Laya Gasa Trek takes you on a trail through lush Himalayan forests and Bhutanese villages bordering Tibet. Explore ancient dzongs or citadels and isolated Buddhist gompas en route. Visit Laya, the highest village in Bhutan, and experience the unique culture of Layaps, an indigenous Himalayan tribe.
An acclimatization hike to the cliffside Taktsang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest sets the mood and prepares you for the long Laya Gasa Trek. Starting from Drukgyal Dzong in Paro you walk through pristine alpine forests, traditional villages, and four high mountain passes above four thousand meters. Enjoy a wildlife experience as the trail weaves through the habitats of musk deer, takin, Himalayan blue sheep, marmots, snow leopard, and Himalayan black bear.
Your trip begins from Paro with a sightseeing tour of the city’s historic sites. Before setting off on your trek, you hike to the Taktsang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, a sacred site and a popular destination for day hikers. Your trek commences from Drukgyal Dzong, an ancient fort set above the city of Paro. In bygone days this fort was used to repel attacks from the Tibetan forces.
Walking through paddy fields, villages, and forests beside the Po Chu river you arrive at Shana the first camping site of your trek. Over the next couple of days, you follow a forested trail close to the Tibetan border. Breathtaking views of Mount Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and other Bhutanese giants keep you inspired.
The trail meanders through rich forests of blue pine, rhododendron, and fir. You stop for brief rests at the seasonal camps of yak herders and set up camps near abandoned forts and grassy meadows with panoramic views of the mountains. Walking near the army outposts and military camp at the border, you get a glimpse of Tibet on the other side.
At Jangothang you reach the Chomolhari Base Camp, from where you can savor spectacular views of snow-covered peaks. You cross the first mountain pass Nyelela Pass (4700m) while trekking from Jagothang to Lingshi. Gokula Pass, Jerela Pass, and Shingela Pass are the other three mountain passes you will traverse during your journey. The highest and the toughest crossing will be of the Shingela Pass which lies at an elevation of 4900 meters above sea level.
Following a tributary of the Mo Chu River, you reach Laya a charming village with a unique culture. Stretching below the majestic Tsenda Kang(6481m), Laya is the highest human settlement in Bhutan. The village is home to the Layaps, an indigenous tribe who have their own language and customs. They have a unique style of dressing in clothes made of yak hair. The women wear conical bamboo hats and adorn themselves with beautiful silver accessories.
An extra day at Laya will give you ample opportunity to learn more about the culture of the Layaps. At Gasa Tsachu you can relax your tired muscles with a soothing dip at the hot spring which is supposed to have healing properties. After descending to a lush tropical forest your trek ends in Khuruthang a small town in Punakha. Before leaving Bhutan, you get to explore the cultural sites of Punakha and Thimphu.
This is a fully organized camping trek. A support crew made up of local guides and kitchen staff will accompany you and keep you well-fed and safe. Each day they will serve you nourishing meals and set up camp before you reach the camping site. The heavy baggage and cooking supplies will be carried by mules or horses.
The best seasons for the Lasa Gaya Trek are spring and autumn when the weather remains warm and dry and the skies clear. As the trek involves crossing high mountain passes above 4000 meters it would help if you have previous high-altitude trekking experience. You walk through a wild and remote part of the country with few human settlements en route. Overland transfers between cities will be made via private vehicles.
Laya Gasa Trek of 20 days offers you a fascinating wilderness trekking adventure with opportunities to experience Bhutanese indigenous culture. Choose this trip and discover one of the rarely explored trails of Bhutan.