The Laya Gasa Trek perfectly combines Bhutan’s natural and cultural beauty. The trek leads you to a variety of landscapes and mountains with many high altitude areas. It is a more extensive version of the Chomalhari Trek that lets you enjoy the magnificent natural beauty of their untapped attire. The experience of passing over the high altitude passes, tranquil rivers, hiking through the exotic dense forest, and broad meadows. It is one of the most mind-blowing experiences that you can not get enough of it.
The 15 days Laya Gasa trek is of moderate level. So, anyone with any degree of trekking experience can enjoy the trek; however, they need to have a certain level of health and fitness. The trail takes us through many ups and downs. You pass through forests of oak, fir, rhododendron, fern, and mosses to reach the waterfalls and rivers with striking beauty. The slightly populated valleys, hills, and mountain villages give the tranquil feel to the trek. The region’s serene environment calms you and provides a very pleasing scenery. The icy lakes and natural hot water springs originated from the mountain water looks attractive. You can even enjoy a hot water bath at the natural hot water spring of Gasa. The natural hot springs have healing ability, so it is perfect for clearing the body of all aches and stiffness from the trek. It will be fascinating to learn about the unique culture, tradition, and lifestyle of the people throughout the trek. Women of Laya dress quite uniquely, with long hair in black skirts made up of yak and sheep’s wool with uniquely pointed bamboo hats makes it appealing even to watch their dress.
The Laya Gasa Trek takes you to many exotic monasteries and Dzongs of Bhutan built at awe-inspiring locations. The trek also offers the chance to the flora and faunas exclusive to Himalayan regions, some only found in Bhutan. Walking along the remote pastures, we might encounter blue sheep, musk deer, Takins, or marmots throughout the way, adding spice on these unforgettable moments. The Himalayan region of Bhutan is also home to some of the rarest animals like Snow Leopards, Himalayan Black Bears, and even Yeti.
The trek starts from Paro and follows the path through beautiful alpine meadows and high mountain passes with stimulating views of Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsherimgang. Then, you trek through the isolated semi-nomadic village of Laya and witness unique culture, tradition, and lifestyle.
Join us on this exciting trip to Bhutan to make in even more impressive. Trekking in Bhutan can is accessible all year round. However, the best season to trek in this region is between April – June and September – November. During these seasons, there is a low risk of rainfall; the weather is mostly clear, which gives us unobstructed views of the distant mountains. There is also minimal risk of landslide and other natural disasters during this time.
Visit many exotic monasteries and Dzongs of Bhutan
Enjoy stunning views of Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsherimgang
Enjoy relaxing bath at hot water springs of Gasa
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Airport Transfer
- Ground transport
- International airfares
- Travel insurance.
- Laundry/beverages/telephone calls and any personal expenses.
Paro to Sharna Jampa
Driving about 12 kilometers to the northern side of Paro valley, we will arrive at the historical ruins of Drugyal Dzong at an altitude of 2580 meters. From this place, we will begin our trekking journey. On our arrival, we will meet our trekking crew. After a while, we walk downhill on a broad path alongside the Pachhu river, which then rises gently through the rice terrace fields and fields of millet. The valley soon widens, and the track enters an area of apple orchards, traditional farmhouses, and the small village of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. After passing through the blue pine forest, we reach the army checkpoint of Gunitsawa at an altitude of 2810 meters. Here, you will get permit checked and stamped. This checkpoint is also the last point to Tibet, and there is a border nearby it. Walking a bit from here, we come across a river, Pachu River. We cross this river via a wooden bridge and then ascend towards Shana Zampa at an elevation of 2870 meters. Today, we will camp at the meadow surrounded by woods right after Shana Zampa.
Shana Zampa to Soi Thangkha
From Shana Zampa, the trail again moves along the Pachhu River. We walk through many ups and downs through pine, oak, and spruce forests. After continuously walking for a couple of hours and passing several streams, we arrive at Shingkharap, a stone house lying at the elevation of 3110 meters. After crossing the bridge, we will stop for a short lu ch break towards the left side of the river. After lunch, we walk towards the junction of Tibet and the wooden bridge. We take the path leading to the wooden bridge. After passing through the rhododendron forest and crossing another bridge, we reach our campsite at the height of 3750 meters, in the middle of a beautiful meadow.
Soi Thangka to Jangothang Base Camp
Although we will not cover a long distance today, we will be gaining significant height as the route moves above the tree line. The path from camp keeps ascending for a while until you reach the army camp. Then, we follow the track above the tree line from where we will get an astonishing view of surrounding peaks. Walking through a muddy part of the route, we pass a mani wall to enter the yak country. Here, we will stop for a short lunch break. After lunch, we head past the yak herder camp of Soe and Takethang. Barley, potatoes, and turnips are some of the major crops harvested by the locals. Walking across a plateau, and moving up a stream bed and past Dangochang Village, we reach the beautiful campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4040 meters. You can get an astonishing view of Mount Jomolhari and Jichu Drake from here.
Acclimatization day at Jangothang
Today, we will spend the day going for a short hike to the northern side of the camp. Technically, there is no route, but we will climb on an open and endless slope until coming across the view of Mt. Jichu Drakye. On the way, we might also encounter rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles, and the beautiful blue poppy. The foothill of Jangothang is flat grassy land with an old wrecked fortress lying on a hillock in the foreground below the massive Jumolhari and Jitchu Drake. There is a massive risk of altitude sickness in this region, so it is a must to get appropriate rest and acclimatize properly. If you want, you might simply relax in the tent instead of hiking.
Jangothang to Lingshi
We take a trail through the stream for about half an hour. Then, we cross the bridge to ascend towards the firsts ridge. From here, we can get enchanting views of Jumolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6989m), and Tshering Gang (6789m). Enjoying the views from here, we walk towards a plain valley for a while, until we reach Ngye La pass at the height of 4700 meters. After crossing the pass, we drop down steadily towards the camp. We can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and Lingshi Dzong, along the way. If we have enough time, we will also take a tour of this small fortress that lies on a top of the hill, overlooking Lingzhi village below. For hundreds of years, Lingzhi Dzong was a stop for weary Buddhist pilgrims and defense fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. Today, we will camp at an altitude of 4010 meters.
Lingshi to Chebisa
After visiting the LIngshi Dzong that stands on the top of the hill with a commanding view of green hills, the winding river, and magnificent peaks. For hundreds of years, Lingzhi Dzong was a stop for weary Buddhist pilgrims and defense fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. Today’s walk is easy through villages and yak herder’s camp. After lunch, we will take a short step to Chebisa. Chebisa is a small beautiful village decorated with beautiful crystal clear waterfall. We will camp in the side of this waterfall at an altitude of 3850 meters.
Chebisa to Shoumuthang
We will begin the trek with a steep climb up to a ridge towards Gogu La Pass at the height of 4500 meters. The rise alone takes about four hours. As we near the peak of the pass, we will encounter many rare blue sheep on the rocks. Crossing the pass, we drop down through the rhododendron forest. From here, we continue along the path with sporadic ups and downs. Then, we cross the stream through rhododendron forests and yak herders camp to reach Shakepasa at an elevation of 3980 meters. Then, we walk down past a dense forest until we arrive at today’s destination at Shaksepasa. We take a steep climb up to the northern side of the valley and pass by several yak herder’s camps to reach the campsite of Shaksepasa. We will set the camp beside a stream at an altitude of 4250 meters.
Day Eight :
Shomuthang to Robluthang
The trek begins with a walk through the route bounded with edelweiss. Then, a climb to Jari La passes at an altitude of 4700 meters. On the south-east side, we will get the view of the snow-covered peak, Kangbum, at an altitude of 6526 meters. From here, we descend to Tsarijathang valley, the summer residence of rare Himalayan Takins (national animal of Bhutan). From here, we might have to cross the stream, as often the footbridge gets washed away. Afterward, we move to the left side, then climb until we arrive at Robluthan, a rocky meadow camp at 4200 meters.
Robluthang to LIngmithang
On this day, we will cross the highest point of the trek. We climb through boggy patches, cross a stream, and traverse marmot holes and moraine to reach the peak of Shingchen La Pass at an elevation of 5005 meters. From this point, we can get stunning views of snow-covered Gangchenta or the Tiger Mountain oaring on the northern vista. From the pass, we climb down through rough trail following moraine river valley to Kango Chhu River. The following path is slender, and we might again have to cross a stream. After walking past a cedar forest, we arrive Lingmethang (4,140m), a beautiful sprinkled pasture by the river with Tiger Mountain towering behind your campsite.
Lingmithang to Laya
You will get the astonishing view of the Gangchenta peak in front of you, right after you wake up in the morning. It is a pleasant walk to Laya, and we will get to see many incredible sights. We pass through a moist forest, full of moss and melodious birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second-highest settlement in the country, at an altitude of 3,800m.
Rest day at Laya
Today, we will explore Laya village. Bhutanese people are very hospitable. If you go and visit any houses around, they will offer a cup of tea or local wine to even a total stranger. The dress that the people of this valley wear is quite impressive. Especially the women, they wear conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments.
Laya - Chamsa
We first drop down to the army camp, then join the Mochu River. Following the river, we cross the bridge, then walk through many ups and downs through juniper and fir forests until you reach the camp at Chamsa at an altitude of 3,800m.
Chamsa to Gas Tshachu
Walking for about half an hour through a plain land, we reach the Bari La Pass. From here, the path is mostly downhill to the Gasa Tshachu.
Rest day at Gasa Tshachu
After a strenuous trek, we will relax today. We visit the village and Dzong, built in the 17th century by the primary religious King, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders.
Gasa Tshachu to Punakha
After breakfast, you will drive through heavily forested areas full of wild orchids to arrive at Damji Village (2,400m). Then continuing downhill through the high agricultural benches and lush semi-tropical gorge full of banana trees and creepers. Afterward, we follow the Mo Chhu river through thick forest to reach Tashithang at an altitude of 1,620m and further down for 15km to Punakha.