Laya Gasa Trek; The longest Adventure Trek in Bhutan

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You may have gone on many trekking expeditions but the Laya Gasa Trek; the longest trek also known as the Jomolhari Laya trek in Bhutan is an experience that will last you a lifetime. 

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What’s special about the Laya Gasa Trek and why is it considered difficult?

  • Famed for its breathtaking trails, the Laya Gasa trek is known for its lush scenic views, verdant landscapes, and Bhutanese cultural experiences.
  • The trek will test your patience and fitness level, therefore, it is not a beginner-friendly trek in Bhutan. The trek begins from Drukgyel Dzong in Paro and ends at Gasa Hot Springs and takes approximately 15 days to complete.
  • This fascinating excursion takes place within the gigantic Jigme Dorji National Park and the total distance covered during this trek is approximately 216 Kms. it is not a child’s play to visit places in Bhutan like Laya Gasa Trek.
  • En route to Gasa, trekkers pass through remote mountain villages, dense pine forests, fresh velvety meadows, and high-altitude passes, offering unmatched views of the mighty Himalayan ranges
  • The Laya Gasa Trek is the best way to witness Mount Jomolhari and Mount Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan.
  • Another specialty of the Laya Gasa Trek Bhutan is that it allows trekkers to interact and mingle with the local communities; specifically the Layap people, who enjoy their unique and distinct traditions. 
  • Trekkers also get a chance to stay in traditional homestays in Bhutan, experience the warmth of Bhutanese hospitality on Laya Gasa Trek, and gain deep insights into the culture and traditions of these communities. 
  • Unlike other treks, on Laya Gasa Trek, one doesn’t have the luxury to stop by and grab a quick cup of chai or order a fresh hot meal from the small cozy roadside teashops. This trek in Bhutan is rugged and meant for only tough souls.

Tough and Testing are not the only things you’ll experience on this trek. Now we will come to the good part and discover the most enthralling things to see during Laya Gasa

  • Witness the Lingshi Dzong
  • Explore Gasa Dzong
  • Admire the Mountain Wildlife 
  • Bathe in the Gasa Hot Springs
  • Visit Remote Villages
  • Enjoy the Views from the Shinche La Pass
  • Relax at Gasa Koina
  • Indulge in the beauty of Shomuthang
  • Visit the nearby attractions
  •  Watch the Highest Peak in Bhutan

Witness the Lingshi Dzong:  The highest fortress in Bhutan and a major attraction of the Laya Gasa Trek in Bhutan, Lingshi Dzong or Lingshi Yugal Dzong falls in the capital city of Thimphu but can be accessed via Thimphu or Paro. 

It is an ancient fortress with a rich historical and cultural relevance, hence revered as a site of great respect. For many tourists and pilgrims, this fortress is one of the major religious places in Bhutan

Lingzhi Dzong is perched on top of a hill with the beautiful Zombuthang and Mitsayuel villages on either side, at a staggering height of 4150 meters. 

On Laya Gasa Trek one can witness the snow-laden peaks of Mount Jichudrakey and Tsheringang overlooking the Lingshi Dzong from the Northern side adding to the magnificence of the structure. 

The history of Lingshi Dzong dates back to 1668, it was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa (1667-1680) honoring the victory of Bhutan during a Tibetan invasion. 

Explore Gasa Dzong: As trekkers make their way through the mountainous trails meandering through the forests of Bhutan, they will come across Gasa Dzong or Tashi Thongmoen Dzong as the locals call it. 

The Gasa fortress proudly sits on a hillock fenced by high mountain peaks. People who go for the Gaya Lasa Trek, make a point to visit this fortress.

This fortress has an ancient background since the 17th century when it served as a defending barrack. The architecture of Gasa Dzong is another noticeable feature with three strategically placed watchtowers and a huge arch built in the center. 

On lucky days, when the skies are clear, trekkers can witness Mount Gangbom adding a picturesque backdrop to the mighty fortress.


Admire the Mountain Wildlife: Some of the most exotic wildlife sanctuaries and national parks can be found in Bhutan. It is home to several unique wildlife species as well as flora. 

For the best Laya Gasa Trek in Bhutan experience, spend some time in the wilderness and patiently wait to spot Blue sheep, Takin (The national animal of Bhutan), Yaks, Griffin Vultures, and Snow Leopard.

You will also witness a variety of wildflowers and unique plant species, including Bhutan’s national flower (Blue Poppy). 

Bathe in the Gasa Hot Springs: Getting to soak up in hot natural water springs, rich in minerals, with great medicinal value is not commonplace. The Laya Gasa Trek Route in Bhutan enables trekkers to take a dip in the hot springs at Gasa.

These hot springs or Gasa Tshachu have major medicinal value for different kinds of problems. Tourists and even locals visit this place frequently to get relief from joint pains, muscular stiffness, and relaxation.

Trekkers can also visit River Mo Chhu, as the springs are situated close to its banks when they drop by for a natural sauna experience at the hot springs. 

Five pools at Gasa Tshachu are open to the public and one pool is reserved only for the royal family

Visit Remote Villages: One striking feature of any trekking or hiking destination in Bhutan is, the opportunity to interact with the locals. Laya Gasa Trek Adventure in Bhutan increases manifold when trekkers get to experience alpine village life so closely. 

As there are no places on the way, to stop while trekking. Visiting the local villages and spending some time there with the localities is a great way to experience the culture and traditions of different communities in Bhutan.


Considered the largest remote region in Bhutan, Laya is inhabited by the Layap community. A nomadic tribe, residing in the upper Himalayan region, with their language, customs, traditions, and even dresses. This pristine and untouched natural delight will freshen you up.

Laya Village is usually the campsite where trekkers stay the night, and mingle with the Layap people, you can also taste some authentic Bhutanese dishes like Ema Datshi, Jasha Maru, Kakurukam paa, etc. 

For an even more unique experience, tourists can also stay in homestays at Laya, which are available for nominal charges. 

Another no-miss is the Royal Highlands Festival, if you’re visiting Bhutan in October, then Layap hospitality and ecotourism during the Royal Highlands Festival will blow your mind.

The people of Laya are particular about conserving their environment and maintaining a harmonious balance between tourism and nature. 

Enjoy the Views from the Shinche La Pass: Usually, the eighth day of the Laya Gasa Trek, is the toughest, thanks to the steep uphill hike of the Shinche La Pass. It is the highest and the toughest point during the whole trek. 

Situated at a height of 5005m, crossing the Shinche La Pass is not for the faint-hearted. It tests your physical fitness and mental strength, especially during harsh weather conditions, Shinche La Pass gives trekkers a hard time. 

But after putting in so much effort and hard work, the reward is befitting. The breathtaking views from the top take all the fatigue, stress, and exhaustion away. 

Relax at Gasa Koina: Trekking groups climb upward from Gasa for about 7-8 hours, through dense coniferous forests, and, then downhill for a bit and across the Bari La pass (at 3900m). 

The muddy trail walks the trekkers through deep forests of fir and spruce trees, and another long walk of 3 hours takes them to the site of Koina, a small yet worth admiring clearing in the gorge at 3050m. 

This is a good resting spot and tourists often like to spend time here, watching the soothing views and landscapes, spanning to the farthest end of the horizon. 

Indulge in the beauty of Shomuthang: Another highlight of the Laya Gasa Trek in Bhutan is the camping site of Shomuthang. 


Famed for the stunning views of snow-peaked mountains, especially Mount Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake, to reach Shomuthang, trekkers pass through a small village called Chebisa. 

Then the groups pass through Gobu La Valley after climbing a little bit, it’s a unique experience as trekkers may encounter herds of Blue Sheep and Yaks, and walk through carpet-like soft and lush green pastures.

Finally, the trekking groups reach Somuthang, which is situated on the banks of a tributary of river Nochu. 

Visit the nearby attractions: Before and after the trek, tourists have a great opportunity to expand their horizons and see some more fascinating Bhutanese places like Paro Valley and the capital city of Bhutan; Thimphu.

These places have their charm, you can visit the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery also known as Paro Taktsang, and enjoy the breathtaking views of this sacred institution from the Paro Valley.

Other places to visit in Paro include Chele La Pass, the National Museum, and the Paro River. Thimphu has even more options for tourists like Buddha Dordenma Statue, Simtokha Dzong, and National Memorial Chhorten are a few famous ones.

Watch the Highest Peak in Bhutan: One of the biggest perks and major attractions of the Laya Gasa Trek is, getting a chance to witness the highest peak of Bhutan Mount Gangkhar Puensum, along with Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsherimgang. 

After a tough, dangerous, and strenuous hike along the rugged mountains of Bhutan, the trekkers are showered with surreal and out-worldly scenic views of lush meadows, alpine rivers, fir and spruce forests, beautiful valleys and a chance to experience the culture of Bhutan without any adulteration. 

What is the best time for Laya Gasa Trek?

As mentioned above, this trek is one of the toughest with a high difficulty level, therefore, choosing the appropriate season for this expedition is vital. 

The best time to undertake the Laya Gasa Trek is in spring (April or May) or autumn (September or October). 

The weather conditions during this time will be perfect, with lesser chances of snow causing any problems, although, the weather uphill can be uncertain, and warmer temperatures. 

These months especially around October also coincide with local festivals like the Royal Highlander Festival in Laya. 

As it is not meant for amateur hikers and trekkers, there are certain safety tips for the Laya Gasa Trek, which should not be ignored at any cost:

  1. Before you consider taking this trek, make sure to train for it a few months before the actual trek. This will help you gain stamina and strength to finish the trek.
  2. Do thorough research and pick the most appropriate season to go on this trek, as harsh weather conditions can pose some serious problems.
  3. If you have any heart or other medical conditions then, it is not advisable to take this trek, as you’ll pass through high altitude points where one can experience dizziness or altitude sickness. 

Some people even find it difficult to breathe. If one requires immediate medical assistance then it might take some time for an air ambulance or other help to reach.

  1. It is important to give a day or two for acclimatization before you begin the actual trek and get used to Bhutan’s climatic conditions.
  2. Carry proper trekking gear, especially shoes, as the trails and pathways can be slippery. 

Apart from these safety tips, here are some general tips for Laya Gasa Trek, which will make your experience even more memorable:

  1. Keep your visa, other documents, and paperwork ready, as Bhutan is particular about these things.
  2. As you’ll be trekking at high altitudes, carry a water bottle with at least a capacity of 3 Litres, as you might not find water refilling options frequently. 
  3. Waterproof clothes and shoes are a must, as weather conditions in the mountains can be unpredictable. 
  4. Hiking poles will be your best friends on the Laya Gasa Trek, they’ll provide good support and help you maintain balance in snow-laden areas.
  5. Winter Hats, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Thermal Wear, Winter Gloves, a Headlamp, a Torch, and Extra Batteries are some of Laya Gasa Trekking Essentials.
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