Tour Title: Classic Laya Trek
Duration: 18 Nights / 19 Days
Type: Fly In/ Fly Out
This is one of the treks that will always rank as one of Bhutan's finest treks. The route offers fantastic mountain views at close range including Mt. Gangchey Ta (tiger mountain), mother of the female river flowing through Punakha valley. Renowned for its diversity in Himalayan flora and Fauna. Numerous isolated dzongs and scattered settlements including the outlandish village of Laya, a unique culture of its own provide a great deal of cultural interest. Though remote, the Laya region is known for its hospitality and your time here will be delightful. The trek will end with a dip at the Gasa Tshachu (hot spring) relaxing every bone in your body, and the memories of the special trek will stay with you for a lifetime.
Arrive Paro by Druk Air, the only national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful view of mountains and landscapes. On arrival and after visa formalities you will be received by ITT members. Afternoon / evening time at leisure. Overnight Kichu Resort or simialr.
Day hike to Taktsang monastery. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley. It is believed that great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley into Buddhism. During the end of the 17 century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Stroll back to Resort.
Drive to Drugyel Dzong where the trek begins. The path goes upstream of the Pachu river through villages gradually ascending to 2800 meters at Shana camp. Walking time 5/6 hours.
Shana to Soi Thangthangkha. The trail again follows the Pachu river ascending through pine, oak and spruce forest. Lunch will be served near a wooden bridge. The camp is at an altitude of 3800 meters near a stone shelter. Walking time 7/8 hours.
Soi to Jangothang. Climb slowly for a while till you reach an army camp. Then follow the river above tree line with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a Yak herders camp. A easy walk will reach you to Jangothang at an altitude of 4050 meters. The view of Chomolhari (7320 meters) and Jichu Drake (6900 meters) is superb. Both the mountains are still virgin peaks. Walking time 4/5 hours.
Halt at Jangothang. Explore the surrounding areas like Tshophu lake, visit Yakherders or simply relax.
Jangothang to Lingshi. The trail follows the stream for half hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Climb up the ridge and enjoy stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Khang mountains.Than walk through the wide open valley sometimes coming across herds of blue sheep. The climb upto the Nyele la pass 4700 meters is not too difficult and the view is breathtaking. After the pass its a gradual descend and through the valley with beautiful views on all side. Nearing the camp you will see the Lingshi Dzong perched ontop of a hill with commanding view of the valley. Arrive camp at 4100 meters near a stone shelter. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Lingshi to Chebisa. Walk pass the Lingshi Dzong and magnificent peaks. Today is a very pleasant walk through villages, yak herders camps and keep a sharp eye on herds of blue sheep that looks like rock boulders on the mountain side. Lunch will be served at scenic Goyuna village. A short walk after lunch will reach you to Chebisa village at an altitude of 3900 meters. Walking time 4/5 hours.
Chebisa to Shomuthang. Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gobu la pass 4600 meters taking nearly 3/4 hours to the top but rewarded with magnificent views of the Himalayas. This is a blue sheep area so always keep a sharp eye. After the pass descend through rhododendrons bushes and lunch will be served at a ideal spot. The path goes up down crossing streams and Yak herders camps. Arrive camp at 4250 meters. Walking time 7/8 hours.
Shomuthang to Robluthang. The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass 4650 meters. Then descend all the way through alpine forest and rhododendron shrubs to Tsharijathang a summer feeding ground for the rare Takins (national animal of Bhutan). During summer/monsoon the path is all wet so be prepared to get wet as the small wooden bridges are all washed away. After crossing the stream the trail ascends for a while till you reach the camp at 4300 meters. Walking time 7/8 hours.
Robluthang to Limithang. Today will be a long climb up to Shinje la pass at 4950 meters. The view of Gangchey ta mountain 6800 meters from the pass is breathtaking. From the pass descend all the way with a wider view of the mountain. Arrive Limithang a wide open valley and summer grazing ground for the yaks of the Laya people. Camp at 4100 meters. Walking time 7/8 hours.
Limithang to Laya. Wake up with great view of Gangchey Ta mountain in front of you. The walk to Laya is pleasant passing through damp forest filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive Laya village the second highest settlements in the country at an altitude of 3850 meters. Walking time 4/6 hours.
Laya halt. Explore the village by visiting the home of the laya people. Every home will welcome you with smiling faces and there is no need for invitation. A cup of butter tea, yak milk, Chang (local brewed wine made from wheat or barley) any of your choice will be offered. They are very friendly people and will happily pose for photographs. The Laya women have a dress that is unique in Bhutan. They wear the conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments and dark yak wool dress. If the group is interested in a cultural dance program by the Laya people it can be arranged.
Laya to Koina. Trek down to the army base camp and follow the river crossing small streams. During the winter months you will see the rare Takins grazing on the bamboo shoots. The trail is up and down. Camp will be near a river next to a stone shelter at 3400 meters. Walking time 5/6 hours.
Koina to Gasa Hot spring. The trail ascends for some time and gradually to the Bamela pass at 3750 meters. The path is all the way down hill till the camp. During monsoon the trail is filled with leeaches but it is surprising not finding any leeaches near the hot spring. The hot spring was discovered by Guru Rinpoche and it is believed that who has faith in him can cure sickness which was impossible by modern medicene. The spring has a small shop selling beer imported from India and is a sure way to relax after a long trek. Camp altitude at 2200 meters. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Hot Spring to Goen Damji. The walk begins through semi tropical vegetation filled with wild orchids crossing rivers and streams. Walking across huge suspension bridges and one bridge is over 150 meters in height which is all a part of the thrill. It is a easy walk and you can take your time in admiring the scenic beauty of the country side. Camp at 1850 meters. Walking time 4/5 hours.
Damji to Tashithang. Today is the last day of trekking. Continue walking gradually down hill following the Mochu river through heavily forested area till you arrive Tashithang at 1550 meters. The Intrek bus will be waiting and proceed for 1 hour to Punakha. Visit the 17 centuary dzong and drive 45 minutes to Wangdue Kichu resort or similar. Relax and enjoy the modern comfort.
Drive 4 hours to Paro via Thimphu. On arrival in Paro commence sightseeing. Overnight at Kichu resort or similar.
Transfer to airport for departure.