Beautiful Laya/Gasa Trek (21 Days)
Trekking in Bhutan
Day – 1 Arrive Paro by Druk Air. You will be received at the airport by our company representative and transferred to your hotel.
Day – 2 Morning : Drive to Drugyel Dzong ( a ruined fortress – 16 kms from Paro town) or the fortress of the victorious drukpas. From here, the peak of Chomolhari “Mountain of the Goddess” can be seen on a clear day (Alt 7,329 mtrs/24,029 ft ) On the way back, visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse.Visit the Rinpung Dzong. Built in 1645 A.D. This fortress is presently the seat of the district administration and the residence of the monk body. Lunch in the hotel. After lunch, visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). Once the watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means Monastery). Kyichu Lhakhang was built in 659 A.D by the King Soingtsen Gampo of Tibet as one of 108 such monasteries built across the Himalayas to spread Buddhism. It is located between Paro town and Drugyal Dzong. This temple marks the advent of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Day – 3 Trek begins: Paro – Shana
Drive upto the road end at Drugyal Dzong where the trek begins. Follow the river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will find plenty of traditional farm houses along the way. The camp site is just beyond an army outpost. Alt – 2800 mtrs. Distance – 17 kms and time 5-6 hrs.
Day – 4 Shana – Soe Thangthangkha
Continue uphill through the river valley which narrows and closes in after some distance. The trail then winds up and down along the drainage.The camp site is located in a meadow with stone shelter. Alt.approx – 3400 mtrs. Distance 15 kms. Time 6-7 hrs.
Day – 5 Soe Thangthangkha – Jangothang
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 settlements. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Jhomolhari Mountain. Alt – 4040 mtrs. Distance 19 kms and time 5-6 hrs.
Day – 6 Jangothang – Lingshi
Walk up towards the pass through a wide pasture land. 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 and the valley and also 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. 4150 mtrs. Distance 19 kms and time 5-6 hrs.
Day – 7 Lingshi – Chebisa
Today is the shortest walking day and you can really take it easy. On reaching the camp site at Chebisa, you can visit the village houses if you feel upto it. Alt.3850 mtrs. Distance 12 kms and time 3-4 hrs.
Day – 8 Chebisa – Shomuthang
You walk through a wide pasture land towards Gobu-la (pass). On the way, you will see few people herding yaks. After crossing the Gobu-la (Alt4350 mtrs) descend down to the valley. The camp site is on a bench above a river which is a tributary of the Nochu river. Alt.4260 mtrs. Distance 17 kms and time 5-6 hrs.
Day – 9 Shomuthang – Robluthang
As the walk is little strenuous, it is advisable to start early. After crossing the Jarela (pass) atl.4600 mtrs you come down to Tsarijathang valley where you can normally see herds of Takins. Camp at Tsarijathang. Alt 4390 mtrs. Distance 15 kms and time 6-7 hrs.
Day – 10 Robluthang – Lemithang
After crossing the Shingela pass, (alt.4900 mtrs), you come down and follow the valley. Lemithang is under the Laya District and you will see people dressed in typical Laya costume with conical bamboo hats. Camp at Lemithang. Alt 4140 mtrs. Distance 19 kms time 6-7 hrs. If you have time, it would be advisable to spend a day here exploring the valley and meeting the people who have a unique culture and way of life.
Day – 11 Lemithang – Laya
Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. Camp site is on a high flat bench above the Laya village. Alt 3850 mtrs. Distance 10 kms and time 3-4 hrs.
Day – 12 Halt in Laya for rest and to explore the Laya village.
Day – 13 Laya – Koenig
The trail winds up and down along the river valley avoiding natural obstacles and affording breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Camp alt 3800 mtrs. Distance 19 kms and time –7 hrs.
Day – 14 Koena – Gasa
You cross the Babela pass, Alt.3740 mtrs after which the trail is all the way downhill to the camp site which is close to Gasa Dzong. Alt 2900 mtrs. distance 17 kms and time 6-7 hrs.
Day – 15 Gasa – Gasa Tsachu (hot spring)
After a late breakfast, trek to Gasa Tsachu. After lunch relax in the hot spring. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot spring in Bhutan. Camp at Gasa Tsachu.
Day – 16 Gasa Tsachu – Geon Damji
After a short climb, the trail winds through the rolling hills and passes through the pine and oak forests, villages and wheat fields. You will also see a beautiful view of the Gasa Dzong glued to the valley wall, seeming to float in space. Camp alt.2280 mtrs. distance 21 kms and time 6-7 hrs.
Day – 17 Goen Damji – Tashithang – Punakha
The trail descends from the high agricultural benches above the Mochu (Chu means River) into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and various tropical vegetation. You will also see monkeys and few other animals occasionally. You will be picked up by transport either at Kamina or Tashithang. Stop at Punakha and visit the Punakha Dzong. Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan. The Dzong lies between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which means male river and female river. It was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan in 1637 A.D and is one of the most important and historical Dzongs in Bhutan. Lunch in Punakha. After lunch, drive to Thimphu. 77 kms. Time approx 3 hrs. overnight in hotel.
Day – 19 Sightseeing in Thimphu.
Visit the Memorial Chorten, a huge stupa built in memory of the Third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972, Visit the national Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit the wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D and presently houses the largest monastic school in the country. Visit Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the Royal Government as well as the summer residence of the Head Abbot and the central monastic school. Overnight in hotel in Thimphu. Overnight in hotel.
Day – 20 Drive to Dechenchholing, 6 kms from Thimphu town to view the Queen Mother’s Palace from the outside. You can take pictures of the Palace and the Dechenchholing Monastery from the outside only. Drive back to Thimphu and take a leisurely stroll in the market. After lunch, drive to Paro 65 kms. Time 2 hrs drive. Overnight in Hotel.
Day – 21 Drive up to Satsam Chorten (10kms from Paro town) and from there walk up to Taktsang monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest”. The Monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer dro0p of nearly 4000 ft. and offers a stunning view of Paro valley. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava meditated in the spot where the Monastery is situated, having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hours.
Day – 22 Departure from Paro Airport.