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The Thousand lakes Trek
This is a five day trek near Thimphu that takes you through many beautiful high altitude lakes, hence, popularly called the thousand lakes trek. Most trekking days are short and easy except for a few steep climbs. The picturesque view of the mountains can be captured best in spring and fall before and after the rainy season.
The recommended times for this trek are April, September, October
It’s 29km drive from Thimphu to the junction of a rough, unpaved road leading to the starting point. If you are in a 4WD vehicle, you can drive 1.5km up a rough road to a BHU at Khoma (2850m), otherwise you can walk, making a gradual climb on the rough road. Villagers in this region collect and sell matsutake and chanterelle mushrooms.
Day 1: Khoma to Geynekha (14km, 4 hours)
Start walking along the road, which soon becomes a trail across terraced paddy fields and through coniferous forest, to the settlement of Geynikha (2950m). The route then descends to a chorten that marks a camping place alongside a stream at 2800m.
Day 2: Geynikha to Gur (5km, 4 hours)
Crossing a suspension bridge, the trailheads west for a while, then climbs steeply towards the south to a rock platform and a crest at 3200m. A further walk of about two hours leads to a camp in a forest clearing at 3350m.
Day 3: Gur to Labatamba (12km, 5 hours)
A long stiff climb leads up the ridge and across meadows to pass at 4240m for a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range. This is now yak country. You will pass several herders camps en route to the foot of the broad Labatamba valley at 4050m. Climb beside a stream to a camp at 4300m near Utsho Lake, where plenty of golden trout flourish. The high altitude area near the lake is a mass of wild alpine flowers in September.
You should schedule an extra day here to walk to the numerous lakes in the vicinity and perhaps do some trout fishing.
Day 4: Labatamba to Panka (8km, 4 hours)
There are two possible routes and the pack animals will take the lower one. The trekking route is not well marked, and is more of a cross-country traverse. It climbs along the western side of the lake to a saddle at 4500m, where there are good mountain views. If you want a better view, you could scramble to the top of a 4700m peak to the east. From the pass there is a steep descent to another lake at 4350m. A short distance beyond the lake you rejoin the trail and follow it through meadows out of the valley to Panka at 4000m. Because there is water problem here during spring, it may be necessary to continue to an alternate camp 30 minutes beyond.
Day 5: Panka to Talakha (8km, 4 hours)
The route leads north crossing a pass at 4000m, then climbs along the side of a ridge to a crest at 4270m. From here there is a view of the Dagala range and a view of Thimphu, far to the north. It is then a long descent through forests to the goemba and village of Talakha (3080m).
Day 5: Talakha to Simtokha (3km, 3 hours)
You can arrange to have vehicles pick you up at Talakha or you can walk downhill on a steep, eroded trail to Simtokha. The trail descends steeply through mixed forest of rhododendron and bamboo, finally dropping through a maze of apple orchards to the roadhead above Simtokha Dzong.