The vast size of the Phobjikha Valley in Gangtey is a contrast to others in Bhutan, most of which are relatively small and enclosed. Phobjikha is a glacial valley and is broad and flat and has two rivers running through it, Nakay Chhu and Gay Chhu, meaning black and white water respectively. These make the area a haven for wildlife and have led to the valley being designated a conservation area.
One of the area's major attractions are the black-necked cranes. Each winter, between November and March, a flock of these rare birds flies in from the high plains of Tibet, attracted by the mild climate. The valley is also home to 13 other globally endangered species, so is a great place for nature lovers to visit. There is an information centre where you can learn about the natural and cultural history of the region and a gift shop selling locally-made handicrafts.
Gangtey Gompa or monastery sits on top of a small hill on the valley floor. It's the only Nyingmapa monastery, a form of Tibetan Buddhism, on the western side of the Black Mountains. It dates back to 1613 and is today surrounded by a large village, most of whose inhabitants are employed in the care of the monastery. Over recent years the building has been extensively restored by some of the finest craftsmen in the country and is well worth visiting.
Gangtey is a good base for local hikes. There are several nature trails in the valley which pass through villages and fragrant pine forests. Many lead to temples and monasteries which you can visit, Bird life here is prolific and you should plenty of species wherever you walk.
Time: GMT +6 hours
National carrier Druk Air flies from several locations but commonly you'll connect from Delhi (2hrs), Koltata or Kathmandu (both just over an hour). You will need to come via one of these destinations which in turn are about 12 to 15 hours from the UK depending on the routing.
Language: Dzongkha is Bhutan's national language. English is widely spoken and is used in all schools.
Visas are required and are issued from Bhutan. Tribes will arrange your visa for you through our partners in Bhutan.
There are no compulsory vaccinations.
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499