The Thousand Lakes Dagala circuit is ideal for people wanting a shorter trek that is not too demanding.
The Dagala Thousand Lakes trek takes place in the
area to the south of the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu. It is one of the
shorter treks in Bhutan and ideal for people who do not want too strenuous a
trek like the Jomolhari. A degree of fitness however is still required as no Himalayan
trek is easy. As the name implies, the thousand lakes trek takes you into
an area adorned with a multitude of pristine, crystal clear shimmering
lakes. There are also a number of small villages along the route giving you an
insight into rural life in Bhutan. The trek starts from the beautiful village
of Gynekha and also visits the mountain villages of Gur, Labatma and Panka.
The best part of the trek is the stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range including high peaks such as Jomolhari, Mount Everest, Masang Gang, Jichu Drake, Gangche Ta and many more. The trek reaches an altitude of Altitude 4520m or 14,825ft.
Compared with some of the other treks in Bhutan it is also the off beaten track so you will see less trekkers on the trail. During April and May the rhododendrons (azaleas) also come into bloom casting stunning crimson and orange colours across the landscapes.
If you are looking for answers to specific questions, read here or go here to see some of our blog posts
Overnight in tents while on trek
From 13 days but the tour can be lengthened to include acclimitisation at Haa valley
Starts and ends in Paro and includes some sightseeing. A pre and post tour of Kathmandu can be included.
Scenic, rugged and not as steep as some of the other Bhutan treks. It is a high altitude trek with some steep sections so fitness is required
Day-1: Arrival Paro (By Druk Air).
The flight into Paro is a brilliant introduction to the spectacular beauty of Bhutan. In clear weather, magnificent views of the worlds highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. On arrival you will be met and driven to your hotel. Evening visit to Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
This morning we drive along the winding road northwest up the Pa Chu (Paro River) to Drukgyel Dzong, the ruined fort which once defended the valley from Tibetan invasions. Mount Jhomalhari, the sacred summit, reaches skyward beyond the Dzong. On return to Paro Valley, we visit to a traditional Bhutanese farm house as well as the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism. Afternoon visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower which now houses Bhutan';s national museum. The museum's interesting collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artefacts, weapons, stamps. After that walk done the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century, it is symbolic as the religious and secular affairs of the valley. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day-3: Paro -Thimphu
This morning we drive downstream along side the Pa Chu (Paro River) to its confluence with Wang Chu (Thimphu river) then up valley to Thimphu, the capital town. Before arriving at Thimphu, we visit Somtokha Dzong, Kingdom's oldest fortress which is now used as Dzongkha language school of Bhutan. Afternoon visit Memorial Chorten, built in the memory of Third King of Bhutan. We then visit Tashichhodzong, Thimphus most impressive building situated at the banks of Wang Chu. It houses National Assembly, King's Throne room and also the summer residence of Chief of monk body. In the evening we take a stroll through Thimphu market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast, visit the Painting school where centuries old art of Bhutanese paintings is taught. National Library is another interesting place to visit which houses vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, manuscripts. Also visit to Traditional Medicine Institute where centuries old healing arts still practiced. Afternoon visit Handicrafts Emporium. Here exotic weaves in silk, wool, cotton, silver jewellery, carpets, thangkha paintings, bamboo ware and another traditional crafts of the Kingdom are available. Evening drive to view point for a fascinating view of Thimphu valley. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day-5: Thimphu - Genekha [14 Km, 4 Hours]
This morning we start out trek by driving for 45 minutes to reach starting point of the trek. The first day involves a walk along a mule path for four hours at the signboard of Genekha School. The trail is decorated with terraced fields and coniferous vegetarian are abundant. Overnight at Genekha alongside a stream at 2800m.
Day-6: Genekha - Gur [15 Km, 4 Hours]
On todays trek we should encounter a lot of birdlife and stunning scenery. Two hours of gradual uphill walk and rest at a huge rock platform, offers a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours the trek ends. Overnight at Gur.
Day-7: Gur - Labatama [12 Km, 5 Hours]
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetarian. Todays trek is amidst flowers and wild asparagus (in spring). The first pass is marked with huge cairns and gives a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range, to the hearders camp. After lunch we walk across hills and meadows, ending the third day of trek. Camp at altitude 4300m near Utso lake.
This day is for an excursion to any of three lakes; Relitso, Hetso and Amatso. Your guide will reveal mystic stories about these lakes. Overnight in the camp.
Extension to Sestoand nearby lakes. Hike to Sesto is easy and interesting. Afterwards walk over a small ridge and then down to Jagetso lake. We spend the day trout fishing with packed lunch at the lake side. You have the option of attempting to climb "Jomo" a peak of 5050m. Lunch at the summit with spectacular view of the surroundings. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.
Day-10: Labatama - Panka [8 Km, 4 Hours]
Walk for 20 min uphill to about 4520m on the west side of Dala Tsho. Your guide will point out the incredible Himalayans peaks of Mount. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jhomalhari, Jichu Drake, Tshrim Khang, Gangbom, Masagang, Tsendaygang and Gangchen Ta. Here the Himalayan monal pheasants are a common sight along with yaks and horses.
Day-11: Panka - Talikha [8 Km, 4 Hours]
This day entails crossing several passes, each one more impressive than the other. In June and July, there are many different coloured Blue Poppy and mountain birds. Lunch at the point where one trail leads to Talekha and other to Wangdiphodrang. After lunch an hours gradual climb brings you to the tip of last Dagala range from where view of Thimphu valley is spectacular, it appears as though Thimphu is spread is the palm of observers hand. An hours walk and you are at the last camp, little above Talikha monastery.
Day-12: Talekha - Thimphu - Paro
Passing through alpine and mixed vegetation (bamboo thickets and wild flowers) one reaches Talekha monastery and village and once again Thimphu view is superb. Passing through mixed vegetation and apple orchards, one reaches the main road to Thimphu where your transport is waiting. Here the trek ends. Drive to Thimphu for lunch. Evening drive back Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day-13: Paro Depart
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.
End of services
Bhutan is nestled in between India and the Tibetan region of China. Bhutan was known as ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, and often also referred as the last Shangri-la.
Yes a visa for Bhutan is required for every foreign traveler and has to be processed by a local tour operator, as no foreign embassy abroad grants tourist visas. The visa cost is currently $40 and your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after you leave Bhutan.
Tap water is not safe to drink so you would need to buy mineral water which is readily available. Mineral water is readily available throughout the country. While on trek the guides will ensure that the water is boiled.
As a traveller from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, D, M, G. As a traveller from England you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, D, M. As a traveller from South Africa you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, G.
The best to come to Bhutan for trekking is in the spring, from March to May, or the autumn, from September to November.Spring is also when the Rhododendrons are out . Skies are clear and bright, the sun is usually shining, and the temperature is warm, though sometimes a little chilly in the evenings.
Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon season in Bhutan, and while the rain mostly falls at night or in the evenings, there are times when it can rain all day long.
The trek is rated as a medium level trek in terms of difficulty and although best for people seeing not as strenuous a trek as say Jomolhari, it requires a level of fitness and stamina and an average level of physical fitness
All meals on trek are prepared for by the support team. We can also cater for vegetarian and any other dietary requirements.
Bhutan has ‘High Value, Low Impact’ tourism policy to preserve its cultural heritages and environment. Thus, with a high rate, it welcomes responsible travelers and few visitors. The policy is built on a daily “visa” fee of US$250 during the high season (which runs March to May and September to November), and US$200 during the low season (all other months). The amount sounds alarming, but is actually a minimum spending requirement that includes meals, three-star (minimum) accommodations in city hotels or countryside resorts, land transport, and guide service for every day spent in the country.
The weather in the mountains is difficult to predict as it varies from one month to the next and also on altitude gain. Nights are generally colder (-2C to -15C) than the daytime (5C to 20C). It is also important to make sure that you stay warm and dry in all weather conditions.
The elevation gain is around 530m or 1700 feet so it is a substantial climb and takes around 5-7 hours in total. However it is well worth the effort. By doing this at the start of the tour it helps with acclimatisation.
Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 star rating system. This does not mean all hotels are 5 star, but rather that every classification of accommodation from home stays to guesthouses, have to adhere to a set of government standards. As such, the standard hotels, lodges and guesthouses are usually good, often small and with a great ambiance. All tour operators are required to provide their guests with a minimum of 3 Star accommodations so you can be assured of your comfort. Most hotels provide their guests with television, room service, fitness centers, spas and wi-fi. However the exact services available will vary from hotel to hotel. The more popular tourist destinations like western and central Bhutan usually have the higher standards of star rated European and Asian properties. There are a few luxury hotels and resorts, but they are rather expensive. If starting in Nepal, we spend two nights in 3-star, Thamel Eco Resort, well situated within the heart of Thamel, or, if it is full, a similar category in Kathmandu. At the end of the tour we return to the same hotel.
This is one of the most often asked questions - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an 'unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly, acclimatise correctly, don't ascent too quickly and drink plenty of water.
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