LAYA GASA TREK

TREK HIGHLIGHT

Situated at an altitude of 3800m, the scenic journey will have you walking through some of the most pristine natural environments in the country and the village will mesmerize you with its unique culture. The inhabitants of Laya village are ethnically distinct and have been continuing their traditional way of life since time immemorial, hidden away in the far north of the kingdom. Hikers embarking on the Snow Leopard trek or the legendary Snowman Trek will pass through Laya. There is amazing culture of Laya is durig Owlay festival (ancient festival occurs every three years). Another is Takin Festival (national animal).This trail offers a great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high mountain passes (16,100 ft). Splendor campsites, beneath some of Bhutan's most magnificent peaks, of which the most notable are Chomolhari (7300m) and Jichu Drake (6900m), are also features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated dzongs and scattered settlements, including the extraordinary village of Laya, and the Gasa hot springs make this trek one of the most popular.

Day 1: Paro
Day 2: Taktsang Monastery
Day 3: Gunetshawa - Shana Zampa, distance - 800m, time - 40 minutes
Day 4: Shana Zampa - Soi Thangthangkha, distance - 22 km, time - 7/8 hours
Day 5: Soi Thangthangkha - Jangothang, distance - 19 km, time - 6/7 hours
Day 6: Jangothang - Lingshi, distance - 18 km, time - 6/7 hours.
Day 7: Lingshi - Chebesa, distance - 10 km, time - 5 hours
Day 8: Chebesa - Shomuthang, distance - 17 km, time - 7 hours
Day 9: Shomuthang - Robluthang, distance - 18 km, time - 6 / 7 hours
Day 10: Robluthang - Limithang, distance - 19 km time - 7 hours
Day 11: Limithang - Laya, distance - 10 km, time - 5 hours
Day 12: Laya - Koina, distance - 19 km, time - 6 / 7 hours
Day 13: Koina - Gasa Tsachu, distance - 14 km, time - 5 / 6 hours
Day 14: Trek to Springs at Gasa Tsachu - 2 hours
Day 15: Punakha-Thimphu
Day 16: Thimphu
Day 17: Departure
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Day 1: Paro
After visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will meet the representative from White Umbrella, who will drive through Paro valley and check in to your hotel.

Day 2: Taktsang Monastery
Today, we hike up to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the ‘Tiger's Nest'. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend says that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. This site is known as one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the country. No wonder that some monks have chosen this place to meditate for the rest of their lives!

Coming back, we are following a different path that takes us through the pristine thick forest of oaks and rhododendrons festooned with Spanish mosses.

Day 3: Gunetshawa - Shana Zampa, distance - 800m, time - 40 minutes
We will drive from Paro en route to Drukgyel Dzong till the village of Gunetshawa (up to 5 hrs). Your trek permit will be checked and endorsed at the army check post. The campsite (2850 m) is on the opposite side of the river near the village of Shana Zampa in a meadow surrounded by trees.

Day 4: Shana Zampa - Soi Thangthangkha, distance - 22 km, time - 7/8 hours
The trail continues its gradual climb alongside the Pa Chhu (Paro River) through forests of oak, rhododendrons and ferns and breathtaking vistas. The campsite (3,630m) is surrounded with beautiful views and lulled by the sound of the Paro River.

Day 5: Soi Thangthangkha - Jangothang, distance - 19 km, time - 6/7 hours
This day starts with beautiful landscape reaching to summer pastures of yaks, truly beasts of bounty for herders providing abundant cheese, butter, meat and thick waterproof hair for making tents, caps and blankets. The approach to Jangothang (4,090m) camp site is heralded by prayer walls, chhortens, prayer flags fluttering in the wind and a spectacular view of Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m).

Day 6: Jangothang - Lingshi, distance - 18 km, time - 6/7 hours
Ten minutes walk from Jangothang presents spectacular views of Mount. Jichu Drake (6,989m) and further ahead Mount Tserim Kang (6,789m). The final pull enroute is Nyile la pass (4,890m) about 4 hours from Jangothang. The trail later travels above the tributary of Mo Chhu River, gradually descending to the campsite at Lingshi (4,010m).

Day 7: Lingshi - Chebesa, distance - 10 km, time - 5 hours
Proceed ahead passing Lingshi Dzong built in the 17th century, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of the green hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. After an hour from Lingshi, the trail reaches a cairn and prayer flags on a ridge at 4,140m and then makes a long descent to the pleasant settlement of Gayul (3,870m).
Leaving this village, after making a short ascent and descent, the route leads to the spectacular Chebesa valley. Campsite on a meadow at an altitude of 3,880m.

Day 8: Chebesa - Shomuthang, distance - 17 km, time - 7 hours
Today's trail goes through the Gombu la pass (4,500m) and then descends through rhododendrons bushes to a stream at about 4,170m. The trail further climbs over a small ridge through a cedar forest then into the main Jholethang Chhu valley in a deep forest of fir and birch and then to the village of Shakshepasa (3,980m).

There are several yak herders huts enroute. The camp is at Shomuthang (4,200m) in a clusterof brush beside a stream.

Day 9: Shomuthang - Robluthang, distance - 18 km, time - 6 / 7 hours
The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass (4,700m) then descending to Tasharijathang valley, the summer place of the rare Himalayan Takin. Camp is at Tsheri Jathang valley which has been declared a special Takin sanctuary.

Day 10: Robluthang - Limithang, distance - 19 km time - 7 hours
Today cross Shinje la pass (4,900m) the last and the highest pass on the trek which is about 5 hours walk from camp.Later the descent is on a rough, rocky trail into a glacial valley, eventually reaching to Kango Chhu, a stream. After that it is a short climb through rhododendron trail and cedar forest interspersed small meadows to Limithang (4,140m), a lovely campsite in a big meadow.

Day 11: Limithang - Laya, distance - 10 km, time - 5 hours
Today's walk to Laya is extremely pleasant with wonderful mountain scenery and passing through forests filled with moss and singing birds.The village of Laya is the second highest settlement in the country at an altitude of 3,800m.

Day 12: Laya - Koina, distance - 19 km, time - 6 / 7 hours
The route follows the Mo Chhu river downstream all the way to Punakha (western Bhutan) crossing few streams and making several ascents and descents.
Also the route offers interesting view of Masang Gang peak (7,165m). Camp at Koina at an altitude of 3,050m.

Day 13: Koina - Gasa Tsachu, distance - 14 km, time - 5 / 6 hours
The day starts with a major ascent to Bari la pass (3,900m) traversing through deep forests of fir.

The route starts down again, sometimes steeply through a bamboo forest to a stream at 3,080m, the view point of Gasa Dzong. The trail further traverses above Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park onwards to Gasa.

Day 14: Trek to Springs at Gasa Tsachu - 2 hours
This morning spend a few hours relaxing in the medicinal waters of the hot springs.
This afternoon it is only a short 20 min hike to the roadside where you we will collected and transferred by road to your overnight accommodation in the Punakha Valley. (3 hrs)

Day 15: Punakha-Thimphu
We will visit Chimmi Lhakhang and Punakha Dzong in the morning. After lunch, we drive to Thimphu en route to Dochu la pass where you can have a spectacular view of the Himalaya Mountains. In the evening, we will walk to the Memorial Stupa and make few rounds with locals.

Day 16: Thimphu
Morning sightseeing around Thimphu. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, which was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery.
After lunch continue to explore Thimphu and around. Visit the School of Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum.

Overnight: Thimphu. Altitude at Thimphu: 2400 m.

Day 17: Departure
After breakfast, we will see you off at the Paro airport.
 

Tour date

Only by request
17 days / 16 nights (12 days trek, 5 days cultural program)

Group size & price

from 4-12 pax per person:
3.290 USD

Grade

moderate-demanding

Price includes

  • accommodation in standard hotels (certified by TCB). DBL occupancy.
  • 3 meals per day
  • transfers and transportation
  • road permit fees
  • all taxes
  • entrance fees to all monuments
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • visa fee

Not included

  • airfares (as listed separately)
  • personal expenses such as beverages, spa or message
  • travel & medical Insurance
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