The multi-award winning Gangtey Lodge Bhutan offers every comfort and luxury in one of the most remote places in the world. Our 12 suite luxury lodge, discretely positioned near a cluster of farmhouses, is perched above the spectacular Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley.
Its remote location and stunning design in the heart of Bhutan, allows one to take a step back in time, away from the stresses and distractions of modern day life.
The 4th of the 5 valleys that make the Bhutan journey, Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley is a protected reserve for the black necked cranes, remaining untouched from the outside world. A journey into the rich culture, mystique and history of Bhutan awaits you.
Gangtey Lodge, with its spectacular setting and sweeping views over the valley, acts as a luxurious base and jumping off point for a series of half and full day adventures and excursions.
During October one of the world’s rarest migratory birds – the Black-necked Crane – arrives from Tibet, before flying out again in March. Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley is one of the best places in the world to view these amazing birds, with over 10% of the world’s population spending the winter months here.
They say that ‘Happiness is a place, and it is called Bhutan’.
At Gangtey Lodge we embrace Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness by pursuing a harmonious balance between respecting nature and promoting cultural preservation and sustainable development.
Our personal philosophy is to create luxury escapes and amazing experiences that enable travellers to connect physically, spiritually, and emotionally with their surroundings. Our belief is that travel should not only be meaningful but should also impact positively on the people and places that we visit.
We are dedicated to empowering and creating opportunities for the local community through training and employment and respecting the environment through our low impact design and green operational practices.
We invite you to reconnect with nature and hike the numerous trails through the valley, find spiritual enrichment through our experiences with the 17th Century Gangtey Monastery, and explore the rich culture of the local community, unchanged for centuries.
Most importantly, our Gangtey Lodge Family look forward to creating lifelong memories by reconnecting you with yourself and your loved ones.
The ancient Kingdom of Bhutan to this day remains one of the world’s most mysterious and undiscovered destinations.
The ancient Kingdom of Bhutan is known to the Bhutanese as ‘Druk Yul’, translated as ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. It is a country where spirits and myths are an accepted part of daily life and where the Gross National Happiness of it’s people is used as an official measure of development by the government.
Bhutan opened it’s borders to tourists in 1974, when the Government realised the opportunity to raise revenue and promote the country’s unique culture and traditions to the outside world.
Despite now being open, a close watch is kept on the impact that tourists are having on Bhutan’s unique ecosystem – its virtually unspoiled landscape and culture. For this reason, tourism still has some restrictions unlike many other destinations in the world.
Therefore all tourists (groups or individuals) must travel on a planned, prepaid, guided package tour or custom designed travel program. Most foreigners cannot travel independently in the Kingdom.
All arrangements must be made through an officially approved tour operator, either directly or through an overseas agent, including all guests to Gangtey Lodge Bhutan.
The Phobjikha (Gangtey) Valley is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan where dense forests are augmented by an impression of vast space.
A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha. This place is the winter home of Black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north to pass winter in a milder climate.
Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangduephodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water).
The best time to travel to Bhutan
Each season brings with it a unique and beautiful experience. Here is a guide of what to expect year-round:
March – May, September – November
The weather is ideal in spring and autumn. Temperatures range from 20 – 25 degrees centigrade during the day and drop to around 10 degrees at night.
Book flights and accommodation well in advance for this period as travel numbers are limited. Himalayan views are best from October through to December, while rhododendrons are in full bloom in March and April.
December – February
Bhutan has seasonal tariffs so there will be fewer tourists travelling outside the main season. The weather is very pleasant, though it can be a little cold for some people in December and January.
Average temperatures range from 14-16 degrees centigrade during the day, and 0 to -5 degrees at night time. For Phobjikha Valley this is a beautiful time to visit as the Black-necked Cranes are a unique attraction during this time.
June – August
This period is warmer and traditionally Bhutan’s rainy season. However, in recent times this period has become much drier, and even though you will likely experience a heavy downpour at times, it rarely dampens your experience in Phobjikha Valley.
We can easily arrange your itinerary around the forecast. During this period, high-altitude flowers are at their peak and the valleys are lush and green.
Beautifully designed accommodation for two, offering a luxurious, peaceful and comforting experience. After a day of adventure and discovery in Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley, return to your private oasis – with warm fabrics and earthen tones in true Bhutanese style.
Unwind by the cosy fireplace and soak in our deep baths looking out over the valley below. Guests have a choice of The Gangtey Double with a large King bed, or the Gangtey Twin with two king sized singles, with soft lighting and natural linens.
The suite has underfloor heating, a private bathroom and a spacious living area. Interiors reflect the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in our standard full board packages.
Complimentary WiFi, laundry service and a selection of in-house activities (meditation, archery & darts, mountain biking) are just a small part of the outstanding service we offer to you when you choose to stay with us.
Experience the mystery and adventure of Gangtey Valley with one of our luxurious and awe-inspiring accommodation packages. Most visitors who travel throughout Bhutan spend only a couple of days in each location, and too much time in their vehicles.
We believe that Bhutan is best enjoyed at a more gentle pace, where less is more, and opportunities for more meaningful experiences can be enjoyed.
With that in mind, we encourage all travellers to Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley to consider a minimum of three days, to truly immerse yourself in the experience of Bhutanese culture and the many excursions that are available during your stay.
We have put together an outline of our most recommended experiences that we can offer in Gangtey Valley.
Gangtey 360 Hike & Picnic
From the drop off you will set off on a 30-40 minute hike up towards the meditation cliff at 3,400 m. The hike takes you up a sloping pathway, through towering bushes of jade-hued bamboo and pockets of dense natural forest.
During the spring months, the woodlands on either side of the valley look particularly stunning, with an array of coloured rhododendrons. In the winter months, the views from the top offer up the snow-capped Himalayas to the north.
When you reach the top you are rewarded with unobstructed 360° views of the Gangtey Valley as far as the eye can see and the Himalayan peaks which form Bhutan’s northern border.
Walk along the ridge line to see the secluded meditation huts before enjoying a breakfast or lunch with spectacular views. Afterwards head down the ridge towards the Shedra (monk college) arriving back at the lodge approx. 1 hour later.
Private Wood Fire BBQ lunch at Khewa Lhakang
The temple of Khewa Lhakang is the venue for an outdoor BBQ experience. After walking part of the Gangtey nature trek, through fragrant pine tree forests and open meadows, you will arrive at Khewa Lhakang, an old monastery in the valley built in the 13th century.
You may participate in a short prayer and butter lamp lighting. Your private chefs and staff will be waiting with a traditional wood fire BBQ in the middle of the valley.
Enjoy reconnecting with nature, watching the beautiful Black-necked Cranes during the cooler season and exploring the flora and fauna of the valley. If the weather turns or is too cold, we can move the lunch to inside the temple.
Traditional Farmhouse visit
This experience is a particularly fun and spontaneous way to connect with the local community and learn about their culture. Guests will be able to interact with the family members and experience a typical day with them.
Breakfast and Blessing at Gangtey Monastery
The prayer lasts approximately 30 minutes, during which guests participate in the lighting of butter candles.
At the end of the prayer, guests will receive a personal blessing from the Tulku (a reincarnated Master) and an exclusive tour of the Monastery. Afterwards guests will be able to enjoy an exceptional private breakfast or lunch experience within the monastery.
Hot Stone Bath
Hot Stone Baths are an ancient Bhutanese tradition and are a popular form of medicinal practice. The bath itself is made of local pine wood and the rocks that are used to heat the water are large river boulders.
It is believed that the heat from the water, the minerals released from the rock and the local herbs all combine to produce medicinal benefits for joint pains, stomach disorders, arthritis, hypertension and many other minor ailments.
The addition of local aromatic herbs in the water further enhances the healing. The herbs are collected from the surrounding Bhutanese forests. The minerals in the rocks and the fresh spring water contain chemicals that are believed to release curative powers.
The treatment starts with a foot scrub for a gentle exfoliation, followed by a luxurious de-stress massage, combining techniques from Thailand, India and Hawaii, using warm aromatic oils.
Your muscles are continuously massaged along with gentle stretching, which encourages you to relax and assists in toxin removal from the body.
Relieving physical and mental stress transmitted in daily life, this therapy offers renewed energy and encourages repair and renewal to all systems of the body. Finally the treatment ends with the Traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath.
Soaking in our deep English rolltop bathtubs helps to replenish the skin with rich minerals that nourish and care naturally. Special treats complimenting the bath experience are served, allowing you to drift away while taking in the splendid views of the valley. We offer 3 bath experiences in-suite: Herbal, Relax & Refresh.
In order to provide you with a range of holistic treatments, we offer 9 different treatments that our professional team provide in the comfort of your own Farmhouse Suite. It is strongly advised to make bookings in advance for peak season.
It is a common belief that every place has its local protective deity or spirit and the fumigation occurs to keep the spirit happy. The ritual is also used to self-cleanse all the bad spirits surrounding us and to be blessed with good luck.
Spiritual cleansing involves the burning of selected herbs. This normally takes place in the early morning hours and is in the presence of a senior monk from the Shedra.
Prayer Flag Hoisting
Prayer flags are hoisted for happiness, long life, prosperity, luck and merit and to offer karmic merit to all sentient beings. Prayer flags are raised outside homes, hung on hilltops, bridges and places of spiritual importance.
Hoisting a prayer flag is considered to bring in good luck and merit to all sentient beings. Gangtey Lodge has an area behind the local Shedra where the ceremony is performed.
Butter Lamp Ceremony
Lighting butter lamps represents relief from suffering and provides you with a guiding light to find enlightenment. A senior monk teacher at Gangtey Goenpa (monastery) will be happy to lead this significant ritual for you personally.
Morning & Evening Prayers at the Shedra
The Shedra is home to approximately 250 monk students ranging in age from 12 – 40 years old. Mainly Buddhist religious studies as well as basic English courses are taught. The monk students are also responsible for the day-to-day housekeeping tasks such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.
The Morning Prayer takes place every morning from 05:15-06:15 (except Sundays). The day starts very early at 05:00, in preparation for the morning prayers; these prayers are referred to as the Tara Ceremony.
Prayers are offered in the early morning as the Buddhists consider the body and mind to be most pure at this time of day. After the prayer session, you are invited to accompany one of the monk teachers in their morning rounds.
This will offer you the opportunity to converse with the teacher while the monk novices are getting ready for their studies. The Evening Prayer takes place every evening from 18:30-19:15. After the prayer session the monks have free time before retiring to the rooms.
It is possible to combine the 17:30 meditation class with the evening prayer. After the prayer session, you are invited to discuss any topics you wish with the monks.
Buddhism Meditation Class
Shedra is an institute where the monks learn the Buddhist philosophy, poetry, logic, meditation and debate.
In addition to the regular academic practice and classes for monks, Shedra provides a meditation class for our guests, mainly on Compassion and Shamata (tranquility and calm abiding meditation) by highly qualified teachers with an English, French or Hindi translator.
This meditation practice will help you overcome all stresses, develop a peaceful mind and to generate kindness. Prior to the class there will be time for a discussion with the instructor on meditation or any other aspect of Buddhism.
Archery and Darts
We have several traditional bows and sets of darts available in case you are inclined to challenge any of the team. There are some very accomplished archers within our family members, who are happy to teach you the basics.
An evening with Black-Necked Cranes Centre Staff
Black-necked Cranes are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau and migrate to lower altitudes, such as Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley, in autumn and winter, usually from the end of October – February / March.
The Black-necked Crane centre performs invaluable work in ensuring the protection of their roosting areas, educating the locals and tourists of the importance of the cranes to the valley and in providing care and shelter for an injured Black-necked Crane called “Karma”.
If you would like to learn more about the Black-necked Crane and the work the centre do on a daily basis, we will happily invite the staff up for evening drinks and further discussion.
We offer a variety of guided or unguided hikes, which range from a more leisurely 1 hours walk to a more strenuous full days hike up to altitudes of 3,600m. We will be happy to suggest a trail or route that may best suit your liking and fitness level.
Our Trek mountain bikes are available at any time for your use. Options range from leisurely cruises down the valley combined with a short trek back up to the lodge to more strenuous climbs up to the top of Lawa Pass. We will be happy to suggest a trail or route that may best suit your liking and fitness level.