Located in a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, lies Gangtey, one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The wide, flat valley offers stunning panoramic views, and is home to the endangered Black-necked Cranes - Bhutan’s ‘heavenly birds’.
At an altitude of 2,900m, Phobjikha Valley (or Gangtey Valley) lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park with two beautiful meandering rivers flowing through it – Nakay Chhu and Gay Chhu – which according to local legend represent a snake and boar. As one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, it differs from others by being unusually flat and wide, making it the largest and most significant wetland in the country.
The Black Mountains National Park (Jigme Singye Wangch) is the third largest park in the country, home to an amazing 450 species of birds and other key species which include the Golden Langur, Red Panda and Tiger. The valley is best known for the flocks of endangered black-necked cranes that descend on the valley each winter as they migrate from Tibet and the region has been officially declared as a conservation area to protect this rare species. Referred to as ‘heavenly birds’, the black-necked cranes are deeply embedded in Bhutanese culture and traditions.
Perched on top of a small hill, overlooking the valley of Phobjikha, lies the Gangtey Goempa. This is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains as well as being the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in the whole of Bhutan. Dating back to the mid-17th century, the monastery is still surrounded by a large village of families, inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gochems who take care of the monastery.