Gangtey (Phobjikha)

The Phobjikha valley (3000m) is also often simply known as Gangtey after the 17th century monastery that perches on a hillock rising from the flat valley floor. It is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the monastery. It's hardly touched by modernernisation - electricity only reached here a couple of years ago.

Phobjikha  is one the kingdom’s few glacial valleys and unusually wide and flat compared to others in Bhutan and is located on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. As well as the monastery and two beautiful meandering rivers, Phobjikha is best known for the rare black necked cranes that migrate here from the Tibetan Plateau to avoid the extremely cold winters. These elegant birds can be seen from the end of October to March when they circle the monastry on their way back home. There's a festival (usually in November) dedicated to the birds too, while an information centre on the edge of the forest and wetland has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The whole of this conservation area is a beautiful place for walking and simply enjoying nature.

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