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Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

3.8 /5 15 votes

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Best Time: October - December Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

"The Valley Of Black-Necked Cranes"

Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey) Tourism

Against the backdrop of western slopes of the Black Mountains in Wangdue Phodrang, lies the bowl-shaped Phobjikha valley that offers breathtaking views of vast expanses of green fields. It is home to the endangered black-necked crane that migrates to this area during winters. Phobjikha valley also called Gangtey, is one of the few glacial valleys in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, the valley is located at an altitude of 3000m above sea level, and hence comparatively cooler. It boasts being the winter home to black-necked cranes that fly from Tibet to escape the harsh winter and also one of the most prominent conservative sites of Bhutan. Relatively untouched by outsiders, the use of electricity in the valley began only a few years ago.

Apart from a few cultural trips to Lhakhangs and Goembas, Phobjikha valley houses quite a lot of trekking and hiking trails with the most beautiful views of the landscape. There are also a few villages one could visit and observe the rural life thereof. One could take home the intricately designed handwoven carpets from the famous factory in Gangtey or handicrafts from the village shops. It's a paradise for bird watchers and trekkers, even better if you're a nature photography enthusiast. 

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Winter home of the Black Necked Crane

The Phobjikha Valley is where the endangered Black Necked Cranes migrate to in winter from their breeding ground in the Tibetan Plateau. This valley plays host to the largest number of cranes in the country and is a designated conservation site for them. The Jigme Dorji National Park adjoining the valley also includes a site for their conservation. These cranes arrive late in October and stay on till mid-February. It is also said that the cranes circle the Gangtey Monastery three times when they arrive and three times when they leave. There is a festival celebrating their arrival held in the Monastery in which little children dress up as the cranes to welcome them. At this time there are many cranes seen flying at high altitudes over the mountains.The Black Necked Crane Information Center set up by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) has an observation room with high-power telescopes to enable a good view and also has information on display about not just the endangered birds but also about the history of the region.

Conservation alongside development

Electricity was introduced only as recent as 2011. A lot of homes also depend upon solar energy. The Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) wanted to ensure that the basic needs of the citizens should not be compromised for conservation and neither should there be great damage to the environment. There were awareness camps held for the locals to promote a programme of sustainable development involving the local community's role to achieve a harmonious balance of achieving economic progress of the region alongside a healthy habitat for the cranes.The power lines and cables are kept underground so as to not impede the flying routes of the cranes and also to maintain the visual appeal of the valley.

Nightlife in Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

An active nightlife culture is not present in Phobjikha Valley.

Shopping in Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

One could purchase beautiful carpets with intricate designs from the Wangmo Hand-Weaved Carpet Factory owned by Dorji Wangmo which is located right beside the Yue Loki Guest House in Gangtey. The Black Necked Crane Information Centre has a small gift shop which sells handicrafts produced by the local people. On the hike to Beta Village also one could come across some handicraft shops.

Religion of Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

Some villagers practice the old animistic religion (Bon religion). Buddhism is also practiced in the region.

Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey) Customs

People mostly follow and practice Buddhist customs and traditions. But there exist traces of certain ancient customs relating to Bon religion.

Language of Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

A dialect called Henka is spoken in the region. English is not widely understood.

Restaurants and Local Food in Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

Bhutanese delicacies like Ema Datshi and Khewa Datshi are widely available. Beverages include Butter tea and the local liquor Ara. Some shops near Gangtey Goemba sell tea, wai wai, eggs and fruits and that is what one could expect to find along the way. Shops inside villages might offer some local dishes like momos and pork/beef pieces cooked with chillies and spices.

Read more about Traditional Bhutanese Dishes

View Top Restaurants in Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey) Photos

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Ample scope for walking and hiking with great landscape

What's Not So Great?

Chances of power cuts occuring

How To Reach Phobjikha Valley (Gangtey)

Taking a cab/taxi is probably the best way to reach Phobjikha Valley. However one also has the following options:

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