Lingshi, Laya, Gasa Trek (19 nights/20 days)
Day 01: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air).
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In the clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from All Bhutan Connection (ABC) will greet you on arrival, then drive you the short distance to the Hotel. Afternoon visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Evening ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 02: Paro Hike to Taktsang and Paro sightseeing.
After breakfast drive the winding road to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fortress, which was once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions and also visit a Bhutanese farm house of a local family at Drukgyal for a close up view of every day Bhutanses life. We then drive beyond Satsam Chorten to hike up ( or horse ride) to Takstang monastery (Tiger’s nest) the horse ride up to the cafeteria will take around one and half hours. At the view point enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of Tigeress in the 8th century. We then walk back to the road point and then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan also visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
Day 03: Paro – Shana (Start of Trek).
Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro river and we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forest are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. Altitude 2,820 m; Distance 14 km; Time 5 -6 hours.
Day 04: Shana – Thangthangka.
The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction en route, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. Altitude 3,610 m; distance 21 km; time 7-8 hours.
Day 05: Thangthangka (Halt).
In the morning after passing a small army post, the trails slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen to day before we arrive at the Jumolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Altitude: 4,115 m; Distance: 15 km; Time: 5-6 hours.
Day 06: Jangothang (Halt).
A rest day. A chance to acclimatize and walk up to the Jumolhari glacier or to the lakes in the opposite direction.
Day 07: Jangothang – Lingshi.
A good day’s walk to day with spectacular view of Jhomolhari, Jichu Drakey and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after some three to four hours reach the Nyelela Pass (4,700 m). After the Pass we descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming down from Lingshi we obtain our first views of the truly mystical Dzong, a high hill. Altitude: 4,010 m; Distance: 17 kms; Time: 6-7 hours.
Day 08: Lingshi – Chebisa.
This is a magical day. Leaving Lingshi behind we gently climb to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is set right below a 300 m cliff. Another hour walk brings us to a lovely little valley with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa, where we camp by side of the river. The walk is very leisurely with plenty of reasons and opportunities to linger. Altitude: 3,780 m; Distance: 12 kms; Time: 4-5 hours.
Day 09: Chebisa – Shomuthang.
We start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron. We climb gradually and head to the camp near a riverbed. Altitude: 3,890 m; Distance: 17 kms; Time: 6-7 hours.
Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang.
A long haul over the Jarela Pass at 4,640 m where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan mountains above us. We drop steep down a forest trail to the Tsarithang valley, where herds of Takin roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbibg up Robluthang where we camp. Altitude: 4,100 m; Distance: 22 kms; Time: 7-8 hours.
Day 11: Robluthang – Lemithang.
This is one of the hardest days of the trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela Pass at 4,870 m and are rewarded with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the valley. On a clear day practically all the mountains on the northern border are visible. Eagles, griffin vulture, blue sheep and yaks abound in this area. We descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank. Altitude: 4,040 m; Distance: kms; Time: 6-7 hours.
Day 12: Lemithang – Laya.
We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and then enter the village of Laya. The people of Laya are famous for they’re vertical stripe yak hair clothing and their strange conical bamboo hats. The women wear their hair long and with great deal of turquoise and jade jewellery. The features of the people are even more Tibetan/Mongolain than the Bhutanese who live in the central valleys. The rest of the day is spent at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks. Altitude:3,880m; Distance: 10 kms; Time: 4-5 hours.
Day 13: Laya (Halt).
We have a rest day at Laya and an opportunity to meet the local people.
Day 14: Laya – Koena.
Descend to the valley and follow the “I Mo Chu” through heavily forested areas. Overnight in the camp at Koena. Distance: 20 kms; Time: 5-6 hours.
Day 15: Koena – Gasa Tshachu.
We begin today with a gradual climb to Yalela Pass(3,740 mts) and then descend again to Gasa. After reaching camp you can visit Gasa Dzong which is an outpost fort guarding the trade route to Tiber. Down by the river side is Gasa Tshachu (hot spring), worth a dip. Overnight halt at Gasa Tshachu. Distance: 22 kms; Time: 5- 6 hours.
Day 16: Gasa Tsachu – Goem Damji.
The path continuous descending and ascending, hrough havily forested areas and lots of wild orchids. Camp nearby the village. Altitude: 2,200 mts; distance:25 kms; Time: 4-5 hours.
Day 17: Goem Damji – Tashithang – Punakha.
Today is the last trekking day. Continue following the “Mo Chu” down through the heavily forested area till you reach Tashithang (alt:1,620 mts). The ABC coach will be waiting to drive you to Punakha. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 18: Punakha – Thimphu.
Morning visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. After that depart for Thimphu over Dochula Pass (3,050 m). check in at the hotel in Thimphu. After lunch a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, built In honour of the late King Jigme Dorji wangchuck. Then visit National Library which is stocked with priceless ancient Buddhist manuscripts and also visit the Folks heritage Museum, which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households, Textile Museum, where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in its color and design. Other high lights include a visit to the Handicrafts Emporium, which has all types of Bhutanese handicrafts for sale. Evening stroll through the Thimphu’s main town for some last minute shopping. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 19: Thimphu – Paro – Departure (by Druk Air).
After breakfast drive to Paro in order to catch your flight onwards where our representatives will bid you farewell and happy journey back home.