Laya Trek

Laya Trek

22 days

ITINERARY OVERVIEW

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO
DAY 02: PARO
DAY 03: PARO – SHANA (6hrs)
DAY 04: SHANA – SOIL THANGTHANGKHA (8hrs)
DAY 05: SOIL T’HANGKHA – JANGOTHANG (8hrs)
DAY 06: REST DAY AT JANGOTHANG
DAY 07: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI (8hrs)
DAY 08: LINGSHI – CHEBISA (6hrs)
DAY 09: CHEBISA – SHOUMUTHANG (7hrs)
DAY 10: SHOUMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG (7hrs)
DAY 11: ROBLUTHANG – LIMITHANG (8hrs)
DAY 12: LIMITHANG – LAYA (5hrs)
DAY 13: REST DAY AT LAYA
DAY 14: LAYA – CHAMSA (9hrs)
DAY 15: CHAMSA – GASA TSHACHU (7hrs)
DAY 16: GASA TSHACHU REST DAY
DAY 17: GASA – PUNAKHA
DAY 18: PUNAKHA
DAY 19: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU
DAY 20: THIMPHU
DAY 21: THIMPHU – PARO
DAY 22: DEPART PARO

This route offers a great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high mountain passes (16,100 ft). Spectacular campsites, beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive peaks, of which the most notable are Chomolhari and Jichu Drake, are also features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated dzongs and scattered settlements, including the extraordinary village of Laya, and the Gasa hot springs make this trek one of the most popular.

Season: This trek is generally open from April to June and mid- September to mid-November. However, April is the best trekking month for the Laya region.

Highlights of this Tour

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAYA TREK

The Laya Trek offers a great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high mountain passes (16,100 ft). Numerous isolated dzongs and scattered settlements, including the extraordinary village of Laya, and Gasa make this trek one of the most popular.

  • Experience fabulous views of snow-capped mountains such as Mt. Jumolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake.
  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
  • Explore the isolated community of Laya.
  • Soak in the therapeutic waters of the Gasa Hot Springs.
  • Camp overnight beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive mountain peaks.
  • Spend time Marvelling at the ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
  • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
  • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

To view more information about some of the townships that are featured in this tour, please visit the Township Highlights page.

Detailed Itinerary

LAYA TREK DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO
DAY 02: PARO
DAY 03: PARO – SHANA (6hrs)
DAY 04: SHANA – SOIL THANGTHANGKHA (8hrs)
DAY 05: SOIL T’HANGKHA – JANGOTHANG (8hrs)
DAY 06: REST DAY AT JANGOTHANG
DAY 07: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI (8hrs)
DAY 08: LINGSHI – CHEBISA (6hrs)
DAY 09: CHEBISA – SHOUMUTHANG (7hrs)
DAY 10: SHOUMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG (7hrs)
DAY 11: ROBLUTHANG – LIMITHANG (8hrs)
DAY 12: LIMITHANG – LAYA (5hrs)
DAY 13: REST DAY AT LAYA
DAY 14: LAYA – CHAMSA (9hrs)
DAY 15: CHAMSA – GASA TSHACHU (7hrs)
DAY 16: GASA TSHACHU REST DAY
DAY 17: GASA – PUNAKHA
DAY 18: PUNAKHA
DAY 19: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU
DAY 20: THIMPHU
DAY 21: THIMPHU – PARO
DAY 22: DEPART PARO

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

DAY 02: PARO
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery, walking approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is spectacular. Afterwards visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

DAY 03: PARO – SHANA
17km, 5-6 hours
The trek starts from Drukgyal Dzong (2,580m). The trail climbs gently through rice terraces and fields of millet before entering an area of apple orchards and forests. Soon you reach the army post of Gunitsawa (2,810m). This is the last stop before Tibet. The trail continues up to 2,870m, where there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.

DAY 04: SHANA – SOIL THANGTHANGKHA
20km, 7-8 hours
The trail again follows the Pa Chu (Paro river), traversing through pine, oak and spruce forests. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, stop for lunch. Then we continue along the river, climbing upwards thought forests, and crossing the river once more before reaching our campsite (3,750).

DAY 05: SOIL THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG
19km km, 7-8 hours
The path ascends for a while until we reach the army camp. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp. A short walk from here into the valley takes us to our campsite a Jangothang (4,040m).

DAY 06: JANGOTHANG
Rest Day
Day at leisure, enjoying superb views of the south face of Chomolhari and the ruined dzong.

DAY 07: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI
18km, 7-8 hours
The trail follows a stream before crossing over to the right bank. We now start our climb up to the first ridge with views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The trail then crosses a valley until climbing up to Nyele – La Pass (4,700m). We descend gradually to our campsite at Lingshi (4,000m).

DAY 08: LINGSHI – CHEBISA
10km, 5-6 hours
We continue on the trail past Lingshi Dzong, perched on its hilltop, enjoying exhilarating views of hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. It is an easy day and a pleasant walk through villages. After lunch, a short walk takes us to Chebisa village, where we camp by the side of a stream of a stream (3,850m).

DAY 09: CHEBISA – SHOUMUTHAN
17km, 6-7 hours
Today begins with a stiff climb of nearly four hours up a ridge to Guba – La (4,500m). We descend from the pass through rhododendrons to our lunch location before crossing a stream and continuing through rhododendron forests and past yak herders’ camp. Tonight’s campsite is at an altitude of 4,250 m.

DAY 10: SHOUMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG
18km, 6-7 hours
This trek starts with a climb up to Jari – La Pass (4,700m). We descend from here to Tasharijathang valley, the summer grazing ground of the rare Himalayan Takin. After crossing a stream, the trail ascends to Robluthang (4,200m) where we set up our camp for the night.

DAY 11: ROBLUTHANG – LIMITHANG
19km, 7-8 hours
We start the day with a long climb up to Shinji-La Pass (4,900m), enjoying stunning mountain views from the path. After crossing the pass we descend to Lingithang. The last part of today’s trek is steep, with splendid views of Gangchenta peak (6,840). Tonight’s campsite is at an altitude of 4,100 m.

DAY 12: LIMITHANG – LAYA
10 km, 4 – 5 hours
In the morning we walk to a superb view of Gangchenta peak in front of our camp. The walk to Laya is very pleasant through a damp forest filled with moss and singing birds. We set up camp on arrival at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at 3,800m.

DAY 13: LAYA
Rest Day
Explore Laya village. You can go and visit one of the local houses. Traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended even to a stranger, and a cup of tea and chang (alcohol brewed from barley) is always offered.

DAY 14: LAYA – CHAMSA
19km, 8-9 hours
We descend from Laya to the army camp at the side of the Mo chu (Mother river of Punakha), and then walk alongside the river till reaching a bridge. After crossing the bridge, the track winds up and down through juniper and fir forests. We camp in the forest at Chamsa (3, 800m).

DAY 15: CHAMSA – GASA TSHACHU
14km, 6-7 hours
After a 30 minute walk over flat land to Bele-La Pass, it’s downhill all the way to Gasa Tshachu. We take lunch at Gasa village (2700m), afterwards visiting the village and Gasa Dzong. The Dzong was built in the 17th century. We then descend to Gasa Tshachu (hot spring), where we set up our camp (2,200m).

DAY 16: GASA TSHACHU
Rest day
After a long trek, this is the place to relax! Enjoy a hot bath and try some of the local beer.

DAY 17: GASA TSHACHU – PUNAKHA
Drive through scenic mountains from Gasa to Punakha (3-4 hrs). Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

DAY 18: PUNAKHA
Visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

DAY 19: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU
Drive to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu via the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour. After lunch, enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

DAY 20: THIMPHU
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, 12th century Changangkha Temple, the Zilukha Nunnery and Tashichhodzong. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

DAY 21: THIMPHU – PARO
Visit the School for Arts and Crafts, The National Library housing a collection of 8th century scriptures, the Traditional Paper Factory and the Folk Heritage Museum. If your visit coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market. Late afternoon transfer to Paro for overnight.

DAY 12: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek.

Tailor-Design This Tour

TAILOR-DESIGN THE LAYA TREK

We understand that every traveller is different, so we design holidays to suit you. Our consultants are experts in creating the most unique Bhutan tour just for you. Whether you are solo traveller, a couple, group of friends, or a large group, we are here to help you open the doors to your himalayan dream. Use the form below to let us know what you are interested in adding or excluding to customise the Laya Trek.

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Value-Add Options

VALUE-ADDED OPTIONS

In addition to offering independent, flexible tour options, Bhutan Travel Bureau can also arrange a variety of “add on” options to provide a more in-depth experience of Bhutan. These include:

  • Cooking lessons
  • A farmhouse stay
  • “Ara” (rice liquor) brewing lessons
  • Monastery experience
  • Evening dinner & culture show

Alternatively, you can awaken your senses with a range of wellbeing and spa retreats offering yoga, pilates, meditation, healing bodywork, hot stone baths and massage.

These activities can easily be incorporated into any itinerary. Please note that some activities may attract additional fees.

BHUTAN TREK DATES:

All of our Bhutan tours and treks are private, tailor-made journeys for independent travel on dates of your choosing, subject to the trek taking place during the trekking season as identified in the itinerary overview above. We can easily customise your Bhutan tour and trek to spend more in the places doing the activities that you are interested in. Please click on the ‘Tailor-Design this Tour’ tab above to begin customising this tour to your requirements.

WHAT WE INCLUDE IN OUR TAILOR MADE BHUTAN TREKS:

  • Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees.
  • All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Local English speaking trekking guide/tour leader.
  • Cook and camp hand who will take care of camp chores and provide wholesome meals.
  • Services of horsemen who will look after the yaks & ponies that transport luggage and camp gear.
  • Experienced driver.
  • Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard goverment approved hotels & guesthouses.
  • All meals in Bhutan.
  • All entrance fees and permits.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
  • Medical / Travel Insurance.