Wangdi to Phobjhika
After breakfast we leave for a leisurely drive to Phobjekha, the valley mostly known for being the winter roosting grounds of the legendary black neck cranes that fly in from Tibet and Siberia. The cranes will have already left the valley but it is a beautiful and authentic place with a new very comfortable hotel, a quaint village with farmhouses to visit and an ancient temple, Gangtey Gompa. The drive follows the national highway to Nobding and just before PeleLa Pass we will turn onto a “farm road” and drive another 13-km to Phobjekha, crossing over Gangtey Pass at 3140 m, (10300 ft.) before dropping into the Phobjekha Valley. There is the likelihood that we will see yaks and their herders as they work their way to lower winter pasture. The valley is a national conservation area and lies on the northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing mountain range. People sometimes refer to the entire region as Gangtey after the name of the Gangtey Gompa (temple) that is situated on a ridge overlooking the Phobjekha valley. We arrive here in late morning so we have most of the day to visit the Black Neck Crane Information Center, take the nature hike and end up at a farmhouse for lunch, and visit a small ancient temple for a special puja (ceremony) to bless our tour. All of these things are at your personal discretion, nothing is highly organized—you are the captain of your ship so go directly to the hotel if you like.
Phobjekha Nature Hike: Start below Gangtey Gompa , first part of the walk is downhill for about 30 minutes to the Khewa Chu stream that meanders through Phobjekha valley. From Khewa village the trail leads through open meadows to the Khewa Lhakhang built in 13th century by the decedents of Saint Khuenkhen Longchen Rabjampa . This temple houses about 30 young monks in a small monastery that Rainbow supports with finances for food. While at the temple we will meet the Kenpo (head lama) and attend a special puja (ceremony) to bless our tour. We can take pictures inside this temple.
Overnight: Dewachen Hotel