The 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. This fourteen day, 217 km journey begins at Drukgyel in Paro and takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows, high mountain passes and dense sub-tropical jungles before terminating in Damji in Tashithang.
The first five days of this trek follow the same route as the Jomolhari Trek I through Jigme Singye National Park and offer awe-inspirin...
Day 1Arrival Paro
The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro River). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
The flight to Paro is considered one of the most spectacular flight experiences in the world. While flying in and out of Bhutan, one can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makula, and other high peaks such as Jumolhari, Jichu Drakey, and Tsrim Gang. You will be received by representative of Exquisite Bhutan.
After landing, check into hotel and after some refreshment visit the National Museum and the Runpung Dzong, and explore Paro town.
Day 2Snowman Trek starts: Paro - Sharna Zampa - Thangthangkha
Paro - Gunitsawa Village
After an early breakfast, drive 2 hours from Paro town to Shana village which follow Paro Chhu passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses and after about hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army check post your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed.
On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley 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 Mt.Jumolhari.
Day 3Great view of Mt. Jomolhari
Sharna Zampa - Thangthangkha
On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley 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 Mt. Jomolhari.
Ascent: 770 m Descent: 10 m Camp altitude: 3,610 m.
Day 4Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas
Thangthangkha - Jangothang
Today we continue our trek up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. 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.
Day 5Spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley
The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. You can also trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area.
Day 6A long trekking day
Jangothang - Lingshi
Today is one of the longest days of the trek. We will pass through Nyilila pass at 4,870m and see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains.
After lunch we will continue our trek and reach Lingsh, a beautiful U-shaped valley, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on clear days. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong.
Day 7Spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail.
Lingshi - Chebisa
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.
After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. 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.
Day 8A long ascent behind Chebisa Village
Chebisa - Shomuthang
The morning starts with a long ascent behind Chebisa Village (2-3 hours) through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). After crossing Gobu La (4,410m), you descend into the valley, then climb again a little bit, before descending again to Shakshepasa (3,980), a large U-shaped valley. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang, above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu River.
Day 9Great view of Tiger Mountain
Shomuthang - Robluthang
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. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang located in a beautiful wide and remote valley.
Day 10Landscapes of lateral moraines
Robluthang - Limithang
The trek starts out with an initial 40-60mins ascent before gradually raising for another 1.5 hours through a boulder field. It is then a 1 hour steep ascent before reaching Sinche La (5,005m) – the final and highest pass on the trek if you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards. As you descend the far side of the passyou will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of 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.
Ascent: 850 m Descent: 870 m Camp altitude: 4,140 m.
Day 11Trail to the west side of Laya village
Limithang - Laya
Today, you walk downhill all the way along a narrow, winding river valley. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. In the village center is a community school and a basic health unit with a telephone connection. The campsite is located below the school.
Day 12Pass through the river valley of Mo Chhu
Laya - Koina
The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the raging 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.
Day 13Last major climb of the Laya Gasa Trek
Koina - Gasa
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), 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.
Day 15Punakha to Paro
Punakha - Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro. En-route stop in Thimphu for lunch, shopping etc and continue to Paro in the afternoon