Luxury holidays in Gangtey

A long, lush valley bounded by the Black Mountains, Gangtey is often said to be one of Bhutan’s most beautiful areas – no small feat in the Himalayas. Known as Phobjikha by the locals, the valley is covered with meadows at its base, and flanked by dark green forest that climbs up its sides, often disappearing into low-lying clouds. The hiking, meditative views and 17th-century monastery are what attract most visitors, but there’s another, rather more rare reason to visit Gangtey in particular. Each year, a flock of endangered black-necked cranes migrate to the valley from Tibet, usually arriving around late October. The birds never fail to circle the monastery three times when they arrive and leave, an event considered important enough to be commemorated with a special festival held by the monks each year.

When to go

October to December are often considered the best months to visit, bringing clear skies and plenty sunshine. From May, things get more hot and humid; monsoons arrive from June to September, often hiding the mountains from sight. If you want to see the black-necked cranes, go between the end of October and early February.

Getting there

  • Planes

    You’ll fly into Paro, a five-hour drive from Gangtey. Most people reach it via Delhi, Calcutta, Bangkok or Singapore. The Smith24 team can arrange your flights and transfers; call anytime, day or night.
  • Automobiles

    Tourists need to pre-arrange their transport with a tour operator, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to do any of the driving yourself. Bhutan’s roads pass through soaring mountain ranges, meaning they’re often tight, winding and flanked by steep drops – best left to local drivers, we think.