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Laya Gasa Trek
If you are in the mood for a long trek, the Laya Gasa trek is ideal. You get to trek for 12 days and experience life in the rugged terrains of northern Bhutan and also interact with the rural highlanders. Nothing can beat the beauty of the vivid mountains you get to witness throughout the trek. The Gasa hot springs which await you at the end of the trek is the reward for completing the trek. One of the most popular hot springs of Bhutan, the Gasa hot springs offer healing properties for all kinds of ailments such as body aches, skin diseases, sinusitis, gastritis, renal problems and bronchitis.
Day 1: Arrive at Paro Airport
The first day flight to Paro airport will bring you the most spectacular view of the Himalayan ranges.
Twenty five minutes before you land in the Dragon kingdom you will be able to view the highest mountain range, The Everest and then other mountains like the Mt.Kanchenjunga, Mt.Makalu and at the later end you will also see the mountains of Bhutan like the most famous Mt.Chomolhari, Mt.Jichu Darke, Mt.Tsrim Gang etc. Finally after a great view you will reach Paro airport after 2 hrs 45 minutes (from BKK) or 1 hr 30 minutes (from KTM). There your respective guide will receive you. Here there are two options, one you can either drive to the Capital, i.e 2hrs from Paro or halt at Paro (2250 m) i.e 15 minutes away from the airport. If your flight is early then you will be served lunch at your respective hotel. You can then discuss the other following programmes with your guide. In the evening if you are not tired then you can take a drive/walk through the Paro town.
Day 2: Paro sightseeing
The sightseeing will begin after your breakfast. You will visit the Drukgyel Dzong (fortess). This Dzong was built by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1647.This Dzong was built to celebrate the victory over the Tibetains. In the early 18th century a candle fire accidentally burned down this Dzong and still at present this Dzong is in ruins. You can proceed to go for lunch either in town or back to your hotel. After lunch you can then proceed to visit the Tag Dzong which was later converted into the National Museum in 1967.Inside the museum you will find many antique thankas, different kinds of textiles, a small temple of life, different statues, etc. After this you can drive to the Rimpung Dzong or the Paro Dzong which was built in the 17th century. This Dzong is now the administration center and school for the monks. In the evening you can take a short walk in the town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Excursion to Takshang
In the morning you will experience a small hike of 3 hrs to the Takshang monastery (The tiger’s nest). A small history on this monastery will help you understand further and appreciate the monastery.
As believed by the Bhutanese, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a tiger’s back in the 8th century and meditated there for three months. Later in 1684 this holy place was built. When you finish your climb you will reach a cafe where you will get a very good view of the monastery. There you will be served tea and snacks. For some tourists who wants to get a very close view of the monastery, they can further climb for the next 45 minutes and enjoy the 50 meter close view of the Tiger’s Nest. You can ask your guide to give you a detailed explanation. After a late lunch at the cafeteria you can trek back to Paro. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Paro to Shana
Drive upto the Drukgyel dzong, 15 Klms and from there your trek will begin. The trek today is a little gradual following the stream and a distance of 5-6 hours .You will reach your camp at Shana at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
Day 5: Shana to Soi Thangthangkha
This trail follows the Pa-Chu (Paro River) cutting through some narrow paths. You will trek up and down through the pine, oak, and spruce forests. You will be climbing to Soi at an altitude of 3750 meters. This trek will at least take 9-10 hours of walking. Finally you can camp at Soi.
Day 6: Soi Thangthangkha to Jangothang
You will come across snow capped mountains on the way and see a lot of Yaks and the Yak herder’s camps. The path ascends till you reach army camp. Lunch will be probably served at the base of the Chomolhari camp. Today you have covered a distance of 19 Klms with an average time of 5-6 hours.
You can go for fishing or for a small hike to the Tshopchu. Overnight at Base camp.
Day 7: Jangothang to Lingshi
The path passes through the Yak pastures and some ascending and descending trails. You will be able to get the view of Lingshi Dzong from the Lingshi basin. Today, covering 19 Klms (5-6 hours) you will reach your camp. Night halt in Camp/Stone hut.
Day 8: Lingshi to Chebisa
The trek today is the shortest and an easy going trek. You will cover a distance of 19 Klms, which is about 5-6 hours. Your camp is at an altitude of 3850 mtrs.
Day 9: Chebisa to Shomuthang
You have to cross the Gobula pass which is at an Alt. of 14268 ft. You will camp near a river which is a tributary to the Mochu. Your camp at Shomuthang is at a distance of 17 Klms i.e 6 hours walking.
Day10: Shomuthang to Robluthang
You will pass the Jarela pass (15088 ft) and then you will descend to Robluthang. Your camp is at a distance of 15 Klms (5 hours) from Shomuthang at 14400 ft.
Day 11: Robluthang to Lemithang
After crossing the Shingela pass (1672 ft) you will descend to the Lemithang valley. Here it is a settlement of Layaps and there will many people. Your camp here is at 13567 ft. Distance covered is 19 Klms (6-7 hours).
Day 12: Lemithang to Laya
The trek is downhill today. You will reach Laya(1268 ft) in about 3-4 hours .Overnight camp here.
Day 13: Halt at Laya
Visit houses and talk with the Layaps.
Day 14: Laya to Koena
This trail winds up and down along the river valley of the natural obstacles, streams and waterfalls. Koena is at 9250 ft (distance of 17 Klms covered in 6-7 hours).
Day 15: Koena to Gasa
You will pass the Balela pass (12267 ft.)Then you will trek downhill till you reach your camp at Gasa (9250 ft.).The distance is of 17 Klms i.e around 6-7 hours of trek.
Day 16: Gasa to Gasa Tsachu
Today you will trek to the Tsachu (hot spring). You can make yourself comfortable by getting in the hot spring and enjoying the moment. Overnight at camp.
Day 17: Gasa Tsachu to Tashithang to Khuruthang to Thimphu
Your drive is of 3 hours so first you can go back to Punakha to do some sightseeing and then to Wangdiphodrang After lunch you can then proceed to Thimphu or go straight to Paro if your flight is early.
Day18: Thimphu to Paro onwards to Delhi or Bangkok.