The Dagala Trek is a route that stands out for a few reasons. It is an off-the-beaten-track, so you will enjoy the solitude of the surroundings. It is close to Thimphu, so it’s easy to get there. It passes through small villages, so it’s an interesting cultural experience. It has stunning views of the Himalayan peaks and, although not a thousand, it has some beautiful glacial lakes.
5 days trek (6 days also recommended)
Highest altitude 4520m
Highest overnight altitude 4300m
Local guide English-speaking
Accommodation and meals in camping during the trek
Transfers in private vehicle
From February to May and from September to December. It can easily snowfall from December to February
Located south of Thimphu, this trek is quite solitary and not very crowded. It is an easy but physically demanding trek. It runs through an area where yaks usually graze, in the middle of a high mountain landscape at an altitude of 4000 metres, where we will find a good number of high mountain lakes, although of course there are not a thousand of them. Most of the lakes are in the Labatamba area at the end of the second day, and it is highly recommended to add an extra day to explore the surrounding area.
The first part, gaining altitude, is more alpine, wilder and also more demanding, especially on the second day when you gain about 1000m in altitude. The second part, already downhill, is more humanised, with shepherds’ huts and some small villages and monasteries.
Most of Bhutan is stunning, virtually untouched natural scenery. Permanent white peaks, yak pastures, occasional isolated and traditional villages, wildlife and unique flora. There are durations and landscapes to suit all tastes, from treks in the remote wilderness of the mountains to hikes that take you closer to a more cultural side, through villages and monasteries. Most of the routes can be done in both directions, so it is also possible to do partial round trips.
Overnight stays for most of the treks are in campsites, and yaks or mules are responsible for carrying your equipment and all the stuff for the trek, so, in a way, the old spirit of the pioneer treks is maintained, bridging distances of course. Bear in mind that there is little chance of charging the batteries of your cameras and other electronic devices, so it is advisable to carry spare batteries and perhaps a small solar charger.
Although we are still talking about a very unspoilt, lonely and wild territory, the rough-roads slowly advance following the valleys that enter the mountains to connect isolated villages, where services are very basic and difficult to reach. This naturally affects the route of the treks, especially during the first and last days, and is reducing the days of some itineraries.
Druk-Yul is what the Druk-pa, the people of the ‘land of the thunder dragon’, call Bhutan. It was one of the most isolated countries in the world until tourism was allowed in the 1970s, but there are still restricted areas of the country. This has preserved its traditions and culture from Western influence, while it has become the main attraction for tourists. And Bhutan has been able to capitalise on this with good tourist organisation and fares not suitable for all budgets.
With a very sparse population of about 700,000, Bhutan became famous for its GNH, the Gross National Happiness Index, as opposed to GDP, a concept they developed in the 1970s and included in the constitution.
Lush forests and high Himalayan peaks to the north define a majestic landscape, barely disturbed by the few existing roads, friendly and peaceful people greet the traveller embarking on the way through the so-called last Shangri-la on earth.
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