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19 Days LAYA GASA/LINGSHI TREK IN BHUTAN

Laya Gasa Trek in Bhutan is one of the most beautiful and challenging treks. The route is known for its diverse flora and fauna including opportunities to spot exceptional animals and flowers only found in Bhutan like Blue Sheep, Takin’s, and the Blue Poppy (Bhutan’s national flower), the trek lasts for 14-days. An extension of the great Jumolhari trek, introducing you to the unusual culture of the Layap people with a leisure stop at a natural hot spring in Gasa is a great surprise. The highest point is 4115 Meters.

Trek Bhutan ITINERARY OVERVIEW.

DAY 01: ARRIVAL PARO AIRPORT.
DAY 02: PARO CITY TOUR.
DAY 03: PARO. (EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG/ TIGER’S NEST MONASTRY)
DAY 04: PARO – SHANA. (START OF TREK)
DAY 05: SHANA – THANGTHANGKA.
DAY 06: THANGTHANGKA – JANGOTHANG.
DAY 07: JANGOTHANG. (HALT)
Day 08. Jangothang – Lingshi. 
DAY 09: LINGSHI – CHEBISA.
DAY 10: CHEBISA – SHOMUTHANG
DAY 11: SHOMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG.
DAY 12: ROBLUTHANG – LEMITHANG.
DAY 13: LEMITHANG – LAYA.
DAY 14: LAYA. (HALT)
DAY 15: LAYA – KOENA.
DAY 16: KOENA – GASA TSACHU.
DAY 17: GASA TSACHU – GOENDAMJI – PUNAKHA. (END OF TREK)
DAY 18: PUNAKHA – PARO.
DAY 19: DEPARTURE FROM PARO AIRPORT.

Day 01. Arrive at Paro International Airport.

Paro is the only international airport in Bhutan with a beautiful landscape. The valley serves the purpose of International arrival on daily basis. It is also the starting point of the popular trekking in Bhutan like Drukpath Trek, and Jumolhari Trek. The flight to Paro Airport is one of the most magnificent experiences one can witness as it flows between a narrow valley toward the small strip of Paro airport. Upon arrival, our team from Excursion to the Himalayas will greet you with a white scarf and brief you about the trekking program. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02. Paro Tour.

Before you begin your trek in Bhutan we make sure that you acclimatize to the weather of Bhutan and today is the day to go around Paro town to adjust yourself to the altitude. The day begins with a visit to Drugyel Dzong beautifully located at the base of mighty Jumolhari Mountain.

On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang which was built in 659 by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo. Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in the valley. The evening ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district.

Day 03. Paro, Popular Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike.

Your trekking holidays will not be complete if you do not hike the famous tiger nest temple at Paro. The temple is one of the popular sights of Bhutan and is visited by thousands of tourists daily. The temple is built in 1600 and incredible clings to the edge of a rock cliff that plunges 900m above Paro valley.

The hike to the temple from the base camp takes 3 hours through the beautiful pine forest.

Day 04. Paro – Shana. (Start of Trek).

Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro River, passing through the cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are filled with numerous birds and brightly colored butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. (Altitude 2,820m; Distance14Km; Time 5-6hours)

Day 05. Shana – Thangthangka.

The trail follows the river through a densely forested area with a few isolated farmhouses.  It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction en route, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp near the meadow with a stone shelter. (Altitude 3610 m; Distance 21 Km; Time 7-8hours)

Day 06. Thangthangka – Jangothang.

In the morning after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs to a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, the winter home for yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. You will be seeing lots of yaks on the way before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlooking the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invaders. (Altitude 4,115 m; Distance 15 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours)

Day 07. Jangothang. (Halt)

A rest day. Acclimatize yourself and take walk up to the Jhomolhari glacier or to the lakes in the opposite direction. (Altitude 4,115 m; Distance 15 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours)

Day 08. Jangothang – Lingshi.

Today you’ll experience the spectacular views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after some 3 to 4 hours walk, we reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m). After the pass, we descend down to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming down from Lingshi we obtain our first view of the truly mystical Dzong on top of a high hill. (Altitude 4000m; Distance 17 km; Time 6 – 7 hours)  

Day 09. Lingshi – Chebisa.

A magical day. Leaving Lingshi behind we climb gently to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is located right below a 300 m cliff. A few hours’ walks brings us to a lovely little valley with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa, where we camp by the side of the river.  The walk is very leisurely with plenty of reasons and opportunities to linger. (Altitude 3,780m; Distance 12 km; Time 4 – 5 hours) 

Day 10. Chebisa – Shomuthang.

We start the day with a quite stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through the forests of dwarf rhododendron. We climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed. (Altitude3, 890m; Distance17kms; Time 6-7hours)

Day11. Shomuthang – Robluthang.

A long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get the stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains. We drop steeply through the forested trail to Tsarigathang valley, where herds of Takin are found, then cross a knee-deep river before climbing up Robluthang where we camp. (Altitude 4,100m; Distance 22 km; Time 7 – 8 hours)

Day 12. Robluthang – Lemithang.

This is one of the hardest days of the trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4,870 m. rewarding with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the valley. On a clear day, practically all the mountains on the northern border are visible. Eagles, griffin vultures, blue sheep, and yaks are abundant in this area. We descend down to our camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank. (Altitude 4,040m; Distance km; Time 6-7hours)

Day 13. Lemithang – Laya.

We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu, and through the forest, full of rhododendrons and silver fir, and then enter the village of Layups. The people of Laya are famous for their vertical stripe yak hair clothing and their strange conical bamboo hats. The women wear their hair long and with a great deal of turquoise and jade jewelry. The features of the people are even more Tibetan/ Mongolian than the Bhutanese who live in the central valleys. The rest of the day is spent in leisure or visiting the village houses and mixing with the villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks. (Altitude3, 880m; Distance10kms; Time4-5hours)

Day 14. Laya (Halt).

We rest today at Laya and have an opportunity to meet with the local people in the area. (Altitude3, 880m; Distance10kms; Time4-5hours)

Day 15. Laya – Koena.

The tailwinds along the river valley offer breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams, and waterfalls. Overnight at camp. (Altitude3, 300m; Distance19kms; Time 6/7hours)

Day 16. Koena – GasaTsachu.

We gradually climb up to Balela pass at 3,740 m and then descend to Gasa village. The first sight of the Gasa Dzong perched on a hillside over the village is one of the spectacular sights of the trip. We then drop steeply down to the river for an hour and camp near the Hot Spring for a good, hot bath! Altitude: 2,638m; Distance 15kms; Time: 6/7hours.

Day 17. Gasa Tsachu – Goen Damji – Punakha. (End of Trek)

After the climb from Gasa Tsachu the trail winds through rolling hillsides with the vista of fields, villages, and forests of oak and pine. The trail descends from the high agricultural benches above the Mochu into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers, and occasionally monkeys.

Day 18. Punakha – Thimphu – Paro.

After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of his holiness the Je-Khenpo. After lunch, drive to Thimphu. En-route visit Chimi Lhakhang, also called the Temple of Fertility built by Lama Drukpa Kinley in 17th century. Lunch at Dochula Pass. After lunch, drive to Thimphu. On arrival, Dinner, and overnight in Hotel

Day 19. Departure.

Breakfast in the hotel then drives to the airport for the flight to your onward destination.
Tashi Delek!  Best wishes!

Best Time to Trek Laya Gasa

The best time to trek Laya Gasa is from April to June and late September to November. Most winter months are closed due to heavy snowfall in the Mountains and icy route conditions. Summer is not accessible due to heavy rain where the bridges are washed away by the steams and routes are muddy which makes the horse to ply difficult.

Laya Gasa Trek Cost:

Laya Gasa Trek Cost will depend on the groups. 2 pax is the minimum group needed to operate this trek. The cost for 2 pax is $ 5040 per person and for groups above 4 pax the cost is $ 4090 per person.

Bhutan Visa for the Trek

You need to apply for two visas for this trek. One is an entry Visa that you get upon arrival in Bhutan and another one is a special permit to trek the Laya Gasa route. Upon the confirmation of the tour, we will ready your permit and Visa.

How to pack for this Trek?

This is a long trek and you need to pack the necessary items that is needed for 19 days. Check the details of how to pack for Bhutan trekking?