One would be hard-pressed to find a better escape in the world than the Gangtey Lodge in Bhutan. Set in Phobjikha, the lodge resembles a traditional farmhouse, but it is a luxurious oasis perfect for exploring the remote valley and local Buddhist shrines. The Phobjikha Valley, or Gangtey, holds a sacred allure for the Bhutanese.
The valley is rich in spirituality and the winter home of the sacred black-neck cranes. It makes it a worthy destination on any traveler’s tour of Bhutan. The few serene mornings we spent along the lodge’s terrace were some of our favorite moments from our trip, and there was no shortage of beautiful moments. Any traveler who adds Gangtey to the trip will find it enriching.
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The 12-room lodge, built from local blue pine timber and stone, feels right at home in the local villages. This idyllic village rests upon the western slopes of the awe-inspiring Black Mountains, embraced by the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Gangtey’s allure lies in its untouched essence, a place seemingly unaffected by the external world.
Renowned for wildlife conservation, it hosts the majestic black-necked cranes during winter alongside muntjaks, wild boars, tigers, sambars, Himalayan black bears, clouded leopards, and red foxes in the neighboring hills. Gangtey unfolds a seemingly boundless valley floor adorned with traditional farms and occasional yaks.
The enchanting Gangtey Lodge, under the ownership of Brett and Omar Melzer, known for their ‘Balloons over Bagan’ venture in Myanmar, offers unparalleled vistas unmatched by any other lodge or guest house in the valley.
Exceptional Service and Facilities
Finding fault with Gangtey Lodge seems like a challenging task. The service excels, and the staff exudes warmth and professionalism, yet the profound sense of belonging elevates it as our cherished haven in this enchanting land.
Adorned with elegant local textiles, exposed wooden beams, and rustic stonework, Gangtey seamlessly merges comfort, luxury, and the essence of Bhutanese homeliness. The lodge’s heart and living room invite reflection after a day traversing this picturesque valley.
During those chilling nights, all 12 suites embrace underfloor heating. Each room boasts a spacious living area and a standalone bathtub, offering unforgettable valley vistas. Rooms here are the perfect place to disconnect and recharge. Every corner inside echoes Bhutan’s cultural heritage, honoring its richness and legacy.
Local Village And Sites
The quiet sites and rural life around the lodge beck to be explored. Most notable is the historic Gangtey Monastery, which was the seat of Pema Lingpa, the second most crucial figure in Nyingma Buddhism behind Guru Rinpoche. It also houses one of the country’s most notable schools for monks, and you’ll often see them venturing from their primary living quarters above the lodge down to the monastery that sits below.
We were fortunate enough to attend the local festival for one of the most fascinating days of our trip to Bhutan. It felt like the whole valley was in attendance for the festival, and we were two of maybe a dozen tourists visiting. Gangtey Lodge can even provide guests with tradtional Bhutanese, which we were more than happy to wear for the festive occasion.
Attention to detail is evident at the lodge, and that includes the food. Intimate dining tables grace the central area, offering a delightful array of Western, Bhutanese, and Asian cuisines, all organic and delectable. We enjoyed each and every meal here. It’s clear that the lodge focuses on healing guests through experience and food.
No Shortage Of Activities Or Ways To Unwind
Gangtey beckons explorers with trails catering to both leisurely strollers and seasoned trekkers. Mountain bikes at the lodge invite guests to explore on two wheels, whether for an easy village ride or an adventure amid the mountains. We took the bikes to a local viewpoint to stretch our legs after a long car journey to the valley. It was a fascinating journey across the landscape, giving us another way to take in the scenery and locals.
While the local trails and bike rides are great ways to get your heart rate up, the more notable experiences focus on stillness. One evening, we made a short trek to the local monastery to take a meditation class with a monk. It was an enlightening experience that finished with monks’ evening prayers drifting across the valley. After recharging our minds, we finished the evening with a hot-stone bath and massage in our room.
No stay at Gangtey Lodge is complete without indulging in a private, fire-roasted stone bath infused with Artemisia leaves. The tradition of hot stone baths in Bhutan dates back over a millennia, and the medicinal baths are the perfect way to recharge. We happily sank into its warmth and soaked away our traveler’s fatigue.
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
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