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Beautiful Laya/Gasa Trek (21 Days)

DAY 01: ARRIVE AT PARO - HALT
The flight into Bhutan is a breathtaking one with views of Mt. Everest. Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks including sacred Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro Airport you will be received by a representative of Bhutan Taktsang Tours & Travels. Check in at Hotel. After lunch you will be taken for a visit to Ta-Dzong Museum.

DAY 02 : PARO - SIGHTSEEING
Drive the winding road northwest up the Pa Chu to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong, now a burned shell was once strategic in Bhutan defense against Tibetan invasion. On a clear day you can view the sacred summit of Mt. Jomolhari which reaches skyward beyond the Dzong. On the way back visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouses.

DAY 03 : PARO - EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG
Spend a full day hiking to Taktsang, the Tiger’s nest. This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3000 above the valley floor. Legend says that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tiger-hence the name - to meditate. The tiger was actually his favorite consort, Yeshe Tsogyel, whom he transformed for the purpose of this journey. When the Guru finished his meditation he instructed that the monastery be built.

DAY 04 : PARO - SHANA
Drive upto Drugyel Dzong where the road ends and the Trek Begins, following the river gently uphill through a narrowing agricultural valley. Lots of houses, kids, dogs. Camp is just above an army post. Alt 2800m. Dist. 17kms about 5/6 hrs.

DAY 05 : SHANA - SOI THANGTHANGKHA
Continue uphill through the river valley. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage.

DAY 06 : SOI THANGTHANGKHA - JANGOTHANG
Once up the Pa Chu, pass a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Now views of high ridges and then snow-capped peaks are all round. You begin to see yaks & yak herders winder homes. Lunch will probably be at one of these. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Jomolhari. Alt. 4040m, Distance 19kms, 5/6hrs.

DAY 07 : JANGOTHANG - LINGSHI
Wide yak pastures on the way up and down the pass, possibly still some people in their yak tents depending on the time of year. Great views of Lingshi Dzong as you come down into the descending glaciers at the north end of the valley. It has an inside fire pit and you can sleep on wood floor or in a tent. Alt. 4150m, distance 19kms 5/6hrs.

DAY 08 : LINGSHI - CHEBISA
Today is the shortest waling day and you can take it easy. On reaching camp at Chebisa village you can also visit the village houses. Alt. 3850kms. Distance 12kms about 5/6 hrs.

DAY 09 : CHEBISA - SHOMUTHANG
The walk is through wild high pastures with few people and few yaks. Cross Gobu La (La means pass) alt. 14268/tributary to the Mo Chu, which came out just below Gasa Tshachu. Alt. 4260m, Distance 17kms about 6hrs.

DAY 10 : SHOMUTHANG - RUBLUTHANG
Today we start a little early. After crossing Jarela pass alt. 15088ft/4600m you drop to Tsharijathang the valley where herds of takins are normally seen. Overnight at camp. Alt. 14400ft. Distance 15kms about 5hrs.

DAY 11 : ROBLUTHANG - LEMITHANG
After crossing Shingela pass alt. 16072ft/490m you drop down again and follow the valley. Lemithang is in the Laya District and here you will see the wonderful children in the funny hats camp at Lemithang is beneath kang che Da. Great Tiger Mountain. If you have time it would be worthwhile to explore a bit. Overnight in camp. Alt. 13567ft. Distance 19kms about 6/7hrs.

DAY 12 : LEMITHANG - LAYA
It is all the way down hill today along a winding river valley with quite a closed in feeling. The trail splits, one going down with the river to the campsite used by the army. The other stays high and brings you into the west side of Laya village. You can camp on a high flat bench above the east end of Laya village. Overnight at camp. Alt. 1268ft. Distance 10kms less than an hour.

DAY 13 : LAYA - HALT
Visit Laya village houses or hike above camp

DAY 14 : LAYA - KOENA
The trail winds up and down along the river valley avoiding natural obstacles and affording breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Overnight at camp. Alt. 1268ft. Distance 19kms about 7hrs.

DAY 15 : KOENA - GASA
Enroute cross Balela pass alt. 12267ft/3740m. After the pass it is all the way downhill till you reach camp which is near Gasa Dzong. Overnight at camp. Alt. 9250ft. Distance 17kms about 6/7hrs.

DAY 16 : GASA - GASA TSHACHU
After a late breakfast trek to Gasa Tshachu (Tshachu means Hot Spring). After lunch relax in the hot spring. Overnight at camp.

DAY 17 : GASA TSHACHU - GOEN DAMJI
After the climb away from Gasa Tshachu the trail winds through rolling hillsides with visits of fields villages, Oak and Pine forests. Gasa Dzong will be visible behind you, glued to the valley wall, seeming to float in space, O/n in camp. Alt. 2280m. Dist. 21kms about 7hrs.

DAY 18 : GOEN DAMJI - TASHITHANG
The trail descends from the high agricultural benches above the Mo Chu in to a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and an occasional monkey camp at Tashithang. Alt. 5608m, Distance 17kms about 6/7hrs.

DAY 19 : TASHITHANG - KHURUTHANG
Drive down Punakha valley past the monkeys and the king’s golf course (accessible only by raft) and stop for a while to take photographs of Punakha Dzong from outside. Punakha was the capital until 1966. The remains of the Shabdrung, the saint who unified Bhutan in the 17th century are interred here. The Je Khenpo, Head Abbot of the Tibetan Buddhist church, resides here with the monk body from Thimphu during the winter since it is warmer at this lower altitude. Camp at Khuruthang. Alt 4500ft.

DAY 20 : KHURUTHANG - THIMPHU
The drive to Thimphu will take about 3 hrs. Enroute cross Dochu La pass alt. 10,000ft. From the pass depending on the weather you will have a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains. Stop at Dochu La cafeteria for a hot cup of tea and then drive on to Thimphu.

DAY 21 : THIMPHU - PARO /EXIT
Drive to Paro Airport for onward flight.