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Laya Gasa Trek

Laya Gasa Trek

Laya Gasa Trek

Duration: 20 Days

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This trek is an extension of the Jomolhari trek. It offers diverse flora and fauna, chances to see rare snow leopard and herds of blue sheep. Some of the passes are bit challenging for average trekkers, witness the culture of semi nomadic people of Laya village and most interesting of all, enjoy at Gaga natural hot spring. All your muscles strains and joint pains after several days of trek will be gone if you dip in hot spring for several hours.

trip overview

Trip Code: AMT-123 Total Duration: 20 days
Destination: Nepal Best Time: April to June & September to Novembe
Trip Grade: Medium – Strenuous Group Size: 4-8
Max Elevation: 5005m

itinerary

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Arrival at Paro on national carrier; Druk Air. It is the most exciting mountain flights and befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of Bhutan. In a clear weather, there are magnificent views of the world's highest peaks. On arrival, you will be greeted by the our local representative at the airport, assist you with your luggage and drive through the lush valley of Paro to your hotel. Check in to the hotel and take rest until lunch time (it depends on the flight).

Following breakfast, drive 15 km north through the fascinating valley of Paro and turn to the right, cross the river and drive further up till the dead end of the road from where the hike to Taktsang starts. Taktsang (tiger's Den) monastery seems like hanging on a cliff some 700m above the valley. It takes about 2 hours up and an hour down. In the 8th century Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress in one of his eight forms called Guru Dorje Drolo and meditated for 3 months in a cave and converted Paro valley into Buddhism. Later in the 17th century, the 4th temporal ruler of Bhutan Tenzin Rabgye built this present temple and named it Taktsang meaning; tiger's nest/den in the same spot where Guru meditated. This temple is one of the most sacred and also a pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from all over the world.

Stop at tourism café situated half way for refreshment. The way back is quick downhill. You can have your lunch at the café on your way back. After lunch, descend down to the valley below and drive to visit Druk Gyel Dzong (ruined fortress of victory) built in 17th century at the time of Tibetan Invasion. En route, visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest and the most sacred temple in Bhutan built in 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gompo. The legend says that he built 108 temples throughout the Himalayan regions in a single day to subdue the demoness who was terrorizing the whole of Tibet, Nepal & Bhutan. Drive back to Hotel. Overnight at Hotel Holiday Home. B/L/D

Distance: 15km, Time: 5 hours, altitude: 2890m. Early at dawn go to witness the display of Thongdroel (huge Thanka) at the festival ground. Come back to hotel for breakfast. After b/fast, drive to the north of the valley to Drugyel Dzong where the road ends and the trek begins, following the river gently uphill through a narrow agricultural valley, passing by village houses and agricultural land to the camp. It is a well worn trail with lots of round stones and irrigation water running down it. Cross Gunitsawa army camp and then cross the river to the left and continue for another 20 minutes to the camp in Sharna at 2850m. Overnight in Camp. B/L/D

Distance: 21km, Time: 8-hours, Altitude: 3575m Following early breakfast, continue your trail through the river valley. The river narrows and closes in and the trail winds along the drainage. It is a long hard day with many ups and downs. One should have a good balance to hop from one stone to another to avoid mud especially when it rains. The trail makes a continuous but gentle climb through oak rhododendrons and ferns, birch and firs, crossing several small streams and rivers and finally arriving to Thangthangkha campsite at 3619m. B/L/D

Distance: 15km, Time: 5 hours, altitude: 4044m Following breakfast, continue up the Pa Chhu (river). Pass a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Now views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen all around. You may see yak herders' winter homes depend on time of year you are there. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jhomolhari. Altitude: 4,080 m. B/L/D

Following breakfast, trek up to Tsophu (lake) for fishing or do any one of the three hiking excursions. Mount Jhomolhari and its subsidiary are due west, Mount Jichu Drake is to the north, and unclimbed summits and ridges are to the east. You can take pack lunch from the camp or do only half day excursion, come back to camp for lunch and afternoon, relax in the tent, do wash up as you like. Overnight in camp. B/L/D

Distance: 20km, time: 6 hours, altitude: 4010m Following your breakfast, continue to follow the trail, past yak herder's high altitude stone house and cross the stream towards the right and start your climb all the way till you reach Nylela Pass. Wide yak pastures are visible both on the way up and down the pass. You may encounter some nomads in their yak tents depending on the time of year you are there. After about 4 hours of walk you arrive to Nylela pass (4,890m). The pass is very windy so you need to head down quickly to avoid chilly wind. Great views of Lingshi Dzong, Mt. Tsherim Gang are visible as you come down into the Lingshi basin. Camp inside the stone shelter or in a tent. Overnight in tent. B/L/D

Distance: 11km, Time: 3-4 hours, altitude: 3990m Proceed further passing Lingshi Dzong, perched on hilltop with a commanding view of green hills, the winding roads and magnificent peaks. The actual name of Lingshi Dzong is Yugyel Dzong, built in 17th century. It played an important role in controlling travel over Lingshi La (pass) between Tibet and Bhutan. Today's walk is easy and pleasant through villages and yak herders camp. Camp by the side of a stream near Chebisa village. BLD

Distance: 17km, Time: 7 hours, Altitude: 4000m The route leads through wild high pastures. Cross Gobula Pass at an altitude of 4,440 m. From the pass the trail descends into a side valley through a deep forest of rhododendrons and then climbs again over a small ridge passing several places where hillsides has been burned. The trail crest the ridge at 4210m, then descends to a muddy path in a deep forest of fir and birch to Shakshepasa and a helipad. The trail from here goes steeply north and after some time of hard walk it levels and heads into a side valley passing a couple of yak huts ona river right to Chachim, a yak pasture at 4220m. The camp is in a cluster of bushes beside a stream at 4000m. B/L/D

Distance: 16km, Time:7 hours, Altitude: 4160m An early start is needed for trekking to the Jarela Pass, altitude of 4,785 meters, then descend to Tsharijathang, the valley where takin, the national animals of Bhutan are usually seen. Overnight in camp. B/L/D

Distance: 19km, Time: 7 hours, Altitude: 4160m This is a long hard crossing over Sinchela pass (5005m). The trail climbs through the burned forest and up the hillside through some boggy patches. Follow the stream for a while crossing to river right through a log bridge. About 5 hours from camp you will reach to the Sinchela pass. The trail from the pass is downhill and it is rocky and sometimes twists your ankles. Cross the stream to the left on a small log bridge. A short distance beyond the stream crossing is a yak pasture and a camping spot but you need to continue to usual campsite at Limithang. B/L/D

Distance: 10km, Time: 4-5 hours, Altitude: 3800m The route descends along a closed-in winding river alley. The trail splits, with one trail following the river down. The other stays high leading to the west of Laya village. Camp overnight on a high flat bench above the east end of Laya Village. B/L/D

Visit the Laya village houses or hike above the camp. B/L/D

Distance: 16km, Time: 7 hours, Altitude: 3240m The trail winds up and down along the river valley. Views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls are often past. Overnight in camp. Altitude: 3,050 m. B/L/D

Distance: 12km, Time: 6 hours, Altitude: 2220m Cross Barila pass, altitude 3,900m and then descends all the way till near Gasa Town. Short steep uphill when nearing to Gasa. Trek to Gasa Tsachu (hot spring). The trail is steeply downhill through till the hot spring. After dinner relax in the hot spring. Overnight in camp. B/L/D

You can relax the whole day at Hot spring to relieve your strains and pain that had occurred during your trek. Overnight in Camp. B/L/D

Distance; 16km, Time: 5-6 hours, Altitude: 1300m. Follow the trail to the left gradual ascend until you reach the branch of Mo Chhu River. Cross the suspension bridge and climb up on to a hill and look back the view of Gasa Dzong. The trail is mostly downhill passing through village houses and rice field. Ay damji, you will be picked up by our vehicle and transfer to hotel in Punakha which is about 1h30m drive, just because the road is new and bumpy at most of the places, so the drive is slow. On arrival check in to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Punakha. B/L/D (Please note that the road to Gasa is underway and if completed, we can drive from hotspring to Punakha).

Following breakfast, drive to visit Punakha dzong, the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan situated in the confluence of Phochhu & Mochhu (Male & female rivers). Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan until 1955 when it was officially shifted to Thimphu. It is here in Punkaha the first king was crowned in 1907. It houses both monk body and Punakha district administration. It also serves as winter resident of Chief Lama of Bhutan.

Drive north of the valley and hike for abut 45 minutes crossing over suspension bridge to new Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten, a new temple, the paradise of Guru Rimpoche through the rice field and village of Niengergang. The view from the temple to the valley below is photogenic. After the temple, descend to the valley and drive back to hotel for lunch.

After lunch, drive to Thimphu. En route visit Chime Lhakhang dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. It is about 20 minutes gentle walk through the rice terraces and village houses of Yoakha. This temple is the pilgrimage centre for couple who do not bear children. This temple is also called the "temple of fertility". Walk back and continue your drive to Thimphu crossing over Dochula pass at 3150mts. Weather permitting you can enjoy the panoramic views of the eastern Himalayas. On arrival check in to Hotel Dragon Roots. B/L/D

Following breakfast, go for sightseeing of the places of interest in Thimphu. Visit the weekend market (Friday till Sunday) to see people from all walks of life buying and selling local as well as imported products.

Memorial Chorten: This is a most impressive stupa built in the memory of Bhutan's third King by the order of Grand Queen mother Ashi Phuntsho Chhoden in 1974. It is a multi-storied stupa with numerous paintings and complex statues inside the monument provide a rare insight of the Buddhist philosophy. Everyday there will be any devotees circumambulating the stupa with prayer beads in their hands.

Changangkha Lhakhang: One of the oldest and most sacred temples in Thimphu valley situated on top of a knoll overlooking the Thimphu city built in 15th century dedicated to the god of compassion. Drive further up and visit the zoo to see Bhutan national animal "The Takin".

National Library: It holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, manuscripts and also modern academic books.

National Institute for Zorig Chusum (thirteen traditional arts & crafts): The Royal Government of Bhutan has sponsored and established this national institute in the year 1971 to preserve and promote culture and to contribute to the country's economy through quality products and services. In the course of history Bhutan has developed a unique artistic tradition, which has played a vital role in modeling its distinct cultural heritage and this tradition is reflected in thirteen traditional arts & crafts. You can see the students making clay statues, slate carving, wood carving, sewing, drawing, painting etc.

Handicrafts Emporium: It displays wide range of products such as beautifully woven fabrics for man & women, crafted products & other decorative items. After lunch, visit.

Traditional Medicine Institute: It was established with the help of EU to improve traditional medicine. Different medicinal herbs, minerals, animal products are used to prepare traditional medicines.

Folk Heritage Museum: One of the oldest house in Thimphu, having been restored and transformed into Folk Heritage Museum in the year 2001 under the patronage of Her majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo. This museum is meant to serve an account of everyday rural life for the young urbanized generations and as a place for preserving objects related to this life, in case this way of life disappears as time passes.

Folk Heritage Museum: One of the oldest house in Thimphu, having been restored and transformed into Folk Heritage Museum in the year 2001 under the patronage of Her majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo. This museum is meant to serve an account of everyday rural life for the young urbanized generations and as a place for preserving objects related to this life, in case this way of life disappears as time passes.

Textile Museum: This museum was inaugurated under the patronage of Queen Ashi Sangay Choden in June 2001. Many intricate designs of Bhutanese textiles are displayed here. It will also serve as center for conservation, restoration and documentation of Bhutanese textiles. Afternoon, 1hr.30 min. drive to Paro. Overnight at Tandiling Resort. B/L/D

Following breakfast, drive to Paro airport for your onward flight. Your guide will assist you with your baggage, bid you farewell and wish you safe journey back home.

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