The beautiful glacier valley of Gangtey is home to the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Apart from this, it is home to exquisite looking Black-necked cranes which migrate from Tibetan plateau to escape the harsh winter. The Gangtey Valley tour is an exquisite opportunity to explore the age-old well retained the heritage of Bhutan a matter of pride of this country.

Walk through farm houses and fields, explore cities of Paro, Thimpu, and Punakha and explore the age old monasteries with Buddhist manuscripts. This tour is a chance to explore the reason why Bhutan is renowned as the happiest country on earth.  Explore the best locations of Bhutan, added with the chance to explore the Gangtey Valley on foot.

Experience the natural beauty of Himalayas, well-retained culture and sacred destinations. A perfect way to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, come experience this journey to the heart of Asia.

Itinerary

  • Day Arrival in Paro

    Today you arrive in the beautiful city of Paro via the only national carrier, the Druk Air. After being received by the representative we will embark on a drive to the capital of Bhutan, Thimpu. After being transferred to the hotel, the remaining time can be utilized in resting around the premises of the hotel, or in sightseeing around the perfect location of Thimpu. Approximately 3 hours’ drive.

    • Lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Thimpu
  • Day Sightseeing around Thimpu

    Visit the Institute of ZorgChusum, the craft school in Bhutan followed by the visit to the National Library, which holds an exquisite collection of manuscripts. There are several mind-boggling locations in Thimpu to visit. Thimpu is home to the School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts. Students here undergo a six-year course to learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts in Bhutan. Visiting this site is surely set to make your minds wonder about the exquisite art created by the students here.

    Another worthy location to visit is the Takin Preserve, which is home to the national animal of this country, Takin. Takin is found only in Bhutan and is a rare member of the goat family. Takin live on grass and bamboo and are exceptional looking creatures worth visiting. Another location to visit is the Kuenselphodrang. It houses the largest Buddha statue in Bhutan. It is situated on a hillock, which overlooks down to the Thimpu valley.

    Tashicchodzong, also known as “the fortress of the glorious religion" is the center of the government and religion site.  This fortress was built of 1641 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal and was made without nails or architectural plans. End the day with the visit to the National Memorial Chorten and The Giant Buddha statue.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Thimpu
  • Day Drive from Thimpu to Punakha

    Today, we will visit the city of Punakha by embarking on a drive from Thimpu. We reach Punakha through the Dochula Pass (3088m). Punakha panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks are vividly visible from the Dochula Pass. This pass also showcases the 108 stupas built by AshiDorjiWangmoWangchuck at a distance. While in Dochula Pass, a major attraction worth visiting is the DrukWangyalLhakhang temple.

    On the way to Punakha, we also drop off at the Lobesa Village to explore the Devine Madman’s Monastery, known locally as the ChhimiLhakhang, this temple is known best for its fertility shrine, where it is believed that prayers related to fertility become true.

    After witnessing the beauty of the Lobesa village, we will reach the PunakhaDzong located on the island of the male river (Pho-Chu) and the female river (Mo-Chu). The Dzong had been damaged by catastrophic fires and an earthquake in the past but has been restored to its former glory. The highest standards of intricate woodwork can be viewed in this architecturally rich location.  We will also visit the massive Kuenray. Keunray is the Coronation Hall of Bhutanese Kings. Approximately 3 hours of drive.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Punakha
  • Day Drive from Punakha to Gangtey Valley

    This day marks the highlight of the trek as we visit the mesmerizing glacial valley of Gangtey. It is home to the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan, along with an abundance of migratory Black-necked Cranes.

    The GangteyGompa valley stands proud and tall at the altitude of 2800 meters. It is home to the only Nyigmapa monastery in Bhutan. The rare Black-necked Cranes are other added attractions of this beautiful valley, located in a strategic topography. The Valley accepts the birds which are migrating from the Tibetan plateau to escape the harsh winter, 200 to 300 black cranes are known to be residing in the valley.  The safety of the cranes and their protection is being ensured by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN). When the cranes are in the area, for 4 to 5 months during winter, locals are not allowed to fish in the valley or make noises, in order to retain the cranes in the valley. The fascinating glacier valley becomes even more exciting to visit after this information is made available to you.  Approximately 2.5 hours of trek.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Gangtey
  • Day Drive from Punakha to Gangtey Valley

    Gangtey- Punakha

    Drive through farm houses and files to Punakha, followed by a drive to the monastery Chime Lhakhang, dedicated to Lam DrukpaKunley or the divine madman. Follow it with a drive to the SimtokhaDzong.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight hotel in Punakha
  • Day Drive from Punakha to Paro

    We start the day with some sightseeing around the ChimmeLhakhang or the madman monastery in Punakha. After this, we embark on a scenic drive to Paro. Paro is home to several sightseeing locations, which can be visited depending upon the time available.

    To explore the lifestyle of a farmer, it is a good idea to visit the Farm House in the Paro valley. Another special location worth visiting is the ParoRinpungDzong. A dzong is basically a fortress. The dzong was built in the year 1645 to ward off the Tibetan invaders. The dzong currently works as a school for monks as well as an administrative center. From here, one can walk down the Rimpung Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Bhutan.

    Another important location is the Kyichu Temple, which was built by the Tibetan King SongstenGampo, along with 108 other temples in the 7th century. According to myths, a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and visit the 108 temples were created to ward her off.  The ruined fortress of the DrugyelDzong is a strategic location worth visiting too.

    Another sightseeing location is the Ta-Dzong which was housed in the National Museum on the 1960’s. There are seven floors of the museum, each signifying separate aspects of Bhutanese culture and history. Local handicraft shops, displaying exquisitely carved handicraft, is another added attraction in Paro. All the sightseeing locations are made even more cheerful by the backdrop of the beautiful Mount Chomolhari (7320m) shining down at us. Approximately 4 hours of drive.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Paro
  • Day Sightseeing around Paro

    The Taktsang Monastery, known better as the Tiger Nest Monastery, is one of the most beautiful and the most visited locations in Bhutan. The hike to the monastery is totally worthwhile as the views of the massive structure, handing on the side of a cliff, is surely not a picture to be forgotten.

    According to a myth, Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to this place, to meditate in the cave for 3 months. This monastery is considered to be a pilgrimage spot for many Bhutanese, who believe that visiting this place is absolutely essential. The monastic complex contains the Lhakhang monastery which is said to have been created back on 1692. After returning from the monastery, the remaining of the day can be spent in sightseeing around missed locations in Paro. BLD included.

     We return to Paro and visit the KyichuLhakhang, one of the oldest shrines in Bhutan. This is considered to be a sacred spot for Bhutanese and is a pilgrimage location.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Paro
  • Day Depart transfer

    After exploring the beauty of Bhutan, it is finally time to bid goodbye to this wonderful nation, with a promise to return for more.

    • Breakfast included

Trip Info

  • Accommodation & meals

    • Four or Five star hotel accommodations on room sharing basis during the trip.         
    • Full board basis during the trip.
  • Inclusions & Exclusions

    Inclusions

    • Sightseeing with an English speaking guide as per the program
    • Entrance fee
    • Bhutan visa fee.
    • First Aid Kit.
    • All Govt. taxes including service charges.

    Exclusions

    • Emergency evacuation fee
    • International airfare
    • Personal Insurance
    • Personal expenses (Alcoholic beverages, bottled drinks, telephone calls, laundry etc)
    • Any services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transportation

    All transfers will be conducted on a private vehicle.

  • Visa & documentation

    A visa is required to visit Bhutan, and Makalu Travels will organize it. The cost of the necessary visa for Bhutan is US$ 40 and entrance Fee and TDF (Tourism Development Fund) $10. To apply for a visa, you will need a clear copy of your passport. Passport is essential when applying for a visa in Bhutan before your arrival. You should make sure that the copy of the passport is received by us no later than six weeks before departure. The passport copy can be scanned or sent by post. The passport’s copy needs to be very clear and should be in color. Passport should be valid for more than six months while doing a tour. 

    If you are in need of a new passport for the trip, then this should be applied for immediately too. You can send us a copy or scanned document of the new passport. It is mandatory that the information you give us is 100% correct. The copy of the passport that you send us should be the actual one that you will use when traveling to Bhutan. Visa regulations, however, can change without notice. We hence recommend you to check the current regulations before moving forward with the visa procedures.

  • Insurance Policy

    We personally don’t recommend or advertise any particular insurance organization but we can help you figure out what kind of insurance company you should make a deal with. We kindly advise our guests that travel insurance is mandatory before any other travel and trek agreements.

    Ways of triggering your insurance:

    • There are actually two ways that your insurance fund can be triggered and brought into action. The first type is where you will have to use your own money if any injuries occurs or any medical attention is needed. Then the insurance company will pay you later when you return home and show them the documentation of insurance as proof.
    • Another type is where if any medical attention is needed and your insurance needs to be triggered the insurance company will cover all the cost up front and you won’t have to spend a single penny that is not meant for such incident.

    Personally we recommend you to pick an insurance company who are willing to pay you while you need medical attention in Nepal during the time of evacuation and other medical emergencies and not after you return from Nepal.

     

    Main conditions to look for in an insurance policy:

    General insurance only offers medical evacuation up to 4000m but we will attain maximum height of more than this, so we advise our clients to search for a company that provides medical insurance and evacuation plans up to 6000m. If you are planning to climb any peak along with trekking please make sure your policy also pays for “Climbing” as an option.

    You will need to find a policy where your insurance is activated only for the days that you are trekking. If you suffer from altitude sickness and have to be evacuated in an instant you will have to trigger your insurance. These insurance can cost up to $5000. Although these kinds of evacuations are very rare we still need to be prepared for it. So to make any insurance claim you firstly need to get a medical report from a hospital of Nepal as proof before triggering your insurance claim. You will be charged about $150 as a medical fee by the hospital to get your medical reports and documentations before claiming your travel insurance. Some insurance also cover for minor interference and obstacles like flight cancellations to Lukla or even from Kathmandu to your home.

    As mentioned before, please look for an insurance policy that pays you during the time of emergency while trekking and not after you get back to your country.

    What you need to know:

    We inform you that any kind of medical fees that your insurance does not cover will be your responsibility. So we want you to have a very good and thorough look at the insurance policy before applying for it. We do not take any kind of responsibilities for insurance related payments and fiscal managements but we will help you get required documentations and reports for the insurance.

     

    Examples of insurance companies:

    Bigcattravelinsurance.com, WorldNomads, travelguard.com, Squaremouth.com

     

    Important highlights to remember:

    1. Makalu travels do not hold any kind of insurance related financial management work but we will help you acquire important documentations needed for processing your insurance policies.
    2. Choose an insurance policy where you don’t have to pay your own money while trekking in Nepal while in need of medical attention. In other words look for a policy where your insurance company will cover all the money related process if you need any kind of medical attention.
    3. Choose policy with evacuation plan up to 6000m and with an option “climbing” if you are climbing any peak as well as trekking.
    4. Some companies like WorldNomads have a policy where clients have to pay their own money while trekking if they need any kind of medical attention and you will be payed once you return home. So please make sure you have a very good understanding of what type of insurance policy you are agreeing to.
  • Cancellation & Changes

    There are two ways to deal with modification in travel plans. First is you can cancel the trip completely and second is you can postpone the date. But for any of these change to take effect we need to be informed 6 weeks before your booked trip date before cancelling or postponing the trip.

    Important note: In case of natural disasters and national political issues our hands are tied so we cannot undertake any kind of activities which we will take full responsibility of and make sure our clients get the flexibility of making decisions to either postpone or cancel the trip they initially advocated for. There will be no extra fees or cost for rescheduling but if you decide to cancel the trip volunterily our cancellation fees apply which is listed and described below.

     

    Cancellation fees rules:

    These are our specific rules for trip cancellations and refund fees involved:

    1. If we are informed by our clients at least 43 days before the travel date then the full deposit amount will be refunded after deducting 4% bank surcharge on total deposit amount.
    2. If we are informed by our clients 6 weeks before the travel date then we can refund complete deposit by just deducting $195 per person.
    3. If cancellation is done between 4 and 6 weeks of travel date then we can refund your deposit after deducting $395 per person. This is because we will have to pay to the hotels, guides and other personals involved to make this trip possible to recover their financial plans.
    4. If we are not informed between 4 and 6 weeks of travel date there will be no refund as there are many other workers and organizations that needs to be paid by us for planning your trip. Losing you as a customer means losing their employment opportunity which will harm involved worker’s financial status.

    So, we request our respectful guests to inform us about any kind of modification plans (postpone or cancellations) at least before 43 days of travel date. This will help us to refund your designated deposit and also maintain financial status of every worker and organization involved.

  • Payments & Deposits

    Makalu Travels offers easy & reliable online payment through credit/debit card, & Paypal. All online payments are processed through the our highly secured online payment partner Authorize.net Please kinldy be informed that all online payments are subject to additional 4% bank surcharge & processing fee. 

    If you would like to avoid the 4% transaction fee then you also have an option to deposit the money into Makalu Travels' bank account in Wells Fargo Bank, USA. The bank details will be provided on request. You will receive a notice from us after a successful deposit or any kind of financial transaction. We will make sure that your transfer amount has arrived to us before sending you any type of confirmation invoice or notification.

  • Hotel & Room Bookings

    The hotel we will accommodate you to is Hotel Le Himalaya pre and post trek in Kathmandu. We will book the hotel rooms for you as per your request with a good pricing than that of online booking. We will transfer all your luggage while being transferred from one accommodation center to another. In Kathmandu we will have a very standard hotel but while trekking we won’t have such luxury so we will have to spend our nights in tea houses. These tea houses are fairly of good standard, you can’t be too picky in the Himalayas! You can contact us if there is any specific query you have about the accommodation structure.

     

    In Kathmandu

    Rooms are very spacious and have private bathrooms and toilets. You will not have to compromise even a bit while your stay at Kathmandu. Hotel Le HImalaya is where you will be before and after the trek as we will have pre booked everything for our respected guests. In case of extending your vacation in Nepal we can help you book rooms for extra nights but we will need to be pre informed. If it is a peak season it will be difficult to manage room in same hotel but we will make an utmost effort to accommodate you in the hotel of same caliber.

    Note: Our guests will not have to pay for the nights that they don’t spend in a hotel room in Kathmandu. We can always come to an agreement if there are certain flight delays or cancellations. During these kind of situations we will accommodate our guests fitting best to their requirements.

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