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.