Phobjikha valley (3000m) is also often known as Gangtey which is a vast U-shaped valley housing a 17th century monastery that perches on a hillock rising from the flat valley floor. It is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by families of 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 of 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. The broad valley with its best-known marshland in Bhutan, is popular for its scenic splendour and cultural uniqueness. The valley is rich in faunal biodiversity having apart from the globally threatened black-necked cranes Grus nigricollis, 13 other globally threatened species.
Gangtey Goempa – Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’s Gangtey valley, Bhutan and also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan.
There’s a festival (usually in November) dedicated to the birds, while an information centre on the edge of forest and wetland has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of black necked cranes. Whole of this conservation area is a beautiful place for walking and simply enjoying nature.