Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur Kathmandu, Nepal
US Office: 35 Evergreen Lane Middlebury VT 05753
This route offers a great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high mountain passes (16,100 ft). Spectacular campsites, beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive peaks, of which the most notable are Chomolhari and Jichu Drake, are also features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated dzongs and scattered settlements, including the extraordinary village of Laya, and the Gasa hot springs make this trek one of the most popular.
Season: This trek is generally open from April to June and mid- September to mid-November. However, April is the best trekking month for the Laya region.
Suggested arrival in Bangkok, free day in Bangkok, jetlag recovery
Fly Bangkok to Paro Bhutan. During the flight, you will see breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Jhomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by the representative of Bae-yul Excursions. Paro sightseeing: Visit the 7th century Kyichu Monastery and Paro national museum.
Drive out from Paro and commence trek at Drugyal Dzong, from where you can see Jholmohari. Follow the river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields, to an army outpost. Camp at Shana, just beyond the army base.
Trek to Soe Thangthangkha, ~15 Km, 4-5 hrs journey. Camp ~3,400 m. Continue up through the river valley, then climb steeply on leaving the river. The remainder of the day is pleasant walking.
Trek to Jangothang, where the trail to Jhomolhari branches off, ~19 Km, 5-6 hrs journey. Camp ~4,040 m. Climb in the morning, to fabulous ridge views and snow peaks. Camp is at a ruined fortress.
Trek to Lingshi, ~19 Km, 5-6 hrs journey. Camp ~4150 m. Cross a pass in the morning, with lovely views of the Lingshi Valley on the descent to camp.
Trek to Chebisa, ~12 Km, 3-4 hrs journey. Camp ~3,850 m. An easy day, after the pass crossing. There is a village near the camp, for a fun visit.
Trek to Shomuthant, ~17 Km, 5-6 hrs journey. Camp ~4,260 m. Cross a second pass out of the valley, then descend to a riverside camp.
Trek to Robluthang, ~15 Km, 6-7 hrs journey. Camp ~4,390 m. This is the toughest walking day, so get on the trail early. Cross a third pass into remote Tsarijathang Valley.
Trek to Lemithang, ~19 Km, 6-7 hrs journey. Camp ~4,140 m. Cross the last and highest pass today (4,900 m) to reach the north face of the mountains, close to the Tibetan border. This is the Laya district, home to a colorful and unique people.
Trek to Laya, ~10 Km, 3-4 hrs journey. Camp ~3,850 m. A pleasant, short downhill day to Laya
R&R day in Laya
Trek to Koenig, ~19 Km, 7 hrs journey. Camp ~3,800 m. Follow a river valley today, with lots of short ups and downs avoiding obstacles. Great nature and scenery!
Trek to Gasa, ~17 Km, 6-7 hrs journey. Camp ~2,900 m. Cross the final, easy pass of the journey, then start the walk down and out of the North.
Trek to Gasa Hot Springs in the morning, Afternoon free to relax and bathe in this popular spot.
Trek to Geon Damji, ~21 Km, 6-7 hrs journey. Camp ~2,280 m. Climb briefly from the hot springs to a wonderful panoramic view, then continue downhill most of the day.
Trek to Tashithang, ~17 Km, 6-7 hrs journey. Camp ~1,700 m. You will notice the descent today, because the terrain and vegetation change dramatically, to semi-trpoical.
Trek to Khuruthang in an hour or so and drive to Punakha, the winter capital. Lunch in Punakha, drive to Thimphu.
Sightseeing in Thimpu, including the National Library, a craft and traditional painting school, the handicrafts emporium, and ancient Simtokha Dzong.
Morning side trip to Denchenchholing (the Queen's momther's palace) by road, then return to Thimphu for lunch. Afternoon drive back to Paro.
Day trip to Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest Monastery. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4,000 feet. In the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a tiger's back to found the monastery.
Fly Paro to Bangkok and on home.