Laya, 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
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Later in the afternoon, you can visit the Paro Dzong. You'll cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to the Dzong. Afterward you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the evening you can stroll through the Paro market and town. Overnight hotel in Paro.
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to Paro valley. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Drive up to Drukgyal Dzong where the road ends and start the trek by following the river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will find plenty of traditional farmhouses in a purely rural setting. The campsite is just beyond an army outpost. Alt. 2800m, Distance - 17 km and time 5-6 hours.
Continue uphill through the river valley, which narrows and closes in after some distance. The trail then winds up and down along the drainage. Most of the trail actually is downhill after the initial climb. The campsite is located in a meadow with stone shelter. Alt. Approx. 3400m, distance 15 km, time 4-5 hours.
Walk up along the Pachu (Paro River), pass a small army outpost where the valley begins to widen again. You can now clearly view the high ridges and the snow-capped mountains all around and also see the yaks and the yak herder's winter homes. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of the Jumolhari Mountain. Alt. 4040m. Distance 19 km and time 5-6 hours.
Today is a rest and acclimatization for the next day's highest climb on this trek. You will hike to explore nearby mountains and lakes.
Walk up toward the pass through a wide pastureland. Depending on the season you are there, you might find some yak herders in their camping tents along the way. As you come down after the pass to the Lingshi basin, you will see some beautiful views of the Lingshi Dzong, valley, Tserim Kang (mountain) and its descending glaciers at the north end of the valley. Camp in a stone shelter with a built-in fire pit or in the tent. Alt. 4150m. Distance 19 km. Time 5-6 hours.
Today is the shortest walking day and you can really take it easy. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa, you can visit the village houses if you feel up to it. Alt. 3850m. Distance 12 km. Time 3-4 hours.
You will walk through a wide pastureland towards Gobu-la (pass). On the way, you will see few people herding the yaks. After crossing the Gobu -la (Alt. 4350m) descend down to the valley. The campsite is on a bench above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river. Alt. 4260. Distance 17 km. Time 5-6 hours.
As the walk is little strenuous, it is advisable to start little early. After crossing the Jerela (pass) alt. 4600m you come down to Tsharijathang valley where you can normally see herds of Takins. Camp at Tsharijathang. Alt.4390m. Distance 15 km. Time 6-7 hours.
After crossing the Shingela pass, alt. 4900m, you come down and follow the valley. Lingmithang is under the Laya District and you will see people dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head. Camp at Lingmithang. Alt. 4140m. Distance 19 km. Time 6-7 hours.
Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. Campsite is on a high flat bench above the Laya village. Alt. 3850m. Distance 10 km. Time 3-4 hours.
Rest and explore the Laya village.
The trail winds up and down along the river valley avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Camp at Alt. 3800m. Distance 19 km. Time 6-7 hours.
You cross the Babela pass, Alt.3740m, after which the trail is all the way down till you reach the campsite which is close to Gasa Dzong. Alt. 2900m. Distance 17 km. Time 6-7 hours.
Today you will relax in the hot spring. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan. Camp at Gasa Tsachu.
Today you will drive to Punakha on unpaved roads. The drive is through the high agricultural benches above the Mochu (Chu means River) into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees and creepers. Check into hotel on arrival.
Afterwards you will visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. After lunch, drive to Wangdue. You can visit the ruins of Wangdue Dzong, the 17th century monuments. It sits atop a high ridge between the Puna Tsangchu and the Dang Chu. The place is also known for its fine bamboo works, slate and stone carvings. You can visit the Rinchengang village on the opposite side of the river, which is a unique cluster of houses made up of mud. The people of this village are of Indian origin who originally were brought into Bhutan as constriction workers of the Dzong. In the evening, drive back to Punakha. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Today you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama's wooden phallus! Continue drive to Thimphu with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. You will also visit the new Druk Wangyel Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Check into your hotel on arrival.
In the afternoon, you will visit the busy Weekend Market at the bank of Thimphu River where people from nearby villages come here to sell their farm products. You can stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and mangoes. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It's fun to wander the aisle, taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market. Perhaps this market scene offers wonderful opportunity for photographs and to mingle with local people. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu city and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast you will visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972); Changangkha Monastery, traditional paper factory, reTashichodzong , the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, the office of the King and living quarters of the Chief Abbot and monks. You will then drive to Kuenselphodrang overlooking Thimphu valley and where giant Buddha statue is under construction. 169 feet statue is reputed to be the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Later in the afternoon, you will drive to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, drive to airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.
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