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17 Nights Laya Gasa Trek with Royal Highland festival

The Laya-Gasa Trek is one of the most scenic treks in Bhutan, offering amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes in Bhutan. This trek begins in Paro and takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows and through Jigme Singye National Park and offer awe-inspiring views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang.
Along the trail you’ll be able to spot indigenous animals such as blue sheep and Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. You’ll travel through remote mountain villages inhabited by Layaps (people of Laya), a distinct segment of the Bhutanese society with unique culture, traditions and appearance. The trek also offers a day of relaxation at the famous Gasa hot springs that is sure to rejuvenate you.
This is one of the more difficult treks offered in Bhutan due to the high altitudes and steep ascents and descents along the path. The best seasons to complete this challenge are in April-June and Mid-September-Mid-November.

per adult from

$427

AUD

Duration

18 days

Voucher

Paper Only

Select Date and Travellers

No tour options available.

  • What's included :
    • 16x Breakfast
    • 16x Dinner
    • 16x Lunch
    • Accommodation included: 16 nights
    • Bhutan Tourism Royalty/Levy ($65 per day per person)
    • Visa Fees ($40 per person)
    • All necessary permit fees
    • All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees
    • Drinking mineral water
    • All 3-star accommodations
    • English-speaking tour leader and driver
    • All trekking equipment and haulage
    • Wages for trekking crew and pony owners
    What's excluded :
    • Airfare
    • All personal expenses like laundry, telephone, tips, shopping expenses
    • Medical and Travel Insurance

  • Day 1: Welcome to Bhutan-Arrive to Paro

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas; offering dazzling scenic views of world’s highest glacial peaks.

    If you feel like venturing out for first impression of Bhutan, and if time permits,we’ll visit Kyichu Lhakhang – believed to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan built during the 07th century. Welcome dinner and trip briefing before calling it a night.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Meals included:
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Metta Resort/ Mandala Resort/ Gangtey Palace

    Day 2: Excursion to Tiger’s Nest and Paro sightseeing.

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    Today you’ll experience Bhutan’s most valued attractions, and perhaps the biggest highlight for your trip! This hike will also help you to acclimatize to the altitude before you start your trek. An excursion to the famous Taktshang monastery –translated as- Tiger’s nest monastery – is a two hours hike that rewards you with a spectacular temple clinging on a 1000 feet cliff.
    On the way back visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong fortress, which is an important Bhutanese heritage as it served as a strategic watchtower and a fortress that helped repel numerous Tibetan invasions in the 1600s.

    In the afternoon, visit Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in this valley. Stroll around town in the evening and then proceed to your resort.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Metta Resort/ Mandala Resort/ Gangtey Palace

    Day 3: Shana-Soi Thangthangka, 3580m, Duration 8 hours, Distance 22 Km

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    This is a long trekking day, taking eight hours to reach the campsite. The trail continues to follow the river; gradually ascending through a mixed forest of blue pine and oak and, later in the afternoon, tall rhododendron trees, birch, fir and maple. Though the trail is a rough and rocky path, it is not too strenuous. In rainy
    conditions it can be quite muddy. There are several simple wooden bridges to cross and sometimes the river reaches right up to the trail. Shing Karap or Thombuzam are popular stopping places at around 3,305m. Several trails lead in other directions, such as the trail to Tremo La (LA: Pass), which was the old salt-trading route to Tibet. Not long before reaching the campsite, the trail leads you up a ridge with a chorten (CHORTEN: Buddhist monument).

    Finally, after an 8 hour walk, you reach the campsite located in a spacious clearing and directly facing Jumolhari. The view next morning of the sun’s rays striking the peak is breathtaking.
    Duration: 8 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Soi Thangthangka campsite

    Day 4: Soi-Thangthangka-Jangothang, 4080m, Duration 5-6 hours, Distance 19 Km

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    The third day’s trek is shorter so it’s possible to set off a little later and progress at a leisurely pace. When you reach an army outpost you are required to stop and register your entry permits issued by the army headquarters in Thimphu. This matter will be taken care of by your guide. It will take less than six hours to reach Jangothang. The altitude at the camp is 4,080m and is a beautiful place to spend the night. The imposing, rounded bulk of Jomolhari fills the view to the Northeast and in the evening the profile of the ruined Jangothang Dzong, populated by huge ravens, creates a mystical atmosphere. The area is rich in bird life including the fire-tailed sunbird, ibis bill, white throated dipper, yellow-billed chough, rosy pipit, snow pigeon, blue-fronted redstart, plumbeous water redstart, blood pheasant, snow partridge and many more.
    Duration: 6 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 5: Jangothang, 4080m, Rest and acclimatization.

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    Today is a day to rest and acclimatize to the altitude. The body also needs time to adjust to the falling temperatures, especially during the night. There are a number of opportunities to explore the valley and enjoy wonderful views of the mountains. To aid acclimatization, a walk to a higher altitude then returning to sleep at a lower altitude is an important and strongly recommended strategy. A 2 hour leisurely hike will take you to the twin lakes of Tshophu from which you’ll get excellent views of the cone-shaped Jichu Drakye (6989m) which resembles the Matterhorn. It is a sight to hold! Many rank this as the most beautiful mountain in Bhutan.
    Duration: 5 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 6: Jangothang – Lingshi, 4000m, Duration 6-7 hours, Distance 18 Km

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    As you climb steeply into an area of glacial moraine, the views of Jichu Drakye and Jomolhari change along with your perspective. A steep and steady climb, perhaps through snow, brings you to the Nyile La, a pass at 4890m. From the top of the windy pass enjoy a 360 degree view. Tshering Gang (6,789) also comes into full view. A fairly tough trek over scree or snow leads down to the valley and then follows the side of a ridge towards the impressively situated Lingshi Dzong (4,370m). The camp site is some distance below the Dzong on a flat area near a community building made of stones, at an altitude of 4000m.
    Duration: 7 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 7: Lingshi – Chebisa, 3990m, Duration 5-6 hours, Distance 10 Km

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    Shortly after leaving camp, cross a stream on a wooden bridge and ascend to reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of the green hills, a winding river and magnificent peaks. Descend to Lingzhi village notable as a center for medicinal herbs. From Lingzhi it’s an easy, pleasant walk through villages and yak herders’ camps. Lunch will be served at scenic Goyuna village. After lunch it’s a short walk to Chebisa village and then to camp by the side of a stream at an altitude of 3990 meters.
    Duration: 6 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 8: Chebisa – Shomuthang, 4220m, Duration 6-7 hours, Distance 17 Km

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gogu La at an altitude of 4440 meters, taking nearly 4 hours to the top. After the pass the trail descends through rhododendron forest to a valley of dense forests of birch and fir trees. The trek continues along an undulating path. After crossing a stream, proceed through rhododendron forests and across yak herder’s camps. You may see some flocks of Blue Sheep grazing among the rocky crags above the trail. This is the Shakshepasa valley, one of the most beautiful valleys on the trek. Ascend on a steep trail up the side of the valley to 4220m before a traverse past yak headers huts. Camp is beside a stream at Shomuthang.
    Duration: 7 hours

    No meals included on this day.
    No accommodation included on this day.

    Day 9: Shomuthang – Robluthang, 4160m, Duration 6-7 hours, Distance 18 Km

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    The trek starts with an ascent up the valley, criss-crossing the stream. Climb to Jhari La (4,600m) then descend on a switchback trail that becomes rough and rocky as it enters a rhododendron forest. The trail enters the Tsheri Jathang valley, the summer grazing ground of the rare Himalayan Takin (Bhutan’s National animal). From here we may have to wade across the stream as the footbridge is frequently washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left bank the trail ascends to Robluthang camp at an altitude of 4160 meters.
    Duration: 7 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 10: Robluthang – Lemithang, 4140m, Duration 7-8 hours, Distance 19 Km

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    A long climb up to the Shinche La (5005 meters). Blue sheep may be seen from the trail. The views of the mountains from the pass are breathtaking. After the pass descend on a rough trail which crosses numerous streams. After lunch the trail descends steeply to the floor of a valley then climbs through a rhododendron forest. Reach a plateau and pass through a cedar forest to our camp. The last part of the trek has fine views of the peak of Gangchey Ta (6840m).
    Duration: 8 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 11: Lemithang – Laya. 3800m, Duration 4-5 hours, Distance 10 Km

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchey Ta in front of you. The walk to Laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at an altitude of 3,800 meters. The administrative name for the area is Layagewog and the main villages are Toko, Pashi, Neilo, Lubcha, Tonfra and Lungo. Laya is also part of the Jigme Dorji National Park. In the afternoon, proceed to the village to witness the annual Royal Highlander Festival where various events will be taking place to showcase the life of the nomads of Bhutan.
    Duration: 5 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 12: Royal Highlander Festival

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    Today, we’ll witness the annual Royal highlander festival for the whole day. It is a great opportunity to interact with the locals, and many high ranking officials, and other spectators who come from near and far. There will be some sporting events as well, and you are welcome to join if interested.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 13: Laya – Tongchu Zam Koina (River side camp) 3240m, Duration 4 hours, Distance 12 Km

    Stop At: Punakha, Punakha, Punakha District
    Descend to an army camp and join the Mo Chu and follow the river until you cross the bridge. After the bridge it’s up and down several times through juniper and fir forests until you reach the camp at Koina at an altitude of 3,240 meters. The campsite at Koina is muddy, with no proper space to put up tents in case of rain. We may need to continue for another 2 hours to a better campsite beside the Mo Chu. Bears and Takins have been sighted in this area.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Campsite

    Day 14: Koina (River side) – Gasa Hot Springs.

    Stop At: Punakha, Punakha, Punakha District
    We begin early as it is the last and the longest day of your trek. Although you are heading downstream, the climbs on this trek are not yet finish worked. There is another major climb ahead to get over Bari La Pass at an altitude of 3900m. After the pass, it’s downhill until you reach Gasa village at the altitude of 2760 meters. We will be camping beside the small bazaar in Gasa. Proceed to the Hot-springs for an overnight camp to soak in the nice natural geysers to sooth your body and mind, after a long trek.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at campsite

    Day 15: Gasa Tshachu – Punakha

    Stop At: Punakha, Punakha, Punakha District
    We start the drive towards Punakha. The drive descends through heavily forested areas on a winding road, high above the valley floor. The gradient eases as we stop in a small park for a lunch beside the river. The afternoon drive continues alongside the Mo Chhu through scenic farmland and past Royal Family residences to the town of Punakha. Proceed to Punakha valley to visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal stupa, which involves a short scenic hike through paddy fields for about 45 minutes till the hilltop where the temple is located.
    In the afternoon, drive to visit Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful fortress in Bhutan situated at the confluence of two rivers. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order’s leadership and still serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha region. Congratulations, your trek has ended.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Drupchu Resort/ Meriphuensum Resort/ Punatshangchhu Cottages

    Day 16: Punakha – Thimphu.

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    To pay your respects to one of Bhutan’s most charming and eccentric historic figures nicknamed ‘The Divine Madman’ at the Chhimi Lhakhang – also called the fertility monastery - our guide will explain the entire story about it. The visit involves a short nice hike through a beautiful village surrounded by paddy fields. Drive to Thimphu over the Dochula Pass (3140m). Situated atop the pass at the backdrop of fluttering prayer flags is the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a collection of 108 chortens (stupas) that was built to exemplify the greatness of the Fourth King. Let’s head straight to the Pizzeria for dinner and some local craft beer. Stroll around town in the evening. Also a good idea to visit a Massage Spa.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Hotel Pedling/Thimphu Tower/ Peaceful Resort

    Day 17: Cultural Exploration and Optional Hiking in the capital city.

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    Visit the Zorig- Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts to see local students hone their arts skills in various forms of traditional art. Visit the Folk Heritage museum then proceed to the Royal Textile Museum and Academy to appreciate the work of Bhutanese weavers and the rich textiles of Bhutan. Stroll around town and visit the Bhutan Post Office where you can see the famous Bhutanese stamps. If you would like, you can make stamps with your photos on it and post them to your loved ones. Drive to Kuensel Phodrang where the gigantic 169ft statue of Buddha Dordenma sits majestically overlooking the valley. Enjoy a panoramic view of Thimphu city and visit the temple inside the big statue. If you feel like hiking, let’s take a beautiful hike on the Kuenselphodrang trail which is the capital city’s favourite hiking trail that lasts for 2 hours.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Hotel Pedling/ Thimphu Tower/ Peaceful Resort

    Day 18: Farewell

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will take you to the airport. Your guide
    will help you with the formalities and fare you well on your onward journey.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    No accommodation included on this day.
  • Departure Point :
    1: Paro International Airport, Airport Road Paro, Paro 12001, Bhutan
    2: Phuentsholing, Bhutan
    Traveler pickup is offered
    Your tour leader will be waiting at the airport waiting for you with your names on the placard.Airports
    • Paro Airport, Paro Bhutan
    Departure Time :
    8:00 AM
    Return Detail :
    Returns to original departure point
    Hotel Pickup :
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Near public transportation
    • Infants must sit on laps
    • Infant seats available
    • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
    • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
    • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
    • Travelers should have a strong physical fitness level
    • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
    • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
    • Face masks required for guides in public areas
    • Face masks provided for travelers
    • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
    • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
    • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
    • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
    • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
    • Guides required to regularly wash hands
    • Regular temperature checks for staff
    • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
    • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
    • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
  • A paper voucher is required for this attraction/activity. You must print and bring your printed voucher with you on the day of the activity, as required by our local provider.
  • If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
    If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
    If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.

Language

English

Age Req.

-

Fitness Req.

None

Group Size

15

Organised by Bhutan Travel Club

Activity ID: V-159397P6

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