Have you ever encountered 100s of yaks at one place?
When we were about to enter Phobjikha, we saw 3 of them and after a while, 100s of them, grazing and lazing.
Yaks grazing in the field
We were still standing there and appreciating the moment, a small cotton ball sits over my nose, followed by many. Ooo my god!!! It was snow. It was snowing.
We proceeded further, the snow stopped and so does our driver. He stopped the car got out of it and started running (otherwise he don't even walk much) towards the fields, asking us (while running) to follow him.
Perplexed we followed him.
And after a while, 100s of huge, beautiful cranes were flying over us.
Black-necked cranes flying
Black-necked crane is a big bird and a medium-sized crane in Asia and is the only species of the crane family that lives on high altitudes.
They visit Bhutan from Tibet late October and stay there up to early March. Phobjikha is the best place to spot them and that's why its declared a protective region so that the bird can continue coming here.
No concrete buildings in your sight, no cables/ wires/ antennas, call of heavenly bird, silence of black mountains, wideness of an open sky and freshness of, the warmth of the people– it doesn’t just sound like a fairy tale it is a land right from a fairy tale.
If you choose to pay a visit, it will surely become one of your best memories of a place which is such beautiful.
Phobjikha the place to feel
Its a bowl-shaped glacial valley near the black mountain peaks.
2itchyfeets presents the open valley
After it gets dark, there are no street lights, in the morning you will wake up to the sound of beautiful black-necked cranes rather than cars and when you will see outside from the window of your room, rather than buildings, you see birds, animals, mountains and a valley which is untouched and wide.
Valley view from the homestay
If you choose to do a morning walk here, you will find yourself running in happiness behind black-necked cranes, in awe seeing the mountains all around you so far and yet so close, sitting quietly by a river stream.
A place to meditate
Phobjikha is a cold place. The temperature drops to zero degrees or less. Pack urself in layers of clothes.
How to reach
Phobjikha is 130 km (4.5-5 hours) from Thimphu and 80 km (3 hours) from Punakha.
We would recommend booking a taxi to visit the place as transport is not readily available.
The roads get narrower and view get enthralling as we reach near to Phobjikha.
As its a glacial valley, the temperature is low here and in winters it covered with snow.
We loved every bit of our stay in Phobjika. It's so untouched and beautiful that everything seems to be an experience of its own kind.
A visitor center of Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) provides information on black-necked cranes and the valley. It consists of an observatory and a mini theatre. The staff there provides facilitation and presentation of cranes and valley. ESPN has the mandate for conservation and monitors black-necked cranes.
Fee - 150 Nu
There is an injured crane as well which could not fly back to Tibet owning to loss of a feather. The crane is taken care of by the staff at the information center.
The injured Black-necked crane
You can visit the information center and see this crane closely without any charges.
The bird is safe here
So if you feel it's worth it then add this place in your itinerary if you are planning to Bhutan in the future.