Laya Gasa Trek

The Laya Gasa Trek is the short version of the world’s hardest trek, the snowman trek. The trek is one of the most scenic but challenging trekking routes in Bhutan. The trail runs through the northern border of Bhutan over breathtaking landscapes, remote villages, and high mountain passes, offering an immersive experience of Bhutan’s natural beauty and traditional culture. 

The actual trekking days are about 12  days with each resting day at Jomolhari base camp and Laya village.  Unlike past days owing to road connectivity, the trek begins from Paro Shana and ends at Tongchudra in Gasa. 


  • Scenic Beauty: The Trek takes you through a diverse range of landscapes, including lush forests, alpine meadows, pristine lakes, and stunning mountain vistas. You’ll pass through rhododendron forests, cross crystal-clear rivers, and hike alongside cascading waterfalls.
  • Cultural Interaction: Along the way, you’ll have the chance to interact with the local people of Soi Yaktsa and Layap, the ethnic group, known for their distinctive dress and customs.
  • Mountain Passes: The trek includes several high mountain passes, some of which reach altitudes of over 5,000 meters.
  • Hot Springs: One of the highlights of the trek is the opportunity to soak in the natural hot springs at Gasa. It’s a relaxing experience after days of trekking.
  • Wildlife: The region is home to various wildlife species, including the elusive snow leopard, blue sheep, takin (Bhutan’s national animal), and a variety of bird species. While spotting wildlife is not guaranteed, the trek provides a chance to encounter Bhutan’s rich biodiversity.

Challenges: The Laya Gasa Trek is considered to be moderate-difficult due to its high altitudes, steep ascents and descents, and varying weather conditions. Altitude sickness can be a concern, so acclimatization is crucial. Trekkers should also be prepared for long hours of walking each day and be physically fit to undertake the trek.

Permits: As with all treks in Bhutan, you’ll need to obtain a trekking permit from the department park and Royal Army of Bhutan as the trek passes through various check posts of the park division and Army. 


Birding in Tingtibi & Royal Manas Park

Tingtibi is a delightful place to experience for birdwatchers seeking to explore a less-visited yet rewarding birding destination. Tingtibi falls under Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (Formerly Black Mountain National Park)  located in central Bhutan, within the Zhemgang district, and offers excellent opportunities to spot a diverse range of bird species amidst its lush forests and scenic landscapes. 

So far ornithologists had recorded over 300 recorded bird species. From colorful sunbirds and beautiful flycatchers to rare hornbills and laughing thrushes, and many more bird species during their seasonal journeys as the place serves as a corridor. Visiting during the migratory season provides a chance to witness the influx of these traveling birds.

Beyond regular birds, one can spot rare and elusive bird species, such as the Ward’s Trogon and Rufous-necked Hornbill in which you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these elusive gems with the help of local guides or birding experts guides. 

To celebrate the richness of this avifaunal diversity, Zhamgang Dzongkhang collaboration with other agencies instituted 3 days bird festival, and in 2023 they have scheduled festival dates from 11 to 13 November. 

Birding in Royal Manas National Park is a truly remarkable experience. As Bhutan’s oldest and largest national park, it boasts incredible biodiversity and is a haven for birdwatchers. With its diverse habitats, including lush forests, riverine areas, and grasslands, the park attracts a wide array of bird species.

The park is home to several rare and endangered bird species, such as the Bengal Florican, White-bellied Heron, Rufous-necked Hornbill, and Great Hornbill. The Park serves as an important wintering ground for migratory birds. During the winter months, you can witness the arrival of various species from the northern regions, adding to the park’s avian diversity.

So far over 400 recorded bird species, the park offers a treasure trove of birdwatching opportunities. You can encounter vibrant sunbirds, colorful pheasants, fascinating woodpeckers, and a variety of raptors, among others.

Trans Bhutan Trail

Trans Bhutan Trail was recently launched by the Bhutan-Canadian foundation with the vision to create a link between Bhutan’s past, present, and future.  The “Trans Bhutan Trail” is a long-distance hiking trail project that aims to traverse the entire country of Bhutan from west to east, offering hikers a unique opportunity to experience the country’s pristine landscapes, rich culture, and traditional lifestyle.

The Trans Bhutan Trail was envisioned as a community-based project to promote sustainable tourism and showcase Bhutan’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. It was designed to offer hikers an immersive experience in Bhutan’s diverse landscapes, from lush forests and meadows to high mountain passes and remote villages. The trail was also intended to connect various ancient pilgrimage routes and traditional footpaths used by locals for centuries.

The key highlights and points of interest along the Trans Bhutan Trail include:

  1. Have the chance to meet and interact with the friendly Bhutanese people, learn about their customs, and witness traditional ceremonies and festivals.

  2. The trail takes you through diverse ecosystems, from the lush lowlands to the rugged highlands, offering breathtaking views of Bhutan’s stunning landscapes.

  3. Bhutan is known for its Buddhist heritage, and the trail passes by several monasteries, dzongs (fortress-monasteries), and temples, providing opportunities for cultural exploration.

  4. The trail winds through remote and often isolated villages, allowing trekkers to experience the authentic rural life of Bhutan.

  5. Bhutan is home to a variety of wildlife, including snow leopards, takins, red pandas, and various species of birds. Trekkers may have the chance to spot some of these animals in their natural habitats.

  6. The trail includes challenging ascents and descents over high mountain passes, such as Dochula Pass and Pele La Pass, Thromshingla pass which offer panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks.

It’s optional you can choose to do the whole trip starting from West to East or do some sections as per your interest, time, and budget incorporating with the Bhutan culture tour. 


Sources: Trans Bhutan Web

PROGRAM OUTLINE: We have made some adjustments to the schedule to enhance practicality. Additionally, there is an option for an overnight camp, which can help lower costs compared to deluxe camping if preferred.


Outline Program

Walking Distance 

Highest Altitude 



1 Paro-Haa N/A 3810 meters Hotel  Transfer to Haa
2 Haa-Paro 14.3 Km 3684 meters Hotel  Start of Trek 
3 Paro-Tsaluney 12.81 Km 3473 meters Deluxe Tent  
4 Tsaluney-Thimphu 17.53 Km  3994 meters Hotel   
5 Thimphu-Hontsho 20 Km 2780 meters Hotel/Tent  Camp at Hontso
6 Hontsho-Tranleygang 12.88 Km 3116 meters Deluxe Tent  
7 Tranleygang-Punakha Dzong 14.71 Km 1821 meters Hotel   
8 Punakha Halt N/A 1200 meters Hotel  Rest Day 
9 Punakha Dzong-Lingmukha 12 Km 2147 meters Deluxe Tent  
11 Lingmukha-Samtengang 13.85 Km 2462 meters Deluxe Tent  
12 Samtengang-Razawo 16.24 Km 2798 meters Deluxe Tent  
13 Razawo-Longtey 15.7 Km 3413 meters Deluxe Tent  
14 Longtey-Chendeji 16.04 Km 3174 meters Deluxe Tent  
15 Chendebji-Tsangkha 22.52 Km 2470 meters Deluxe Tent  
16 Tsangkha-Kewathang 13.01 Km 2435 meters Deluxe Tent  
17 Kewathang-Getsa 19.38 Km 3427 meters Hotel   
18 Geytsa-Jakar 16.08 Km 3421 meters Hotel   
19 Jakar Halt N/A 3000 meters Hotel Rest Day 
20 Jakar(Phomdrong)-Ura 16.5 Km 3492 meters Farm House  
21 Ura-Gayzamchu 10.87 Km 3775 meters Deluxe Tent  
22 Gayzamchu-Sengor 12.7 Km 3691 meters Deluxe Tent  
23 Sangor-Latongla 10 Km 2982 meters Deluxe Tent  
24 Latongla-Lingmithang 14.7 Km  2650 meters Deluxe Tent  
25 Lingmithang-Mongar 15.8 Km 1601 meters Hotel   
26 Mongar-Korila 11.01 Km  2324 meters Deluxe Tent   
27 Korila-Sherizampa 13.09 Km  2324 meters Deluxe Tent  
28 Sherizampa-Dramitse 11.77 Km 2112 meters Deluxe Tent  
29 Dramitse-Gongthung 14.54 Km  2112 meters Deluxe Tent   
30 Gongthung-Tashigang 7.05 Km  1781 meters Hotel   
31 Tashigang-Paro 30 Mins 2200 meters Hotel  Short Flight to Paro
32 Paro N/A 2200 meters Hotel   
33 Departure  N/A N/A N/A  

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Snowman Trek, Bhutan

The Snowman Trek offers different routes, each with unique starting and ending points. These routes can begin from Paro and end at Trongsa (Nikka Chhu), continue to Bumthang (Dur Tshachu/Hotsprings), or start from Punakha and finish at Trongsa or Bumthang.

Renowned for its challenge and rewards, the Snowman Trek showcases breathtaking landscapes, high-altitude terrain, and untouched wilderness. Covering an impressive 217 miles (350 km) in about 15 to 30 days, passing over thirteen towering mountain passes, ventures into remote highland communities, and includes camping amidst snowy vistas with glimpses of Bhutan’s majestic snow-covered peaks.

Taking on this trek requires exceptional physical readiness, suiting those who are highly active, healthy, and deeply passionate about trekking. The journey’s demands call for disciplined fitness training and understanding one’s physical limits. Navigating rugged terrain, conquering high mountain passes, and enduring long days of trekking requires not just strength but adaptability.

Mental strength is equally important, as the Snowman Trek presents challenges that can test even the strongest spirit. Extended days of walking, unpredictable weather, and the solitude of the wilderness can strain mental endurance. Those who truly enjoy pushing their physical and mental limits show their resilience through focus, positivity, and composure.

It’s essential to understand that the rewards for overcoming these challenges are priceless. The Snowman Trek reveals stunning views, untouched natural beauty, and an immersive experience of Bhutan’s culture. However, despite these incredible benefits, the journey remains a test of physical strength and an unwavering commitment to exploration.

Trek Variation Start Point End Point Duration Trek Duration Highest Camp Sites 
Snowman Trek I Par0 Bumthang 30 Days 24 Nights 5120m
Snowman Trek II Paro Trongsa (Nikachu) 27 Days 24 Nights 5050m
Snowman Trek III Gasa/Punakha Bumthang 21 Days 17 Nights 5120m
Snowman Trek IV Gasa/Punakha Trongsa (Nikachu) 19 Days 15 Nights 5050m


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