The Laya-Gasa Trek is considered one of the most scenic treks in Bhutan, offering amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes in Bhutan. This 12 days, 217 km journey begins at Drukgyel in Paro and takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows, high mountain passes and dense sub-tropical jungles before terminating in Damji in Tashithang.
The first five days of this trek follow the same route as the Jomolhari Trek through Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park and offer awe-inspiring views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang. On the sixth day the path diverges and you will depart Lingshi for the camp site at Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful waterfall of crystal clear water. Along the trail you’ll be able to spot indigenous animals such as blue sheep and Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. You’ll travel through remote mountain villages inhabited by Layaps (people of Laya), a distinct segment of the Bhutanese society with unique culture, traditions and appearance. The trek also offers a day of relaxation at the famous Gasa hot springs. This is one of the more difficult treks offered in Bhutan due to the high altitudes and steep ascents and descents along the path.
Along with the Laya Gasa Trek, if you hace more time can include more cultural tour. As of now in these program have added cultural tour program for only in Punakha ,Paro and Thimphu.
You will be received by our people at the airport. Then will drive to Ta Dzong (Watch Tower) which was converted to National Museum in 1969 by the third king. Then will visit Paro Rinpung Dzong one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture which serves as Paro district head office as well as a monastic community. If you feel energetic then will walk down to Paa chu, cross over the cantilever bridge and get to other side where our driver will be waiting.
After that will stroll aroud in Paro and prepare for the trek.
Night Halt: Paro
Today after breakfast will drive to Taktshang Base and then will hike to Taktshang (Tiger's Nest) which is one of the most popular tourist sites. Its the place blessed by Guru Padmasambhava i n the 8th century, though the monastery was only constructed in 1692 by Desi Tenzin Rabgay.
The hike will take on average 5 to 6 hours up and down. And this also helps you to aclimatize. In the evening will relax.
Night Halt: Paro
After breakfast will drive from Paro till Shana, on reaching Shana will meet the trekking crews and then will start to trek.
The trail ascends through the Paa Chu river valley and beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forests. You can stop for lunch after you cross Thangthang zam(bridge)and then continue to follow the right bank for a couple of hours till we reach a junction of the trail which is marked by Stupa, one which leads to Sio Yaktsa and left trail leads to Sio Thangthangka Campsite. After 25 minutes walk from the junction we will reach to the campsite. From here to the north we can see Mt. Jomolhari from the top of the valley.
Night Halt: Camp site, Sio Thangthangka.
The trail passes through a small border army check post where the valley begins to widen and we leave the forest behind. We will enjoy the views of snow-capped peaks, high mountain ridges, yaks and yak herders throughout the trail until we reach to Jangothang campsite. We will stop for the lunch at open meadow, from the lunch place it is not far to reach the camp, which is in a beautiful grassy meadow beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jomolhari.
Night Halt: Campsite, Jagothang
Day 5: Rest at Jagothang
Today on your halt day it is possible to walk to Tshophu for acclimatization where you will see two lakes and with a super view of Jomolhari, and Jichu Drakey or hike in many directions towards month Jomolhari and its subsidiary to west, Jichu Drakey to the north and climbed submits and ridges following your own trail to the east because of no proper trail on this hike.
Night Halt: Campsite, Jagothang
The trail climbs gradually across the bridge over the Paa Chu tributary which flows from Jichu Drake. And then more steeply climb to Nyeli La Pass(4850 m) with several cairns wrapped in prayer flags. From the pass one can get a better view of Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherim Gang. And from the pass is a steep walk down to the small steams, have lunch. After lunch if the crew decides to have camp at Cherjipang just outside Linzhi village, it is a gradual walk to the camp site through the open meadow with the veiw of Lingzhi Dzong after 1 hour walk from lunch place. If the crew decides to camp at below Bhutan army check post,the trail ascends through the small steam which shorten the walk to the campsite. If you have started your walk early from Jangothang you will have a time to visit Lingzhi School and Village and walk back to the campsite, discuss with your guide.
Night Halt: Campsite, Lingshi
Today is a shortest day for the trekking day. The walk starts off on a path along the hillside with views across the valley. The trail pass by Lingzhi school and village. You can stop to visit school where the children will be excited to see you, many of them are Yak herder's children who are sent to boarding school as their parents are up at higher altitudes with the yaks,as well you can also see a lot of Yaks on your way. By visiting school and and village you will get a good feel for the way life in these remote mountain villages. Then continue descend walk to Gangyul (village at the pass),a beautiful village about 150 people here. From here it is an hour or so on a path which runs along the hillside until we reach to our camp at Chebisa where it is possible to visit some village houses and a waterfall just behind the village.
Night Halt: Campsite, Chebisa
The trail climbs at first, getting steeper and steeper until we reach to Gobu La pass(4350 m) through wild pastures meadow where yaks graze. You may see Himalayan blue sheep and eagle on your way. After crossing the pass it is a short walk down through rhododendron forest to the stream where you can stop for lunch. The afternoon's walk is juniper and rhododendron forest, descending to the river from where the path traverses the hillside before climbing steeply once again to reach Shomuthang.The camp is near the tributary to the Mo chu river, which emerges below the Gasa Tsachu(hot spring).
Night Halt: Campsite, Shomuthang
The trail starts with a climb to Jhari La(4785 m) where you are rewarded with stunning views of Gangchen Tag(Great Tiger mountain),look back you will still see Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. Then the trail descend again through forest to Tsharijathang,the valley where herds of Takin can be seen in the month of june, july and august. And cross the river and climb up the hillside for an hour to Robluthang for camp.
Night Halt: Campsite, Robluthang
Today we follow the Yak trail which starts above campsite, taking through a hanging valley and past a Yak herder's hut. after 1 hours walk take a right river valley and soon the Shingchen La pass (5100 m) comes into view. It is a tough climb to the pass,which one of the highest and last high pass for Laya-Gasa trek. After crossing the pass the path descends rapidly through the valley to a huge bank of moraine on the bottom of Gangchen Tag(Great Tiger mountain). You can walk on the moraine and take some time to take picture of lake. Then walk down to The campsite at right meadow by the river at Limithang.
Night Halt: Campsite, Lingmethang
Today it is a relaxing walk to Laya village where you can see the local people wearing their unique regional dress. The trail goes downhill at the first through a winding river valley with the forest of spruce and juniper. We climb gradually from the river until we enter the eastern end of Laya village.
Night Halt: Campsite, Laya
Today halt day is an opportunity to explore the local culture and traditions of Laya community. It is possible to visit farmhouses and meet the friendly local people who will pleased to offer you a yak butter tea. You will see the women of Laya in special dress and bamboo hats, both of which are decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments.
Night Halt: Campsite, Laya
Today you leave Laya village and walk down the trail which follows the river valley and there is a breathtaking view of vibrant rivers, feeder streams and waterfalls. It continues your walk through hemlock and rhododendron forest till Koena campsite. At Koena there is a hut to sleep in which is sometimes welcome if the campground are muddy.
Night Halt: Campsite, Koina
The trail starts climbing up gradually till we reach to Bale La pas(3740m).After the trail descends to the Gasa dzong, if there is a time visit Dzong which was built in 16 century by zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. And then continue walk down to Gasa Tshachu,take rest with some refreshments arrange by our company and change your dress and go for hot spring bath where you will enjoy a bath after long trek with local people in hot spring bath tub before dinner.
Night Halt: Campsite, Gasa
Today having a relaxing breakfast you will depart with your trekking crew and drive for 3 hours through beautiful
vegetation to Punakha, Bhutan's old capital since 1955. On the way visit
Punakha Dzong which is one of the most majestic fortresses in the country which is located between 2 rivers,
Mo chu(Female river) and Pho Chu (Male river). Today it is the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo the chief abbot and also
serves as the administrative center of the Punakha district. After that if you want can walk to
Suspension Bridge spend some time.
Then will check in to hotel and relax yourself.
Night Halt: Punakha
Day 16: Punakha to Thimphu
After breakfast will visit Chimi Lhakhang which was blessed by Lam Drukpa Kuenley who is also known as Devine Madman for his philosophy of "Salvation Through Sex". And its also known as Temple of Fertility.
Then will continue to Thimphu. Will stop at Dochula will stop there. Its a beautiful pass with 108 stupas and also if the weather is good we will be able to see the Eastern Himalayas that fall within Bhutan including the highest peak in the country Mt. Gangkar Puensum (7,541 m).
After lunch will visit National Memorial Chorten which was built by Her majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her late son His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk ("the father of modern Bhutan") the third king of Bhutan. Then will drive to Kuenselphodrang to see Buddha Statue which is one of the biggest sitting Buddha in the world measuring 169 feet tall. Then will drive to Punakha. Then will visit Bhutan Post if you want to make some personalized stamps.
Evening can stroll in Thimphu town.
Night Halt: Thimphu
Day 17: Paro INternational Airport
Depending on the flight time will reach you to airport and seeoff.