Laya Gasa Trek 19 Days

Trip Facts

  • Duration 19 Days
  • Difficulty Level Moderate
  • Destination Bhutan
  • Transportation Private Comfortable Transportation
  • Activity Cultural and Historical Tours, Trekking and Hiking,
  • Best Season March - May and Sept- Dec
  • Group Size Min 2, max 14 People
  • Trip Start/End Paro, Bhutan
  • Max Altitude 4,160m

Laya Gasa Trek Overview 

Laya Gasa Trek is the most beautiful and unspoiled long-distance trek in Bhutan. The trekking route runs alongside Bhutan’s border with Tibet offering stunning Himalayan landscape views. Our 19-day-long Laya Gasa Trek takes you to Bhutan’s pristine, remote, isolated high Himalayas. This trek also introduces you to the Layap community in northwest Bhutan. Laya in the Gasa district is home to the Layap ( Dzongkha) community. They are an indigenous group residing in Laya, just below the Tsendagang mountain. While on the journey, we might cross paths with Bhutan’s national animal Takin, Himalayan blue sheep, and spot the exotic Himalayan Blue Poppy, Bhutan’s national flower.

 

Laya Gasa Trek begins in Paro with an acclimatization hike to Taktsang Palphug Monastery ( Tiger’s Nest), the world-famous sacred Buddhist site- a temple complex on the cliffside in Upper Paro Valley. As we move to higher altitudes, we acclimatize once again in Jangothang at 4,040m on the sixth day of our trek. We continue through beautiful alpine meadows with stunning views of Mt. Jomolhari, Tsherimgang, and Jichu Drake accompanying us. We also cross high mountain passes. We follow the Jhomolhari trekking route till Lingzhi, then gradually drop northwest towards Laya. The northern highlands of Laya and Gasa have unique cultures and traditions.

 

The regions house semi-nomadic tribes of indigenous communities like the Layap and are home to Himalayan animals like blue sheep and Takins. We relax at the natural hot springs in Gasa. Gradually, we move downwards to Thimpu, then to Paro, and then take a flight to our respective destinations. Adventure Club Trek has been organizing trips to Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal since 2008. Our Laya-Gasa Trek itinerary comes with an acclimatization period, an experienced and well-trained guide, and an overall well-managed schedule, which is customizable at an affordable price. We also offer shorter treks in Bhutan, like our Jhomolhari Trek-12 Days, Cultural Tour of Bhutan-6 Days, and Druk Path Trekking-10 Days. Find all our Bhutan Treks and Tours Here. 

 

Major Highlights of the Laya Gasa Trek

  • Trekking in remote Bhutanese Himalayas
  • Trekking the trails of indigenous Layap people, Bhutan’s national animal Taking and rare blue poppy flower
  • Crossing high passes like Balela Pass at 3,740m
  • Shingela Pass at 5,010m, Jarela Pass(4,750m), Gogu Las Pass(4,500m), Shakepass at 3,980m
  • Amazing views of Mt. Drake, Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Tserim Kang, and Mt. Gangchen Ta Peak, among others.
  • Sightseeing in Paro, visiting Tiger’s Nest, Drugyal Dzong, and Rinpung Dzong, among other historical sites.
  • Sightseeing in Thimpu, visiting Tashichho Dzong, a fortress, monastery, craft bazaar for local art, National Library, and Memorial chorten of Bhutan’s third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Itinerary

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As your flight nears Bhutan, you can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas, including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, you will be greeted by an Adventure Club representative who will take you to your hotel in Paro for a good night's sleep. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country, and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsLunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,250m/7,382ft

Today, we hike up to Taktsang Palphung Monastery, popularly known as Tiger’s Nest, one of the famous landmarks of Bhutan. According to myths, Guru Rinpoche flew to the cave on a tigress’ back where the monastery stands and meditated there for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours. Located 900m above Paro Valley, trekking to the monastery takes around 3 hours to the top and back. We have lunch at the Cafeteria Restaurant, located midway to the top. Overnight in Paro.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude3,180m

Our trek starts today. First, we drive to Drugyel Dzong, the starting point of our trek. The trail starts with a gradual climb alongside a river. As we climb higher, the valley narrows down. The sight of traditional farmhouses is expected on this route. We walk past an army camp to finally arrive at Shana.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2800m

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 is downhill after the initial climb. The campsite is located in a meadow with a stone shelter.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude3400m

After breakfast, we climb uphill, following the Paro river. After we walk past an army post, the valley gradually widens, opening to magnificent views of high ridges and surrounding mountains. We can enjoy the beautiful views of Mt. Drake and Jomolhari from our campsite.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude4,040m

Today is set aside for acclimatization. It helps our body to adjust to the thinning air at high altitudes and prevent Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS). It helps us to enjoy our trek to the fullest, making it a good experience. We climb up a ridge to catch a glimpse of Jichu Drake. We can go further up to get a fantastic view of Mt. Jomolhari. Blue sheep, golden eagle, griffon vultures, and blue poppy can be seen here.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude4,040m

After half an hour of leaving our camp, we come across a bridge. We cross the bridge over a small stream, after which the trail climbs up towards a ridge rewarding us with spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Tsheringang, and Jichu Drake. The trail then climbs up the Ngye La Pass. It is an easy downhill trail from the pass toward Lingzhi. The trek is pleasant as we are rewarded with magnificent views of Lingzhi Dzong with Mt. Tserim Kang on the backdrop.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude4,150m

Today’s trek is relatively easier and shorter. But before we start our trek to the next destination, Chebisa, we explore Lingzhi Dzong. The fort was built as a defense against the Mongol and Tibetan invaders. We will enjoy the fantastic landscape of the green hills and mountains. We then start our journey to Chebisa, a small village with a beautiful waterfall. We pass by a few villages and yak herders’ camps on the way.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude3,850m

The trail starts with a steep climb to reach the Gogu Las Pass (4,500m), which is the hardest part of today's trek. If lucky, we may catch a glimpse of blue sheep on our way to the top. We then descend through the path filled with rhododendron bushes. We overcome many uphill and downhill climbs through beautiful rhododendron forests. We pass by Shakepass at 3,980m, after which the trail climbs steeply towards Shomuthang, our campsite.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude4,130m

Today we conquered Jarela Pass(4,750m). You are advised to maintain a steady pace while climbing the pass and often take deep breathing rests to avoid Altitude Mountain Sickness(AMS). After crossing the pass, the trail heads down towards Tasharijathang Valley. It is the summer habitat of Takin, Bhutan’s national animal. Then we cross a stream, and on the other side is the path towards Robluthang. It is an uphill climb until we reach our destination.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude4,160m

We overcame another high pass today, Shingela Pass, at 5,010m. It is a challenging task, but the views of the Himalayas make it a pleasant one. We descend to Lemithang and cross a few streams along the way. The final stretch to our destination is the highlight of today as it rewards with a great view of Mt. Gangchen Ta Peak.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude4,140m

Enjoy your breakfast with Mt. Ganchen Ta peak in the backdrop. Our destination for the day is Laya, the highest settlement in Bhutan. It is home to the indigenous Layap people.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude3,850m

We trek downhill from Laya until we reach Mo Chhu(Mother River). Following the river, we come across a bridge. Upon crossing the bridge, the trail opens up to many ascends and descends through fir and juniper forest to finally arrive at Koena.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude3,800m

The trail to Gasa Tasachu starts off easy on a leveled path. Then, it climbs up towards Balela Pass at 3,740m. After crossing the pass we head down towards Gasa village and then descend further to Gasa Tshachu. We also visit the famous hot spring and relax there for a while.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2900m

Our destination for the day is Geon Damji. It is an uphill climb after Gasa Tsachu. The trail also passes through pine and oak forests. We then walk past a few villages and wheat fields to arrive at Geon Damji. Along the way, we get to see the fantastic views of Gasa Dzong.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,280m

Today we descend to Tashithang. It is a pleasant walk through natural agriculture benches just above Mochu, then the path opens up to a gorge filled with banana trees, and many other tropical vegetations. This area is the habitat of monkeys and other different animals.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude1,700m

Our trek comes to an end today. We walk for a short distance to Khuruthang, a small town 4km to the south of Punakha. Then, we board a vehicle that takes us to Punakha. While at Punakha we visit the Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of rivers Mo Chu and Pho Chu . It is the second-largest and second-oldest Dzong in Bhutan. In the late afternoon, we again board a private vehicle to Thimphu which takes around 2 and a half hours.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude1200m

Today we go on a sightseeing tour around Thimphu. We visit Memorial Chorten built in the honor of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, in 1974. Next, we explore the National Library where ancient manuscripts are stored. Also, we stroll around the Craft Bazaar where local artists have their art on display. Another attraction of Thimphu is Tashichho Dzong, a fortress, and monastery which serves as the seat of Dharma Raja (head of Bhutan’s civil government) After sightseeing, drive to Paro.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,250m/7,382f

Today concludes our Laya Gasa Trekking. A representative from Adventure Club Trek for Bhutan will drop you off at the airport according to your flight schedule.

  • MealsBreakfast

Note: Your safety is of the utmost concern while traveling with Adventure Club Trek. We will make every effort possible to follow the original itinerary, but we reserve the right to change that itinerary if a segment of it becomes a safety issue. Certain mountain regions are remote, natural disasters can happen, weather conditions can decline, and illnesses or an injury can occur. To avoid dangerous situations, we may occasionally change the itinerary to ensure everyone’s safety. That being said, Adventure Club Trek will strive to provide you with the best possible trekking experience and keep your safety our number one priority. We thank you for your understanding.

Cost Details

Price Includes

  • All arrival and departure transfers in a private tourist vehicle.
  • Full board meals with tea/coffee and snacks - for the duration of your stay.
  • Bhutan visa fees and processing assistance.
  • Drinking water
  • Government-approved A and B category hotels on a twin-shared basis.
  • Tented camp during trekking on a twin-shared basis.
  • Transportation in a comfortable private vehicle(s).
  • Experienced English-speaking guides and local staff.
  • Trekking equipment like sleeping bags, dining tents, kitchen tents, toilet tents, mattresses, etc.
  • Trekking cooks and trek assistants.
  • Porter services for trekking.
  • All applicable Bhutanese government taxes/royalties and Company services charges.

Price Excludes

  • Nepal Entry Visa fees - at present $30 for 15 days, and  US$ 50 for 30 days.
  • Airfare for international flights to and from Bhutan
  • All city tours with permits, and entrance fees for museums and monuments.
  • Items of a personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry)
  • Travel and Medical/Evacuation Insurance
  • Tips and gratitude provided to staff.
  • Any services in Kathmandu/Nepal (hotels, transport, etc)

Date & Prices

     
Start DateStart: SaturdayFebruary 25, 2023End DateEnd: WednesdayMarch 15, 2023StatusStatusAvailablePricePriceUS $8545

We guarantee departure on all of our published dates! However, if they don't match your travel plans, we will gladly help you set your date! Whether you're looking for private trips as a solo traveler, a couple, a family, or a group, you can plan your tailor-made trips now! Please get in touch with us for price details and any other queries.

Useful Info

Visa Information

Indian, Bangladeshis, and Maldivian nationals can obtain a visa at the port of entry by producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC). For other tourists, you will need to acquire visa clearance in advance. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Tourists must also book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners. The tour operator will take care of Visa arrangements for visitors.


You are required to send the photo page of your passport (passport scanned copy) to your tour operator, who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD 40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received, the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours. You will be required to show your visa clearance letter at your point of entry, and the visa will then be stamped into your passport.

Accommodation

Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B, and C. These government-approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A-grade hotels in Paro and Thimphu and B-grade hotels in Punakha. We use Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimphu and Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha. We will also be camping (in tents) during trekking. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. A single supplement will be served at an additional cost.

Meals

All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are included during your stay in Bhutan. Various meals are available in most hotels, the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non-vegetarian dishes are generally available in Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season. While trekking, fresh foods, and meats will be served during the initial days, and high-quality tinned foods during the end of the trek.

 

Weather Information

There is no appropriate season which is to say that Bhutan's warm and temperate climate, never-ending festivals, and rich and abundant heritage sites provide visitors with a wide array of experiences throughout the year across the country. Bhutan has all four seasons, and the climate varies widely depending on the altitude.

 

Spring (March, April & May)

This is the most beautiful time of the year, resplendent and ablaze with a spectacular array of bright colors. This is when the valleys are green with fresh vegetation; fruit trees are blossoming, locals are naturally mirthful and cheery; when visitors are most welcome. Also, you can witness the famous Paro tsechu festival.

 

Autumn (September, October & November)

Autumn is lovely, with clear and crisp blue skies providing a grand view of some of the tallest unclimbed mountains in the world. It is the best time for trekking and traveling. The climate is cool and temperate. You can get lovely photography opportunities of willows shedding their golden brown leaves, the solitude of parks, and somber views of dzongs and monasteries.

 

Monsoon (June, July & August)

During these months, Bhutan receives more rainfall than any other region in the Himalayas. Glorious sapphire skies and warm weather are pleasant times to visit places of cultural and historical interest though this season is not the best time for trekking. Enjoy a warm, aromatic tea while watching the rainfall from your hotel window. Or, if you possess an adventurous spirit, grab an umbrella/raincoat while it is raining and take a day tour through the town.

 

Winter (December, January & February)

Winter in Bhutan is sunny, calm, and agreeable. Much of the east-west highway remains snowbound during winter. It is the best time to tour the western districts of Paro, Wangdue, Punakha, Thimphu, and Haa. One of the chief attractions in winter is the beautiful Gangtey (Phobjikha) valley, where you can expect to see a vast expanse of rolling plains with bamboo shrubs.

 

Safety Guidelines

Credit cards are not a convenient payment source in Bhutan, as only a handful of hotels in a few places provide this facility. Also, only MasterCard and Visa. US dollars are the most convenient currency and are cashed by most banks.

You should avoid drinking tap water altogether, but it is okay to use it for brushing your teeth. Bottled water is widely available and is best for drinking. It is also wise to carry water purification tablets when trekking in remote locations of Bhutan.

The local currency is the Ngultrum, pegged to the Indian Rupee. Note: The Indian Rupee in 500 and 1000 is no longer accepted in Bhutan.

Bhutan is the only country in the world that has banned the consumption and sale of tobacco, resulting in smoking being disallowed mainly in public places. Consumption is not entirely prohibited in Bhutan so if you want to smoke, bring your cigarettes and ask your guide where you can light up. (seal opened pack only)

Tuesdays are considered the national 'dry day,' with the sale of alcohol prohibited.

When taking photos/filming inside Dzongs, monasteries, temples, or any religious institutions, check with your guide whether it is permitted, as some areas do not.

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