the heartbeat of a country than through trekking. You’ll come across hidden villages; have impromptu meetings with yak herders and the very finest views of the towering Himalayas. Trekking in Bhutan is not easy because of the elevation and length of some of the treks, so guests should be physically fit.

You will be required to bring your gear, including sleeping bags, however, we will provide tents and sleeping pads. We offer a wide range of treks from easy to strenuous over varying periods. We can also create a custom trek to suit your specific needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about this excursion.

  • Distance: 23 miles/37 km.
  • Altitude gain: 7810ft/2381m(7347ft/2240m)
  • Altitude loss: 9450ft/2881m(11,283ft/2440m)  
  • Season: The best months for this trek are April, September, and October.

The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek in Bhutan is a unique and serene journey through the untouched beauty of the Land of the Dragon. This 13-day adventure not only immerses you in the tranquility of natural landscapes but also offers a glimpse into the rich Buddhist culture through ancient monasteries and temples. Despite its name, the trek doesn’t literally feature thousands of lakes; instead, it’s a nod to the area’s mythical past, believed to have once been dotted with numerous lakes. The trek’s high mountain lakes, such as Utsho Tsho, Relitsho, Setsho, Hentsho, and Jagetsho at Labatama, are mesmerizing and a major draw for trekkers.

This trek is a haven for those seeking solitude, as it’s less frequented by tourists, allowing you to enjoy the mountains, hills, and lakes in peace. The journey reaches altitudes above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet), offering both challenging and exhilarating hiking experiences. The commitment to preserving Bhutan’s pristine nature makes this trek a truly humbling experience.

The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is a celebration of nature’s unspoiled beauty, from towering mountain ranges to historic Dzongs dating back to the 15th and 17th centuries. It’s an escape from the materialistic world, offering a chance to traverse remote paths with the Himalayas as a backdrop. Ideal for those who cherish unique, off-the-beaten-path adventures, this trek starts at Genekha village and concludes at Chamgang village.

Highlights of the trek include visiting the ancient Rinpung Dzong, marveling at the architecture of Kichu Lakhang, and capturing iconic photos at the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro. Genekha village, known for its matsutake and chantarelle mushrooms, and the lush green forests filled with Juniper, Birch, and rhododendron meadows, add to the trek’s allure. The panoramic views from Paga Labsta pass and the majestic Dagala mountain range are unforgettable sights. Camping beside the turquoise Utsho Tsho lake and exploring other high-altitude lakes at Labatama are experiences unique to this trek. The journey also offers breathtaking views of some of the world’s highest mountains, including Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, from the Dala Tsho lakeside. The trek concludes with a visit to the 15th-century Talakha Goemba, leaving trekkers with lasting memories of Bhutan’s natural and cultural splendor.

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Detailed Program

On arrival at Paro airport, you will meet our representative and be transferred to our hotel after the completion of arrival formalities. Evening visit to Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Places and attractions:

Accommodation options:

Morning drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong (1646), which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering outer walls are still an imposing sight. On a fine day, there is a grand view of Mt.Jomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. Drive back along the valley to visit a traditional farmhouse and then the 7th Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred shrines.

In the afternoon, visit Ta Dzong, built in 1651 as a watchtower and in 1968 inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum. The collection includes art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, postage stamps, coins, and handicrafts, as well as a small natural history collection. Then walk down a short hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), built in 1646, and now housing the offices of the district administration and Paro’s monk body.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Places and attractions:

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This morning drive down the valley following the Pa Chu (Paro River) to its confluence with the Wang Chu Thimphu River). Turn left up the valley leading to the nation’s capital, Thimphu. n route visits Simtokha Dzong (1627), the kingdom’s oldest fortress which now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.

After lunch, visit the National Memorial Chorten, built as a memorial to the Bhutanese third king (the father of modern Bhutan) and also as a monument to world peace. Then visit Tashichhodzong, Thimphu’s most impressive building situated by the Wang Chu. It houses His Majesty’s secretariat, some ministries, and also the central monk body during the summer months. In the evening, take a stroll through the Thimphu market and town.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

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Accommodation options:

After breakfast, visit the following as time permits: Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature, including some manuscripts dating back several hundred years; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), where medicinal herbs are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medicine practitioners are trained; and the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, for fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

After lunch, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium, which carries a wide range of hand-woven textiles and craft products, and browse in the bookshops and many smaller handicraft shops around the town. Take an early evening drive up to a lookout festooned with prayer flags, for a fine view of Thimphu and the valley.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Places and attractions:

Accommodation options:

14km, 4 hours
drive for 45 minutes to reach the starting point for the trek. The first day’s walk is along a mule path, passing by terraced fields and coniferous forest, and ending at the signboard of Genekha School.

Overnight camp at Geynekha (2,800m) alongside a stream.

15km, 4 hours
On today’s trek, true communion with nature begins, and you will see many varieties of alpine flora and also some animals, and many birds. After two hours of walking gradually uphill, rest at a huge rock platform, from which there is a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours, the trek ends for the day.

Camp at Gur, where flowers are abundant in spring.

12km, 5 hours
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek takes us across meadows where wild asparagus and other small plants grow, and if taking this trek in the spring, you will feel you are walking over carpets of flowers. The first pass, marked by a large cairn gives a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range, alpine meadows, and yak herder’s camps.

We will lunch at a nearby yak herder’s camp. After lunch we will walk across hills and over meadows, ending the third day of our trek at Yutsho Lake, where golden trout abound.

Overnight camp near the lake.

This day is for an excursion to any one of three lakes: Relitsho, Hentsho, and Jamatsho. Your trekking leader will tell you mystical stories about these lakes. This would also be an ideal time and place for some trout fishing.

Overnight camp.

Extension to Setsho and nearby lakes. The hike to Setsho Lake is easy and interesting. You could spend the whole day trout fishing here, with packed lunch. Alternatively, after reaching Setsho you could then cross over a small ridge and go down to Jagetsho Lake. Or you could try climbing Jomo, a 5,050m peak. Lunch at the summit, with spectacular views all around, can be a memorable experience.

Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.

8km, 4 hours
walk for 20 minutes upwards before beginning the descent at around 4,460m. There will be splendid views of the Himalayas on the descent. Your escort will help you in identifying individual peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tserimgang, Khangbum, Masagang, Tsendagang and Gangchenta. Himalayan monal pheasants are a common sight, due to the vegetation in this area.

Overnight camp on a grassy meadow at Panka.

8km, 4 hours
this day entails the crossing of several increasingly impressive passes. You will see several varieties of the blue poppy (if trekking June-July) and also many mountain birds along the way. Lunch at the point where the trail divides into two paths leading to Talakha and Wangduephodrang respectively. After lunch, an hour of gradual climb brings us to the top of the last ridge on the Dagala range from where there is a spectacular view of Thimphu valley below.

Another hour walk and you are at the last camp, a little above Talakha monastery.

6km, 2 hours
Passing through alpine and mixed vegetation (bamboo thickets and wild flowers) one reaches Talakha monastery and village and once again the view of Thimphu is superb. We walk through mixed vegetation and apple orchards, finally reaching the main motorable road to Thimphu where our transport is waiting for us. Drive to Thimphu in time for lunch, and in the evening drive back to Paro.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Places and attractions:

Accommodation options:

After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for the flight to the onward destination.

  • Inclusion
  • Exclusion
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium update).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $200. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Package does not include insurance of any kinds, and that you are required to obtain separate coverage from your home country before your trip begins.

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