Laya Gasa Trek is an amazing experience in the rural setting in the Land of Thunder Dragon, Bhutan. The 17-day Laya Gasa Trek itinerary is a package combining an experience with Bhutan's nature and culture. The first half of this trek is the same as the Jumolhari trek, while the second half takes you through a mesmerizing path with views of snowcapped mountains amidst a lush forest towards Laya and Gasa. The trek takes you through diverse terrains; some ascends, some descends, and into proximity to the high-standing mountains. It is an adventurous trek for those with a thrill to cross multiple high passes within two weeks. The age-old monasteries standing high and mighty among some pristine settings get you a little closer to the Bhutanese people's beliefs.
Throughout the trek, you get introduced to the natural flora and fauna of the country. Most of the forest along the way is of oak, rhododendron, fir, and juniper. These enchanting forests between the distance from your campsite give an amazing sensation of calm, and you feel connected with nature. Waterfalls nestle around huge rocks with a bright green surrounding scenery on the way towards Laya and Gasa. The yak herder's settlement and the scarcely populated villages offer an experience to intermingle with the lovely Bhutanese tribes. Their traditional cooking utensils, clothing, houses are something out of a documentary. The trek concludes on a wonderful note, with the hot springs of Gasa blanketing your tired muscles and healing any internal ailments.
|Day 1||Arrival at Paro|
|Day 2||Acclimatization and sightseeing hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery|
|Day 3||Trek from Drukgyal Dzong (Paro) to Shana (2,850m/9,350ft) – 17 km- 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 4||Trek from Shana to Sio Thangthangkha (3,750m/12,303ft)- 6 to 7 hours|
|Day 5||Sio Thangthangkha to Jangothang (4,050m/13,287ft) – 19 km- 4 to 5 hours|
|Day 6||Acclimatize at Jangothang|
|Day 7||Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi (4,100m/13,451ft) – 19 km, 6-7 hours|
|Day 8||Lingshi to Chebisa (3850m/12,631ft) – 12 km, 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 9||Chebisa to Shomuthang (4130m/13,549ft) – 17 km, 6 to 7 hours|
|Day 10||Shomuthang to Robluthang (4160m/13,648ft) – 15 km, 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 11||Robluthang to Lingmithang (4140m/13,582ft) – 19 km, 7 to 8 hours|
|Day 12||Lingmithang to Laya (3850m/12,631ft) – 10 km, 3-4 hours|
|Day 13||Laya to Koena (3800m/12,467ft) - 19Km, 6 to 7 hours|
|Day 14||Koena to Gasa (2900m/9,514ft) – 19 km, 6 to 7 hours|
|Day 15||Gasa to Punakha, 75 Km, 3 Hours|
|Day 16||Punakha to Thimphu, 76 Km, 2-3 Hours|
|Day 17||Thimphu to Paro and Depart|
The Laya Gasa Trek begins from the valley town of Paro and concludes in Thimphu city with the main attractions of Laya and Gasa in between. As you set your foot into Paro valley, you come to realize the natural and cultural beauty of Bhutan.
You begin your trip by visiting the most popular landmark, the Tiger's Nest Monastery, built in 1684. The experience is almost out worldly as you visit the Monastery sitting on the edge of the misty cliff and learn about the myth of Guru Rimpoche.
The actual trek begins with a walk past the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong. The trail allows you to walk through the beautiful terrace and millet fields alongside the Pachu river, and Gunitsawa followed by Shana. You then head to the challenging part of the trek, towards Thangthangkha. The trail leads with a river on the side and sometimes amidst lush oak, rhododendron forest.
From Thangthangkha, the trek heads to Paro Chhu valley crossing an army check-post for permit entry registration and through the yak herder's home. After crossing through some of the villages, the day ends at Jangothang camp. The next day is set for acclimatization at Jangothang, which can be utilized by visiting the nearby Tsophu Lake. The next day, the trek crosses a bridge and climbs to the first ridge to better view the mountains. This is where Nylie Las pass is crossed to descend to the Lingshi campsite.
On the next day, if you wish, you can take a detour to the Lingshi Dzong and then proceed on with your trek. The trail then walks past the yak herder's Camp to cross villages into the nearby campsite at Chebisa. From Chebisa Village, the trail opens up to a wide pasture to Gobu La pass. After a gentle climb, then a descend to Shakshepasa, the nearest Camp is Shomuthang, our stop for the day.
The next day, leaving the Camp, a climb up the valley takes you to Jhari La pass. Some majestic views of mountains like Gangchhenta and Kang Bum are observed. On this day, you have to finish a long trek crossing the highest pass of the trek, Shinge La, passes at an elevation of 5,010m. Crossing the pass takes you to Lingmithang campsite after heading through the Kango Chhu River.
From Lingmithang, you enter Laya. On the way, you have to walk through a damp forest with views of high-standing mountains like Gangchhenta and Masagang. From Laya, you descend to an army camp and join the Mo Chhu river through the bridge. You then pass a juniper and fir forest to enter the Koena campsite.
Koena then leads to Gasa, known famously for the wonderful villages, and Gasa Tshachu Hot Spring. After talking to the ethnic people ad enjoying the hot bath, you will head to Punakha the next day. From there on, the next day's drive takes you to the capital city of Thimphu. The Thimphu market can be enjoyed in the evening. The next day's departure flight will conclude the Laya Gasa Trek journey.
Paro is a valley town in the Land of Druk and the only International Airport in the entire country. Paro is welcoming and warm both by nature and by its people. The amazing Laya Gasa trek begins with a scenic flight to Paro. Upon your arrival at Paro, you will be welcomed by our Bhutanese guide at Third Rock Adventures. You will then be escorted to your hotel for the stay. After refreshment, you will be briefed about the trek by our guide.
You can go for a quick hike to the nearby Rimpung Dzong, a beautiful Buddhist Monastery. It was once a fortress of the Drukpa Lineage of the 17th century. At present, the Monastery houses the monastic body and the administrative governance offices of Bhutan.
After visiting Rimpung, you pass through a wooden bridge to Kichu Lhakhang, an ancient and sacred shrine. While returning to the streets of Paro, you will come across ancient architectural buildings.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Paro.
In almost all destinations, trekking in Bhutan begins with a hike to the most popular destinations known, Tiger's Nest Monastery. The Monastery is also known as Paro Taktsang or Taktsang Palpung locally because of its mystical beliefs and the way it is situated high on a cliff.
The hike towards Tiger's Nest begins early in the morning after breakfast. The hike is pretty easy, and walks through a forest of pine. As you reach a misty area, you will have entered the cave. The Monastery legend is that Guru Rimpoche/Padmasambhava flew on the back of a tigress and marked it as a place for his three months of meditation. Guru Rimpoche is known to be the holy tantric who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Built in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, it is the main place of worship for the Buddhis pilgrims.
You will return to your hotel at Paro for an overnight stay.
Today is an exciting day since the trek to Laya Gasa begins from this day on. You begin by taking a downhill hike from the ruins of Drugyal Dzong, Paro, at 2300m. Drugyal is a Buddhist monastery situated in the upper part of the Paro valley.
After that, the climb gently leads alongside the Pachu River to traverse through the bright green rice terraces and fields of millet. The small villages along the way represent the lifestyle of the Bhutanese people. After Mitsizamp, the farmlands head to Zakhapang. The trek leads through a field of apple orchards and forests, and the valley widens as you enter Gunitsawa village and pass the army post. After a while, you will reach your campsite at Shaha. Nestled between pine forests and beside a swiftly flowing river, you will stay overnight.
Overnight stay at Camp in Shana.
Today you will have to walk for a long time, so you have to be prepared early in the morning. The trek spans around 21 km, so that you will walk off with a heavy breakfast. The trek begins with an uphill walk through the river valley, which finally narrows and descends to a meadow. On this day, you will get to see the views of one of the highest mountains in the world, Mt. Jumolhari, at 7,326m/24,035ft.
Following a river stream, you will ascend through lush green forests of blue pine, oak, rhododendron, trees, fir, and birch. Walking through a bumpy path and passing wooden bridges, you reach Thombuszam. Many trekking trails branch through this area. You will pass up a ridge with a chorten to reach your Camp.
Overnight stay at Camp in Sio Thangthangkha.
After having breakfast, the morning trek takes you to Paro Chhu valley. The trail widens into patches of an alpine meadow. Along the way, you will pass through an army checkpoint with spectacular views of high-standing mountain ridges. You will have to stop and register at the entry point but rest assured that your guide will manage the entry permits.
You will come across some yak herders and their homes, which gives a sense of Bhutan's rural setting. Along the way, you will pass villages like Sio, Takethang, and Dangochang, major attractions of the day. This is one of the most special days since you get Jichu Drake and Julmori mountains' views. As you reach your campsite, you might spot some rare birds like the Yellow-billed Chough, White-Throated Dipper, Snow Patridge, and more. The campsite is a wide, calm area where you can rest and reminisce all the beautiful sights seen on this day's trek.
Overnight stay at Camp in Jangothang.
Jangothang is the perfect place to acclimatize. After the long trek, the Laya Gasa Trek itinerary offers a day to rest your body and help to acclimatize against the sudden change in altitude. Jangothang offers a lot of small hikes that you can engage in during this day. You will see the Jumolhari and Jinchu Drake at a distance. For a close-up view of the mesmeric mountains, you can hike further above. You may also hike around the nearby Tsophu Lake, which is another highlight of this trek.
Bhutan is rich in flora fauna, which is assured by the blue sheep that you are likely to spot on the valley's upper slopes. Bhutan's national flower- Himalayan Blue Poppy, Himalayan Rhubarb, and Golden Eagle may also come into view.
Overnight stay at Camp.
On this day, you will continue your trek again, this time following a stream to cross the bridge on the right side. After climbing to the first ridge, you will observe Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tshering Gang. You will walk through flat land for a while, and then a sudden climb leads you to the Nylie La pass. Until now, it is the trek's highest point at an altitude of 4,830m/15,846ft. The cold wind and the tough trek are worth it as you are introduced to a panoramic view of Tshering Gang at an altitude of 6789m.
The trek follows a short descend to the Lingshi campsite. You can also visit the Lingshi Dzong, which is the office of the Drungpa. As the trek comes to an end at your Camp, you will be exhilarated by the views of the majestic mountains.
Overnight stay at Camp in Lingshi.
While you will have to depart Lingshi for Chebisa for the Laya Gasa Trek, the Jumolhari Trek branches out from Lingshi to a different destination from this point on. Below Lingshi Dzong, you will come across a Chorten. If you did not visit the Lingshi Dzong the previous day, you could go on a detour today. It sits atop a high ridge at 4,220m/13,845ft.
Along the way to Chebisa, the yak herders can be seen in their camps. You will also cross many villages. Since the trek concludes early today, you can visit the nearby villages and intermingle with the villagers. You will get to learn a lot about their cultures and traditions. Nearby your campsite, you can visit a beautiful waterfall. The visit to these places will be worth the while.
Overnight stay at Camp in Chebisa.
You get up early in the morning for today's trek and take a long ascend behind the Chebisa Village. The trail passes through wide pastures to Gobu La Pass at the altitude of 4420m. You will witness the villagers herding their yaks. Some blue sheep may also be spotted on the way.
After the climb, the trail takes a swift to ascend into the valley, followed by a gentle climb before descending again to Shakshepasa at 3980m. Shakshepasa is a U-shaped valley from where the trail leads to your campsite at Shomuthang. The views from your campsite are equally mesmerizing.
Overnight stay at Camp in Shomuthang.
After leaving your campsite at Shomuthang, you will begin to climb up the valley. In the Southeast region, you will spot a snow-peaked mountain called Kang Bum (6,526m). The trail takes you to Jhari La(4,750m/15,583ft) after just two hours of climb. You can catch the first glimpse of Sinche La, the highest pass of the trek that you will have to cross the next day.
The northern peak seen from here is Gangchhenta at 6,840m, famously known as the Great Tiger Mountain. By the river, there is a camp called Tsheri Jathang. From here on, you will have to take a gradual climb upwards to reach Robluthang campsite.
Overnight stay at Camp in Robluthang.
The trek today is long, so ensure you have a heavy breakfast. You will be leaving your campsite at Robluthang and proceed towards the Shinge La pass. The trek is not just tough but equally exciting. As you reach the 5010m mark at Shinge La pass, you will feel a sense of pride and triumph.
You take a quick descend to see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake. Just below the moraine, you will pass the Kango Chhu to meet the Lingmithang campsite not very far away. Views of the Gangchhenta peak will tower at a distance from your Camp.
Overnight stay at Camp in Lingmithang.
The trek for today is a short one, so you can enjoy every aspect of the route on your way to Laya. With the amazing views of the Gangchhenta peak in front of you through the trek, the trek to Laya seems nothing but a short walk.
Along the way, your experience will be enhanced as you come across a damp forest filled with birds chirping. Laya has the second-highest settlement in Bhutan and sits at an altitude of 3850m. As you rest at your Camp, you will be offered tantalizing views of Mt. Gangchhenta and Mt. Masagang.
Overnight stay at Camp in Laya.
You will be leaving the main highlight of the trek, Laya, and descend to an army camp. You eventually join the Mo Chhu river and follow it till you reach the bridge. After crossing the bridge, you will pass the wonderous forest of juniper and fir. The forest depicts the true beauty of Bhutan. You might hear the sweet sound of birds singing along the way.
Gradually after leaving the forest behind, you end up at the Koena camp. The Camp is situated at 3,800m.
Overnight stay at Camp in Koena.
After breakfast, the trek begins towards Gasa, the second major highlight of our trek. The trek from Koena to Gasa is a simple one. You will have to walk for over half an hour in flat land towards Barila La pass at an altitude of 4,100m/13,451ft.
Leaving the high pass, you will descend throughout the way to reach Gasa Tshachu. You can get to know more about the people and culture of Gasa village during lunch. Your guide will introduce you to various cultural aspects of the Buddhist people.
You will go downhill until you reach Gasa Tshachu Hot Spring. The hot spring at Gaasa is one of the most famous in Bhutan. It is known to cure many underlying diseases and ailments. After a hot bath, you will head back to camp and stay for the night, finally ending your trek.
Overnight stay at Camp in Gasa.
After your entire trekking days conclude, you will be driven to Punakha. The ride takes you through agricultural benches above the Mo Chhu river. It leads to a lush semi-tropical valley with banana trees and creepers. The road to Punakha is mostly unpaved.
Punakha is the administrative center of the Punakha Dzongkhag district of Bhutan. It was once the capital of Bhutan, and Punakha is home to the Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress between Pho and Mo Chhu rivers. The Monastery is very beautiful so you should visit there after having lunch.
You will stay overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
From Punakha, you will head to the capital city of Thimphu. The ride will be exciting as you stop at Dochu La pass for a nice cup of tea. On a clear day, the views of the high Himalayas can be easily spotted. You will be escorted to your hotel in Thimphu.
Upon reaching Thimphu, you can head out for a stroll through the lovely city. You can even buy some souvenirs to remember the wonderful trek as you head back home.
You will stay overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
On this day, you will be leaving Bhutan for home. Our Bhutanese guide will drive you to Paro International Airport. After your interesting Laya Gasa trek, with a heavy heart, we will bid you a farewell. As you head back home after boarding the flight, you are bound to reminisce the landmarks you visited in Paro, the monasteries along the trek, the amazing views of the Himalayas, and all the high passes that you triumphed over.
You can remember Third Rock Adventures to plan your next wonderful trek in the beautiful and mystical Bhutan.