Beautiful Laya, Gasa Trekking - 16 Nights/ 17 Days

Beautiful Laya, Gasa TrekkingLaya, Gasa trek is a 17 days trek, an extension of Jhomolhari trek and offers diverse flora and fauna, including a good opportunity to spot blue sheep. Laya, Gasa trek starts from Drugyel Dzong to the isolated valleys of Lingzhi, up to the Laya region at 4,000 meters (over 13,000 feet), where yak-herders live at the foot of Mt. Masagang, at 7,200 meters (23,620 feet) and the sub-tropical Punakha valley at 1,300 meters (4,265 feet). Lingzhi played an important role in controlling travel over Lingzhi la between Bhutan and Tibet. Goyak is another pleasant settlement; a compact village of stone houses clustered together which is very unusual in Bhutan. Also, watch for bearded vultures and Himalayan Griffons flying overhead. There are several large herds of blue sheep livind in the rocks and you are sure to spot one on this trail. Tsheri Jathang, a Takin Sanctuary where herds of Takin [Bhutan's National animal] migrate during summer and remain for about 04 months. You can see classic examples of lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up on both sides. Views of different peaks and mountains are just fabulous and probably the best that you can see from any other part of the country.

Laya, Gasa trekking in Bhutan also introduces you to the unusual culture of Layap people and offers a stop at a natural hot spring in Gasa. The Laya women wear black yak-hair costumes and conical bamboo hats, a very distinct traditional costume worn nowhere else except Laya. Laya route passes by hot springs and Gasa Dzong, and through different levels of vegetation. This trek combines a variety of landscapes, villages, and majestic views of peaks.

Laya, Gasa trek offers a great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high passes. Shingche La at 5,005m is the highest pass that you will cross on this trek. There is an ample chance to spot yaks, blue sheep, vultures and rare birds. Depending on the time of year, you will also see large herds of takins in the forested valley of Tsherijathang. Spectacular campsite, beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive peaks, of which the most notable are Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, are also the features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated Dzongs and scattered settlements, including the outlandish village of Laya, provide a great deal of cultural interest en route.

Season: This trek is generally open from April to June and mid September to mid November. However the best trekking month in Laya region is April

Beautiful Laya, Gasa Trekking - Day to Day itinerary

Day 01. Arrive Paro (By Druk Air):

The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Mountain Sherpa Trekking & Expeditions will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the Hotel.

Day 02. Paro – Shana (Start of Trek):

Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro River and we pass cultivated fields and tiny web picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly colored butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. Altitude 2,820m; Distance14Km; Time 5-6hours.

Day 03. Shana-Thangthangka:

The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction reroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. Altitude 3610 m; Distance 21 Km; Time 7-8hours.

Day 04.Thangthangka-Jangothang:

In the morning after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Altitude 4,115 m; Distance 15 Km; Time 5 - 6 hours.

Day 05. Jangothang (Halt): A rest day.

A chance to acclimatize and walk up to the Jhomolhari glacier or to the lakes in the opposite direction.

Day 06. Jangothang – Lingshi:

A good day’s walk today with spectacular views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after some 3 to 4 hours reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m). After the pass we descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming down from Lingshi we obtain our first views of the truly mystical Dzong atop a high hill. Altitude 4000m; Distance 17 kms; Time 6 - 7 hours.

Day 07. Lingshi – Chebisa:

This is a magical day. Leaving Lingshi behind we gently climb gently to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is set right below a 300 m cliff. Another hours walk brings us to a lovely little valley with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa, where we camp by the side of the river. The walk is very leisurely with plenty of reasons and opportunities to linger. Altitude 3,780m; Distance 12 kms; Time 4 - 5 hours.

Day 08. Chebisa – Shomuthang:

We start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron. We climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed. Altitude3, 890m; Distance17kms; Time 6-7hours.

Day 09. Shomuthang – Robluthang:

A long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains above us. We drop steeply down a forest trail to the Tsarigathang valley, where herds of takin roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbing up Robluthang where we camp. Altitude 4,100m; Distance 22 kms; Time 7 - 8 hours.

Day 10. Robluthang – Lemithang:

This is one of the hardest days of the trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4,870 m. and are rewarded with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the valley. On a clear day practically all the mountains on the northern border are visible. Eagles, griffin vultures, blue sheep and yaks abound in this area. We descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank. Altitude 4,040m; Distance kms; Time 6-7hours.

Day 11. Lemithang – Laya:

We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and then enter the village of Laya. The people of Laya are famous for they’re vertical stripe yak hair clothing and their strange conical bamboo hats. The women wear their hair long and with great deal of turquoise and jade jewelry. The features of the people are even more Tibetan/ Mongolian than the Bhutanese who live in the central valleys The rest of the day is spent at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks. Altitude3, 880m; Distance10kms; Time4-5hours.

Day 12. Laya (Halt):

We have a rest day at Laya and an opportunity to meet the local people

Day 13. Laya - Koena:

The rail winds along the river valley offers breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Over night at camp. Altitude3, 300m; Distance19kms; Time 6/7hours.

Day 14. Koena - GasaTsachu:

We gradually climb up to Balela pass at 3,740 m and then descend to Gasa village. The first sight of the Gasa Dzong perched on the hillside over the village is one of the sights of the trip. We then drop steeply down to the river for an hour and camp near the Hot Spring a chance for a good, hot bath! Altitude: 2,638m; Distance 15kms; Time: 6/7hours.

Day 15. Gasa Tsachu - Goen Damji - Punakha (End of Trek):

After the climb away from Gasa Tsachu the trail winds through rolling hillsides with the vista of fields, villages and forests of oak and pine. Gasa Dzong will be visible behind you glued to the valley wall, seeming afloat in space. The trail descends from the high agricultural benches above the Mochu into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and the sight of an occasional monkey. Dinner and Overnight in Hotel at Paro.

Day 16. Punakha - Paro :( 72 Kms)

After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, 'a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.After lunch, drive to Thimphu. Enroute visit Chimi Lhakhang also called Temple of Fertility built by Lama Drukpa kuenley in 17th century. Dinner and Overnight in Hotel at Paro.

Day 17. Departure.

Early breakfast and drive to Airport. Trip ends here!


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