Laya Gasa Trekking - 20 Days

Trip Facts:

Trip Name: Laya Gasa Trekking
Trip Duration: 20 Days
Max. Altitude: 4,440m/14,567ft (Gobula Pass)
Best Season: March to May and September to November
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above
Transportation: Private vehicle

Trip Overview:

Laya Gasa Trekking offers experiencing the cultural and witnessing great mountains views towards the northwest part of Bhutan. The trek offers diverse variety of Bhutanese landscapes, culture and hiking into one of the beautiful and unspoiled areas. The friendly person of Laya have a unique culture and gives a sense of truly being in the far corners of the world. The trek begins from the outskirts of Paro from Drukgyal Dzong crossing over interesting villages, scattered hamlets and farmlands. It’s the same route as the Jomolhari trek till Lingshi. Witness some spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari including others snow-capped peaks like Jichu Drake, Gangchhenta. Spot blue sheep and even ‘Takin’- Bhutan’s national animal, in between the route from Jangothang and Laya which hardly goes below 4,000 meters. Besides hiking into the natural surroundings, go for sightseeing at colorful Paro, the tiny capital – Thimphu and the old capital city – Punakha. Laya/Gasa trek is one of the most beautiful trekking routes in Bhutan only to be beaten by the tough Snowman Trek. The entire trek is a combination of nature, traditionally rich village, isolated lands-setting and unique culture of the Dragon Kingdom.

Trip Highlights:

  • Majestic views of the world’s highest peaks onboard flight to/from Paro
  • Guided city tour of the tiny capital Thimphu
  • Explore Paro exploding with colors and tradition
  • Witness spectacular views of Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Drakey, Jomolhari
  • Visit Jichu Darkey base glaciers lake.
  • Visit the Bhutan’s old capital city – Punakha
  • Experience the lifestyle and traditions followed by Bhutanese people
  • Abundant flora and fauna

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2,250m)
 Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town. Today is rest at Paro for better acclimatizing (rest at the hotel) or Paro town can also be explored during the evening. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: Paro - Sightseeing
After breakfast, visit Ta Dzong. Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. It was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. Afterwards visit Rinpung Dzong. Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan; the Dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Paro – Sharna (2,870m)
Drive towards Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) from where the trek starts and camp near Sharna Zampa. The path gradually climbs following the Paro River through the agriculture valley and villages. The campsite is opposite to the Gunyitsawa Army check post in a meadow. Overnight at Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Day 04: Trek to Thangthangka (3,630m) 
The trial is a gradual ascent with plenty of ups and downs through conifer forest, ferns and Rhododendrons. A magnificent view of Mt. Jumolhari can be seen from the camp site on clear days. Overnight at Camp. (Walking distance 6-7 hrs)

Day 05: Trek to Jangothang (4,090m) 
Todays trial passes an army post and the village of Soe and a small settlement at Takethang; Yak herders live here. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mt. Jumolhari. Overnight at Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Day 06: Rest day at Jangothang (4,090m) 
This day is for acclimatizing; spend the day relaxing or there are several day hikes to choose from. Two interesting hikes would be to get views of Mt. Jumolhari or Jichu Drake. If interested in a lake then take a hike to Tsophu. Overnight at camp.

Day 07: Trek to Lingshi (4,010m) 
Today the first major pass at 4890m ( Nyile-la ) is encountered. Also spot the views of the snow peak of Tserim Kang (6789m) Camp near a stream in a meadow. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 5-6 hrs)

Day 08: Trek to Chebisa (3,880m)
Today is a pleasant walk encountering parts of Lingshi village and the settlement of Goyak. Upon reaching camp at Chebisa village, later on the village houses can be visited. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 5-6 hrs)

Day 09: Trek to Shomuthang (4,220m) 
The walk is mostly through wild high pastures and yak pastures with few people & Yaks. Encounter another pass ‘Gobula’ at 4440m. Camp is on a bench above a river, a tributary to the Mo Chu which comes out just below Gasa Tsachu. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 6-7 hrs)

Day 10: Trek to Robluthang (4,160m) 
On the early part of the trek spot the views of Kang Bum(6526m). After crossing Jhari la pass at 4747m, good views of Gangchenta (6840m), Tserim Kang and upper half of Jumolhari can be seen. The trial then passes by Tsheri Jathang, a valley by the river side where herds of Takin are normally seen during the summer months. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 6-7 hrs)

Day 11: Trek to Limithang (4,140m) 
Today is a hard day crossing over Sinche la (5005m) the highest point on the trek. The second half of today’s walk is through rocky trails and moraines. Limithang is in the Laya district and here spot the wonderful children in funny hats. Camp at Limithang is beneath Gangchhenta, the Great Tiger Mountain. If time permits it would be worthwhile to spend a rest and exploration day here. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 6-7 hrs)

Day 12: Trek to Laya (3,840m) 
Today is all the way down hill along a winding river valley with quite a closed-in feeling. The trail splits, one going down with the river to the camp site used by the army. The other stays high and brings you into the west side of Laya village. You can camp on a high flat bench above the east end of Laya village. The peak towering above Laya is Masagang (7165m) walking time 4-5 hours.

Day 13: Rest Day at Laya (3,840m) 
Visit Laya village houses or hike above the camp. A day halt is interesting here or just spending the day with the Layaps (nomads). Overnight at Camp.

Day 14: Trek to Koina (3,050m) 
The trail winds up and down along the Mo Chu river, avoiding natural obstacles and affording breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and water-falls. The beginning of the trek is past an army camp and the route junction for the Snowman trek. Campsite at Koina is one of the worst campsites on this trek but need to be used due to non availability of camp sites or availability of water. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 6-7 hrs)

Day 15: Trek to Gasa (2,770m)
The route may seem all the way downhill but needs to cross the last pass on this trek – Barila pass at 3900m after which is all the way down hill till reaching camp. The camp is near the Gasa Dzong and village. Or can go further 1-1/2 hours to Gasa Tsachu (hotspring) if hot spring dip is preferred than the Gasa village. The decision should have been made at the start of the trek and the camp staff should have been informed. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 6-7 hrs)

Day 16: Trek to Geon Damji (2,430m) 
Today’s trail winds through rolling hillsides with vistas of fields, villages and Oak and Pine forests. Gasa Dzong will be visible behind, glued to the valley wall. Today’s walk goes through small settlements and finally at camp of Geon Damji village – a large village with rice terraces on the hillsides. Overnight at Camp. (Walking time 5-6 hrs)

Day 17: Trek to Tashithang (1,840m) & drive to Punakha (1,310m)
Starting at Geon Damji (2430m) and ending at vehicle point at Tashithang (1840m) From here it is 18 km (1 hour drive) to Punakha but the initial 5-6 km is unpaved. Overnight at Hotel. (Walking time 5 hrs)

Day 18: Punakha – Thimphu (2,350m)
After early breakfast, drive towards Thimphu for about 3 hours passing along Dochu La Pass at 3140m. On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, the road descends through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. En-route take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as "the Divine Madman". Overnight at Hotel.

Day 19: Thimphu Sightseeing – Paro (2,250m)
Morning start the sightseeing with Zelukha Nunnery, National Library, Memorial Chorten of Late King, Handicrafts Emporium, Post Office and walk around Thimphu city for shopping of souvenirs from Bhutan. If this day falls on a Saturday or Sunday a visit to the Weekend Market is a must. After lunch drive to Paro en-route visit to Simtokha Dzong the first fort built in 1627-29 by Shabdrung who unified the Kingdom and continue the journey following the Thimphu River till Chuzom (Confluence) and taking the direction toward Paro following Pa-chu for 2 hours. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 20: Paro Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains.

Cost Details:

The tour cost depends upon the category of hotels used and as per the group-size. Normally we use government approved 3 star and above hotels. Please contact us for the trip pricing. 

Our entire Bhutan tours are private journeys and tailor made programs suited for any independent travelers according to their chosen traveling dates. Should you wish, the tour can be easily customized as per your interest and activities you wish to get involve in or spend more time in your places of interest. Contact us to customize this tour as per your requirements. This tour can be undertaken round the year.

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