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Bhutan – Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

Bhutan Bhutan

Trekking Map

Dagala Trekking, also known as Thousand Lakes Trek, is an extraordinary journey in the heart of the Himalayas. It is known for its scenic beauty and leads to a large number of high altitude and crystal clear lakes, in a uniquely secluded environment. On the hike, which is characterized by varied landscapes, you will roam through lush rhododendron forests and cross colorful alpine meadows.

On the Dagala Trek, you’ll go off the beaten track and meet few other hikers. Not only will you be physically challenged, but you will also experience and feel the spirituality, peace and mysticism of the untouched world of Bhutan.
Hiking amidst the scenic lakes, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of some of the highest Himalayan mountains in the world, including Mount Everest in Nepal, Jumolhari, Masanggang, Jichu Drake, Tiger Mountain in Bhutan and many more.

Of course the question arises: “Are there really a thousand mountain lakes?” No, but the locals assume there are around 100 lakes, and we will hike to 10 of these lakes. The best time for this tour is between April to early June or between September and early November.

Another highlight is the hike to the world-famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery high above the Paro Valley, which will also help you with acclimatization. You will also explore the main attractions of Thimphu and the Punakha Valley.
The fascinating culture and unique sights of the Thunder Dragon Kingdom, in combination with the hike described, result in the perfect trekking and cultural holiday in this unique Himalayan country.

Even if the hike is not technically demanding, it is still a high-altitude hike that requires a lot of endurance. The campsites are between 3200 and 4200 meters and some passes between 4,000 and 4500 meters in altitude are crossed. Good fitness and surefootedness are prerequisites for this tour.

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu – transfer to hotel – welcome dinner
You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel. In the afternoon we will discuss the trip with you, and in the evening you are invited to the welcome dinner. Overnight stay in Hotel Kathmandu Guest House or similar category, (D).

Day 2: Kathmandu sightseeing – afternoon free time
Today we explore Kathmandu with a local guide. The selected locations and most impressive sights include Pashupatinath – a Hindu temple with cremation grounds, Swayambhunath – also known as the monkey temple – and the Boudha-nath Stupa. After the sightseeing tour, you will come back to the hotel in the late afternoon and pack up the equipment for the trekking tour the next morning. You can also leave a bag at the hotel with items you don’t need on the tour. The rest of the day is then at your leisure. Overnight stay in Hotel Kathmandu Guest House or similar category, (B).

Day 3: Flight Kathmandu to Paro (2,250m) – approx. 1 ½ hour hike
On the approximately 1-hour panoramic flight from Kathmandu to Paro, if the weather is good, you will have a wonderful view of no less than six of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders. After completing the visa formalities in Paro, we drive to our hotel. After a rest break and lunch, we first visit the National Museum. Towering over Paro Dzong is the Ta Dzong (watchtower), built in 1649 for protection and renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum. The unusual round building is said to be shaped like a conch shell and have 2.5 m thick walls. In the museum you will find early history that perfectly illustrates how magic and science are inextricably linked in Bhutan. Information about Stone Age tools can be found alongside descriptions of battles between gods and demons. The Thangka Gallery shows exhibitions on the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism (Sakya, Nyingma, Gelugpa and Drukpa-Kagyü).
To promote good acclimatization before the trek, we will then undertake a leisurely 1.5-hour hike along the forested hill to Zuri Dzong (2,500 m), which dates back to 1352, and then down to Uma Resort, where we will be picked up by our driver become.  Even though the hike doesn’t take long, it helps us acclimatize. Overnight stay in Tashi Namgyel or similar category, (B|L|D).

Day 4: Warm-up hike to Taktsang (3,100m), also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery (3,120m) – approx. 5 hours hike
We leave the town of Paro and after a short drive we reach the starting point of the hiking trail that leads to the famous Tiger’s Nest and the Taktsang Monastery. Bhutan’s most famous monastery was recently registered as one of the holiest places in the world. Taktsang sits at 3100m above sea level, on a cliff overlooking the Paro Valley, and is said to be the place where the legendary Indian saint Guru Padma Sambhava flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress in the 8th century to defeat five demons, who opposed the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is a steep climb through the forest that takes about 1½ hours to reach the tea house at the viewpoint. If you don’t want to climb any further, you can relax here while others continue on. On the five-hour, intensive but worthwhile mountain tour to the monastery, which involves over 900 meters of altitude and numerous steps, body and soul should be cleansed in equal measure, and the view of the monastery up close is also worth the effort. Please note that some of the walking will be on unpaved paths and sturdy shoes and, for those using them, trekking poles are essential. You should also take sun protection and plenty of water with you. Overnight stay in Tashi Namgyel or similar category, (B|L|D).

Day 5: Trek Gyeni Zampa (bridge 2,820 m) to Kepchen (3,800 m) – 4 to 5 hours hike
The hike begins at the beautiful Gyeni Zampa Bridge. The climb leads to a huge rock platform (3,240 m) from which we have a picturesque view of the valley below. After another 3 hours through a dense fir forest we reach our campsite in Kepchen (3,800 m), with a beautiful view over the Genekha Valley. Overnight stay in tent camp, (B|L|D).
Distance 7 km, ascent 980 m, descent 0 m.

Day 6: Kepchen to Labatama (4,300 m) – 6 to 7 hours hike
On the second day the path takes us over high mountain ridges, here we can really enjoy the raw beauty of our surroundings and the species-rich mountain vegetation. The path winds through lush green meadows that are decorated with wildflowers and asparagus in spring. The first mountain pass (Paga Labcha 4,250 m) we cross is marked by a huge cairn and offers spectacular views of Kanchenjunga (Sikkim) and a range of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. Descending from the pass, we can admire the entire Dagala mountain range, the yak herders’ camps and their mountain pastures. Once we descend into the Labatama Valley, we begin the gradual climb through the valley, past the yak herders’ huts, always at altitudes of over 4,000m, before reaching the campsite. Overnight stay in tent camp, (B|L|D).
Distance 10 km, ascent 500 m, descent 110 m.

Day 7: Exploring the lakes around Labatama – 3 to 4 hours hike
This day is dedicated to relaxation, recreation and exploration in Labatama. It is ideal for a trip to the lakes of Aum Jumo. Aum Jomo is the deity of Jomolhari Mountain. The lakes such as Yue, Tsha, Thro, Bay, Dagay, Bjagay, Ser-Tsho and Jumo Latsho, are called the procession of Aum Jumo. We can alternatively visit the meditation cave on the small island in Lake Bjaytsho and feel the presence of divine mystics. Overnight stay in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Tag 8: Via Labagye-Pass (4,520m) trek Labatama to Zewrina (4.060m) – 7 bis 8 Stunden Wanderung
Der Weg steigt entlang der Westseite an, bis wir Taju La auf 4.460 m erreichen, von wo aus wir einen fantastischen Blick auf einige Seen in der Umgebung haben. Anschließend steigen wir etwa 100 m ab und wandern weiter über Dala Tsho hinauf zum Labagye-Pass auf 4.520 m. Von hier aus sind es nur noch weitere 40 m hinauf zum Aussichtspunkt, von dem aus wir einen atemberaubenden Blick auf die majestätischen Himalaya-Gipfel haben. Bei gutem Wetter sehen wir die  Berggipfel des Mount Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Mount Jomolhari, Mount Jichu Drake,  Mount Tshering Gang, Mount Khangbum, Mount Masang Gang, Mount Tsende Gang und des Mount Gangche Ta! Vom Sattel aus führt der Weg etwa 400 m bergab, bis wir den Fluss Doccha Chhu (Fluss) erreichen. Dann steigen wir einige Male weiter zwischen 4.200 und 4.000 m auf, vorbei an einigen Yak-Hirtenhütten, bis wir unseren Campingplatz auf 4.060 m erreichen. Übernachtung im Zelt-Camp, (F|M|A).
Distanz 12 km, Aufstieg Aufstieg 180 m, Abstieg 520 m

Day 9: Zewrina to Chamgang village (2,800 m) – drive to Thimphu – approx. 6 hours hike
Depending on the weather, we will get up early today to enjoy one last view of the majestic mountain range that includes Kanchenjunga, Jomolhari and several other high mountain peaks in the Eastern Himalayas from the Tale La Pass (4,200 m).
On the last day of our hike we will cross several passes, but none of them require any major climbing. While you’re in this area, keep an eye out for different varieties of blue poppies (June-July) and several other mountain flowers and mountain birds. After crossing the last pass, Kachu La (3,800 m), with a very impressive view of Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, we begin a long descent, about 1000 meters in altitude to the village of Chamgang, where our driver is waiting for us. From here we will be driven to our hotel in Thimphu to enjoy a well-deserved shower. Overnight stay at Pelyang Boutique, (B|M|D).
Distance approx. 7 km, ascent 180 m, descent 1260 m

Day 10: Thimpu sightseeing and drive to Punakha (1,400m)
Today we spend the day visiting the main attractions in and around Thimpu, including the Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in honor of the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, and Buddha Point, a large Buddha statue erected on the hillside overlooking Thimpu became. There are several museums and an art school in Thimpu. The post office and market are interesting and there is a takin area above the town. Your guide will do their best to show you as much as possible in the time available and depending on opening times.
After the sightseeing tour we drive to the Punakha Valley (1,220m). Punakha served as Bhutan’s capital until 1955 and is now the winter residence of the central monks’ association. During the journey we will stop at Do Chula Pass at 3,150 meters to admire the 108 chortens built in three levels. With a bit of luck and good weather conditions we will be able to see the main Himalayan ridge from there. Afterwards, a visit to the Mad Man’s Temple (Chimi Lhakang) is on the daily program. The temple, built in 1499, stands on a small hill in the middle of the valley. It was dedicated to the Lama Drukpa Kunley (1455-1529), also known as the “Divine Madman”, who gained fame for his humor, his songs and also his outrageous behavior. At an altitude of 1,350m, the temperature difference in Paro is clearly noticeable and the flora has now also changed significantly. Overnight stay at hotel Meri Puensom or similar, (B|M|D).

Day 11: Sightseeing in Punakha and drive to Paro (2,250m)
After breakfast we will drive along the Pho Chu River in Punakha and cross a suspension bridge. After a short and relaxing walk we reach the historic monastery fortress “Punakha Dzong” from the 17th century. Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, this awe-inspiring palace houses many holy relics and was the seat of government. After visiting the Dzong, we will be picked up by our driver for the drive back west to Paro, having lunch along the way. If we didn’t visit the Drukpa Kunley temple yesterday, there should be time today. On the way to Paro we will undoubtedly stop again at Dochu La Pass to once again enjoy the views of the eastern Himalayan peaks when the weather is nice. If time permits, we will visit the Paro Dzong in the afternoon. Built in the 17th century, the fortress was one of Bhutan’s most massive and important, and several times managed to defend the Paro Valley from Tibetan invasions. Scenes from the 1995 film “Little Buddha” were filmed in the Dzong. Please note that the above itinerary is subject to change depending on flight times, which are generally unpredictable. Overnight stay at Hotel Tashi Namgyel or similar category, (B|L|D).

Day 12: Return flight to Kathmandu – drive to Bhaktapur – afternoon sightseeing
Farewell to your guide and drive to Paro airport. Flight to Kathmandu. You will be picked up from the airport and driven to your hotel in Bhaktapur. After a rest break, your sightseeing guide will pick you up. The medieval city, 17km east of the capital, has its own Durbar Square with many temples and statues and a maze of narrow streets that are generally quieter than Kathmandu. It is worth taking time to visit this culturally rich former royal city. Overnight stay at Hotel Bhaktapur Heritage House or similar category, (F).

Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu – day at leisure
After breakfast you will be picked up in Bhaktapur and driven to your hotel in Kathmandu. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Kathmandu Guets House or similar, (B).

Day 14: Free time until the return flight home, end of the tour
Time at leisure till departure. Farewell and transfer to Kathmandu airport, (B).

We reserve the right to change the program due to special events, force majeure or weather conditions.

B = Breakfast | L = Lunch | D = Dinner

 

This tour can also be booked for your individual group at an additional cost at dates other than shown here.

German guided tour
English guided tour

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Duration: 14 days
Costs:
3.590€ per Person
Group size: min. 2 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
€ 450 for single room supplement (only for hotel accommodation, for tent overnight stays during the trek, especially during the high season, single accommodation is not available)

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in Bhutan and Nepal
  • Flight from Kathmandu Paro–Paro-Kathmandu and 20kg free luggage
  • All relevant surface transfer
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast in Nepal
  • English speaking Tour Guide in Nepal and Bhutan
  • All meals in Bhutan, (B|L|D)
  • Camping equipment, cook and helping personal
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Permit, National Park Entrance/Conservation Fees
  • Guide & Driver in Bhutan
  • Tourist fee per day and person, in Bhutan
  • Quality service

Not Included:

  • International Flights
  • Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned
  • Beverages
  • Personal bills
  • Visa Nepal (approx. US$ 50) and Visa Bhutan (US$40)
  • Excess baggage charge (beyond 20 Kg each)
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Tips

Visa
Visa fee for Nepal is not included in the price and will be paid in the airport at arrival in Kathmandu (around US$ 50) . Two passport size photographs must be provided for the visa. At the time of the trip your passport must be valid for at least a further six months and have at least two blank pages.
These visa and passport regulations apply to EU countries, Switzerland and the USA. Other nationals should check with the relevant consular authorities.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required for traveling to Bhutan at this time. However, you should be vaccinated against tetanus, hepatitis A and diphtheria. We recommend you consult your GP (general practitioner) in good time, about three months before your trip.

Insurance
Travel health insurance (with rescue costs) is essential for your own safety and a prerequisite for booking our trips. In the event of an accident in a country that requires a helicopter, it will not take off until the full cost coverage has been clarified. We strongly recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance. Flights at bargain prices in particular cannot usually be re-booked or canceled free of charge. Complications with your health could also occur in the travel destination that force you to discontinue your trip.
We have requested ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to create various service packages for you. You can book travel cancellation insurance at www.reiseversicherung.de.

Please note: ERGO insurance can be booked by residents of Germany and Austria. Those living in other countries are requested to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their own country.

It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours advises its customers to book their travel insurance via ERGO as a recommendation only, and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the customer and the travel insurance provider. Customers can book their travel insurance via ERGO or another provider at their own discretion.

Flying in Bhutan and Nepal
The flights booked by us, between Nepal and Bhutan are with Bhutan Air or Druk Air. The domestic flights in Nepal booked by us are with Tara Air, Yeti Air, Sita Air, Summit Air or Buddha Air.

The hotels and lodges booked by us
In Nepal and Bhutan the hotels we book are good and correspond to medium-level Western standards. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel cuisine is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. In Nepal, there may sometimes be power cuts or no hot water available for a while. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and looks after the welfare of guests. The hotels booked by us are as follows:

In Bhutan
Thimphu: Pelyang Boutique, Phuntsho Pelri
Phobikha: Hotel Dewachen, Hotel Pobjikha
Bumthang: Hotel Kalia, Ugyen Ling
Punakha: Meri Peunsom Resort, Zinkham, River Valleys
Paro: 
Tashi Namgyel, Khanku Resort, Shomo Chuki

In Nepal
Kathmandu: Hotel Tibet/Manaslu ***+
Pokhara: Mount Kailash Resort, Lake side retreat ***
Lumbini: Hotel New Crystal ***
Chitwan: Jungle Villa Resort
Nagarkot: Nagarkot Farmhouse

Tour program
The travel program for all of our recommended tours is carefully planned. It can happen, however, that roads are closed without advance notice or are impassable, that there are waiting times of several hours because of traffic congestion or fuel shortages and that specific tourist attractions are closed for various reasons. Other restrictions such as flight delays or even cancellations due to bad weather, strikes or the health of participants may also make the implementation of the travel program more difficult or at worst make it impossible. However, our local guides are prepared for such situations and will make every effort to achieve every aspect of the program to your satisfaction. As a result the inconvenience can normally be kept to a reasonable level. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out at this juncture that for the above reasons program changes are possible at any time and cannot be influenced by the organizers. The resulting costs are borne by the traveler. We ask for your understanding.

Road Situation
Despite high mountains, steep slopes, and the deepest of valleys Bhutan has a relatively well developed network of roads. It is difficult to find a length of either straight or flat road. In some stretches one can encounter 6 to 7 bends per kilometer! Steep ascents and descents are characteristic of road travel in Bhutan and this can make traveling much slower than one may be used to. The average driving speed is 40 km per hour. Travelers need to be adaptable, however.


Trip Details

  • Duration: 14 days
  • Holiday Type: Camping / Hotel
  • Best trekking period: Oct/Nov/Apr/May/Jun
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Max Altitude: Labagye-Pass 4.520 m
  • Group size: Min. 2 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Nepalese/Bhutanese mountain guide/tour leader
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 3.590,00 
  • Single room supplement: 450,00 €
    (only for hotel accommodation, for tent overnight stays during the trek, especially during the high season, single accommodation is not available)