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Laya Gasa Trek 19 days

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  • Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Overview

Laya Gasa Trek offers you a luxury of experiencing the most amazing trekking adventure along the off the beaten path with plenty of acclimatization. Reckoned synonymous to warmth hospitality and a dotted trekking destination, Laya is a perfect hub to capture a complete picture of Bhutan; you can taste Bhutan’s famous butter tea, yak milk and local brewed wine, watch cultural program and remain mute witness to the authentic Bhutanese culture and custom.

En route to Laya the trekking trail weaves past Shana camp, Soi Thangthangkha, Jangothang, Lingshi, Chebisa, Shomuthang, Robluthang and Limithang. You can not help yourself soak in the tranquility and exotism of nature. Further ahead, you trek along Koina, Gasa Hot spring, Goen Damji and Tashithang on a network of well-maintained and rock-strewn trails. Each of these destinations has its own distinct character: unique geographical features, surreal mountain vegetation, quaint hamlets, dzongs, open pastures, indigenous people, art and history are juxtaposed amid the seclusion and simplicity of Bhutan. Hot spring bath at Gasa Tshachu is an additional treat that makes your trek more memorable and undeniably worthwhile.


Trip highlights

  • The trek starts from Drugyel Dzong in Paro and ends at Gasa Tshachhu in Gasa
  • Cross two high passes: Neylela Pass 4700m and Singchen La Pass at 5005me
  • Fantastic views of Mount Jumolhari 7314m, Jichu Drake 6989m and Tsherimgang 6789m
  • Unique cultures of nomads of Laya and Lingzhi, high passes and mountains, Himalayan marmots, blue sheep and sight of Takins

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Kathmandu to Paro (2250 m.). Overnight at hotel

Fly from Kathmandu to Paro by Druk Air flight. Drive to Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. Here you can see finest example of Bhutanese architecture.

Drive to see the Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Visit the Drukgyal Dzong, built in 1647 by the Great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m).

Day 02: Hike to Taktsang Monastery (3180 m.). Overnight at hotel

The iconic Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s nest is a must place in Bhutan. There is a legend associated with this monastery. In the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava or the great spiritual master is said to be flown to this monastery on a back of a tigress from Tibet and meditated in a cave for 3 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days and 3 hours. This is the most important monastery in Bhutan also. The main temple complex was first built in 1692 AD. Standing on a vertical cliff one will be amazed to the architecture of this monastery. This hike takes around 2.5 hrs from the base. There is only a single trail that goes through forest up to this monastery & the ascent is gradient. This hike is very much enjoyable as the trail goes through lush green forest. At the beginning of this hike one can see this monastery from the base. As climbing up the view of Paro valley from the top looks superb. Once reach at the final view point the jaw-dropping view of this monastery will surely make speechless to anyone.

Day 03: Drive to Drugyel Dzong. Trek to Shana Camp (2800 m.) – approx. 5 / 6 hours

Your trek starts from the historic Drugyel Dzong (2580m). The Dzong is a 12km drive to the north of Paro valley from the hotel. After a short while you will start walking on a wide trail that tracks along the Pa Chhu (Paro river). The trail will slowly ascend where you will be walking through the countryside with views of rice paddies and fields of millet. As the valley widens you will find apple orchards, traditional Bhutanese farmhouses and a few small settlements of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. Following the route through blue pine forest you will be brought to the army post of Gunitsawa at 2810m where your trekking permits will be checked and stamped. You will then climb towards Sharna Zampa (2870m) after crossing Pa Chhu on a wooden bridge. You will be camping at Sharna Zampa in the meadows among the trees for the night.

Day 04: Trek from Shana to Soi Thangthangkha (3400 m.) – approx. 4 / 5 hours

Just like the previous day, we will be following the trail following the Pachhu (Paro river). We will be ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. You will reach at Shingkharap after 2 hours of hiking and crossing several streams. This is a stone house at 3110m. You will then cross the bridge towards the left side of the river where you will be served a hot lunch. A little walk ahead is the trail junction. The left road is an old trade route to Tibet and the right route leads to the wooden bridge. We will be taking the latter route. After climbing through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3750m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.

Day 05: Trek from Soi to Jangothang (4040 m.) – approx. 4 / 5 hours

Climb slowly for a while till you reach an army camp. Then follow the river above tree line with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a Yak herders camp. A easy walk will reach you to Jangothang at an altitude of 4050 meters. The view of Chomolhari (7320 meters) and Jichu Drake (6900 meters) is superb. Both the mountains are still virgin peaks.

Day 06: Jangothang acclimatization and exploration

Today, you will do a four hours long acclimatization hike to the north of your camp. There isn’t really a trail but you will climb on an open and endless slope till you see the view of Mt Jichu Drakye (6989m). You can hike further up to 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see the amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the our national flower – the blue poppy. In the foreground below the colossal Mount Jumolhari and its neighboring mountain, Jichu Drake is the Jangothang base. It is a flat grassy land with the ruins of an old fortress on a hillock. It is highly recommended for all trekkers to halt here as most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude. You will have the option to hike or to simply rest in camp. Both ways, it will be a very memorable day.

Day 07: Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi (4150 m.) – approx. 6 / 7 hours

Jangothang to Lingshi. The trail follows the stream for half hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Climb up the ridge and enjoy stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Khang mountains.Than walk through the wide open valley sometimes coming across herds of blue sheep. The climb upto the Nyele la pass 4700 meters is not too difficult and the view is breathtaking. After the pass its a gradual descend and through the valley with beautiful views on all side. Nearing the camp you will see the Lingshi Dzong perched ontop of a hill with commanding view of the valley. Arrive camp at 4100 meters near a stone shelter.

Day 08: Trek from Lingshi to Chebisa (3850 m.) – approx. 3 / 4 hours

Perched on a hilltop with breathtaking views of green hills, meandering rivers and magnificent peaks is the Lingshi Dzong. For centuries, Lingzhi Dzong was a way station for Buddhist pilgrims. It was also a defence fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. Today is an easy day filled with pleasant walks through villages and yak herders’ camp. After lunch, a short walk will take you to Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. You will camp by the side of a stream at an altitude of 3850m.

Day 09: Trek from Chebisa to Shomuthang (3850 m.) – approx. 7 / 8 hours

Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gobu la pass 4600 meters taking nearly 3/4 hours to the top but rewarded with magnificent views of the Himalayas. This is a blue sheep area so always keep a sharp eye. After the pass descend through rhododendrons bushes and lunch will be served at a ideal spot. The path goes up down crossing streams and Yak herders camps.

Day 10: Trek from Shomuthang to Robluthang (4390 m.) – approx. 7 / 8 hours

The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass 4650 meters. Then descend all the way through alpine forest and rhododendron shrubs to Tsharijathang a summer feeding ground for the rare Takins (national animal of Bhutan). During summer/monsoon the path is all wet so be prepared to get wet as the small wooden bridges are all washed away. After crossing the stream the trail ascends for a while till you reach the camp at 4300 meters.

Day 11: Trek from Robluthang to Limithang (4140 m.) – approx. 7 / 8 hours

Today will be an exhilarating day as you will cross the highest pass in our entire trek. You will climb all the way up through boggy patches. As you follow this trail you will be crossing streams and spotting marmot holes and moraine. You will then reach the top of Shingchen La pass (5005m). You will be greeted with the view stunning view of the snow-covered Gangchenta or the Tiger Mountain (6840m) filling the northern horizon. After taking in the view you will descend through a rough rocky trail following the moraine river valley to Kango Chhu River. You will find that the path is quite narrow and you may be expected to cross a stream again and get yourself wet. After a fresh walk through cedar forests you will finally arrive at Lingmithang (4140m). Lingmithang is a beautiful campsite, with scattered meadows by the river with Tiger Mountain (Gangchenta) towering behind your campsite.

Day 12: Trek from Limithang to Laya (3850 m.) – approx. 5 / 6 hours

Wake up with great view of Gangchey Ta mountain in front of you. The walk to Laya is pleasant passing through damp forest filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive Laya village the second highest settlements in the country at an altitude of 3850 meters.

Day 13: Rest day at Laya
Today is a day you can temper to your taste. Explore Laya village and go visit any of the houses around. Hospitality is a big part of Bhutanese tradition. Even to a perfect stranger, traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended and a cup of tea and Chang (local, wine) is always offered. You will notice that the people in this valley are very interesting especially their attire. Women in particular have very conspicuous attire, wearing conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments.
Day 14: Trek from Laya to Koina (3800 m.) – approx. 5 / 6 hours
Trek down to the army base camp and follow the river crossing small streams. During the winter months you will see the rare Takins grazing on the bamboo shoots. The trail is up and down. Camp will be near a river next to a stone shelter at 3800 meters.
Day 15: Trek from Koina to Gasa (2900 m.) – approx. 6 / 7 hours
You cross the Babela pass, Alt.3740m, after which the trail is all the way down till you reach the campsite which is close to Gasa Dzong.
Day 16: Trek from Gasa to Goen Damji (2280 m.) – approx. 4 / 5 hours
After a short climb, the trail winds through the rolling hills and passes through the pine and oak forests, villages and wheat fields. You will also see a beautiful view of the Gasa Dzong glued to the valley wall, seeming to float in space.
Day 17: Trek from Damji to Tashithang (1700 m.) – approx. 6 / 7 hours. Drive to Punakha, Overnight at hotel

Continue walking gradually down hill following the Mochu river through heavily forested area till you arrive Tashithang at 1550 meters. The Intrek bus will be waiting and proceed for 1 hour to Punakha. Visit the 17 centuary dzong and drive 45 minutes to Wangdue Kichu resort. Relax and enjoy the modern comfort.

Day 19: Depart Paro

After leisurely breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.

  • Trip facts

  • Trip duration : 19 days
  • Grade : Moderate
  • Activity : Trekking & Sightseeing Tour
  • Starts in : Paro
  • End in : Paro
  • Max Altitude : 4390 m
  • Location Covered: Paro, Jangothang, Lingshi, Shomuthang, Limithang, Laya, Gasa, Goen Damji, Tashithang
  • Best Season: Spring / Autumn

Extension Tours

Paragliding
Jungle Safari
Pokhara Tour
Rafting

Necessary Information

1. Visa to Bhutan

To travel to Bhutan, first of all, you have to obtain a passport with the valid for 6 months. Then, if you are not an Indian, Bangladesh, or Maldivian, you must have a visa and get permission via your travel agency to enter Bhutan. Also, you cannot purchase air tickets unless you can show your visa clearance.

2. Meals on Bhutan Trip

We offer 3 tasty meals while on our trips in Bhutan (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

3. Accommodation on Bhutan Trip

All the hotels we use are comfortable, clean and offer all the amenities required. We have carefully selected the best hotel in Paro, Tiumphu and major cities of Bhutan for you and your group. If you would like to select your hotel, please let us know and we'll book everything for you.

4. Transportation

We use comfortable and well-maintained 4WD Toyota land cruiser. We ensure before leaving on a trip that our vehicule are double-checked properly. Your security is our main concern and you can be sure to have a safe trip with us.

5. Climate

You can travel in Bhutan at any time of the year except during the winter which starts in December and ends in early March. During the summer, you should expect some light rainfall especially in the south of Bhutan. In the winter time, the temperature can drop down to -6 degrees Celsius while in the summer time the temperatures reach an overage of 25 degrees Celsius.

The best time to travel in Bhutan is during the Spring (March, April and May) as days are warm and clear.

6. Vaccinations

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the commencement of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

7. Insurance

Before joining the tour we recommend you take out travel insurance. This should include adequate cover for baggage, medical expenses, cancellation, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation. If you do not have travel insurance you must have a credit card with at least a US$5000 limit.

8. Personal Expenses

We don’t pay for your personal expenses and recommend you to bring extra money to cover meals not included in the tour, extra activities, souvenirs, tips etc. Bhutan currency: Ngultrum (Nu) There is no ATM machines in Bhutan and credit cards are usually not accepted.

9. Safety in Bhutan

It is no doubt to say that Bhutan is the safest country in the world as there is no terrorism, riots, and political turmoil. Due to the fact that most Bhutanese people are Buddhist; hence, they believe in karma and always try to do good things in life. For this reason, your Bhutan tour itineraries will be so much perfect without worrying about anything dangerous.

10. SIM card & Internet Service in Bhutan

To keep in touch with your beloved ones, or your local guide who comes along with you on your Bhutan tour itinerary, you have to own a Bhutanese SIM card. The Internet is limited in Bhutan as it just can be found in very few hotels in big towns like Thimphu and Paro; however, you still can use the internet via data servicing packages including 2G, 3G, or even 4G by the two network providers in Bhutan: Bmobile and TashiCell.

Travel With Rajbala

Since we began in the early 90s we have always strived to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible and to give back to the many villages we pass through on our trekking itineraries. Today we still embrace this responsible travel approach when devising and operating our small group travel holiday experiences in Nepal. We invite you to trek in Nepal with the Himalayan trekking specialists Raj Bala Treks and Expeditions.