Bhutan is no doubt an exotic land. It is difficult not to fall in love with the place once you have been there. This tiny Himalayan country is full of wonderful immaculate natural beauty and rich culture. Bhutan is also a perfect place for those who like trekking in pristine landscapes. When I had first heard of Dagala Thousand Lake Trek, I was instantly intrigued by the name. Are there really thousand lakes in the trail? Well, I don’t really know the answer, but the trek seems to reward its visitors with picturesque landscape, stunning lakes and the magnificent views of some of the world’s highest mountain ranges.
Dagala Thousand Lake Trek
The trek goes through an offbeat trail and you will hardly see any people on the train. Nowadays in the world of overtourism, it is really bliss to see such places. The 6-days trek is a moderate one that will take you through bird rich areas, alpine flowers, attractive meadows and several traditional Bhutanese villages. The trek starts from Genekha village and ends at Chamganag in Thimpu crossing two high-altitude passes.
Day 1: Genekha – Gur (7 km, 5 hours)
As mentioned earlier, the trek starts from the beautiful Genekha village, about 45 minutes drive from Thimpu. The small village is known for its production of mushroom. At first the trail is through the terraced fields and coniferous trees with a short descent to the river. After that, it is a gradual climb of about 2 hours till you reach a huge rock platform. You will get a panoramic view of the valley from here. After another two hours of trekking, you will reach the first campsite of the day at Gur.
Day 2: Gur – Labatama (12 km, 5 hours)
The trail this day is through the mountain ridge from where you can see the rugged beauty of the landscape. At certain instances, you will come across winding paths through refreshing meadows adorned with beautiful rhododendrons. You will come across the Paga Labtsa pass (4,250m) this day. The place is marked by huge cairns. From here, you will get stunning views of Mt. Kanchenjunga in Sikkim and the Bhutanese Himalayan range. I am sure the view will be really pleasing. As you descend the pass, you wills see the entire Dagala mountain range including the meadows and yaks grazing. Gradually descend to the Labatama valley and then gradually ascend again through the valley passing several yak herders’ huts. The destination is near Uthso Tso where you will camp a little distance away from the lake.
Day 3: Labatama
This day is a buffer day and dedicated for exploring the Labatama Valley. There are three lakes nearby - Reli Tso, Hen Tso and Jama Tso. These lakes are also full of trouts and are ideal fishing destinations. Visit all the three lakes and explore the place. If you want to do fishing, then prior permission is required. Talk to your trekking operator about necessary permission for fishing beforehand.
Day 4: Labatama – Panka (8 km, 6-7 hours)
The trail is through the western side of Dala Tso upto a saddle at a height of 4520 m. it is here where you will get a majesticview of the Himalayan peaks. Peaks like Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake, Mt. Tshering Gang, Mt. Khangbum, Mt. Masang Gang, Mt. Tsende Gang and Mt. Gangche Ta will be before your eyes to behold. There is also a peak at 4720 m near the saddle. You can also climb there. The view is better from there.
From the saddle, the path descends to Doccha Chhu, a sprightly mountain river. you have to walk with the river, but on the higher side until you reach Panka. Here , you will sight Himalayan monals, pheasants, wild horses and yaks.
Day 5: Panka – Talakha (8 km, 5-6 hours)
This day you will cross several passes, but none of them require arduous climbs. If you are visiting during june-July, then you will see numerous poppy flowers on the trail. Himalayan birds are abundant in the region. The last pass to encounter is the Tale La at 4,180 m, after which, there is a descent to the Talakha Gompa. You can camp beside the monastery.
Day 6: Talakha – Chamgang (6 km, 2 hours)
From the Talakha monastery, it is a small descent down to the road that will lead to the village of Chamgang, about 30 minutes drive from Thimpu. So you can keep Thimpu as your base city for this beautiful trek.
Best Time for the trek:
The best season for the trek is through April to September.
How to reach Thimpu:
Although Thimpu is the capital city, the only international airport in Bhutan is at Paro, about one and a half hours drive from Thimpu. If you are visiting from India, then you can enter through Phuentsholing by road and then drive to Thimpu.
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