Laya Gasa Trek
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAYA GASA TREK
The Jomolhari 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. Trek begins from Drukgyel Dzong in the northern end of Paro Valley and it is rated with medium-hard one taking trekkers through diverse terrain and sacred mountains, offering amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes of Bhutan. With its diverse flora and fauna, as you ascents and descent, you will travel through the meadow laden with flowers, junipers and medicinal plants, through birch and fir forest, yak herders in high altitude pastures, with view of some of the sacred mountains, isolated villages, mountain passes adorned with prayer flags. Along the trail, you will also be able to spot some of the wild indigenous animals of Bhutan like – Blue Sheep and Takin.
LAYA GASA TREK DETAILED ITINERARY
At your arrival at Paro International airport, your local tour guide will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure or you can choose to explore the enchanting Paro valley by visiting some of the important historical and spiritual sites in Paro. We suggest you to visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong, National Museum, the ruined Drukgyel Dzong and finally the historical Kyichu Lhakhang.
Day 2: Gunitsawa Village – Sharna Zampa
After your breakfast in the hotel, you will be driving further 16 Km away from the town to Drukgyel Dzong, make a short visit to the ruined Drukgyel Dzong, though the dzong lies in ruin it has a great historical significant that goes back to 17th century. From here the majestic view of Mt. Jomolhari can be visible, towering at 24,00ft/7314m pyramid shape, snow-clad that lies far end of the border of Tibet and it is revered as the abode of goddess Jomo.
Drive further north of Drukgyel Dzong to Guinitsawa village where trek begins from this village were you pass the army post. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
Today your trek journey will lead you to Soi Thangthanka. As the trail continues you will be making numerous ascends and descent as you traverses through meadow laden flowers, juniper and some medicinal plants. The journey takes you through deep forest filled with oak, rhododendron, fir and birch. Heading further, you will gradually descend to a meadow where a camp will be set up. If the weather is appealing this campsite provides you with another best spot for the great view of Mt. Jomolhari.
If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. You will cross an army checkpoint along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. In this area yaks and their herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. After reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.
After a long continuous 03 days walk, the rest day in Jangothang usually spent time in camp, acclimatizing and drinking in the magnificent view of Mt. Jomolhari. This rest day provides several possibility of half-day walk with breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains like – Mt. Jomolhari (7326m) along with Mt. JichuDrakey (6794m), and the high altitude lakes. The region here also provides a great chance to spot some of the blue sheep. If you have a fishing license, you can even choose to go for fishing in the high altitude lakes, Tshophu.
This journey is considered as one of the longest days of the trek. So we recommend you to make an early start. As you head further, just after ten minutes from the campsite the magnificent Mt. Jichu Drakey (6989m) and Mt. Tserim Gang (6789m), appears their presence. As the trail begins rapidly, the final pull begins a gradual ascent to Nyilila Pass (4870m) which usually takes four hours from the base camp till the top of the pass. Enjoy the surrounding mountains and herds of Blue Sheep grazing around the mountain slope. Once you reached the top of the pass, there you will have a spectacular view of Mt.Jomolhari(7326m), Mt. JichuDrakey(6989m), Mt. Therim Gang(6789m). From here, your journey descent downhill till you reached your campsite opposite of Lingshi Village.
Today is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a detour up to the Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a high ridge. This Dzong is under reconstruction from a 2011 earthquake which damaged its central building. In addition to a very special atmosphere of mystic tranquility, Lingshi Dzong provides a great view over the valley. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to form a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where settlements are usually scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it. There is also a beautiful waterfall located behind the village that is worth visiting.
We recommend you to make an early start because from the village of Chebisa to Gobu-La Pass (4510m) will take you uphill around 3 hours. On this day you will also have an opportunity to spot the Blue Sheep above the trail, Branded Vultures, Himalayan Griffons and several yak herders hut en-route. After crossing the pass, you will descent down to the valley through rhododendron bushes and a stream at about 4170m. The trail from here again ascent a short uphill through a cedar forest and then descent downhill through deep forest of fir and birch and then finally reaches to the village of Shakshepase (3980m), a large U-shape valley. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang (4200m), in a cluster of brush beside the river. The river below your camp is a tributary of Nochu River.
You begin by climbing up the valley to view Kang Bum (6,526 m) and some edelweiss. After two hours of climbing you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first glimpse of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. The big snow peak in the north is Gangchhenta 6,840 m, better known as the Great Tiger Mountain. If weather is clear, Tserim Kang and the top of Jomolhari will be visible. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang located in a beautiful wide and remote valley. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary. Climb up a little bit and you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow.
Today you will have to climb one of the highest pass on this trek, the Sinche La Pass (5005m). This pass is one of the final and high pass and takes around five hours. Crossing the pass you will gradually descent downhill and as to the far side of the pass you will have a glimpse of impressive terminal moraine and glacier lakes at the foot of the valley. Below this moraine you will pass through rough, rocky trail into a glacial valley, you will reach eventually to KongoChhu (stream) and from here a short climb takes you through rhododendron trail and cedar forest interspersed small meadow and soon reach to Limithang campsite with a towering peak Mt. GangchenTa (6840m) over the campsite though it lies quite a distance away from your campsite. The campsite of Limithang is at 2140m.
A lovely and pleasant walk, you will traverse all the way downhill through narrow and winding river valley. This extremely pleasant walk takes you through densely forested region with moss an singing birds, you will also have a spectacular view of – Mt. GangchenTa(6840m) and Mt. Masagang (7165m). Finally, you will reach Laya, the village of Laya is one of the second highest village / settlement in the country at an altitude of 3,800m. Your campsite is just below the school.
Today the trail leads you through winds up and down along the Mo Chhu ( Female River), with lots of ups and down you will finally reached to KoinaLaptsa at an altitude of 3300m. From here your trail descent downhill and drops down to KoinaChhu (stream), and finally reach the camp site at Koina at an altitude of 3050m.
Today you will have the last major climb of the Laya Gasa Trek. You will cross Bari La (3,740m), after which the trail descends all the way until you reach Gasa village (2,770m), where you will find the first restaurants since you started from Drukgyel Dzong. There also is a campsite close to Gasa Dzong. You will have to decide whether you want to stay in Gasa village or descend for another hour to the Gasa Tsachu (hot springs) and relax in the rejuvenating mineral waters. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan.
This trek finishes in Gasa. Today in the morning hour, you can revisit the hot spring and yourself in the medicinal water for an hour or two. After lunch walk down for 20 minutes and drive to Punakha, which takes around 4 hours.
Today in the morning hour before departing to Thimphu travel to explore some of the fascinating places in Punakha like Punakha Dzong and a short hike to Chemi Lhakhang. Lunch will be served in Khuruthang town and after good lunch proceed to Thimphu. En-route there will be a stopover at Dochu La Pass where on a clear day you will get a bird eye view of the great Himalayan peak. Beside this magnificent view of the Himalayan peak the spot offers 108 memorial chortens. From the top, it is all the way downhill until you reached the bustling and colorful capital city. Check in to your hotel.
After your morning breakfast, you will be led to explore some of the important monuments in Thimphu including National Memorial Chorten, National Painting School, National Library, National Textile Museum and finally the giant golden Buddha statue. After quick lunch in Thimphu drive to Paro which takes around 1 hour.
The highlight of your day excursion will be graded as unforgettable memories as the incredible Tiger’s Nest is adventurously perched on 915 meters from the basement. This 4-5 hours hike depends upon the physique of an individual. However, it is done to accustom trekkers to the mountain altitude. Tiger’s Nest or Tiger’s Layer is one of the most religious sites in the country with its history dated back to eight century. After the goemba descent downhill the same route and drive back to visit Kyechu Lhakhang, Legend says this temple is one of the 108 temple built by dharma king Songtsen Gampo within a single day in the year 643 to pin down the giant ogress. It is also one of the oldest temples in Bhutan anlong with JambayLhakhang in Bumthang. After the temple, you will be transferred to your hotel for leisure.
After your morning breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward destination. Your tour guide and driver will see you off at the airport.
- All meals
- Tea and snacks
- Complementary bottled water in car
- Government levy
- Visa fee
- Entrance fees
- permits and sightseeing
- Flight tickets
- Medical/Travel insurance
- Drinks and Beverages
- Internet Bills
- Phone and other bills of personal nature