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THOUSAND DAGALa LAKES route and information

Compared with some of the other treks in Bhutan Dagala Lakes is the off beaten track so you will see less trekkers on the trail. During April and May the rhododendrons (azaleas) also come into bloom casting stunning crimson and orange colours across the landscapes. 

Dagala Lakes Trek

Located in the area of Thimphu and Paro, the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is one of the iconic trekking trails in Bhutan. 

It is wonderful for people who are fit but have not had any altitude trekking experience. It is one of the only treks in Bhutan that has views of the high mountain peaks of Bhutan such as Jhomalhari, Jichu Drake, Masagang, Tseda Gang and Gangchhenta, as well as the world's third highest peak, Mt. Kenchenjunga at 8586m. 

It is often referred to as the thousand lakes trek, and although it does not actually have a thousand lakes, there are a huge number of small pristine lakes along the route, The trek passes through picturesque landscapes rich in bird species, alpine flowers and attractive meadows. The altitude of the plateau is around 4000 meters.

dagala lakes trek profile
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AT A GLANCE
  •  13 day tour 
  • Start point is from Paro 
  • Altitude of 4300m - 5050m
  • A more popular trekking route 
  • Wonderful mix of culture and scenery 
  • Breathtaking views of surrounding peaks such as Mt. Kanchenjunga at 8586m 
  • Different ascent and descent route 
  • Landscapes rich in bird species 
travel insurance

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion. 
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple. 

https://www.nomadicadventures.co.za/Travel-Insurance.html

Dagala Lakes Overview

Day-1: Arrival Paro (By Druk Air). 
Day-2: Paro 
Day-3: Paro -Thimphu 
Day-4: Thimphu 
Day-5: Thimphu - Genekha [14 Km, 4 Hours] 
Day-6: Genekha - Gur [15 Km, 4 Hours] 
Day-7: Gur - Labatama [12 Km, 5 Hours] 
Day-8: Labatama 
Day-9: Labatama 
Day-10: Labatama - Panka [8 Km, 4 Hours] 
Day-11: Panka - Talikha [8 Km, 4 Hours] 
Day-12: Talekha - Thimphu - Paro 
Day-13: Paro Depart 

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DAGALA THOUSAND LAKES TREK 

Day-1: Arrival Paro (By Druk Air).        

The flight into Paro is a brilliant introduction to the spectacular beauty of Bhutan. In clear weather, magnificent views of the worlds highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. On arrival you will be met and driven to your hotel. Evening visit to Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day-2: Paro 

This morning we drive along the winding road northwest up the Pa Chu (Paro River) to Drukgyel Dzong, the ruined fort which once defended the valley from Tibetan invasions. Mount Jhomalhari, the sacred summit, reaches skyward beyond the Dzong. On return to Paro Valley, we visit to a traditional Bhutanese farm house as well as the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism. Afternoon visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower which now houses Bhutan's national museum. The museum's interesting collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, stamps. After that walk done the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century, it is symbolic as the religious and secular affairs of the valley. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day-3: Paro -Thimphu 

This morning we drive downstream along side the Pa Chu (Paro River) to its confluence with Wang Chu (Thimphu river) then up valley to Thimphu, the capital town. Before arriving at Thimphu, we visit Somtokha Dzong, Kingdom's oldest fortress which is now used as Dzongkha language school of Bhutan. Afternoon visit Memorial Chorten, built in the memory of Third King of Bhutan. We then visit Tashichhodzong, Thimphus most impressive building situated at the banks of Wang Chu. It houses National Assembly, King's Throne room and also the summer residence of Chief of monk body. In the evening we take a stroll through Thimphu market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day-4: Thimphu 

After breakfast, visit the Painting school where centuries old art of Bhutanese paintings is taught. National Library is another interesting place to visit which houses vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, manuscripts. Also visit to Traditional Medicine Institute where centuries old healing arts still practiced. Afternoon visit Handicrafts Emporium. Here exotic weaves in silk, wool, cotton, silver jewellery, carpets, thangkha paintings, bamboo ware and another traditional crafts of the Kingdom are available. Evening drive to view point for a fascinating view of Thimphu valley. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day-5: Thimphu - Genekha [14 Km, 4 Hours] 

This morning we start out trek by driving for 45 minutes to reach starting point of the trek. The first day involves a walk along a mule path for four hours at the signboard of Genekha School. The trail is decorated with terraced fields and coniferous vegetarian are abundant. Overnight at Genekha alongside a stream at 2800m.

Day-6: Genekha - Gur [15 Km, 4  Hours] 

On todays trek we should encounter a lot of birdlife and stunning scenery. Two hours of gradual uphill walk and rest at a huge rock platform, offers a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours the trek ends. Overnight at Gur.

Day-7: Gur - Labatama [12 Km, 5  Hours] 

While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetarian. Todays trek is amidst flowers and wild asparagus (in spring). The first pass is marked with huge cairns and gives a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range, to the hearders camp. After lunch we walk across hills and meadows, ending the third day of trek. Camp at altitude 4300m near Utso lake.

Day-8: Labatama 

This day is for an excursion to any of three lakes; Relitso, Hetso and Amatso. Your guide will reveal mystic stories about these lakes. Overnight in the camp.

Day-9: Labatama 

Extension to Sestoand nearby lakes. Hike to Sesto is easy and interesting. Afterwards walk over a small ridge and then down to Jagetso lake. We spend the day trout fishing with packed lunch at the lake side. You have the option of attempting to climb "Jomo" a peak of 5050m. Lunch at the summit with spectacular view of the surroundings. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.

Day-10: Labatama - Panka [8 Km,   4 Hours] 

Walk for 20 min uphill to about 4520m on the west side of Dala Tsho. Your guide will point out the incredible Himalayans peaks of Mount. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jhomalhari, Jichu Drake, Tshrim Khang, Gangbom, Masagang, Tsendaygang and Gangchen Ta. Here the Himalayan monal pheasants are a common sight along with yaks and horses.

Day-11: Panka - Talikha [8 Km, 4 Hours] 

This day entails crossing several passes, each one more impressive than the other. In June and July, there are many different coloured      Blue Poppy and mountain birds.  Lunch at the point where one   trail leads to Talekha and other to Wangdiphodrang. After lunch an hours gradual climb brings you to the tip of last Dagala range from where view of Thimphu valley is spectacular, it appears as though Thimphu is spread is the palm of observers hand. An hours walk and you are at the last camp, little above Talikha monastery.

Day-12: Talekha - Thimphu - Paro 

Passing through alpine and mixed vegetation (bamboo thickets and wild flowers) one reaches Talekha monastery and village and once again Thimphu view is superb. Passing through mixed vegetation and apple orchards, one reaches the main road to Thimphu where your transport is waiting. Here the trek ends. Drive to Thimphu for lunch. Evening drive back Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day-13: Paro Depart 

After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.

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Dagala Lakes and Bhutan Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time or months to do the thousand lakes trek?

The best to come to Bhutan for trekking is in the spring, from March to May, or the autumn, from September to November. Spring is also when the Rhododendrons are out . Skies are clear and bright, the sun is usually shining, and the temperature is warm, though sometimes a little chilly in the evenings.

Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon season in Bhutan, and while the rain mostly falls at night or in the evenings, there are times when it can rain all day long.

What are the meals like on the trek?

All meals on trek are prepared for by the support team. We can also cater for vegetarian and any other dietary requirements.

How will the altitude affect me on Dagala trek?

This is a really difficult one to answer directly - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly.                  

Why are treks in Bhutan so expensive compared to Nepal and India?

Bhutan has ‘High Value, Low Impact' tourism policy to preserve its cultural heritages and environment. Thus, with a high rate, it welcomes responsible travelers and few visitors. The policy is built on a daily “visa” fee of US$250 during the high season (which runs March to May and September to November), and US$200 during the low season (all other months). The amount sounds alarming, but is actually a minimum spending requirement that includes meals, three-star (minimum) accommodations in city hotels or countryside resorts, land transport, and guide service for every day spent in the country.

Where can I get climbing Insurance for Dagala Lakes Trek Camp?

If you are going hiking or climbing or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking and Climbing have become popular for many adventure seekers looking to add a climb up Kilimanjaro or a trek to Everest Base Camp, Annapurna or even Island Peak to their list of amazing adventures. But any climb to high altitude carries with it a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click here 

How difficult is the hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery (Takstang)?

The elevation gain is around 530m or 1700 feet  so it is a substantial climb and takes around 5-7 hours in total. However it is  well worth the effort.  By doing this at the start of the tour it helps with acclimatisation.

What are the hotel standards in Bhutan?

Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 star rating system. This does not mean all hotels are 5 star, but rather that every classification of accommodation from home stays to guesthouses, have to adhere to a set of government standards. As such, the standard hotels, lodges and guesthouses are usually good, often small and with a great ambiance. All tour operators are required to provide their guests with a minimum of 3 Star accommodations so you can be assured of your comfort. Most hotels provide their guests with television, room service, fitness centers, spas and wi-fi. However the exact services available will vary from hotel to hotel. The more popular tourist destinations like western and central


Bhutan usually have the higher standards of star rated European and Asian properties. There are a few luxury hotels and resorts, but they are rather expensive. If starting in Nepal, we spend two nights in 3-star, Thamel Eco Resort, well situated within the heart of Thamel, or, if it is full, a similar category in Kathmandu. At the end of the tour we return to the same hotel.

What plug points are used in Bhutan?

As a traveler from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, D, M, G. 

As a traveler from England you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, D, M.            

As a traveler from South Africa you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, G.    

Do I need a visa for Bhutan?

Yes a visa for Bhutan is required for every foreign traveler and has to be processed by a local tour operator, as no foreign embassy abroad grants tourist visas. The visa cost is currently $40 and your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after you leave Bhutan.

Is the water safe to drink?

Tap water is not safe to drink so you would need to buy mineral water which is readily available. Mineral water is readily available throughout the country. While on trek the guides will ensure that the water is boiled.

Is English spoken much in Bhutan?

English is commonly spoken, as it is the medium of instruction in schools. The national and official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. Road signs and government documents are written in English and Dzongkha, and the national newspaper is printed in English, Nepali and Dzongkha.