A man and 11 horses in the mountains
The point is that if you love horses and nature, you can walk across the beautiful mountains and villages around the mountains for the whole day.
Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of ways. Dawa Dendup, 49, from Lingzhi has been working for LayaLingzhi trekkers with his 11 horses for seven long years.
Laya-Lingzhi trek is an ideal destination for the visitors to Bhutan. Each visitor is sure to find the perfect way to discover Laya and Lingzhi, two of Bhutan’s most beautiful highland communities.
Working with horses means one’s life revolves around nature, eating and sleeping in the open, all the while enjoying abundant space and comfort of nature.
Although Dawa doesn’t have horses of his own, he earns his living by driving other’s horses for tourists. When there are more loads, he helps the horse owner earn an average of Nu.70,000 to 80,000 in a month. However, he is paid only Nu.200 a day.
But he doesn’t always have to settle with his Nu.200 a day. He gets tips from tourists. “I get tips as high as Nu.3,000 and as low as Nu.500,” he said. That takes his monthly salary of Nu 6,000 a little higher.
Sometimes, he treks with tourists from Paro to Lingzhi, which takes five days, and from there to Laya.
The owner of his horses works with Etho Metho tours and treks in Thimphu. A horse is paid Nu. 400 a horse double the amount he gets.
Dawa is a father of two who lost their mother this year. His small sal- ary is, however, enough to meet the expenses of his Class IX daughter and Class VII son who study in Drukgyel Lower Secondary School in Paro.
He says trekking for days on end with his horses is the only freedom he has in his life. But this freedom, he says, is higher than any experience of freedom. His 11 horses are free to roam only when there are no loads of tourists. “They mingle with each other freely day and night when they are free,” Dawa said.
Going on guided treks with horses with varied abilities is really an awesome experience, he says. Working with horses is so amazing to for horses are friendly animals. “The entire experience keeps me amazed,” he said.
Dawa feeds his horses feeds from Karma Feed, water, and all the nutrition they need for long treks. Horses are best suited for the hills and mountains that surround the highland villages. “My horses are beautiful and fit, strong, intelligent and they keep surprising me with their surefootedness,” he says.
The villages are an original way in which to discover a number of major tourist sites throughout the trail. The trail rises from the river basin to the hilltops.
Dawa not only loads and unloads horses but helps trekkers discover and locate newer places. He visits new locations in the village of Lingzhi.
Walking alone with the horses for days is, however, not without challenges to him. Overtime, his confidence has improved. And his spirit is also constantly kept high by tourists who enjoy the punishing trek.
Laya-Lingzhi trek is very popular and completing it is always seen as a personal achievement by all visitors.
Laya is officially five days of trek to Lingzhi. But he takes only three days to reach Lingzhi.