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 fourteen day, 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 I through Jigme Singye 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. Thhe trek also offers a day of relaxation at the famous Gasa hot springs that is sure to rejuvenate you. This is one of the more difficult treks offered in Bhutan due to the high altitudes and steep ascents and descents along the path. The best seasons to complete this challenge are in April-June and Mid-September-Mid-November.
Day 1: Arrive at Paro
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing
Day 3: Paro – Shana.17 KM. walking time 5-6 hours (Trek Starts)
Day 4: Shana – Soi Thangthangkha. 22 KM. Walking time 6 -7 hours
Day 5: Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang. 19 KM. walking time 5 hours
Day 6: Rest day at Jangothang. (Optional walk around)
Day 7: Jangothang – Lingshi. 18 KM. walking time 7-8 hours
Day 8: Lingshi – Chebisa. 10 KM. walking time 5-6 hours
Day 9: Chebisa – Shomuthang. 17 KM. walking time 7 – 8 hours
Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang. 18 KM. walking time 8 – 9 hours
Day 11: Robluthang – Lemithang. 19 KM. walking time 6 – 7 hours
Day 12: Lemithang – Laya. 10 KM. walking time 4 – 5 hours
Day 13: Rest day at Laya
Day 14: Laya – Chamsa. 19 KM. walking time 6- 7 hours
Day 15: Chamsa – Gasa Tshachu. 16 KM. walking time 6- 7 hours (Trek Ends)
Day 16: Gasa Tshachu rest day
Day 17: Gasa Tshachu – Punakha
Day 18: Punakha – Thimphu
Day 19: Thimphu sightseeing
Day 20: Thimphu – Paro
Day 21: Departure
Day 1: Arrive at Paro.
Flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in all the Himalayas. One can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu as well as other peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drakey and Tsrim Gang. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. You will be received by our representative and escorted to the hotel.
Day 2: Paro sightseeing.
Drive to Sartsam Chorten and walk up to the Taktsang monastery (Tigers nest) viewpoint. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche, who brought Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century, meditated here for three months.
The monastery was built later in the 17th century on the same site. In April 1998, a fire destroyed the main structure of the monastery and its religious contents. A complete restoration was done and has resulted in the monastery being identical to the original one. This place beholds the history of the hidden land.
The walking time is approximately five hours. But it depends on ones pace. When we reach the main road we turn to the right and dive further on to Drukgyel Dzong. Built in 1649 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal & damaged by fire in 1951.
On the way back we will visit one of the oldest monasteries that we have in Bhutan and it built in the 7th century by the first king of Tibet, Songtsen Gampo to introduce Buddhism into Bhutan.
Day 3: Paro – Shana.17 KM. walking time 5-6 hours.
Drive to Drukgyel Dzong (15 km), at the end of the valley where the trek begins. It goes upstream of the Paro River, through villages, gradually ascending to Shana. Overnight Camp. Altitude: 2580m.
Day 4: Shana – Soi Thangthangkha. 22 KM. Walking time 6 -7 hours.
The trail again follows Pa-chu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river.
After lunch follow the river climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing a bridge again, before reaching camp. Overnight Camp. Altitude: 3750m
Day 5: Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang. 19 KM. walking time 5 hours.
The path ascends for a while until you reach the army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herders camp. Then take a short walk in the valley to the camp at Jangothang. The view of Mt. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb. Overnight Camp.Â Altitude: 4040 m.
Day 6: Rest day at Jangothang. (Optional walk around)
Today is a rest day and is free to take a hike to Tshophu, walk towards the glacial lake of Chhomolhari or to the Jichu Drake glacial lake.
Day 7: Jangothang – Lingshi. 18 KM. walking time 7-8 hours.
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Gang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyele la pass at an altitude of 4,700 meters. After the pass it’s a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Overnight Camp. Altitude: 4000 m.
Day 8: Lingshi – Chebisa. 10 KM. walking time 5-6 hours.
Walk past the Lingshi Dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of the green hills, the Winding River and magnificent peaks. This is a very easy and pleasant walk, through villages and yak herders’ camps. Lunch will be served at scenic Goyuna village. After lunch, a short walk to Chebisa village. We camp here by the side of a stream at an altitude of 3,850 meters.
Day 9: Chebisa – Shomuthang. 17 KM. walking time 7 – 8 hours.
Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gobu la pass at an altitude of 4,500 meters, taking nearly 4 hours to the top.
After the pass descend to a lunch spot, through rhododendron bushes. Afternoon continues along an undulating path, after crossing the stream, through rhododendron forests and across yak herders camps. You may see some flocks of Blue Sheep now and then. Arrive at camp. Altitude: 4,250 meters.
Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang. 18 KM. walking time 8 – 9 hours.
The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass at an altitude of 4,600 meters. Then descend to Tsharijathang valley, the summer residence of the rare Himalayan Takin (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream and get wet, as most of the time the footbridge is washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left the trail ascends to Robluthang camp at an altitude of 4400 meters.
Day 11: Robluthang – Lemithang. 19 KM. walking time 6 – 7 hours.
A long climb up to the Shiche la passes (altitude 5005 meters). The views of the mountains from the pass are breathtaking. After the pass descend to Lemithang. The path is quite narrow and you may have to cross the stream and get wet again.
The last part of the trek is very interesting, with the view of Mount Gangchey -Ta peak. Arrive at camp with an altitude of 4100 meters.
Day 12: Lemithang – Laya. 10 KM. walking time 4 – 5 hours.
In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchey Ta peak in front of you. The walk to Laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at an altitude of 3,800 meter.
Day 13: Rest day at Laya.
Explore the village. You can go and visit many of the houses in the village. By tradition one can go to any house without an Invitation. A cup of tea or chang (local drink) is always offered. The people in this village are very interesting with a unique dress, language and ornaments. Overnight Camp.
Day 14: Laya – Chamsa. 19 KM. walking time 6- 7 hours.
Descend to army camp and join the Mo Chu (Mother River of Punakha) and follow the river until you cross the bridge. After the bridge it’s up and down several times through juniper and fir forests until you reach the camp at Chamsa at an altitude of 3,800 meters.
Day 15: Chamsa – Gasa Tshachu. 16 KM. walking time 6- 7 hours.
Walk for half an hour over flat land to the Bele la pass. It is downhill all the way to Gasa Tsachu (hot spring). Make a stop for Lunch at Gasa village at the altitude of 2,700 meters. After lunch visit the village and Dzong. The Dzong was built in 17th century by the first religious king, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders.
Then descend to Gasa Tshachu (hot spring) for camp at an altitude of 2,200 meters.
Day 16: Gasa Tshachu rest day.
After a long trek this is the place to relax. Enjoy a hot spring bath and explore the surrounding area. You may meet a lot of people coming to this Tshachu for treatments.
Day 17: Gasa Tshachu – Punakha.
The last days of trekking will continually follow the Mochu down through heavily forested area until you reach Tashithang at an altitude of 1,620 meters. Our coach will be waiting to drive you to Punakha (15km), following the river all the way. Overnight Punakha.
Day 18: Punakha Thimphu.
In morning visit Punakha Dzong the old capital of Bhutan. It was built in 1637. Drive to the Dochula for lunch. The Dochula Pass is an altitude of 3,050 meters.Â On a clear day one can have a magnificent view of the eastern Himalayan range of peaks. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 19: Thimphu sightseeing.
Visit the Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the late king of Bhutan; the Indigenous Hospital where traditional medicines are still practiced; the National Library where ancient texts and manuscripts are stored and the painting school where children learn the traditional technique of painting and arts.
Day 20: Thimphu – Paro
Morning visit the Handicraft Emporium and free time for shopping. After lunch drive to Paro.
Day 21: Departure.
Your guide will bid you farewell!