Laya – Gasa Trek
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
The Laya Gasa Trek is one of the most scenic treks in Bhutan and offers amazing views of some of the most pristine and untouched landscapes. It runs along the Tibetan border, through semi-nomadic villages with unique culture, traditions and appearance.
Jomolhari Trek is one of the most popular treks in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2,500m and nearly 5,000m (lowest and highest point of the route) it offers a wide range of landscape and fauna and flora. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Basecamp in Jangothang. Besides the unforgettable views of Mount Jomolhari, the trek offers spectacular views on Jichu Drake, Gangchhenta (Great Tiger Mountain). Between Jangothang and Laya the trail hardly goes below 4,000m and one has good opportunities to spot blue sheep or even Takin. Some beautiful Bhutanese mountain villages, the unique culture and appearance of the Layaps (people of Laya village). The Laya Gasa Trek is considered to be the most beautiful trek of Bhutan, only to be beaten by the tough Snowman Trek.
Fly in Paro, Bhutan - Thimphu
Welcome to Bhutan. On a clear day, one will experience breathtaking views of major Himalayan peaks, Jomolhari and Jichu Darkey in Bhutan from your flight. Upon arrival Bhutan's first gift to you will be clean fresh mountain air. Obtain your Bhutan visa which will be pre-paid, and after clearing Immigration and Customs, you will be met outside at the exit point by Bhutan Sky Trails representatives and escort you around for the sightseeing, onward to your hotel.
Visit Ta Dzong (National Museum), which towers above the Paro Dzong and viewing its well-interpreted collection of historic artifacts that makes a great prologue to the journey yet to come.
Visit Paro Dzong. This massive fortress is located in the Paro valley and is approached by a gently sloping flagstone road and a beautiful wooden bridge roofed with shingles and abutted by two guardhouses. Today, the Dzong is the Administrative seat of the district of Paro and it also contains a state monastic community of about 200 monks. The central tower ("Utse") of the Dzong is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its superb woodwork. The Dzong was built in 1646 A.D.
Paro – Shana Zampa (Campsite elevation 2890m)
Hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery. The Icon monastery of Bhutan, this monastery clings to a cliff which was built in 17th century. The monastery was burnt in 1998 and was rebuilt. The mountainside viewpoint for this dramatically situated and most sacred site is accessible by walk of about 5 hours round trip. There is also a cafeteria at mid-point, where one can enjoy refreshments and meals.
After your return to the base of Taktsang from the hike drive to the north of the valley passing by Drugyel Dzong and beautiful villages around. You will meet with your trekking team for your adventure that waits ahead.
Sharna Zampa- Thangthangkha
Approx: 22km, 7 - 8 hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m.
On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mount Jomolhari.
Thangthangkha - Jangothang
Approx: 19km, 5 - 6 hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m.
If you did not see Mount Jomolhari last evening, you will have a great chance to get a great view this early morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. Cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. Reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.
Jangothang Halt. (Acclimatization Day)
The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. Hike to Tso Phu lakes (4,350m) a relatively short trek that allows for acclimatization.
Jangothang – Lingshi
Approx: 18km, 6 - 7 hours, 840m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,010m.
After 15 min. from the camp the trail climbs rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascend to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. While on the climb enjoy the sourrrounding. You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang, all of them rising above 7,000m. On the way down to the camp you will pass by some of the yak herder’s tent, made from yak wool, where the herders take shelter while on the move to various pastures for their yaks. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Tserimgang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong.
Lingshi – Chebisa
Approx: 10km, 5 - 6 hours, 280m ascent, 410m descent, camp altitude 3,880m.
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 diversion up to the Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a ridge. Besides a very special atmosphere of mystic silence 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 a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where village houses are normally scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa with a beautiful waterfall behind the village, you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it.
Chebisa – Shomuthang
Approx: 17km, 6 - 7 hours, 890m ascent, 540m descent, camp altitude 4,220m.
You walk through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks. There is also a great chance to spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing the Gobu La (4,410m), you descend to the valley, then climb again a little bit, and descend again to Shakshepasa (3,980) where a helipad has been established. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang, above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river.
Shomuthang – Robluthang
Approx: 18km, 6 - 7 hours, 700m ascent, 760m descent, camp altitude 4,160m.
As the walk is a little strenuous, it is advisable to start early. 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 sight 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 Jumolhari will be visible. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang. 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.
Robluthang – Limithang
Approx: 19km, 6 - 7 hours, 850m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,140m.
After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) – the last and highest pass on the trek in case you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards – you descend to a little stone house where a few Laya women – dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head – live and offer their weaving products. Right behind the stone house you will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of the lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you cross the Kango Chhu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchhenta towers over the campsite even though it’s quite a distance away.
Limithang – Laya
Approx: 10km, 4 - 5 hours, 60m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 3,840m.
Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. After a long time, you again trek partly through deep forest. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. From the west of the village you will view Gangchhenta again and catch a glimpse of Masagang. In the village centre is a community school and a basic health unit with telephone connection. The campsite is below the school.
Laya – Koina
Approx: 19km, 6 - 7 hours, 260m ascent, 1,070m descent, camp altitude 3,050m.
The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to Kohi Lapcha at 3.300 m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of Koina Chhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina.
Koina – Gasa
Approx: 8km, 4 - 5 hours, 740m ascent, 970m descent,
Today you will have your last major climb of the Laya Gasa Trek. You will cross the Bari La (3,740m), after which the trail is all the way down till you reach Gasa village (2,770m), where you will bid farewell to your trekking team. Then embark of 3 hours drive to Punakha.
Punakha - Punakha
This morning drive to the north of the valley around 30mins and take a hike, which is around 1 hour to Khamsum Yule Namgyel chorten, which took more than 9 years to complete it. The walk through rice fields, passing by farm houses is very scenic and beautiful.
Visit the Punakha Dzong, which house the district administration offices. It is also the winter residence of the central monastic body and the Je Khenpo head monk of Bhutan. The dzong was damaged by fire in 1986, and recently renovated using traditional building techniques. It is one of the most beautiful Dzong in the country, located at the confluence of Pho chu (male river) and Mo chu (female river). Visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility shrine, built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the “the Divine Madman”. The cheerful flying phallus that one sees painted on homes throughout Bhutan is a tribute to this saint, whose presence distracts and thus repels evil spirits.
Punakha - Paro
Drive approximately 4 hours’ drive to Paro stopping in Thimphu for any last minute shopping. Visit Bhutan Post to make your personalize stamp if you wish or visit the local market, this is a wonderful opportunity to witness daily life of people. If locals are practicing or playing archery (the national sport) you can stop and witness the sport. Visit traditional paper making unit and on the way to Paro stop by Tachogang to see the 15th century Iron chain bridge, and after reaching Paro explore Paro town.
After breakfast, say good bye to this lovely country and you will then be transferred to the airport for you flight.
No Details Found