Laya TrekLaya Trek route is one of the finest cultural and scenic routes in the Himalaya, bringing us to the magical village of Laya (12,610'), so remote it has its own traditional dress and culture, and to ethereal Lingshi, with its monastery clinging to the edge of a sheer hilltop. Besides this, the trek also offers picturesque farmlands, alpine pasturelands, the blaming hot springs of Gasa, isolated Dzongs and High Mountain passes like Chomolhari and Jichu Drake.
Best Time: Late March to May and late September to mid-November.
Paro / Shana / Soil Thangkha / Jangothang / Lingshi / Chebisa / Shoumuthan / Robluthang / Limithang Laya / Chamsa / Gasa Tshachu / Damji / Punakha / Thimphu
Day 01: Arrival in 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 centers, which were once strategic forts. Accommodation: Hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro (Hike to Taktsang)
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. Accommodation: Hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro to Shana (17km / 5-6 hrs)
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. Accommodation: Camp (2870m).
Day 04: Shana to Soil Thangthangkha (20km / 7-8 hrs)
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.
Accommodation: Camp (3750m).
Day 05: Soil Thangthangkha to Jangothang (19km km / 7-8 hrs)
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. Accommodation: Camp at Jangothang (4,040m).
Day 06: Jangothang (Rest Day)
Day at leisure, enjoying superb views of the south face of Chomolhari and the ruined dzong. Accommodation: Camp at Jorethang (4040m).
Day 07: Jangothang to Lingshi (18km / 7-8 hrs)
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 to Chebisa (10km / 5-6 hrs)
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 to Shoumuthan
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 to Robluthang (18km / 6-7 hrs)
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.Accommodation: Camp at Robluthang(4200m)
Day 11: Robluthang to Limithang (19km / 7-8 hrs)
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).Accommodation: Camp (4100m).
Day 12: Limithang to Laya (10 km / 4-5 hrs)
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.Accommodation: Laya (3800m)
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 to Chamsa (19km / 8-9 hrs)
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. Accommodation: Camp at Chamsa (3800m)
Day 15: Chamsa to Gasa Tshachu (14km / 6-7 hrs)
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). Accommodation: Camp at Gasa Tsachu (2200m).
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. Accommodation: Camp at Gasa Tsachu (2200m).
Day 17: Gasa Tshachu – Damji (18km / 5-6 hrs)
The path winds up and down through heavily forested area where you can see many wild orchids. Take care, as there are leeches too! Accommodation: Camp near Damji village (2,400m).
Day 18: Damji to Tashithang to Punakha (16km / 5-6 hrs)
This is our last trekking day. The trail descends through heavy forest, following the course of the Mo Chu, till reaching the road head at Tashithang (1, 620m). Bhutan Travel Bureau will be waiting here to drive us along the valley to Punakha, 15km down the road. Accommodation: Hotel in Punakha.
Day 19: Punakha to Thimphu
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. Visit spectacular Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. In the late afternoon drive to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital. Accommodation: 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. Accommodation: Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 21: Thimphu to 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 drive towards Paro. Accommodation: Hotel in Paro.
Day 22: Departure from Paro.
After breakfast in the hotel, drive towards the airport to board your flight home or onward destination.