Laya Gasa Trek is quite possibly the most beautiful and unspoiled long-distance treks in Bhutan. The trekking route runs alongside Bhutan’s border with Tibet offering stunning Himalayan landscape views. Our 20-day-long Laya Gasa Trek takes you to Bhutan’s pristine, remote and isolated high Himalaya. 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 of people 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 from in Paro with an acclimatization hike to Takstang Palphug Monastery ( Tiger’s Nest), the world-famous sacred Buddhist site- a temple complex in 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 on 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 culture 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 take a flight to our respective destination from there. Adventure Club Trek has been organizing trips to Bhutan, Tibet and in Nepal since 2008. Our Laya-Gasa Trek itinerary comes with acclimatization period, 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.
We take off from Tribhuvan International Airport to Paro Airport. Enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Everest while flying out of Kathmandu. As we enter Bhutan, Jomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks give us a snow-clad welcome. While at Paro, we visit Rinpung Dzong. It houses the administrative government offices and district Monastic body of Paro Dzongkhag. Next, we make a stop at Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan. Also, we explore Drugyal Dzong, a fortress and a monastery now in ruins, marked as a victory over the Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in a hotel at Paro.
Today, we hike up to Taktsang Palphung Monastery popularly known as Tiger’s Nest, one of the famous landmark 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 a hotel at Paro.
Our trek starts today. First, we drive till 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 common on this route. We walk past an army camp to finally arrive at Shana. Overnight in Shana.
The trek to Soi Thangthangkha starts with an uphill climb. We continue on the trail as it climbs up and down, mostly downhill, to finally arrive at Soi Thangthangkha. Overnight in Soi Thangthangkha.
We climb uphill following the Paro river. After we walk pass an army post, the valley gradually widens opening up to magnificent views of high ridges and surrounding mountains. We can enjoy the beautiful views of Mt. Drake and Jomolhari from our campsite. Overnight in Jangothang.
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 also 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.
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 towards Lingzhi. The trek is pleasant as we are rewarded with magnificent views of Lingzhi Dzong with Mt. Tserim Kang on the backdrop. Overnight in Lingshi.
Today’s trek is relatively easier and shorter. But before we start our trek to the next destination, that is, Chebisa, we explore Lingzhi Dzong. Located on a hilltop, the fort was built as a defense against the Mongol and Tibetan invaders. We also enjoy the fantastic landscape of the green hills and mountains.
We then start our journey to Chebisa, a small village with a beautiful waterfall. On the way, we pass by a few villages and yak herders’ camps. Overnight in Chebisa.
The trail starts off with a steep climb to reach the Gogu Las Pass (4,500m) which 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.Overnight in Shomuthang.
Today we conquer Jarela Pass(4,750m). You are advised to maintain a steady pace while climbing the pass and also 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. Overnight in Robluthang.
We overcome another high pass today, Shingela Pass at 5,010m. It is a challenging task but the views of the Himalaya 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 great view of Mt. Gangchen Ta Peak. Overnight in Lemithang.
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. Overnight in Laya.
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. Overnight in Koena.
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. Overnight in Gasa Tasachu
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. Overnight in Geon Damji.
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. Overnight in Tashithang.
Our trek comes to an end today. We walk for a short distance till Khuruthang, a small town 4km to the south of Punakha. Then, ee 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 hour. Overnight in Thimphu.
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. Overnight in Paro.
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’s schedule.