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Laya Trek


laya trek

This trek is a combination of Laya trek with the 14-day Lingshi trek. It is recommended for tougher trekkers only. It starts from DrukgyelDzong in Paro and follows the same route as the Jhomolhari trek till you reach Lingshi. From Lingshi you divert east towards Gasa. It’s a great hike for nature lovers as it takes you from semi-tropical forests to alpine pastures, through interesting villages, scenic landscapes, and breathtaking views of the Himalayas, Jumolhari, the tallest virgin mountains in the world, Jichu Drake, Gangchhenta (the great tiger mountain), and Masang Gang. The motivating factor of this 15 days trek is the Gasa tshachu (GasaHotspring) which is well known for its healing capacity to cure any kind of illnesses.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 (Paro):You are expected to arrive at Paro through the only flight to Bhutan, Druk Air. We assure you a unique travelling experience across the Himalayas, including the sacred Jhumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks of Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by a tour executive from Bhutan Vajra Adventures and check you into your hotel. After lunch, your first event of the trip will start with a visit to the national Museum of Bhutan and walk down to ParoRinpungDzong which is strategically located on a small hill top overlooking the paro valley.  You can expect to see a great architectural view of the gigantic dzong built in the 17th century by ZhabdrungNgwangNamgyel. Later in the evening, if time permits drive up to Kyichu to see one of the oldest monasetery of Bhutan built in the 8th century by a Tibetan king.

Day 2 (Paro, Taktshang):This 3-4 hours hike to Taktsang is deliberately included in the itinerary to prepare our guest for the big hike next day.After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, this is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche (Second lord Buddha) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the view point to the monastery makes for a nice half-day excursion. After lunch take some rest, and once you are active enough to start your sight scene, we will visit the following places like DrukgyalDzong (fortress of Paro) and Paro town.

Day 3 (DrukgyelDzong – SharnaZampa): Distance 17km, four to five hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2,850m.

Drive up to DrukgyelDzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begin. With a gradual climb the trail follows the Paro Chhu passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.

Day 4 (SharnaZampa- Thangthangkha): Distance 22km, seven to eight hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m.

On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. 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 Mount Jumolhari.

Day 5(Thangthangkha – Jangothang): Distance 19km, five to six hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m.

If you did not see Mount Jomolhari last evening, you will have a great chance to get a great view this early morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. Cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. Reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.

Day 6 (Jangothang Halt) The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatisation. Trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and it’s subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

Day 7(Jangothang – Lingshi) Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 840m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,010m.

After 15 min. from the camp the trail climbs rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascend to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. While on the climb enjoy the surrounding. You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherim gang, all of them rising above 7,000m. On the way down to the camp you will pass by some of the yak herder’s tent, made from yak hair, where the herders take shelter while on the move to various pastures for their yaks. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Tserim gang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before LingshiDzong.

Day 8(Lingshi–Chebisa)Distance 10km, five to six hours, 280m ascent, 410m descent, camp altitude 3,880m.

After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Zomithang  and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where village houses are normally scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa with a beautiful waterfall behind the village, you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it.

Day 9 (Chebisa–Shomuthang): Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 890m ascent, 540m descent, camp altitude 4,220m.

You walk through a wide pasture land towards Gogu La pass. There is also a great chance to spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing the Gogu La (4,410m), you descend to the valley, then climb again a little bit, and descend again to Shakshepasa (3,980) where a helipad has been established. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang, above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochuriver.

Day 10 (Shomuthang–Robluthang) Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 700m ascent, 760m descent, camp altitude 4,160m.

Since the days walk is little long, it is advisable to start early. You will be climbing up the valley for few hours 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 sight 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 (the great tiger mountain). If weather permits, you may be able to see the Tserim Kang and the top of Jumolhari.This place has been declared a Takin sanctuary as it plays home to our national animal Takin for four months in summer when they migrate from higher altitude. Climb up a little bit and you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow.

Day 11 (Robluthang–Limithang) Distance 19km, six to seven hours, 850m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,140m.

After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) you descend to a little stone house where you will encounter your first human inhabitant  after may be 4- 5 days. Right behind the stone house you will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of the 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.

Day 12 (Limithang–Laya): Distance 10km, four to five hours, 60m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 3,840m.

Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. After a long time, you again trek partly through deep forest. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. From the west of the village you will view Gangchhenta again and catch a glimpse of Masagang. In the village centre is a community school and a basic health unit with telephone connection. The campsite is below the school.

Day 13 (Laya–Koina) Distance 19km, six to seven hours, 260m ascent, 1,070m descent, camp altitude 3,050m.

The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to KohiLapcha at 3.300 m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of KoinaChhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina.

Day 14 (Koina–Gasa) Distance 14km, six to seven hours, 740m ascent, 1,500m descent, camp altitude at GasaTsachu 2,240m.

Today you will have your last major climb of the LayaGasa Trek. You will cross the Bari La (3,740m), after which the trail is all the way down till you reach Gasa village (2,770m). From here, the choice remains with the guest, whether you want to continue your trek for another hour to reach where the hot spring is or stay back to see the dzong.

Day 15:You may end your trek here or stay the day dipping in hot spring that has high healing power.

Day16 (Wangdue/Punakha):After breakfast start for Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit the gigantic Punakha Dzong, where the First king of Bhutan was crowned in 1907 and the Royal Wedding of the 5th King of Bhutan celebrated in 2011. On the way back from Punakha, we will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is popularly known as fertility temple.After that move to Thimphu.

Day 17(Thimphu): While in Thimphuwe will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, textile museum, Buddha point (for a great bird’s eye view of Thimphu Valley and the giant Buddha statue), and the mini-zoo, where you can see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. From there we will visit the Zilukha nunnery temple, a traditional paper factory, the Tashichodzong (Fortress of Thimphu).In the evening, walk around Thimphu town, if you may wish to shop for souvenirs to take back home.

Day 18: Depart for onward destination from Paro International Airport

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