The Laya Trek
- Inspirational trekking in the Eastern Himalaya
- Cross the 4900 metre Shinge La
- The charming people of Laya
- Descent of the Punakha Gorge
- The hot springs at Gasa
This classic Bhutan trek, from Paro to Thimpu via the village of Laya and the Punakha Valley, is acknowledged to be one of the world's great treks. It has everything; from picturesque farmland and ancient forest, to alpine pasture and quite challenging high mountain passes. Spectacular campsites beneath some of Bhutan's most impressive peaks, including Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake, are amongst the many highlights of this trekking circuit. Whilst a number of strategically located fortress-monasteries (dzongs) and scattered settlements including Laya Village, close to the Tibetan border, provide a full measure of cultural interest. The magical descent of the Punakha Gorge, via the imposing dzong and refreshing hot springs at Gasa, is a fitting climax to the trek. With time for sightseeing in the Paro Valley and at the winter and summer capitals of Thimpu and Punakha, this is a superlative 3 week trekking adventure.
Is this holiday for you?
Trekking conditions on this circuit are nowhere particularly difficult, since the trail has been well prepared for the ponies or yaks which are traditionally used to carry supplies on the route. In general this trek offers easy walking conditions, as there are no glaciers to negotiate and the passes that we cross should not be heavily snow covered. However, the trekking is quite sustained and does involve some long days and the crossing of four passes over 4500 metres, including the Shinge La at 4900 metres. There are some quite strenuous trekking days and a good degree of fitness is a necessity. This route presents a great variety of landscape types; ranging from fertile and intensively terraced farmland, through some of the finest mixed forest in the world, to open, alpine pastureland and high mountain valleys and passes.