LAYA-LINGZHI TREK is an extension to the superb Jomolhari Trek. It is recommended for tougher trekkers only who wants to conquer the Himalayas. It’s a great hike for nature lovers as it takes you from semi-tropical forests to alpine pastures, through interesting villages, scenic landscapes, and breathtaking views of the Himalayas, Jumolhari, the tallest virgin mountains in the world, Jichu Drake, Gangchhenta (the great tiger mountain), and Masang Gang. The motivating factor of this trek is the Gasa tshachu (GasaHotspring) which is well known for its healing capacity to cure any kind of illnesses. All in all, this Trek is considered to be the most beautiful trek of Bhutan.

The Best time for this Trek: April, May, Jun & Mid-September, Oct, Mid-November.

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1 (Arrival at Paro): You are expected to arrive at Paro through the only flight to Bhutan, Druk Air. We assure you a unique travelling experience across the Himalayas, including the sacred Jhumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks of Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by one of our tour executive who will then check you into your hotel.

After lunch, your first event will be a visit to the National Museum of Bhutan and walk down to Paro Rinpung Dzong which is strategically located on a small hill top overlooking the paro valley.  You can expect to see a great architectural view of the gigantic dzong built in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyel. Later in the evening, if time permits drive up to Kyichu to see one of the oldest monasetery of Bhutan built in the 8th century by a Tibetan king.

Day 2 (Hike to Taktsang): To prepare our guest for the big hike, today we will take a3-4 hours hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, one of Bhutan’s most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche (Second lord Buddha) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the viewpoint to the monastery makes for a nice half-day excursion. After lunches we will take some rest, we will visit Drukgyal Dzong (fortress of victory) and in the evening walk around Paro.

Day 3 (DrukgyelDzong to SharnaZampa): It is a Distance of 17km (4 to 5hours), 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2,850m. We Drive up to DrukgyelDzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begin. With a gradual climb the trail follows the Paro Chhu passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.

Day 4 (SharnaZampa to Thangthangkha): It is a Distance of 22km (7 to 8hours), 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m. On this long day, going uphill through the river valley, you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mount Jomolhari.

Day 5 (Thangthangkha to Jangothang): It is a Distance of 19km (5 to 6 hours), 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m. You will have a great view of Mount Jomolhari this early morning. The trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. Cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.

Day 6 (Halt in Jangothang): The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your accommodation. Trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lay directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

Day 7 (Jangothang to Lingshi): It is a Distance of 18km (6 to 7hours), 840m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,010m. After 15 minutes from the camp, the trail climbs rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascend to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m.You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherim gang, all of them rising above 7,000m. On the way down to the camp you will pass by some of the yak herder’s tent, made from yak wool, where the herders take shelter while on the move to various pastures for their yaks. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Tserim gang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong.

Day 8 (Lingshi to Chebisa): It is a Distance of 10km (5 to 6hours), 280m ascent, 410m descent, camp altitude 3,880m. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Zomithang and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where village houses are normally scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa with a beautiful waterfall behind the village, you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it.

Day 9 (Chebisa to Shomuthang): It is a Distance of 17km (6 to 7hours), 890m ascent, 540m descent, camp altitude 4,220m. You walk through a wide pasture land towards Gogu La pass. There is also a great chance to spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing the Gogu La (4,410m), you descend to the valley, then climb again a little bit, and descend again to Shakshepasa (3,980) where a helipad has been established. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang, above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river.

Day 10 (Shomuthang to Robluthang): It is a Distance of 18km (6 to 7hours), 700m ascent, 760m descent, camp altitude 4,160m. Since the days walk is little long, it is advisable to start early. You will be climbing up the valley for few hours to view Kang Bum (6,526 m). After two hours of climbing you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first sight of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. The big snow peak in the north is Gangchhenta 6,840 m (the great tiger mountain). If weather permits, you may be able to see the Tserim gang and the top of Jumolhari. This place has been declared a Takin sanctuary as it plays home to our national animal Takin for four months in summer when they migrate from higher altitude. Climb up a little bit and you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow.

Day 11 (Robluthang to Limithang): It is a Distance of 19km (6 to 7hours), 850m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,140m. After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) you descend to a little stone house where you will encounter your first human inhabitant after may be 4- 5 days. Right behind the stone house you will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of the lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you cross the Kango Chhu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchhenta towers over the campsite even though it’s quite a distance away.

Day 12 (Limithang to Laya): It is a Distance of 10km (4 to 5hours), 60m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 3,840m. Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. After a long time, you again trek partly through deep forest. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. From the west of the village you will view Gangchhenta again and catch a glimpse of Masagang. In the village centre is a community school and a basic health unit with telephone connection. The campsite is below the school.

Day 13 (Laya to Koina): It is a Distance of 19km (6 to 7hours), 260m ascent, 1,070m descent, camp altitude 3,050m. The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to KohiLapcha at 3.300m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of KoinaChhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina.

Day 14 (Koina to Gasa): It is a Distance of 14km (6 to 7hours), 740m ascent, 1,500m descent, camp altitude at GasaTsachu 2,240m. Today you will have your last major climb of this Trek. You will cross the Bari La (3,740m), after which the trail is all the way down till you reach Gasa village (2,770m). From here, the choice remains with the guest, whether you want to continue your trek for another hour to reach where the hot spring is or stay back to see the dzong.

Day 15 (End of Trek): You may end your trek here or stay the day dipping in hot spring that has high healing power.

Day16 (Punakha to Thimphu): After breakfast we will start for Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit the gigantic Punakha Dzong, where the First king of Bhutan was crowned in 1907 and the Royal Wedding of the 5th King of Bhutan celebrated in 2011. On the way back from Punakha, we will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is popularly known as fertility temple. After that we move to Thimphu.

Day 17 (Thimphu): In Thimphu we will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changangkha Monastery, textile museum, Buddha point (for a great bird’s eye view of Thimphu Valley and the giant Buddha statue), and the mini-zoo, where you can see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. From there we will visit the Zilukha nunnery temple, a traditional paper factory, the Tashichodzong (Fortress of Thimphu).In the evening, walk around Thimphu town, if you may wish to shop for souvenirs to take back home.

Day 18 (Paro): Depart for onward destination from Paro International Airport.

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