The Epic Laya Trek

The Epic Laya Trek

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The classic Laya-Gasa Trek is observed by many to be one of the most charming treks in Bhutan, offering fantastic views of some of the most immaculate and unspoiled landscapes in Bhutan. This 19 days, 217 km journey commences from Drukgyel in Paro and stays with you through lovely flowing alpine meadows, high mountain passes and steamy sub-tropical jungles where the curtains fall to lovely displays of nature at Damji in Tashithang.

This venture is a luxury of enjoying the most breathtaking trek that steers off-the-beaten- track with ample of acclimatization to suit your body. Said to be identical to friendly hospitality and a scattered trekking destination of unique beauty, Laya is one of those ideal Himalayan spot to get a true picture of Bhutan’s natural geography; you can sample Bhutan’s famous delicious butter tea, yak milk and the locally brewed wine, watch a scintillating cultural program and literally freak-out with real Bhutanese culture and traditions…for this is what the epic Laya Trek is all about.

As we hike the paths, we come across indigenous animals such as blue sheep and Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. We trek by far off mountain villages inhabited by Layaps (people of Laya), a unique section of the Bhutanese society with exclusive culture, traditions and appearance. Our trip also hauls up for a day to relax at the famed Gasa hot springs that is bound to invigorate you. This is a pretty challenging trip in Bhutan due to the high elevations and steep ascents and descents along the trails. The best seasons to opt for this holiday are in April-June and Mid-September-Mid-November…under the experienced escort of Tashi Delek Nepal Treks…who will introduce you to the Epic Laya Trek better than anyone else…


Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro by Druk Air

Our Paro flight on a clear blue sky day is one of those fantastic mountain flights of a natural kind. One can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsering Ghang. The first most welcome thing about Bhutan will be cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the aircraft. On arrival at Paro airport, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Later in the day take an exploratory walk getting acquainted with the local environment.
Overnight at your hotel in Paro – B. L. D

Day 2: A Day Hike to Taktsang Monastery

Horses can be arranged with an extra US $ 5/- The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government has taken immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure.
It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley into Buddhism. During the end of the 17 century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Hike back to our hotel for the night – B. L. D

Day 3: Drive to Drugyel Dzong and Trek to Shana Camp

We drive to Drugyel Dzong where the trek begins. The path goes upstream of the Pachu River through villages gradually ascending to 2800 meters at Shana camp. Our Walking time will be something like 5/6 hours. B. L. D

Day 4: Trek from Shana to Soi Thangthangkha

The trail again follows the Pachu River ascending through pine, oak and spruce forest. Lunch will be served near a wooden bridge. The camp is at an altitude of 3800 meters near a stone shelter. Our Walking time will be 7/8 hours. B. L. D

Day 5: Trek from Soi to Jangothang

We climb slowly for a while till we reach an army camp. Then follow the river above tree line with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a Yak herder’s camp. An easy walk will reach us to Jangothang at an altitude of 4050 meters. The view of Chomolhari (7320 meters) and Jichu Drake (6900 meters) is just wonderful. Both the mountains are still virgin peaks. Our Walking time will be 4/5 hours. B. L. D

Day 6: A rest Day at Jangothang

This is a day for rest where we get to explore the surrounding areas like Tshophu Lake, visit Yak herders or simply relax. And catch up on some reading. B. L. D

Day 7: Trek from Jhangothang to Lingshi

The trail follows the stream for half hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Climb up the ridge and enjoy stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Khang mountains. We then walk through the wide open valley sometimes coming across herds of blue sheep. The climb up to the Nyele la pass at 4700 meters is not too difficult and the view is breathtaking. After the pass it’s a gradual descend and through the valley with luvla views on all sides. Nearing the camp we will see the Lingshi Dzong perched on top of a hill with commanding view of the valley. We Arrive camp at 4100 meters near a stone shelter. Our Walking time should be for 6/7 hours. B. L. D

Day 8: Trek From Lingshi to Chebisa

We hike pass the Lingshi Dzong and wonderful peaks. Today is a very cool pacy walk through villages, yak herders camps and we keep a sharp eye on herds of blue sheep that looks like rock boulders on the mountain side. Lunch will be served at scenic Goyuna village. A short walk after lunch will reach us to Chebisa village at an altitude of 3900 meters. Our Walking time is about 4/5 hours. B. L. D

Day 9: Trek from Chebisa to Shomuthang

Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gobu la pass 4600 meters taking nearly 3/4 hours to the top but rewarded with magnificent views of the Himalayas. This is a blue sheep area so always keep a sharp eye. After the pass descend through rhododendrons bushes and lunch will be served at an ideal spot. The path goes up down crossing streams and Yak herders camps. We Arrive camp at 4250 meters. The Walking time is about 7/8 hours. B. L. D

Day 10: Trek from Shomuthang to Robluthang

The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass at 4650 meters. It then descends all the way through alpine forest and rhododendron shrubs to Tsharijathang, a summer feeding ground for the rare Takins (national animal of Bhutan). During summer/monsoon the path is all wet so be prepared to get wet as the small wooden bridges are all washed away. After crossing the stream the trail ascends for a while till you reach the camp at 4300 meters. Our Walking time should be for 7/8 hours. B. L. D

Day 11: Trek From Robluthang to Limithang

Today will be a long climb up to Shinje la pass at 4950 meters. The view of Gangchey ta mountain 6800 meters from the pass is out of this world. From the pass descend all the way with a wider view of the mountain. We Arrive Limithang, a wide open valley and summer grazing ground for the yaks of the Laya people. We Camp at 4100 meters. The Walking time is reckoned to be 7/8 hours. B. L. D

Day 12: Trek from Limithang to Laya

We Wake up with great views of Gangchey Ta Mountain in front of us. The walk to Laya is pleasurable passing through damp forest filled with moss and singing birds. We Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country at an altitude of 3850 meters. Our Walking time will be for about 4/6 hours. B. L D

Day 13: A rest day in Laya

This is a well earned day for rest so we can explore the village by visiting the home of the laya people. Every home will welcome you with smiling faces and there is no need for and invitation. A cup of butter tea, yak milk, Chang (local brewed wine made from wheat or barley) any of your choices will be happily offered. They are very friendly people and will happily pose for photographs. The Laya women have a dress that is unique in Bhutan. They wear the conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments and dark yak wool dress. If the group is interested in a cultural dance program by the Laya people it can be arranged. We will truly enjoy this day. B. L. D

Day 14: Trek from Laya to Koina

We Trek down to the army base camp and follow the river by crossing small streams. During the winter months we will see the rare Takins grazing on the bamboo shoots. The trail is up and down. Our Camp will be near a river next to a stone shelter at 3400 meters. The estimated Walking time is 5/6 hours. B. L. D

Day 15: Trek from Koina to Gasa Hot Spring

Our trail ascends for some time and gradually to the Bamela pass at 3750 meters. The path is all the way down hill till the camp. During monsoon the trail is filled with leeches but it is surprising not finding any leeches near the hot spring. The hot spring was discovered by Guru Rinpoche and it is believed that who has faith in him can cure sickness which was impossible by modern medicine or so the story goes. The spring has a small shop selling beer imported from India and is a sure way to relax after a long trek. We Camp altitude at 2200 meters – the Walking time is reckoned to be 6/7 hours. B. L. D

Day 16: Trek from Gasa Hot Spring to Goen Damji

The walk begins through semi tropical vegetation filled with wild orchids crossing rivers and streams. Walking across huge suspension bridges and one bridge is over 150 meters in height which is all a part of the thrills in this area. It is an easy walk and you can take your time in admiring the scenic beauty of the country side. We Camp at 1850 meters. Our Walking time should be for 4/5 hours. B. L. D

Day 17: Trek from Damji to Tashithang & Drive to Punakha

Today is the last DAY of our trekking. We continue walking gradually down hill following the Mochu River through heavily forested area till we reach Tashithang at 1550 meters. The Intrek bus will be waiting and we proceed for one hour to Punakha. We visit the 17 century Dzong and drive for 45 minutes to Wangdue Kichu resort. Relax and enjoy the modern comfort. B. L. D

Day 18: Drive from Punakha to Paro via Thimpu

We drive to Thimphu, stroll around the market place and maybe catch up on things we wanted to do earlier at Thimphu. We could even pick up a few souvenirs for the loved ones at home, and this will also help us to remember our sojourns to this great area in the land of the thunder dragon. Towards the afternoon, we head down for an excursion to Paro and visits some places of interest before we check into our hotel for a good rest after a wonderful holiday. B. L. D

Day 19: Departure from Paro / Bangkok or Kathmandu

The choice of destination is yours.

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