Phobjikha is a broad, glacier-carved valley surrounded by pine forests. Black Mountain National Park, of which Phobjikha is a part, links up with Royal Manas National Park in southern Bhutan, creating a combined reserve that encompasses alpine, temperate, and subtropical ecosystems, and harbors a wide array of flora and fauna. Among its inhabitants are wild boar, deer, clouded and snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, red fox, and, from November through March, black-necked cranes. About 500 of these rare birds—fewer than 11,000 exist in the world—migrate from Tibet to roost here for the winter. If our timing is right, we may spot some of these gray-bodied visitors. Today we embark on a short hike to Gangtey Gompa, a 17th-century monastery overlooking the lush
Phobjikha hills and wetland. Pema Lingpa, the famous 14th century blacksmith and terton (treasure finder) from central Bhutan, chose this site for the gompa; its head lama is an incarnation of this legendary lama. Within the complex you’ll find a central monastery, meditation hall, school, monks’ quarters, and a courtyard. From the gompa we’ll hike to the surrounding villages, through forests and farmlands, basking in alpine scenery that is typical of Bhutan’s high country.
- Yo Loe Koe Guesthouse
- Hours Walk