Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek: Traverse through the heart of Bhutanese Himalaya while camping next to pristine mountain lakes

23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek, as the name suggests, attracts all the lake lovers, and adventurists. The trek is, indeed, home to several lakes midway as well as around the campsites. Not only this trek is moderate terrain but it also delivers a tranquil experience. Camping next to the lakes and witnessing the changing colors of the crystal-clear water bodies is an out of the world experience. Apart from the natural characteristics, the unique selling point of this trek is that it presents you with spellbinding views of the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest (8848 m). Also, it lets you bask in the beauty of the tallest Bhutanese peaks of Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake, Masang Gang, Tiger Mountain, and many more.

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek Bhutan starts from a quaint and a torpid little native of Genekha, which requires a 45-minutes’ drive from the capital, Thimphu.

Genekha village in Bhutan is popular for its annual festival of Mushrooms, called Matsutake festival. During this festival, the village beams a light of cultural attributes like folk dance, performances, and music. Many stalls sell edible and non-edible mushrooms. The displayed varieties are particularly exotic, which might not be available in other parts of the world.

Welcoming Yak - Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

Welcoming Yak – Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek starts from Genekha, with a short descent at the banks of a river. After having crossed the river, the two hours arduous trail-hike lands us to the first higher campsite called Gur, at 3290 m. The trail is a reasonable trek, crossing coniferous forests, over a mule feeder path and terraced fields. Before reaching the Gur campsite, you will come up to a huge cliff at 3350 m. Standing atop the rock you will witness the exceptional, and amazing expanse of the lower valley.

The trail from the Gur towards Labatama valley is covered with wildflowers and vegetation. Besides, this trail is also known for wild asparagus, especially in spring. Plus, it is fun to cross the streams and rivers, while you take care of your fellow trekking mates. These streams are pure and could be used to refill your bottles, too. Ascending through the birches, and rhododendrons you will reach Pagalabtsa pass at 4250 m. The route is interesting and easy because of the cairns arranged at regular intervals. It is mandatory to not damage these cairns as they are very significant for directing the right paths.

One of the pristine lakes in the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

One of the pristine lakes in the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

It is Pagalabtsa Pass from where you will receive a glimpse of Kanchenjunga and other Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek Bhutan grants you with typical alpine flowers, grassy and lush meadows, which is peculiar to any Bhutanese Himalayan trek. Descending the pass, catching the sight of Dagala meadows and taking a much-needed lunch break at yak herders’ settlements, you will eventually land into mesmerizing Labatama valley. Climbing up a little, the trail reaches a pristine Utsho lake at 4300 m. Camping next to the lake, you can fish the Trouts, found abundant here. A special note to consider, Fishing requires a special permit!

A lot of organizations consider a day for acclimatization in Labatama valley so that a few other beautiful lakes could be explored, too. These lakes comprise Relitsho, Setsho, Jagetsho, and Hentsho. Trouts are common species of fish found in this region. During the same day, you can climb the Jomo peak at 5020 m, until the dusk. Connoting religiosity, the peak is said to be a holy residence of Aum Jomo goddess.

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

Descending through yak herders’ camps, the next day wakes up to the bird songs and sublime lake environs. Trekking along the Dalatsho, the saddle after a distance will deliver you fantastic views of Mt. Everest and other peaks in the range of the vision. Following the Doccia Chu river, passing herders’ settlements, you will reach the Panka village at 4000 m. Camping at Panku lets you settle with the higher altitude air of Bhutan.

Crossing several passes, spotting Blue Poppy (especially in June and July) and mountain birds, you will climb towards Tale La pass at 4180 m. This is the last pass of the Dagala Thousand lakes trek. Also, the splendid views of the Thimphu and Dagala range revitalize our souls while we plot a plan about our way back home. Descending through the dense and wild forests of Spruce, juniper, birch and rhododendrons, apple orchards and feeder road, you finally arrive at an interesting monastery of Talakha Goempa at 3080 m. A few organizations tend to halt here and start for Thimphu the next day. However, it is also possible to descend further on the same day to Chamgang native. 

A short drive back to Thimphu ends the thrilling journey of Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek Bhutan.

The Bhutan government follows strict rules towards the permit of trekking. Indians are allowed to trek only in the Paro and Thimphu region. However, a special permit can be obtained to trek Haa valley, Bumthang, Gasa, Laya, and other protected regions of Bhutan. The permit could be applied at Thimphu’s immigration office or a trekker can get in touch with a local Bhutanese agent.

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