Laya Trek – through the Land of Yak Herders

The Laya Trek is considered one of the most scenic treks in Bhutan. The trek leads along Bhutan’s border with Tibet and offers amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes of Bhutan. Starting at Drukgyel Dzong in Paro it takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows and high mountain passes with awe-inspiring views of Mount Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserim Gang. You will trek through the remote settlements of Lingshi and Laya with unique culture and traditions. You will have the chance to see blue sheep and Takins along the trail. Difficulty Level: moderate 18 total tour days 12 trekking days 125 miles / 201,5 km 17,069 ft / 5204 m altitude gain 23,042 ft / 7025 m altitude loss Blue Sheep and Takin Traditional Laya community Gasa Hot Springs Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tserim Gang, Great Tiger Mountain & Masa Gang Mountains

We start trekking at Drugyel Dzong at 2580 m and walk along paddy fields, pass through some villages, pine forests and along crystal clear streams and wild rivers, until we reach high pastureland, where we get the first view of the high peaks. After the Jhomolhari Base Camp we will cross 5 passes, the Nyile La (4890 m), Gombu La (4440 m), Jare La (4785 m), Sinche La (5000 m) and the Bale La (3900 m). Around Jhomolhari Base Camp Blue Sheep are seen regularly and the area around Koina is well known for its wild herds of Takin, Bhutan’s national animal. At the end of the trek, we will have a dip in the hot springs of Gasa.

Day 1

Board the early morning flight from Bangkok / Delhi / Kathmandu / Dhaka / Guwahati / Singapore / Bagdogra or Kolkata to Paro, taking in views of the some of the highest peaks of the eastern Himalaya, including Mount Everest, if weather permits. In the afternoon, a short walk, starting from an ancient traditional wooden bridge, will take us to Paro Dzong and Ta Dzong, the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above the Paro Dzong. The museum’s collections include displays of spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, and elaborate stamps.

Day 2

We have an early start to avoid the heat on our walk to the famous Taktsang Monastery, also know as the Tigers Nest. It is perched on the side of a steep cliff about 900 metres above the floor of Paro valley. It is said that in 8th century Guru Padmasambhava flew on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse District to meditate in the cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Taktsang Monastery was built in 1692 by Gylse Tenzin Rabgye, who is believed to be the reincarnation of Guru Padmasambhava. The walk takes about 4 to 5 hours. Drive to Shana late afternoon to our first campsite.

Day 3

Trek from Shana to Soi Thangthanka (3575 m / 11,730 ft) / 6-7 hrs.

Day 4

Soi Thangthanka to Jangothang (Jhomolhari Camp) (4040 m / 13,250 ft.) 4-5 hrs.

Day 5

Rest day at Jhomolhari Camp. Explore the view of Jhomolhari and explore the area around the camp. The chances are high to come across groups of Blue Sheep.

Day 6

Jangothang to Lingshi (4010 m) via Nyile La (4890 m) 5-6 hrs.

Day 7

Lingshi to Chebisa (3990 m) 3-4 hrs.

Day 8

Chebisa to Shakyapasang (4000 m) via Gombu La (4440 m) 5 hrs.

Day 9

Shakyapasang to Robluthang (4160 m) via Jare La (4785 m) 7-8 hrs.

Day 10

Robluthang to Limithang (4160 m) via Sinche La (5000 m) 6-7 hrs.

Day 11

Limithang to Laya (3800 m) 4 hrs.

Day 12

Rest day in Laya

Day 13

Laya (3800 m) to Koina (3240 m) 6 hrs.

Day 14

Koina (3240 m) to Gasa Tsachu/Gasa Hot Springs (2220 m) via Bale La (3900 m) 6 hrs.

Day 15

Spent the morning in Gasa, exploring the village with its famous hot spring and Gasa Dzong. Afternoon drive to Phunakha.

Visit Punakha Dzong in the morning and Chhimi Lhakhang on the way to Thimphu. Punakha Dzong was named Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, which means the Palace of Great Bliss. Punakha Dzong remained the centre of the government until it was relocated to Thimphu Dzong. It continues to be the winter home of the central monk body. The Dzong contains the massive gold statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and the Zhabdrung, dating back to the mid-18th century.

Chhimi Lhakhang, perched on the hilltop overlooking the Punatsang Chhu, Chhimi Lhakhang was build in 1499 by the cousin of Lama Drukpa Kunley (The Divine Madman), in his honour, after he subdued the demoness of the nearby Dochula with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’.

We stop on Dochu La (Pass) to enjoy the superb view of the Bhutan Himalaya and explore the the 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten on the pass, which were built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Assamese militants and to liberate the souls lost during the fighting.

Day 17

Full day sight seeing in Thimphu.

We will start the day with a visit to the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, which means the “13 traditional arts” of Bhutan and which is commonly known as the Painting School. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine, established in 1978, has a day care facility and clinic where traditional doctors diagnose patients and prescribe appropriate medicines or treatments. The traditional herbal medicines, ointments and medicinal teas consist of plants, minerals and animal parts, are manufactured in the production facility and distributed to regional health-care units within the country. The Royal Textile Academy is worth a visit to experience Bhutan’s living national art of weaving. Techniques and styles of the local costumes and textiles made by man and women across Bhutan are on display. The National Library collection ranges from traditional books and manuscripts, modern books about any kind of topic, an old printing press and wooden blocks for printing books and prayer flags to the largest published book in the world, entitled “Bhutan”. Changangkha Lhakhang is located in Motithang above Thimphu. It was established in the 12th century and the central statue is Chenresig in an 11-headed, thousand-armed manifestation.[separator] Today you will have a look at Trashi Chhoe Dzong. This magnificent Dzong, located on the north of the city on the west bank of the Wang Chhu River, housed the original National Assembly and now houses the secretariat, the throne room and offices of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. For the remaining day you can explore Thimphu town, shop some souvenirs and mingle with the people. You will enjoy the evening with a visit and traditional dinner at the Folk Heritage Museum. The museum replicates a traditional farmhouse and is designed and furnished how many rural Bhutanese still live today.

Day 18

Early drive from Thimphu to Paro and departure to your onward destination.

The following services are included:
  •  5 nights in double or single room occupancy in minimum 3 star hotels in Bhutan. If you would like to stay in 4 or 5 star hotels, please let us know.
  • 12 nights in comfortable dome tents.
  • All group camping equipment.
  • All meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes lunch will be pack lunch or a picnic.
  • Full time English speaking licensed Bhutanese trekking guide during your travel in Bhutan.
  • All internal road transport in comfortable vehicle.
  • All entry fees.
  • Group medical kit.
  • Portable Altitude Chamber – PAC.
  • All park entrance fees and trekking permits.
  • Animals to carry 20kgs personal equipment.
  • Return flight from Bangkok / Delhi / Kathmandu / Dhaka / Guwahati / Singapore / Bagdogra or Kolkata to Paro/Bhutan in economy class. The trip cost will change accordingly.
  • Visa fee and services for Bhutan.
  • All internal taxes.
  • A sustainable tourism Royalty of US$ 65 per person per night. This Royalty goes towards free education and free healthcare and poverty alleviation.
The following services are not included:
  • Alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, tips, laundry
  • International flights from your home destination to Bangkok / Delhi / Kathmandu / Dhaka / Guwahati / Singapore / Bagdogra or Kolkata and back. We are happy to assist you in arranging this flight.
  • Insurances; Travel insurance, health insurance.