Laya Gasa Trek - 21 Days

Overview

Laya Gasa Trek is such a long distance trek in the high terrain region where you are taken to Laya Gasa where the lifestyle of the people there is in a semi-nomadic state, which allows you an insight into the state of affairs of natural living while on the trek ultimately. This trek is done in the upper region of Bhutan starting at Paro, the entry point by plane and finishes at Gasa Tshatsha and then being returned to Paro for a short cultural tour. Your Laya Gasa Trek gives you daily spectacular sights and you encounter various cultural and natural aspects of the Bhutanese social order in a pristine environment.

Bhutan, where you take the Laya Gasa Trek, is a country in the Himalayan Mountain Range that is to the north of the autonomous region of Tibet and India bordering it from the east, south and north. It is one of the landlocked countries of the SAARC countries. Nevertheless, the Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan has always been an independent country that follows the Buddhist faith and because of this, it is showcased in every walk of life it follows. It has evolved a natural aspect to life which is there for all to see in its culture, tradition, history and religion. So much so, it is the only country on this planet which has a negative carbon rate as it sequences all of its carbon produced internally and gives out more clean gases to clean the atmosphere. This is because, the principles of Buddhism which it follows have made it mandatory, that over sixty percent of its landmass is forested and the remaining amount it uses for sustainable agricultural practices. As all its cultural assets have so well been integrated into its landscape which it uses to its philosophical advantage. This is precisely why, taking a trek in Bhutan of Druk Path Trek  Jomolhari Circuit Trek Bumthang Cultural Trek making trekking seem natural and different from any other trek you might have done elsewhere on the planet.

This trek to Laya Gasa, contributes much to your way of seeing things in a world away from the world in the trek that you would naturally undertake. Getting into the country by its National Carrier is just a precursor to what is to be. You are taken over some of the best that the Himalayan Mountains have to offer with snow-capped mountain peaks and lush green valleys and hills while approaching the Bhutanese Territories of the Dragon Kingdom. Once you are in, then the Bhutanese hospitality begins the rounds which begin and ends with short tours of what its culture has to portray to you. The trek itself which are greater part in the open takes on daily hikes to places such as Sharna Zampa, Soi Thangkha, Jangothang Base Camp, Jangothang, Lingshi, Chebisa, Shoumothang, Robluthang, Lingmithang, Laya, Chamsa, Gasa Tshachu Tashithang wherein each place you stop and are served the natural delight of what is on offer there. You eventually return to Paro, where you are taken on a guided tour of what it and Thimphu have to offer culturally and historically in forms of it dzongs (fortresses), monasteries, temples which are still in the state in which there were built in the peaceful and tumultuous times of the Dragon Kingdom. So much so, taking the trek which lasts for about fifteen days and the cultural part another three days, will only make you a much better person coming out fresh from the pristine air and sights which you would obviously interact with, with memories to last for a lifetime.

What about lodging and boarding while on the trek?
You need not worry about this. While on the short part of the cultural part of the trek, you will be housed in three lodgings of hotels and above. While on the trek, camps site of tents will be set up before you reach you daily destinations and food prepared by a chef which goes ahead of you so that as you reach you are served with a hot cup of coffee or tea and some light snacks while dinner is halfway ready. The same is with breakfast while lunch is usually prepared ahead and carried on horses and donkeys along the way. In fact for a group of two, there is a caravan of staff following you or ahead of you. Meals are said to be better, that what you might get back at the hotel, all at the skills of the chef who, anonymously, is there on the trek. You simply bother on hiking from destination to destination daily enjoying the sights and sounds of it.

Outline Trekking Itinerary for Laya Gasa Trek
Day 1: Arrival Paro (2,250m)
Day 2: Drive from Paro to Drukgyel Dzong and trek to Sharna (2,870m)
Day 3: Trek from Sharna to Thangthangka (3,630m)
Day 4: Trek from Thangthangka to Jangothang (4,090m)
Day 5: Rest day at Jangothang (4,090m) for acclimatization
Day 6: Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi (4,010m)
Day 7: Trek from Lingshi to Chebisa (3,880m)
Day 8: Trek from Chebisa to Shomuthang (4,220m)
Day 9: Trek from Shomuthang to Robluthang (4,160m)
Day 10: Trek from Robluthang to Limithang (4,140m) crossing over Sinche La (5,005m)
Day 11: Trek from Limithang to Laya (3,840m)
Day 12: Rest Day at Laya (3,840m)
Day 13: Trek from Laya to Koina (3,050m) along Mo Chu River
Day 14: Trek from Koina to Gasa (2,770m) crossing over Barila Pass (3900m)
Day 15: Trek from Gasa to Geon Damji (2,430m)
Day 16: Trek from Geon Damji to Tashithang (1,840m) & drive to Punakha (1,310m)
Day 17: Drive from Punakha to Thimphu via Dochula Pass (3,140m)
Day 18: Sightseeing around Thimphu Sightseeing and drive to Paro (2,250m)
Day 19: Paro & hike to Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)
Day 20: Depart Bhutan

Trip Highlights

  • Witness spectacular Himalayan views of the world’s highest peaks onboard flight to/from Paro.
  • Enjoy city tour of the tiny capital Thimphu.
  • Explore Paro exploding with colors and tradition.
  • Enjoy majestic views of Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Drakey, Jomolhari.
  • Expore Jichu Darkey base glaciers lake.
  • Visit Bhutan’s old capital city – Punakha.
  • Witness the lifestyle and traditions followed by Bhutanese people.
  • Explore abundant flora and fauna.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Paro (2,250m)

Today, you land at the International Airport in Paro after flying over the world tallest mount to the lush green valley. You are met by your guides in Bhutan who will take you on a short tour of the city and then to your hotel for the night’s stay.

Day 2
Drive from Paro to Drukgyel Dzong and trek to Sharna (2,870m)

Today after a quick breakfast you drive to Drukgyel Dzong at 2,580 metres from where you start your trek. The trail gradually ascends following the Paro River through a cultivatable valley and villages to reach the meadows of Sharma Zampa where camp is set up for the night.

Day 3
Trek from Sharna to Thangthangka (3,630m)

Today, the trail first takes along the Paro River. Then it is ascends and descends via Spruce, Oak and Pine forest to reach Shingkharap and cross a few streams. Crossing a bridge on the left side of the river and walking ahead is a junction with a way to Tibet but we take the other which leads to a wooden bridge. Still climbing on via a rhododendron forest, we cross a bridge again and then reach our destination which is at 3,750 metres in a lovely meadow. We set up camp here for the night.

Day 4
Trek from Thangthangka to Jangothang (4,090m)

Today, you don’t have to trek for long, you just have a climb at hand. The path goes along over the treeline. The path take to the army camp. After this you begin following the river above the trees, giving you a wonderful sight of the mountain peaks. Then you walk through a muddy section of the trail and en-route you pass a mani wall and move into what is called yak country. Walking past the herder settlement at Soe Takethang. We then cross a plateau and move upstream passing Dangochang to the campsite of Janothang at 4,040 metres getting lovely views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. We set up camp here for the night.

Day 5
Rest day at Jangothang (4,090m) for acclimatization

Today, we simply stay in the area for acclimatization before going any hire with a short four hike to the top to see Mount Jichu Drake. You might spot some blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the blue poppy flower which is the national flower of Bhutan. When we return, we stay at the camp for the night.

Day 6
Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi (4,010m)

Today you hike upstream for half an hour coming to a bridge to the right which you cross, then you ascend up a ridge at first that gives you a lovely view of Mount Jumolhar (7,314), Jichu Drake (6,989) and Tshering Gang (6,789). Then the valley flattens out after which your hike up to Ngye La Pass at 4,700 metres. From the Pass, it is a slow descend to the camp while getting nice views of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. The Dzong was for century a station for tired Buddhist Pilgrims and defence from Tibetan invaders. You camp here for the night.

Day 7
Trek from Lingshi to Chebisa (3,880m)

Today the path we take is an easy hike with a walk through villages and herders of Yak camps. Then we head towards Chebisa with a lovely waterfall. We move a little downstream to camp for the night.

Day 8
Trek from Chebisa to Shomuthang (4,220m

The hike for the day begins with a steep ascend to Gogu La Pass at 4,500 metres where it is a common sight to spot blue sheep. Then you begin going down through rhododendron bushes. Then you continue walking with frequent ascends and descends. Then on crossing a stream and walking through rhododendron forest and herder’s camps, we get to Shakepasa at 3,980 metres. From here onwards you begin climbing steeply to the north side of the valley passing herder’s camps. Finally, we arrive at our camp site at a height of 4,250 metres.

Day 9
Trek from Shomuthang to Robluthang (4,160m)

You start today’s hike through high alpine form plants on the trail and climb towards Jari La Pass at 4,700 metres. You get nice views of the snow-capped peaks to the sout east of Kangburn. Then you start going downwards to the Tsarijathang Valley. It is the summer home of the rare Himalayan Takins. Then we cross a stream through the waters and then the trail begins going upwards till be get to Robluthang which is a rocky meadow camp at 4,200 metres where we stay for the night.

Day 10
Trek from Robluthang to Limithang (4,140m) crossing over Sinche La (5,005m)

Today we cross the highest pass of the trek. We first begin by climbing through some boggy patches to cross streams with spotted marmot holes and moraines, then you reach the Shingchen La Pass at 5,005 metres from where you will get lovely vies of Gangcheta Mountain covering the northern part of your view. Then you start going down via rocky path into the River Valley of Kangpo Chu River. Then you come to a Cedar forest and finally arrive at Lingmethang at 4,140 metres. It gives you views of the Tiger Mountain from this scattered meadows campsite. We put up camp here for the night.

Day 11
Trek from Limithang to Laya (3,840m)

Waking up to a wonderful view of Gangchenta Peak, we begin the nice hike to Laya. We pass through some dam forest filled with moss and hummming brids. You get to see waterfalls on the way. Then coming to a junction, we take the upper path which brings us to house made of stone, which tells us that we have reached the village of Laya, the second highest settlement in Bhutan. We set up camp here for the night.

Day 12
Rest Day at Laya (3,840m)

Today we take some rest at the village of Laya, just roaming around the village of Lay where you get to taste a bit of Bhutanese hospitality, either being invited in for a cup of butter tea followed by some local wine. You can see the difference in style of the clothing the women wear with the silver jewellery and bamboo hats here. We stay the night here again in camps.

Day 13
Trek from Laya to Koina (3,050m) along Mo Chu River

Today, you go down to the army camp and join the Mo Chu River. You continue all this path till you come to a bridge which you cross continuing with some ascents and descends through forest of fir and juniper till you reach the camp site at 3,800 metres. We set up camp here for the night.

Day 14
Trek from Koina to Gasa (2,770m) crossing over Barila Pass (3900m)

Today the hike begins by walking over some straight walking terrain till we reach Bari La Pass. From here the path goes down all the way till we get to Gasa Tshachu (hot spring water). We might get lucky on the way to spot some Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal and Blood Pheasants. We set camp at the village of Gasa at 2,700 metres.

Day 15
Trek from Gasa to Geon Damji (2,430m)

The trail today takes us over rolling hillsides with fileds and Oka and Pine trees. The Gasa Dzong will be stuck to the valley wall along the way. We pass through some settlement to reach Geon Damji Village where we stay the night in camps.

Day 16
Trek from Geon Damji to Tashithang (1,840m) & drive to Punakha (1,310m)

Today we end out trek by walking to Tashithang and then taking a one hour drive to Punakha. We now stay the night in a hotel.

Day 17
Drive from Punakha to Thimphu via Dochula Pass (3,140m)

On completing and early breakfast, we drive to Thimphu for three passing the Dochu La Pass, where we get off to a lovely view of snow-covered mountains to the east. From here the road goes downwards and ends in the cultivatable valley of Punakha. We stop for a while to take a hike through the rice fileds to Chimmi Lhakhang a temple dedicated to the divine madman, Drukpa Kuenley. We stay the night at a hotel.

Day 18
Sightseeing around Thimphu Sightseeing and drive to Paro (2,250m)

Today we do some sightseeing around Thimphu. We go to the Zelukha Nunnery, The National Library, Memorial Chorten of the late King and walking around the city centre. On completing lunch we head for Paro in a two hour drive halting on the way to visit Simtokha Dzong built in 1627 and then continuing on the journey to Paro. We stay the night at a hotel here.

Day 19
Paro & hike to Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)

Today we drive to the base of the taktsang Monastery and hike for two hours up to it. This is the most famous monastery which sits against a cliff nearly 3000 metres up. It is believed the Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of tigress to meditate here for three months. We also make a visit to Kyichu Lhakang and Paro Ringpong Dzong. We stay the night at a hotel.

Day 20
Depart Bhutan

Now that your trip is finally over, you will be taken to the airport by the tour staff and bid farewell for your outbound flight to your next destination from Bhutan
At Breakfree Adventures, we hope that you had a fabulous hiking trip to Laya where we prepare for it taking your security and comfort of high importance.

Cost

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation throughout your Bhutan stay (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium). Camping while on trek.
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing.
  • Route Permit.
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours.
  • Three meals per day - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner (only breakfast on last day)
  • A licensed English Speaking Bhutanese trek/tour guide.
  • All land transportation by a private vehicle.
  • Trek & sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Monuments entrance fees wherever applicable.
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • All internal taxes and charges.
  • A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • Airfare & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips & Gratuities.
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.
Where are Laya and Gasa?

settlement in Bhutan where indigenous Layap people reside. Gasa District or Gasa Dzongkhag is one of the 20 dzongkhags (districts) in Bhutan. Gasa Dzong is the capital of Gasa District. Gasa is located in the far north of Bhutan and spans the Middle and High regions of the Tibetan Himalayas

What is Laya and Gasa trek?

Laya and Gasa trek is trekking into the Laya and Gasa region towards the northwest part of Bhutan. The trek offers witnessing unique culture and traditions of friendly Layap people including some majestic Himalayan views plus explore the unspoiled areas of Bhutan.

What is the best time for Laya Gasa trek Bhutan?

The best time for Laya Gasa trek Bhutan is March to May and September to November. It will be too cold during (Dec-Feb) and the trail will be snowbound. In monsoon (Jun-Aug) is too wet for trekking with slippery and muddy trek trails.

What is Laya Gasa trek itinerary?

Laya Gasa trek itinerary is drive from Paro to Drukgyel Dzong and trek to Sharna (2,870m), Thangthangka (3,630m), Jangothang (4,090m), Lingshi (4,010m), Chebisa (3,880m), Shomuthang (4,220m), Robluthang (4,160m), Limithang (4,140m) crossing over Sinche La (5,005m), Laya (3,840m), Koina (3,050m), Gasa (2,770m) crossing over Barila Pass (3900m), Geon Damji (2,430m), Tashithang (1,840m) & drive to Punakha (1,310m)

Where do Laya Gasa trekking starts and ends?

Laya Gasa trekking starts in Paro with drive to Drukgyel Dzong and it ends in Tashithang and drive to Punakha.

What will be accommodation on Bhutan Laya Gasa trekking?

Accommodation on Bhutan Laya Gasa trekking is at hotels, usually 3-star accommodations, in the city areas like Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. During the trek there are no lodge on the trekking trails, so it’s going to be a fully organized camping trek with necessary support trek staff.

Is Bhutan Laya Gasa Trek worth it?

Bhutan Laya Gasa Trek is definitely worth it if you are looking for off-the-beaten-track trekking and witness unique culture and traditions of the indigenous people living in the high Himalayas. Also observe some spectacular Himalayan views and the highest settlements in Bhutan.

What is Laya-Gasa Trek in Bhutan difficulty level?

Laya-Gasa Trek in Bhutan difficulty level is strenuous graded trekking. It requires the best level of physical fitness to accomplish the trek. You are suggested to go walking, jogging before the trek starts and climbing stairs up and down will be an advantage since you will be ascending and descending during the trek.

Will I go for Taktsang monastery hike?

Yes, you will go for Taktsang monastery hike at the end of the tour and after you finish your Laya Gasa trekking.

What are Thimphu sightseeing places?

Thimphu sightseeing places include visits to several cultural, historical and religious places like Zelukha Nunnery, The National Library, Memorial Chorten etc then drive to Paro.

Trip Information

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below:
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons. During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May.

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing.

The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.

WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.

Other requirements:
A quality sleeping bag.
Waterproof gators.
A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
Binoculars and Camera.
Small day pack.
Water bottle
Towel
Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
Mini-flashlight

DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.

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Laya Gasa Trek

Trip Facts

  • Bhutan
  • 20 Nights/21 Days
  • Spring (March-May) & Autumn/fall (September-November)
  • Private vehicle
  • Sinche la pass (5,005m)
  • Sinche la pass (5,005m)
  • Paro
  • Punakha
  • 5-7 hours each day
  • Trekking/Cultural tour
  • Taktsang Monastery, Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Darkey base glaciers lake,Paro Ringpng Dzong, Buddha's Point-Thimphu
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above/Tent during camping

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