The Classical Laya Trek

Duration: 23 Days

4,950 m/16,240 ft

Bhutan

Min 2 Pax.

Moderate

OVERVIEW

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.

DETAILED ITINERARY

  • Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400 m / 4,592 ft.)

    Upon arrival in Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, meet Himalayan Holidays representative, assist and transfer to the hotel. At the hotel’s lobby welcome refreshments will be served and room check in assistance provided. Shortly afterwards there will be a tour briefing at the hotel’s lobby. Rest of the day is free for leisure. 

    Eve: Welcome dinner featuring Nepali Cultural Dance Show.

    Overnight at Hotel.

  • Day 02: Visit Pashupatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa and Bhaktapur City.

    Am: After breakfast proceed for a tour of Bouddhanath Stupa - ancient colossal sputa and the center of Tibetan Buddhism in the world which is also listed in UNISCO world heritage site. 

    After the tour of Bouddhanath, proceed for a tour of Pashupatinath Temple - the Temple of Lord Shiva situated on the bank of the holy Bagmati River. The temple is listed on a UNISCO World Heritage Site.

    Pm:  Later drive to Bhaktapur City, literally the “City of Devotees”, is renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colorful festivals, traditional dances and the typical Newari lifestyle. Here explore the Royal Palace, the Golden Gate, and the entrance to the Palace of 55 Windows, known as the most significant piece of art in Nepal. Then visit the highest temple in the entire Kathmandu Valley- the Nyatapola Temple. This is also listed on a UNISCO world heritage site. After sightseeing tour transfer back to hotel.

    Overnight at Hotel.

  • Day 03: Fly to Paro (Bhutan) - (2,200 m / 7,216 ft.) & Sightseeing tour.

    After breakfast proceed to Kathmandu’s International Airport to board the Druk Air flight no: KB 401 (ETD 13:25 / Reporting at 11:25) to Paro. Arrive in Paro at 14:40.  After completion airport immigration formalities transfer to nearby restaurant for some refreshment and lunch. 

    Pm: After lunch proceed through a beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. It was housed into the National museum in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven floors museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walk down crossing traditional old Bridge.

    Later transfer to hotel room check in rest.

    Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 04: Hike to Taksang Monastery (3,120 m / 10,240 ft.)

    After early breakfast drive to hike starting point of Taktsang Monastery or the “Tiger’s Nest. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 to 3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government has taken immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure. It is believed that the 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 17th 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. Later back to Resort for lunch.

    Dinner and overnight at hotel. 

  • Day 05: Drive to Drugyal Dzong and Trek to Shana Camp (2,800 m / 9,184 ft.) – 5/6 hrs.

    After breakfast drive to Drugyal Dzong (Trek starting point). Where you will meet your Trek support team, after the short preparations trek begins. Initially the path goes upstream of the Pachu River through villages gradually ascending to 2,800 m at Shana camp.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 06: Trek from Shana to Soi Thangthankgkha  (3,800 m / 12,464 ft.) – 5/6 hrs.

    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 3,800 meters near a stone shelter.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 07: Trek from Soi to Janjothang (4,040 m / 13,251 ft.) – 5/6 hrs.

    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.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 08: Rest day for acclimatization (3,800 m / 12,464 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    Halt at Jangothang. Explore the surrounding areas like Tshophu Lake, visit Yak herders or simply relax.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 09: Trek to Lingshi (4,100 m / 13,448 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    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 up to the Nyele la pass 4,700 m is not too difficult and the view is breathtaking. After the pass it’s 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 4,100 meters near a stone shelter.

    Dinner and overnight at Lingshi. 

  • Day 10: Trek from Lingshi to Chebisa (3,900 m / 12,792 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    Walk passes the Lingshi Dzong and magnificent peaks. 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.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 11: Trek from Chebisa to Shomuthang (4,250 m / 13940 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    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 an ideal spot. The path goes up down crossing streams and Yak herders camps.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 12: Shomuthang to Robluthang (4,300 m / 14,104 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass 4, 650 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 4,300 meters.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 13: Robluthang to Limithang(4,100 m / 13,448 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    Today will be a long climb up to Shinje la pass at 4,950 meters. The view of Gangchey ta mountain 6,800 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.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 14: Limithang to Laya (3,850 m / 12,628 ft.) – 7/8 hrs.

    Wake up with great view of Gangchey Ta Mountain in front of you. After breakfast 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 3,850 meters.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 15: Explore Laya.

    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.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 16: Trek from Laya to Koina (3,400 m / 11,152 ft.) – 5/6 hrs.

    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 3,400 meters.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 17: Trek from Koina to Gasa Hot Spring (2,200 m / 7,216 ft.) – 6/7 hrs.

    The trail ascends for some time and gradually to the Bamela pass at 3,750 meters. The path is all the way downhill till the camp. During monsoon the trail is filled with leeches but it is surprising not finding any leeches 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 medicine. The spring has a small shop selling beer/alcohol and is a sure way to relax after a long trek.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 18: Trek from Hot Spring to Goen Damji (1,850 m / 6,068 ft.) – 6/7 hrs.

    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 an easy walk and you can take your time in admiring the scenic beauty of the country side.

    Dinner and overnight at Camp. 

  • Day 19: Trek from Damji to Tashithang (1,550 m /5,084 ft.) & Drive to Punakha.  

    Commence your last day trek after the bid farewell to your trekking support team. It is all the way gradual downhill following the Mochu River through heavily forested area till you arrive Tashithang at 1,550 meters. After completion of trek board waiting vehicle and drive an hour to warm Punakha Valley, where you can check in at hotel. Rest of the day is free for most deserved rest and hot shower.

    Dinner and overnight at hotel.  

  •  Day 20: Rest and Sightseeing day in Punakha.  

    The day is for most deserved rest.  If you are interested you can you can proceed for a sightseeing tour of Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every year during the month of February a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Later return back to hotel for rest and relxation.

    Dinner and overnight at hotel. 

  •  Day 21: Drive to Paro via Thimphu. 

    After breakfast start drive to Paro. En-route stop in Thimphu for lunch and sightseeing. After sightseeing continue to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro check in at hotel.

    Eve: Celebration dinner like Bhutanese Way!

    Overnight at hotel.  

  • Day 22: Fly to Kathmandu.

    After breakfast transfer to Paro International Airport to board one hour scenic flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu meet assist, and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day is free for leisure.

    Eve: Group farewell dinner.

    Overnight at hotel. 

  • Day 23: Final departure from Kathmandu.

    Free until final departure transfer to Kathmandu’s International Airport.

cost includes

    • All transfers, sightseeing and drive in Nepal in a private deluxe A/C Vehicle accompanied by an English Speaking Tour Escort / Guide.
    • 3 Nights stay at hotel in Kathmandu (as above) on twin / double room sharing basis inclusive of breakfast and taxes.
    • Welcome dinner featuring Nepali Cultural Program in Kathmandu.
    • Farewell dinner at nice restaurant in Kathmandu.
    • Guided sightseeing tour as per Itinerary in Nepal and Bhutan as per Itinerary.
    • Drinking mineral water throughout the tour.
    • Bhutan Visa fees including all necessary documentation charges.
    • Special lecture by Scholars in Bhutan.
    • 19 Nights all inclusive Bhutan – Trek and tour including accommodation as mentioned above on twin / double room sharing in inclusive of all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) , all drives, sightseeing tours, permits, Monumental entrance fees, all airport transfers as specified in itinerary in private tourist vehicle.
    • All lunches in local tourist restaurant during sightseeing in Bhutan.
    • Airport taxes + insurance surcharge.
cost excludes

    • International airfares to/from Kathmandu.
    • Nepal visa (gratis visa available upon arrival at Kathmandu airport).
    • Lunch and dinner at hotels in Kathmandu except Welcome and farewell dinner.
    • Items of a personal nature such as bar bills, aerated drinks, laundry, telephone calls, personal gratuities as tips to guides, drivers, hotel bell hops, etc.
    • Airfare sector Kathmandu/Paro/Kathmandu (Quoted separately)
    • Luxury hotels Supplement in Nepal & Bhutan (Quoted Separately)
    • Personal Insurance against loss of valuables, theft, illness, hospitalization, medications, treatments and emergency helicopter, vehicle or plane charter evacuation charges.
    • Items not mentioned in above cost includes column.
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