Make sure to pack your walking boots for any visit to Gangtey: the whole region is criss-crossed with well-maintained hiking trails, varying in difficulty but all offering spectacular views as guaranteed. After travelling through the dense forests of the surrounding regions, you will reach the vast open space of the flat Gangtey Valley with the dramatic Black Mountains as a stunning backdrop. At 9,800ft above sea level, the surrounding Phobjikha Valley is also one of the country's few glacial regions. The valley is also home to the families of the 140 gomchens - Vajrayana Buddhist priests - who
maintain the impressive hilltop Gangtey Monastery, which is over 450 years old and a key base for the Nyingmapa School of Buddhism. From late October to mid-February the valley also hosts flocks of incredibly rare black-necked cranes, who come to escape the harsh winters of the Tibetan Plateau. Spotting these majestic cranes flying above you while hiking in the silent surrounds of the Himalayas is an incredibly magical experience that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
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