Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is one of the most scenic treks in Bhutan. It offers breathtaking views of snow -capped peaks, stunning landscape, and traditional Nomadic Lifestyle.
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is for mountain lovers and this blog is dedicated to them.
“Bjop Gey Sheru, Dagalai Phu Methong”.
A Bhutanese oral saying, even the Nomads who are raised in Dagala pasture just can’t master this trek route. The reason is that, myriads of paths lead to these valleys and if you lose the path you will be lost in the maze.
The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is a 5 day trek . However we can do this trek in 4 days or 6 Days as well.
It offers the most beautiful views of the world’s highest mountain including Mount Everest , Mount Kanchenjunga and other Eastern Himalayas. The trek route was used by Daga Penlop in the olden time to visit Punakha . Punakha was then the capital of Bhutan.
Most people claim that this trek is an easy trek, but ironically it is a high altitude trek and requires a lot of stamina. The campsite ranges from 3200 meters to 4200 meter. As you move through this trek you have to cross many passes above 4000 meters. However the view of crystal clear lakes and Eastern Himalayas is simply of another world.
The trail also takes you through several Bhutanese villages, so you can get a good idea of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle.
Day 1: Genekha Village to Gur
Distance 7Km, Time 5 hours, Ascent 550m, Descent 60m, Camp Elev 3290m.
The Trek starts from the most beautiful village of Genekha ( 2750 meters) .
From Genekha, we follow the ancient trails followed by Daga Penlop and his retinue in olden time. We have to walk through the evergreen forest of Blue Pine and Conifer till we reach the subalpine Zone, called Gur, situated at an altitude of 3200m. We can have our campsite set at Gur Valley. There is a beautiful forest below the Gur campsite . It is famous for the most Expensive Mushroom known as Masutake. If you are up to some adventure then we can hunt for Matsutake mushrooms in the evening.
However you can also have the option to camp at Watasachen instead of Gur, if the altitude is not a problem for you. Watasachen is at an altitude of 4150m.
From Gur you need to cross a pass known as Pagalaptsha (4250m) to camp at Watasachen . The Pagalaptsha Pass offers the beautiful views of Mount Kanchenjunga (8586m), Mount Everest, Jomolhari(7314m), Jichu Drakey (6989m), Tiger Mountain (6840m) and Tsheringmeigang .
Once at the Camp at Watasachen, you can explore the village and lifestyle of nomads of Dagala. Though they live above 4000 meters, they stay clean, perhaps the cleanest nomads in Bhutan. Thanks to the support from UNDP for helping the Nomads with clean toilets, metal roof, solar panel and Gas Stove for cooking.
From the village of Nomads, if you hike another 20 to 30 minutes you can get a stunning view of Nychen Dongkola ,Kanchenjunga and the Phodrang/Palace of Aum Jumo of Dagala.
Day 2 : Explore Lakes and hike to Taju
The next day we can explore the Lakes of Aum Jumo . Aum Jomo is the deity of Jomolhari Mountain . The Lakes like, Yue – Tsho, Tsha-tsho, Thro Tsho, Bay Tsho, Dagay tsho, Bjagay Tsho, Jumo Latsho, Ser tsho, is called as the procession of Aum Jumo . You may visit the meditation cave in the small island of Bjaytsho Lake and feel the presence of divine mystic.
You can also check out the ruins of Daga Penlop Auchu Tshering’s at Labatama known as Dophu Tshawa in between two small streams.
After checking on the ruins and beautiful lakes we will head towards Taju La
We will stop for Lunch at Taju la at 4350 meters. There is a story of how the name Taju La came about which means ‘Horse Race Pass”
Daga Penlop Auchu Tshering married a Girl who indeed was a manifestation of Aum Jumo. Two of them used to love watching the horse race . So at Taju la, they used to make their subjects compete in horse races. Ta- Horse Ju- Race and La- pass; this is how the name came about.
The campsite will be just below the Taju la pass from where we can get the magnificent views of Jomolhari, Mount Kanchenjunga and Jichu Drake, Tsheringmeigang. The beauty of these mountains is further enhanced during sunset.
Day 3 ( Taju to Pankha via Labagay)
After having a good breakfast, we can ascend to another pass known as Labagay. It is the highest point on this Trek at 4450 meters.
From this pass if you climb another 100 meters up then you will be able to see Mount Everest, Mount Kanchenjunga, Mount Lhotshe and the last Himalayas in Bhutan including Gangkhar Punsum at the far end.
Here we can really coexist with the sky, Mountains, Lakes and rivers. One can get the feeling of being on the top of the world.
After crossing the Labagay pass, we slowly descend down on the stony path that had been used by Daga Penlops while going to Punakha. This is the historic route which passes by the lake known as Dungkhar Tsho . The last lake on the Trek.
We also come across a very beautiful Nomad pasture known as Laba Chung with the Yaks grazing.
If you happen to come in spring, this place looks like a Botanical Garden. The walk through the shrubs of Rhododendrons Anogosium will lead you to the bridge. After crossing the bridge, we will ascend slowly towards Pangka Camp 4000 meters. The walk is so lovely that people forget to walk at their own pace as they fall in love with flowers. Once, one of my friends told me, we have to be like Flowers, they never try to compare their beauty with one another.
Pangka is one of the most beautiful campsites in this Dagala Trek . From here we can have a good View of the mountain starting from Sikkim to the Last Himalayas.
If you like we can take a day off and immerse ourselves in the scenic beauty of the Mountain.
Day 4 : Pangka via Talakha to Thimphu
14KM | 8 HOURS | 180M ASCENT | 1540M DESCENT
After a good breakfast we will take a walk from Pangka campsite. The walk gradually ascends to the nameless pass with the best views of the Himalayas. Then descends down to a place known as Zorina and further ascends to the Chari la Pass ( RainCoat Pass 4200 meters) . Chari la is a beautiful pass, from where you will be able to see the whole mountains of the world. You can also see many species of mountain birds on this trek.
If we are here in the right season, we may see the Blue Poppies and Yellow Poppies on the way up.
In olden times it is said that the strongest Soldier of Daga Penlop had to carry the stone from Zorina to Chari la. So as to prove their worth.
The walk gradually descends towards another Nomadic place known as Kherkewa.
And from here we slowly ascend and descend to Gechula at 3850 meters and head towards Jeley Zey.
Ending Point of Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek in Bhutan
Once on top of Jeley Zey, you will not want to descend down. The sunrise and sunset will be the most beautiful from this point.
Slowly we will descend down to Pangserbu. We bid goodbye to Mount Kanchenjunga, who has been like a guiding star from the starting day of the Trek.
The walk down hill is more enjoyable. We have to walk through the forest of Dead Trees and the Conifer Forest. At the end of the forest , we will bypass a logging farm road and then enter into a forest of pine trees.
Then slowly you will be Greeted by the small monks who are getting trained at 3000 meters under the strict Guidance of their respectable Teachers.
After making a visit to the Talakha Monastery, and thanking the Guidance Deity ( Tshangkhap Jeley, for taking care of you and your teams and after getting a blessing from the old Kanjure printed from on Daphne plant, we bid an Adieu to the Trek of 1000 lakes, sometimes knowns as Walking in the steps of Daga Penlop.
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek Package in Bhutan
Check out Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek itinerary and cost here
Best Time to trek: April-June and September-October
Starting Point: Genekha Village
Ending Point: Talakha, Bhutan
Average Walking Distance: 12Km
Average Walking Time: 7 Hrs
Other Highlights of Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek in Bhutan
- Be rewarded by the breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear lakes, and stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range and some of the world’s highest peaks.
- Walkthrough the ancient trails
- Traverse the trails of wild blossoms
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is highly recommended for travel photographers, nature lovers and trekkers who want to seek something out of ordinary.