12 Oct – 29 Oct 2020

  • Laya-Gasa-Trek-High-Altitude-Trek

Laya Gasa Trek

Fixed Departure Date: 12th Oct – 29th Oct 2020

LAYA GASA TREK

4/5: 4-star

Best Time

March – May

September – 2nd week of December

LAYA GASA TREK – TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • DURATION: 17 Nights | 18 Days.
  • DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Strenuous.
  • HIGHEST ALTITUDE: 5005 m.
  • AVG. WALKING DISTANCE: 16 km.
  • AVG. WALKING TIME: 7 – 9 hrs.

FROM $3,570

  • 3 Pax and Above: USD 3570 per person.

Laya-Gasa-Trek

12 Oct 2020: Arrival at Paro 2280 meters.

The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Yak Holidays will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the Hotel.

After lunch, visit the 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 this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and over night in Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort or Similar.

13 Oct 2020: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery – Shana:

A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery – After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten. On the way, visit Kichu Lhakhang that was built in 659 by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo.

  • Srongsen Gampo: He was a Tibetan king who married a Chinese princess, Wenchen in 641 AD, as a part of her dowry was a statue called “Jowo” which was an Indian image of Buddha, Sakyamuni as a small boy. In 659, He decided to build 108 Temples in a single day to pin the Ogress to the earth forever and, at the same time, convert the Tibetan people to Buddhism. 6 of these Temples lie in Bhutan, most prominent of them are Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Kichu Lhakhang is said to hold the left foot of the Ogress and Jambay Lhakhang pins the left knee.

In the evening, drive to Drukgyal Dzong, 16 km away from the town. This dzong is under construction/ renovation, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in 1644; the dzong name’s means indeed “victorious Druk”. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it. We then drive to Shana. Dinner and overnight in camp.

14 Oct 2020: Shana – Thangthangka (Start of Trek)

The trail follows the river through a heavily 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 is in a meadow with a stone shelter.

Altitude: 3610 m; Distance 22 Km; Time 7 – 8 hours, Ascent: 770 meters, Descent: 10 meters.

15 Oct 2020: Thangthangka – Jangothang

In the morning, after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Dinner and overnight in camp.

Altitude: 4080 m; Distance 19 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours, 480 meters Ascent.

16 Oct 2020: Jangothang

Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.

For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.

  1. Hike to Jomolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth)
  2. Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
  3. Walk up the mountain between Jomolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).

17 Oct 2020: Jangothang – Lingshi

The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jomolhari, Jichu Drakey and Tsherim gang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyeley la pass at an altitude of 4,700 meters. After the pass it’s a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panorama view of the peaks and Lingshi dzong.

Camp altitude is 4010 meters. Distance: 18 km; Hiking time: 6-7 hours; Ascent 840 meters, Descent: 870 meters.

18 Oct 2020: Lingshi – Chebisa

This is a magical day. After we leave Lingshi, we gently climb gently to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is set right below a 300 m cliff. Another hour walk 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 an easy one.  Dinner and overnight in camp.

Camp site at an altitude of 3880 m; Distance 10 km; Time 5 – 6 hours, Ascent: 280 meters, Descent: 410 meters.

19 Oct 2020: Chebisa – Shomuthang

We start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron. We climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed.

Camp at Altitude 4220 m; Distance 17 km; Time 6-7 hours, Ascent 890 meters, Descent 540 meters.

20 Oct 2020: Shomuthang – Robluthang

A long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains above us. We drop steeply down a forest trail to the Tsarigathang valley, where herds of Takin roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbing up Robluthang where we camp.

Camp at Altitude: 4,160 m; Distance 18 km; Time 6 – 7 hours, Ascent 700 meters, Descent 760 meters.

21 Oct 2020: Robluthang – Lemithang

This is one of the hardest days of the trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4,870 m. and are rewarded 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 abound in this area. We descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank.

Camp at Altitude 4,140 meters; Distance: 19 km; Time 6-7 hours. Ascent 850 meters, Descent 870 meters.

22 Oct 2020: Lemithang – Laya

We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and then enter the village of Laya. 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 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 at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks.

Camp at Altitude 3840 m; Distance 10 km; Time 4-5 hours, Ascent 60 meters, Descent 340 meters.

23 Oct 2020: Laya (Halt)

We have a rest day at Laya and an opportunity to meet the local people.

24 Oct 2020: Laya – Koena

The trail winds along the river valley offers breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Dinner and over night in camp.

Camp at Altitude 3050 meters; Distance 19 km; Time 6-7 hours, 260 meters Ascent, Descent 1070 meters.

25 Oct 2020: Koena – Gasa Tsachu (End of Trek)

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 the hillside over the village is one of the sights of the trip. We then drop steeply down to the river for an hour and camp near the Hot Spring a chance for a good hot bath!

Camp at Altitude: 2,638 m; Distance 14 km; Time: 6-7 hours, Ascent 900 meters, Descent 1710 meters.

26 Oct 2020: Gasa Tsachu – Punakha (47 km)

After the breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way, hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery (short hike 45 minutes).

  • Drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung 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 construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.

Dinner and over night in Hotel Meri Puensum or similar.

27 Oct 2020: Punakha –Thimphu (72 Km)

After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. On the way, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Popularly known as “The Divine Madman”,in the year 1499. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.

  • Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favorite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary disciple of Pema Lingpa. He traveled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humor and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings of Salvation through sex.

We then visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Lamperi.

  • The Royal Botanical park, also known as the Rhododendron Garden at Lamperi is about half and hour drive towards Punakha/Wangdue. With your spirits still high from the visit to the awesome sites of Dochula Pass with its 108 stupas. A Rhododendron garden with 46 species of the plant is the theme of the botanical garden. Located 30 KMS from capital, the park has numerous view points, a lake and a canteen.

After lunch, Lungchutse hike (Short hike – 3 hours): This is one of the most rejuvenating and picturesque hikes in the Thimphu region. It can be done as a loop starting from Dochula and finishing at Hongtsho village with Lungchutse gomba and Trashigang gomba visit. At Lungchutse one can enjoy 360° view of the Himalayan mountain range. You will start your hike from the large chorten in the middle of Dochula, the pass between Thimphu and Punakha at 3140 meters. From here the trail slowly climbs a ridge through a forest of hemlock, birch and rhododendrons until reaching an open meadow.

You vehicle will pick you up at Hongtsho and drive to Thimphu. In the evening, free to stroll in the town.

28 Oct 2020: Thimphu sightseeing

The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).

After lunch, visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world, witness Archery Match. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel Pedling or similar.

29 Oct 2020: DEPARTURE

After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.

Bhutan Tour cost is inclusive of:

* All Meals [Breakfast /Lunch/Dinner]
* Accommodation [Twin Sharing] Single Room Supplement Extra US $: 50 per room per night.
* All transportation within the country including airport transfers.
* Royalty & Govt. Taxes
* Entrance fees for Museums and Monuments only
* Visa Fee.
* Guide.
* Sightseeing

Bhutan Tour cost is exclusive of:

* Druk Air fares.
* Insurance Premiums,
* Payments for service provided on a personal basis.
* Cost for any services not mentioned in the “Cost Include head”.
* Cost incurred due to mishaps, strikes, political unrest etc.
* Personal expense in items such as laundry, soft drinks, Camera Charges, Bottle water, incidentals, Portage, Bellboy charges tips or any other services

Bhutan Trekking cost covers:

Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED) Nu.1000
* One guide.
* Cook.
* Helpers.
* Ponies and Yaks.
* Tents (Sleeping tent, mess tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent and shower tent).
* 3 meals.
* Mattresses and all other trekking accessories.
Note: For trekking a load of 25 kg is allowed.

Things to bring for trekking in Bhutan

Personal clothing: strong normal clothing (according to season). Preferably cotton, even for summer, woolen clothing for the evening and winter.

* Strong comfortable trekking boots – water-resistant for the rainy period-June-August.
* Sunscreen
* Flash light
* Rain coat (especially for rainy period –June-August)
* Head gear/hat/cap; sun and rain protection
* Water pills – for extra caution in purifying stream; (boiled water is provided at all times during the trek)
* Aspirin – in case of altitude sickness
* Lots of socks
* Warm clothes

Optional items to bring for trek to Bhutan:

* Sunglasses
* Head gear
* Folding umbrella (only for wet months — July and August)
* One towel
* Pillow case
* Wet-packed tissue paper.
* Pillow.

COST EXCLUDE

  • Air fares
  • Sleeping bags (on trek)
  • Tips
  • Insurance
  • Drinks and beverages
  • Laundry
  • Phone / internet
  • Other personal bills