- Martin James Malley
Western Hills, Nebraska, USA Jan 1970Dagala Trek – 2018 ( Dagala Trek – 2018)5 " " Dear Anand, Thank you for checking in with me about the trip. I have been meaning to write reviews for Tripadvisor, but there is so much in my mind I haven't been able to get it done yet. The trip was a peak experience of my life. My daughters (plus one boyfriend)
Dagala Trek – 2018 Dear Anand, Thank you for checking in with me about the trip. I have been meaning to write reviews for Tripadvisor,×
Martin James Malley
Thank you for checking in with me about the trip. I have been meaning to write reviews for Tripadvisor, but there is so much in my mind I haven't been able to get it done yet.
The trip was a peak experience of my life. My daughters (plus one boyfriend) and I loved it. Namgyel was an exceptionally good guide and he took great care of us every day. The trekking staff was excellent, especially the food service. The tents were very good in spite of difficult weather most days. I think the itinerary Windhorse prepared was perfect for our time there. We were very happy with Gangtey Palace and Hotel Druk. Namgyel was very knowledgeable an open to answering our many questions.
On the trek we had quite a bit of rain, so it wasn't as scenic as it might have been. However, the packing list from the Windhorse web site ensured we were well equipped to deal with all of the different weather conditions we experienced. Our camping was comfortable in spite of the weather. The trek itself was more physically challenging than I had anticipated due to the altitude, but Namgyel was very good at maintaining a pace I (the oldest and least fit) could manage. When the rain did break the scenery was magnificent. On day 3 I did ask Namgyel to shorten the lake excursion due to the rain. He found a hut where we had a dry and comfortable lunch. We took some free time in the afternoon and my daughter composed a song which she sang for the yaks.
On the day after the trek we chose to take the horses to see Tiger's Nest and to skip the climb to the temple as we were pretty worn out from the trek.
Sonam, our driver, was safe and attentive.
I particularly appreciated the quick responses to all my questions in advance of the trip. And I definitely appreciated the itinerary recommendation which got us away from tourist crowds. We only saw one other group on the entire trek (they had aborted due to weather and were returning to the start point). It was clear to me that the Windhorse staff takes maintaining the environment very seriously. I appreciate that.
Trying to think of constructive suggestions, only two very minor points come to mind. I wish there would have been a way to confirm seats on DrukAir ahead of check in at the airport. We were not able to sit together or get the preferred side of the airplane on the Delhi-Paro route. The other is that, because we arrived on a Sunday, I couldn't exchange currency (but Namgyel found an ATM). The only problem with that was that I was never able to exchange before the trek, so had to tip the trekking staff in USD which I imagine was less convenient for them.
I will definitely recommend Windhorse (and Bhutan) to others.
Martin[gallery order="DESC" ids="16048,16049,16050,16051,16052,16053,16054,16055,16056"]
Scenic high altitude trek with access to glacial lakes, breathtaking vistas, alpine meadows and verdant forests. Opportunity to meet nomadic cattle herders, Yaks, some wildlife, birds and opportunity for fishing
Legion of trekkers have been drawn by the irresistible mystical charms of Bhutan’s mountains and its surreal exquisite landscapes. Dagala Trek Bhutan is one such trek, where in addition to its many small beautiful lakes (therefore also called thousand lakes trek) and its beautiful vistas, it is a one with fewer trekkers. Dagala trek follows a trail along the ridge-line of Dagala range, that separates Thimphu valley from the lower hills to the south with uninterrupted views in almost all direction. On a clear day, you can see not only the peaks of Bhutan, but could also see far off peaks of Sikkim and Nepal as well. With exposed ridge line, the weather can also change dramatically in a short period.
The trek begins from above a village of Genekha, located on the slopes of a hill, between Thimphu and Paro. As the trek progresses, it gradually reveals many of its treasures in form of beautiful alpine meadows, many small lakes, nomadic yak herders camp, varied forms of flora and fauna, soulful pristine environment. Not only does it revved up the spirit with its awe-inspiring landscapes and pristine environment but also allows a close encounter with nomadic yak herders. This trail now used only by nomadic Yak Herders and few trekkers, was once an important trade route connecting Thimphu with Dagana in south. This trek may challenge your physical conditioning with steep climb in some parts, but apart from a high altitude gain within second day of the trek, it is considered moderate to easy type of trek. With exposed ridge line, the weather can also change dramatically in a short period on the trail. However, the good thing about this trail is that you can quickly descend to lower altitudes.
In the spring, the forest along the lower ridges ablaze with rhododendron, and in the summer, the alpine meadows come alive with technicolor bloom of wild flowers. With opportunity to meet the nomads and learn about their lifestyle, and great views all along, Dagala trek is exceptional.
Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Upon arrival in Paro, you are met and transferred to the hotel. Spend rest of the day visiting few sights, walking and strolling in Paro. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2: Paro -Punakha
Drive short distance to Thimphu (1hr), where we spend the morning visiting few sights. Then drive across spectacular Dochula pass to Punakha (3+hrs). Lunch could be planned at Dochula. In the evening, visit Chimi Lhakhang temple.
Overnight hotel in Punakha
Day 3: In Punakha & Wangdue
Punakha-Wangdue valley is at a lower elevation of about 1250m above-sea-level. Therefore it enjoys subtropical climate with warm summers and pleasant winters.
Visit Khamsum Yuelley Chorten by 45min hike uphill. On return visit impressive Punakha Dzong, located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. In the afternoon, we could drive to one of the villages higher up on the top of hills and begin 2-3hr walk. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 4: Thimphu
Return drive to Thimphu re-crossing Dochula pass with one more opportunity to have a great view of the Himalayas. Upon arrival at Dochula pass you can begin our 2hr. ridge top hike to visit Lungchuzekha Temple. The trail is through rich vegetation of moss laden birch, hemlock and rhododendrons trees. The monastery has been recently repaired and the views from here on a clear day are astounding; with almost all of Bhutan’s great peaks seen from here. Return to Dochula pass or follow the trail that takes us to another ridge top village of Trashigang with monasteries and retreat houses and down to the road head above Hongtsho, from where it is short distance to Thimphu. We may still have some time for local tour and get ready for the trek tomorrow. Overnight hotel in Thimphu
Day 5: Begin trek Gyenkha to Gur
Distance 7 km, 5 hours, 550 m ascent, 210 m descent, camp altitude 3,290 m.
Drive short distance to south of Thimphu for an hour to Gyenekha village. The trek starts at beautiful Gynekha village and begins with a short descent to the river. After crossing the river you start climbing until you reach a huge rock platform from where you have a picturesque view of the below. After another two hours you reach Gur, an area of yak pastures located just below the main trail. Overnight in tents.
Day 6: Gur- Lambatama
Distance 12 km, 6 hours, 1,220m ascent, 110m descent, camp altitude 4,300m.
On the second day, the trail takes you across the high ridges from where you can truly appreciate the rugged beauty of your surroundings and the mountain vegetation. The path winds through refreshing meadows adorned with wild flowers and asparagus (in spring). The first mountain pass you cross is marked by a huge cairn and gives a spectacular view of Kanjenjunga (Sikkim in India) and number of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. As you descend the pass you will be able to see the entirety of the Dagala mountain range including meadows and yak herder camps. Once you have descended into the Labatama valley you begin climbing gradually through the valley, passing several yak herder huts before you arrive at Uthso Tsho. The campsite is right next to the lake. Overnight in tents.
Day 7: In Lambatama
This day will be dedicated to relaxing and recuperating at Labatama. It is an ideal to take an excursion to any of three nearby lakes: Reli Tsho, Hen Tsho and Jama Tsho. There is an opportunity to engage in some trout fishing. Permits are required for fishing so you should let us know to make the necessary arrangements beforehand. Overnight in tents. (For those who are short on time, this day could be removed)
Day 8: Labatama- Panka
Distance 8 km, 4-5hrs (+1hr for optional climb), 260m ascent, 520m descent, camp altitude 4,000m.
The trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 4,520m. From here onwards you will have a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayan peaks all through the descent. The mountain peaks visible include Mt. Everest (Nepal), Mt. Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake, Mt. Tshering Gang, Mt. Khangbum, Mt. Masang Gang, Mt. Tsende Gang and Mt. Gangche Ta. If you want an even better view, you can climb a peak close to the saddle with an altitude of 4,720m. From the saddle the path descends, passing some yak herder huts to Doccha Chhu. You follow the river for a while, but stay higher up on the slope to reach Panka with ascents and descents along the way. Overnight in tents.
Day 9: Pankha- Talakha-Chamgang- Paro
Distance 10 km, 5-6 hours, 70m ascent, 1000m descent.
This day entails the crossing of several passes but none of them require a major climb. Watch out for different varieties of blue poppy (June-July) and birds while in this area. After crossing the last pass, Tale La (4,180m) you start a long descent to Chamgang. However the new dirt road has come up quite a bit. If the road condition is good, you may only have to walk till the monastery saving few kilometers on foot. Meet your vehicle and drive to Paro, which takes about 2hrs. This evening we hope to visit Rinphung Dzong and others as per available time. Overnight in hotel at Paro.
Day 10: Paro valley (Taktshang)
Transfer to the trail head and hike to famous Taktsang or Tiger’s nest monastery. Upon return visit the ruins of Drukgyel dzong and other sights in Paro. In the evening stroll around Paro town with option for farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight in hotel.
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to Paro airport in time for your departure flight.
Group SizeWith your own group
Trip AccommodationWe use best tourist standard hotel. Also in places where there are means to upgrade - 4* hotel we do it automatically, for instance Hotel Druk and Tashi Namgay Resort in Thimphu and Paro respectively.
Trip TypeCultural and trekking
Trip SeasonsThis trek can be done from mid April till October. Best time is before June and after August since this is the monsoon time. However June till September is when the alpine flowers bloom and temperature is pleasant as well.
Best MonthsApril, May, October
Good MonthsJune, July, August, September, November
Not RecommendJanuary, February, December
Prices & Dates
Cost varies on travel dates, number of Participants etc. Contact for details
- Bhutan Royalties, tourists fees, Visa fees and taxes.
- Accommodations in listed or similar hotels (pleasant hotels 3-4 star type) during the tour and in tents during the trek.
- All meals, including evening tea/coffee etc through-out the trip.
- All land transfers, sightseeing with entrance fees.
- Experienced English Speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
- Bottled water in the vehicle and other Comp. services.
- During the trek:
Fully-serviced camping trek
Provided during the trek: tents (sleeping, dining Kitchen and toilet tents), trekking mattresses, small air pillow, Hot-water bag, Pressured Altitude Bag for altitude emergencies, Pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency. Basic Medical Kit. Trekking Guide, Cook and assistants accompany the group. All meals, beverages and snacks are provided.
Sleeping bag is available for nominal cleaning charges.
Also available to borrow for free: Walking Sticks (trekking poles), Umbrella/Pancho, Water Bottle
We are constantly upgrading our trekking equipment and gears, so you can be assured that you will receive the best and latest. We use the best sleeping tents (Mountain Hard Wear Trango).
- Flights in and out of Bhutan.
- Personal trekking gears such as sleeping bag, clothing, shoes etc.
- Sleeping bags are available for small cleaning fee.
- And items not listed in included section
We use best tourist standard hotel. Also in places where there are means to upgrade – 4* hotel we do it automatically, for instance Hotel Druk and Tashi Namgay Resort in Thimphu and Paro respectively.
Hotels in Thimphu
Hotels in Paro
Hotels in Punakha
Hotels in Trek
From the outset, Pema Namgyal knew what he wanted to do in life. He love to keep things simple. Right after finishing his Class 12 from school in Thimphu in 2004, he joined guiding course to aspire to be a guide. Initially he started as cultural guide but with time, he felt more connected with wilderness, he did course for trek in 2008.
After a fruitful experiences with other companies, he joined Wind Horse Tours in 2010. He has led many treks, and I seriously doubt, if there are any tourist trails that he hasn’t tread upon. One trek that stand out is challenging Snowman Trek, he comes highly recommended for this. In October, 2014 he successfully completed Snowman trek with 4 guests.
Growth in Tourism in Bhutan has also its share of impact on young minds. With tourists freely moving around, the curiosities to know them, talk to them holds ground firmly on young minds . Namgay is one among many youth whose imagination was captured by razzmatazz of tourism.
He has his career goal cut out, he could have easily opted for some comfortable desk jobs, after passing out in flying colours from prestigious St Joseph college Darjeeling in 2010 but he chose to pursue his dream, he loved to be in field, among the guests, so it was only matter of time to enroll for guiding course.
His first foray into job was in 2013 at Wind Horse Tours and still he is going great guns. Feed Backs from guests that he led are great testimonial to his dedication.
He prodigiously read books that open up new frontiers and interaction with guests coupled with sound command of English takes his outlook towards learning and experiences altogether to different height.
Yonten Phuntsho may give way to being shy guy bordering with man of a few words. But he is man who loves to be in thick of action . He leads from the front whilst on the tour. Behind his facade lies the guide whose knowledge and passion runs deep for the love of his works. His aptly quote Barbara Kingsolver “I do my best work if I think about what it is I have to offer”.
From the outset, he knew what he wants to do in his life. Right after finishing his Class 12, he enrolled for guide course for culture initially then extended few more month to complete course on Trekking as well in 2008. After doing free lancing for a while, he joined Wind Horse Tours in 2010.
For most Bhutanese, appeals that mountainous terrains throw in for an out door adventures are native. In the case of Yonten, it was no exception. He easily gave in to the temptation of Mountain biking with its advent. He explored and lead tours in his bike but his allegiance is more inclined to off road biking trips that leads to quaint villages. To explore the unknown and love for nature, these attributes that he cultivated while trekking the alpine highlands and wilderness in remote corner of country was what prompt him to readily agree to embark on audacious Haa to Phuentsholing on mountain bike, overcoming challenges of carrying bike in tough terrains, untamed vegetations and unexplored areas.
Reviews / Testimonials
- Martin James Malley
Western Hills, Nebraska, USA Jan 1970
Dagala Trek – 2018 Dear Anand, Thank you for checking in with me about the trip. I have been meaning to write reviews for Tripadvisor,