The first part of the Laya Gasa Trek goes along the same route as the Jomolari Trek I right till Lingshi. Besides the unforgettable views of Mount Jomolhari, the trek offers spectacular views on Jichu Drake, Gangchhenta (Great Tiger Mountain). Between Jangothang and Laya the trail hardly goes below 4,000m and one has good opportunities to spot blue sheep or even takin. Some beautiful Bhutanese mountain villages, the unique culture and appearance of the Layaps (people of Laya district) and finally a day of relaxation at the Gasa hot springs add to an extremely rewarding trekking experience. All in all, the Laya Gasa Trek is considered to be the most beautiful trek of Bhutan, only to be beaten by the tough Snowman Trek.
Map & Elevation Profiles
Day 1: Arrive in Bhutan
On arrival at the Paro Airport, you will be received by a representative of Bhutan Peak Adventure who will take you to your hotel. It will be too late to begin the trek today so we will explore Paro. Places of interest include the National Museum, Rinpung Dzong and the local market.
Day 2: Taktsang Monestary Hike
Drive to the trail route of the famous Taktshang Lhakhang “The Tigers Lair”. Clinging to a black rock face, 900 meters above the valley floor, nestles Taktshang Lhakhang, one of the holiest and the most beautiful site of Bhutan. Taktshang, the tiger’s lair, acquires its name from the legend of its foundation, when in the 8th Century Guru Rinpoche, widely revered as the second Buddha, arrived from Tibet flying across the mountains on the back of a tigress. He meditated at the site for three months, from where he used the religious cycle of the Kagye to subjugate the Eight Categories of Evil Spirits, and thus converted the region to Buddhism. Lunch will be served at the Cafeteria.
Day 3: Drukgyel Dzong – Sharna Zampa
Drive up to Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begins. 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: Sharna Zampa- Thangthangkha
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 Jomolhari.
Day 5: Thangthangkha – Jangothang
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
After 15 minutes 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 sourrounding. 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 Tsherimgang, 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 wool, 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. Tserimgang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong.
Day 8: Lingshi – Chebisa
Today is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a diversion up to the Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a ridge. Besides a very special atmosphere of mystic silence Lingshi Dzong provides a great view over the valley. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi 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
You walk through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks. There is also a great chance to spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing the Gobu 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 Nochu river.
Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang
As the walk is a little strenuous, it is advisable to start early. Climbing up the valley 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, better known as the Great Tiger Mountain. If weather is clear, Tserim Kang and the top of Jumolhari will be visible. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary. Climb up a little bit and you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow.
Day 11: Robluthang – Limithang
After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) – the last and highest pass on the trek in case you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards – you descend to a little stone house where a few Laya women – dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head – live and offer their weaving products. 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
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
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 water falls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to Kohi Lapcha at 3.300 m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of Koina Chhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina.
Day 14: Koina – Gasa
Today you will have your last major climb of the Laya Gasa 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), where you will find the first restaurants since starting from Drukgyel Dzong. There also is a campsite close to Gasa Dzong. You will have to decide if you want to stay in Gasa village or descend for another one hour to the Gasa Tsachu (hot springs) and relax in the thermal water. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan.
Day 15: Gasa – Thimphu
Today we will drive from Gasa to the capital city of Thimphu passing through Punakha and Dochula pass.
Day 16: Thimphu Sightseeing
AM drive to the mini zoo to see the most endangered national animal of Bhutan Takin. Drive to BBS Tower at Sangaygang to do a short hike to Wangditse Goemba, which was founded in the 18th century by the eighth Desi (secular ruler). The hike will start from the BBS tower till Dechenphodrang, through the pine forest. On this trail you can also see and enjoy a beautiful Thimphu city view. The hike will take about 1hour 30minutes. We then visit the Buddhist Nunnery.
After lunch, we visit the Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the Late Third King of Bhutan. Drive to Buddha’s point and see the Biggest Buddha statue. The area is still under construction. In the evening, visit Tashichhodzong, beautiful medieval fortress built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal.
Day 17: Departure
Drive to Paro international Airport for onward journey. See off by our representative.
The price of the trek goes up very quickly for groups of less than 5.
The following price is for the 17 day itinerary printed on the details tab.
|Group Size||Price per person|
What is included?
- Visa fee to Bhutan
- All hotels when not on the trek
- All meals each day
- Experienced English speaking guide
- Transportation within Bhutan
- Entrance fees to museums
What do you have to pay in addition to the cost above?
- Drinks when not on the trek
- Tips to the guide, cooks, porters
- Any personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, etc.)
Approximate Flight Costs
The following round-trip prices per person (USD) are provided just as a rough estimate. The exact flight prices are set by the airline and of course could vary.
- Kathmandu: $450
- Delhi: $800
- Bangkok: $900
Printable version (a bit out of date) of the Laya-Gasa trek: Laya Gasa Trek