Laya Gasa Trek
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The Laya-Gasa Trek is considered the most beautiful treks in Bhutan. Running along the north of Bhutan bordering Tibet China, the trek offers amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes in Bhutan. This fourteen day, 217 km alpine quest begins at Drukgyel in Paro and takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows, high mountain passes and dense sub-tropical jungles through Jigme Singye National Park and offer awe-inspiring views of Jomolhari Mountain, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang.
You will trek through remote mountain villages Laya and Lingszhi, the highest settlement in the country with a distinct culture and traditions. Along the trail, you will also have an ample opportunity to spot indigenous animals such as blue sheep and Takins. The last day of the trek offers a day of relaxation at the famous Gasa hot springs to rejuvenate your tired muscles.
Upon arrival in Paro, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. After lunch in the restaurant, you can visit the Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the Dzongs (forts) currently. You’ll cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to the Dzong. Afterward you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From there you will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain at 7,329 meters, from the village below the Dzong. In the evening you can stroll through the Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, full day excursion to Taktsang or the “tiger’s nest” perched precariously on the cliff 900m above the floor of the Paro valley. It is the most famous monastery in Bhutan. It is said that Guru Rimpoche have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress and meditated here for three months. Lunch would be served in the Cafeteria. Return to Paro in the evening. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Trek begins: Drive up to Drukgyal Dzong where the road ends and start the trek by following the river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will find plenty of traditional farmhouses in a purely rural setting. The campsite is just beyond an army outpost. Alt. 2800m, Distance – 17 km and time 5-6 hours.
Continue uphill through the river valley, which narrows and closes in after some distance. The trail then winds up and down along the drainage. Most of the trail actually is down hill after the initial climb. The campsite is located in a meadow with stone shelter. Alt. Approx. 3400m, distance 15 km, time 4-5 hours.
Walk up along the Pachu (Paro river), pass a small army outpost where the valley begins to widen again. You can now clearly view the high ridges and the snow-capped mountains all around and also see the yaks and the yak herder’s winter homes. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of the Jumolhari Mountain. Alt. 4040m. , Distance 19 km and time 5-6 hours.
Today, you will spend a day by doing four-hour acclimatization hike to the north of your camp. There is practically no trail but you will climb on a open and endless slope till you see the view of Mt Jichu Drakye (6989m). You can scramble further up till 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the remarkable blue poppy.
Jangothang base is a flat grassy land with an old ruined fortress on a hillock in the foreground, beneath the colossal Mount Jumolhari and its neighbour Jitchu Drake. Most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude and it is recommended that all trekkers halt here. If you do not wish to hike but simply wish to just relax in camp, whichever option you choose, its certainly going to be a memorable day.
Walk up toward the pass through a wide pastureland. Depending on the season you are there, you might find some yak herders in their camping tents along the way. As you come down after the pass to the Lingshi basin, you will see some beautiful views of the Lingshi Dzong, valley, Tserim Kang (mountain) and its descending glaciers at the north end of the valley. Camp in a stone shelter with a built-in fire pit or in the tent. Alt. 4150m. Distance 19 km. Time 5-6 hours.
Today is the shortest walking day and you can really take it easy. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa, you can visit the village houses if you feel up to it. Alt. 3850m. Distance 12 km. Time 3-4 hours.
You walk through a wide pastureland towards Gobu-la (pass). On the way, you will see few people herding the yaks. After crossing the Gobu -la (Alt. 4350m) descend down to the valley. The campsite is on a bench above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river. Alt. 4260. Distance 17 km. Time 5-6 hours.
As the walk is little strenuous, it is advisable to start little early. After crossing the Jerela (pass) alt. 4600m you come down to Tsharijathang valley where you can normally see herds of Takins. Camp at Tsharijathang. Alt.4390m. Distance 15 km. Time 6-7 hours.
Trekking in Bhutan is different from Nepal. There are no teahouse or lodges on trail where you can backpack and find your meals at the teahouses and lodges on the way. Horses or yaks carry all your trekking gears, equipment and food supplies. We do not use human porters. You will be sleeping inside a tent pitched at different night halt places. Trained trekking chef is being assigned to you to cook hot meals at the campsites. You will also get hot lunch served on the way.
For a group of two trekkers, you will have 6 people trekking with you – these include a trekking guide, chef, assistants and horsemen. You will have 8 horses carrying luggage.
Our trekking guides are trained and certified by the government to handle AMS and other emergencies on treks. You have access to mobile networks on some point of trails and a daily contact is being maintained with the office back in city.
Littering is not allowed on all trek routes. Hand over your wastes to your trekking staff. They will put in a garbage bag and carry along with them to city to be thrown into proper bins.
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