Summary

laya-gasa trekThe Laya Gasa Trek is among one of the most fascinating treks in Bhutan. Considered only second to the Snow Man Trek, it offers a wonderful experience of Bhutan’s Himalayan fauna and flora, mountain ecology, and wildlife. The first part of the trek till Lingshi follows the same route as Jomolari Trek . Along the way, you will be treated to the spectacular views of Mount Jomolhari, Jyichu Drakey, Gangchhenta. If you are fortunate, you will also sight herds of blue sheep and takin. The trek passes through some of the beautiful highland villages of Bhutan where you can experience the unique culture of the Layaps and their way of life. Finally, you will be able to enjoy a day of rest dipping in the hot springs of Gasa.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Paro

Our local tour executive will receive you at the Paro International Airport and take you to the hotel. After freshening up, you will be take a tour of Paro town which includes visit to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and Kycihu Lhakang.

Day 2: Tiger’s Nest hike

Today, you will hike to Taktshang or Tiger’s Nest, an uphill walk of about three hours. This hike is basically done to accustom trekkers to the mountain altitude of the Himalayas. The Tiger Nest, precariously perched on a 1,000 ft, will offer a spectacular view of Paro valley. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the kingdom. Needless to mention, the place is of great religious significance. Guru Padmasambhava, the great Buddhist master flew at the back of a Tigress to meditate here at Taktsang in order to subdue the evil spirits residing in place. He introduced Buddhism in Bhutan.

Day 3: Drukgyal Dzong/Shana

Distance: 17km
Time: 4-5 hours
Camp altitude: 2,850m

The trek begins from the Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) road point. It is a gentle climb along the Paro Chhu. The trail passes through green meadows, paddy fields and traditional Bhutanese farm houses. After about four hours of trekking, you will reach the army outpost at Gunitsawa village where your guide will provide permits. You will have to walk to the other side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa, to the campsite.

Day 4: Shana/Soi Thangthangkha

Distance: 22km
Time: 7-8 hours
Camp altitude: 3,610m

This is a long trek that involves walking uphill and downhill at short intervals. After climbing uphill through the river valley, you will enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley narrows down to a single path that descends to a meadow. The camp will be set up here. This is a right spot for the camp as you will be able to see Mount Jomolhari on a clear day.

laya-gasa trekDay 5: Soi Thangthangkha/Jangothang

Distance: 19km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 4,080m

You resume the trek early in the morning. The trail continues uphill across alpine meadow and stunted vegetation. Along the trail, you will be able to view Mount Jomolhari. On the way, you will come across an army outpost, yak herders homes, and enjoy the view of beautiful snow clad mountain peaks and ridges. The trail passes through the highland villages of Soe, Takethang and Dangochang. Here you will be able to experience the typical lifestyle and culture of highlanders. You will continue till Jangothang, the campsite at the base of the majestic Mount Jhomolhari, the abode of the protective deity, Jomo.

Day 6: Rest day at Jangothang

The day will be spent at Jangothang. Short hikes offer the opportunity to see lakes and various other mountain peaks like Mount Jomolhari and Jyichu Drakey. There are also possibilities of sighting the blue sheep. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and it’s subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jyichu Drakey to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

Day 7: Jangothang/Lingshi

Distance: 18km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,010m

After the day’s halt, you will resume the trek. The trail from the camp ascends through a steep ridge for about half an hour. After that, it is a gradual downhill walk to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. From here, you will be able to view Mount Jomolhari, Mount Jyichu Drakey and Tsherimgang, all above 7,000m. Along the trail, you may sight herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes. The downhill trek will take you to Lingshi basin. Along this trail you will come across yak, yak herders and their homes. You will also see Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. You will halt at the campsite before you reach the Dzong.

Day 8: Lingshi/Chebisa

Distance: 10km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 3,880m

It is going to be an easy day of walking. So relax. Shortly after reaching the Chorten below Lingshi Dzong, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking the diversion that leads to Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a ridge. The Dzong offers a serene view of the valley. As you continue the trek, you will pass through the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. At campsite in Chebisa at the backdrop of the village and beautiful waterfall, you can get time to visit the village and interact with different communities.

laya-gasa trekDay 9: Chebisa/Shomuthang

Distance: 17km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,220m

The trail goes through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La pass at 4,410m. After crossing the pass, you will descend to the valley, from where you will again climb a little after which the trail descends to Shakshepasa (3,980m) where a helipad is built. You will then climb till the campsite at Shomuthang located above a river, a tributary of the Nochu river.

Day 10: Shomuthang/Robluthang

Distance: 18km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,160m

You will start early as the going is quite tough along this trail. You will climb up the valley and after about two hours, you will reach Jhari La at 4,750m. From here, you will be able to see Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. You will also see Mount Gangchhenta (6,840 m) also known as the Great Tiger Mountain. On a clear day, you will be able to see Tserimgang and the peak of Mount Jumolhari. You will walk down to Tsheri Jathang. This valley is the summer habitat of Takin and rightly declared as the Takin sanctuary. From here you will climb uphill to reach the campsite at Robluthang.

Day 11: Robluthang/Lmithang

Distance: 19km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,140m

After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) – the highest pass on the route, you will head towards Laya. On the way you will come across Laya women clad in their traditional attire weaving. From here you can catch the view of a glacial lake at the foot of the valley and a terminal moraine. The descent will continue, and after crossing Kango Chhu reach Limithang campsite. From the camp, the peak of Gangchhenta is visible.

Day 12: Lemithang/Laya

Distance 10km
Time: 4-5 hours
Camp altitude: 3,840m

The trail continues to descend, along a narrow river valley and leads to a dense forest. It moves on the west side of Laya village from where you can view Gangchhenta and Masagang. The campsite is below the school in Laya.

Day 13: Rest day at Laya

You will take the day off and rest in Laya. You will engage in short hikes, visiting the community school and meeting the Layaps. The interaction would enrich your understanding and knowledge of these people’s lifestyle, culture and traditions.

Day 14: Laya/Chamsa

Distance 19km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 3,050m

After a day’s rest, you will resume the trek along a trail that winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu. Eventually, you will reach Kohi Lapcha at 3,300 m. After that, the trail steeply descends to the large stream of Koina Chhu. Here you will camp for the night.

Laya-campDay 15: Chamsa/Gasa

Distance: 14km
Descent: 1,500m
Camp altitude: 2,240m

After climbing through the Laya Gasa Trek reaching the Bari La (3,740m), the trail descends all the way to Gasa village where there is some semblance of modern civilization. You will further descend to the Gasa Tshachu (hot springs) for the night. You can dip in the hot springs and relax your tired sinews.

Day 16: Gasa/Damji/Punakha

From Gasa, as road has reached the small town, you can decide either to take the car or walk downhill. You can walk till Damji from where the car will drive you to Punakha where you will spend the night.

Day 17: Punakha/Thimphu

In Punakha, you will be taken for a cultural sightseeing of the historic Pungthang Dewa Chenpoi Phodrang or ‘the palace of great happiness’. Post sightseeing, you will be driven to Thimphu. En route, there will be a stopover at Dochula where you can view the great Himalayan mountain range. After lunch, you will spend the time strolling around Thimphu. A visit to the Centennial Farmer’s Market could be interesting.

Day 18: Thimphu sightseeing

You will be taken for a tour of some of the important monuments in Thimphu that include the Memorial Chorten, Folk Heritage Museum, The National Library, Painting School and the Tashichhodzong. Tashichhodzong has been the seat of Bhutan’s Government since 1968.

Day 19: Thimphu/Paro

After visiting souvenir shops in Thimphu, you will be driven to Paro.

Day 20 Exit

Our local tour executive will see you off at the airport.