Although the trek leads up to plenty of beautiful high altitude mountain lakes and provides stunning views of the whole Bhutanese Himalayan range as well as Kanjenjunga (3rd highest mountain of the world, Sikkim) it is still not a very popular trek. You might not meet any other trekkers during the whole trek. It is also possible to start and end the trek in Gynekha. The optional route back to Gynekha leads through beautiful Bhutanese villages. Although most days are short, the day from Gur to Labatama involves a lot of climbing and is, therefore, pretty strenuous.
Day 1: Arrive Paro by Druk Air
Your flight into Paro will be a befitting introduction to the natural beauty of our country. On a clear day, magnificent views of the world’s highest peak, give way to lush green Paro valley as you land. On arrival, one of our representatives will receive and escort you to the hotel where arrangements would be made. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing
Visit National Museum (One of the best museums in Asia), Rinpung Dzong (fortress of the “heap of jewels”), and Kichu Lhakhang (one of the oldest temple of Bhutan built in 659 AD by a Tibetan King). Drive to Drugyel Dzong (a ruined fortress – 16 Kms. away from Paro Town). On a clear day you can get a view of the Mt. Jhomolhari(Alt 7329m). On the way back you visit a typical Bhutanese farm house and take a leisurely stroll around the compound. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Paro – Thimphu (65km/ 2hours)
Drive to Timphu following the river Pachu downstream to its confluence and then up the river Wangchu to Thimphu. Lunch will be served at the hotel. In evening, the Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the late third King of Bhutan. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing
Thimphu is the capital city of the Kingdom with the population of about 50,000. Visit the Memorial Chorten, built in1974 in memory of the late King of Bhutan; National Library where ancient texts and manuscripts are preserved; The Indigenious Hospital where traditional medicines are still practiced; Woodcraft and Painting school where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive; Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles are displayed and can be purchased; Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building, the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body; Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortress of Bhutan built in 1629 and it houses the largest monastic school in the country. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Thimphu – Gynekha
It takes 45 minutes drive to reach the starting point of the trek. After walking through terraced fields and coniferous vegetation for about 4 hours. A day’s trek will end near the Genekha School where the camp is set.
Day 6: Gynekha – Gur
(Distance seven km, five hours, 550m ascent, 210m descent, camp altitude 3,290m). The trek starts from beautiful Gynekha village with a short descent down to the river. From here – after crossing the river – you start climbing till you reach a huge rock platform from where you have a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours you reach Gur, some yak pastures below the main trail.
Day 7: Gur – Labatama
(12 km, 5 hours) (Distance 12km, six hours, 1,220m ascent, 110m descent, camp altitude 4,300m). While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. The path winds through flowers and wild asparagus (in spring). The meadows are refreshing and inspiring. The first pass symbolised by a huge cairn gives a spectacular view of Kanjenjunga (Sikkim) and more or less all the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. Dsecnding the pass one will see the whole Dagala range, meadows and yak herders camp. Once descended into the Labatama valley you ascend gradually through the valley passing some yak herder huts till you reach Uthso Tsho. The campsite is right next to the lake.
Day 8: Halt at Labatama
Relaxation day at Labatama. This day is ideal for an excursion to any of three lakes: Reli Tsho, Hen Tsho and Jama Tsho. The day and place is also ideal for trout fishing.
Day 9: Labatama – Panka
(Distance 8km, six to seven hours, 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 where you have again a majestic view of Himalayan peaks during descent. This point is around 4,460m. The mountain peaks include Everest (Nepal), Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tsende Gang and 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 some ups and downs on the way.
Day 10: Panka – Talakha
(Distance eight km, five to six hours, 180m ascent, 110m descent, camp altitude 3,080m). This day entails the crossing of several passes, none of them affording a major climb. Search for different varieties of blue poppy (June-July) and mountain birds. After crossing the last pass, Tale La (4,180m) you start a long descent to Talakha Gompa. You will camp right besides the monastery and wake up with the early morning prayers of the monks. One has a great view of Bhutan’s capital Thimphu.
Day 11: Talakha – Thimphu – Paro
Two to three hours of walk downhill through mixed vegetation and apple orchard take you to the main road where your transport awaits. Drive to Paro via Thimphu. Evening free to relax. Overnight in hotel.
Day 12: Departure
In morning, your guide will bid you farewell at the Airport.
Duration: Twelve days, Max. Elevation: 4,520m
Highest Camp: 4,300m
Best Seasons: April to June and September to October
Start: Gynekha (Thimphu)
Finish: Chamgang (Thimphu)