Laya - Journey to Bhutan's Remote Gem

#KnowYourTrip

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Duration

10Days/9Nights

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Season

Mar-May & Sept-Nov

Mar-June & Sept-Nov

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Group Size

2-8 People

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Region

North West Bhutan

Mar-June & Sept-Nov

Laya is a remote mountain village situated to the north of the Bhutan-Tibet border, inhabited by a small yak-herding community. Their numbers are dwindling, and they fear the loss of their cultural identity due to the pressures of globalization. The community’s livelihood depends on yak herding, as well as the harvesting of Cordyceps (a symbiotic mushroom and a grass). Guests will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture. Traditional attire, made from yak wool and adorned with an assortment of jewels, will be provided for guests to wear. Accommodation will be in local homes, where visitors will eat authentic meals, interact with families and locals, and participate in hikes to explore the surrounding area.

Additionally, guests will have the chance to relax in natural hot spring during their trip.

SDF

US $100

per day

**Have a question or need some travel advice? Get in touch – our team of experts are ready to help.

Outline of the Journey

If you opt to fly from Kathmandu to Paro, you will embark on one of the most awe-inspiring aerial journeys worldwide. Just eight kilometers east of Kathmandu, you will be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of Mount Everest, Makalu, and Lhotse, as well as the majestic peaks of Kanchenjongga in Sikkim, and Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Mountains in Bhutan.

Upon your arrival in Paro, your guide will warmly welcome you and embark with you on a captivating sightseeing adventure. Your itinerary will include visits to notable sites such as Kichu Lhakhang, Rinpung Dzong, the National Museum, and Paro Drukgyal Dzong. These landmarks are strategically located along the ancient caravan route to Tibet in the northern region, offering a glimpse into Bhutan’s rich history and cultural heritage. After a day filled with exploration, unwind and relax at your hotel in Paro, reflecting on the mesmerizing experiences of the day.

Thimphu, the vibrant capital city of Bhutan, harmoniously blends traditional charm with modern influences, offering a captivating experience for visitors. Begin your day with a visit to the Memorial Chorten, a revered monument deeply rooted in Bhutanese spirituality, where locals and pilgrims come to pay their respects. Continue your exploration by heading to Buddha Point at Kuenselphodrang, where you’ll encounter a majestic statue of Buddha commanding panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscapes. From there, venture to the Takins Preserve, home to Bhutan’s unique national animal, the takin, and take in the serene ambiance of the nearby Nunnery Temple. After indulging in a satisfying lunch, immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of the Farmer’s Market, where a plethora of vendors offer an array of fresh produce, meats, grains, fruits, textiles, and more. If luck is on your side, you might even catch an exhilarating archery match at the national stadium ground, providing a glimpse into Bhutan’s cherished national sport. For those with an interest in Bhutanese history and architecture, a visit to Tashichhodzong is a must. This impressive fortress-monastery serves as the administrative centre of Bhutan and offers insight into the country’s rich cultural heritage. Conclude your day by exploring the city at your leisure, soaking in the sights and sounds of Thimphu’s bustling streets and unique cultural offerings. Retire to your hotel in Thimphu, filled with fond memories of your enchanting exploration of Bhutan’s capital city.
Begin your journey by following the path along the Thimphu Chuu River, tracing the southern edge of the valley. As you proceed, you'll reach Simtokha, located just south of Thimphu. From there, embark on an ascent towards the Dochula Pass, which stands at an impressive elevation of 3100 meters. Pause at the pass to indulge in a cup of tea and take in the breathtaking panoramic views that stretch before you. On clear days, be prepared to marvel at the majestic Himalayan Mountain ranges to the north, a sight to behold. As you continue your descent, you will transition from refreshing broadleaved forests to the lush subtropical forests of Punakha, nestled at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level. Along the way, make a stop to visit the revered Chime Lhakhang Temple, dedicated to the esteemed saint Drukpa Kuenley. Accessible via a scenic walk through rice fields for approximately 20 minutes, this temple sits atop a small hill, offering a serene and picturesque setting. Finally, proceed to Punakha, where you will check into your hotel for a comfortable overnight stay, concluding your day of exploration and adventure.
Our journey commences with a scenic drive alongside picturesque rice fields and charming farmhouses, tracing the path along the upstream of the Mo Chhu River. Passing through lush subtropical forests and verdant broadleaved forests, we arrive at the quaint villages of Tashithang and Damji, where the local way of life unfolds before us. Continuing onwards, we reach the idyllic town of Gasa, nestled amidst the serene natural beauty of Bhutan. Here, we will find respite in a traditional farmhouse, immersing ourselves in the warmth of Bhutanese hospitality during our overnight stay. As part of our adventure, we'll have the opportunity to experience the therapeutic benefits of the local hot springs, allowing us to unwind and rejuvenate amidst the tranquil surroundings. Surrender yourself to the soothing warmth of the waters, letting go of the stresses of everyday life as you bask in relaxation. Embrace the simplicity and tranquillity of rural Bhutan as you embark on this memorable journey, filled with natural wonders and cultural encounters
Our journey commences with a thrilling drive uphill along a winding dirt road, a journey that takes several hours to reach the end point of the road. From here, we embark on a scenic hike to Laya Village, a trek that spans approximately four hours. Situated at an elevation of 3820 meters, Laya is a picturesque meadow village inhabited by nomads and yak herders, offering stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape. Upon our arrival in Laya, we are warmly welcomed into one of the traditional farmhouses, where we will spend the night. As we settle in, we have the opportunity to experience the unique lifestyle of the local inhabitants through engaging interactions and first-hand observations. Gather around for a hearty dinner at the farmhouse, where we can savour delicious local cuisine while immersing ourselves in the rich cultural heritage of the region. Engage in conversations with the locals, learning more about their customs, traditions, and way of life amidst the tranquil beauty of Laya Village.
We'll dedicate the entire day to immersing ourselves in the enchanting surroundings of Laya village, embarking on a captivating hike around the valley and thoroughly exploring every corner of this charming settlement. As we wander through the village, we'll have the opportunity to interact with the friendly locals and gain insight into their way of life. One of the highlights of our visit to Laya is the chance to admire the distinctive attire worn by the villagers, crafted from yak's wool and adorned with traditional conical-shaped bamboo hats. For those interested, there's the option to don this unique attire, providing a memorable and immersive experience of local culture. After a day filled with exploration and cultural discovery, we'll return to our farmhouse accommodation for another restful overnight stay, surrounded by the tranquillity of Laya village.
After two memorable days immersed in the beauty of Laya village, we begin our journey back to Punakha Valley, retracing our steps along the same path. As we bid farewell to the picturesque landscapes and warm hospitality of Laya, we embark on the return journey through the captivating terrain. Driving along familiar roads, we reminisce about the experiences and memories we've gathered during our time in Laya. Eventually, we arrive back in Punakha Valley, where we'll check into our hotel for a well-deserved rest.
Today, our adventure begins with a visit to the majestic Punakha Dzong, a symbol of Bhutan's rich history and cultural heritage. This beautiful fortress, adorned with intricate paintings, serves as the winter residence for the monk bodies and holds significant historical importance as the ancient capital of Bhutan. After immersing ourselves in the splendour of Punakha Dzong, we resume our journey towards Paro via the scenic Dochula Pass and Thimphu. Along the way, we'll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, offering moments of awe and inspiration. Upon reaching Thimphu, we'll pause for a delightful lunch, allowing you some free time to explore the city and perhaps make any last-minute purchases you desire. Continuing our drive along the picturesque banks of the Thimphu River, we'll pass by the Confluence and follow the path alongside the Pachu River until we finally arrive in Paro. As we check into our hotel for the night, we'll take a moment to reflect on the unforgettable experiences and cherished memories of our journey.
The hike to the Tiger's Nest Temple is an essential experience for anyone visiting Bhutan. Situated at an elevation of 3120 meters, this sacred site holds profound spiritual significance, having been blessed by Padmasambhava in the 8th century, a revered figure in Vajrayana Buddhism. Our journey commences with an ascent of approximately 900 meters from Paro, winding through enchanting pine, fir, and rhododendron forests. Upon reaching the Cafeteria, we'll pause to savor a rejuvenating cup of tea while marvelling at the temple's breathtaking cliffside perch. Continuing onward, we'll ascend further to reach the first lookout point, then descend into the gorge, passing by a tranquil waterfall before arriving at the main temple complex. Take your time to explore the temple's intricate details and immerse yourself in its tranquil atmosphere. Following our exploration, we'll return to the Cafeteria for a well-deserved lunch. From there, we'll descend to the temple's base, where our awaiting car will transport us back to Paro. Before concluding our day, take the opportunity to explore Paro town and perhaps indulge in some souvenir shopping. We'll spend the night at a hotel in Paro, reflecting on the indelible memories created during our unforgettable Tiger's Nest hike.
Drive to the airport for departure – our guide will bid you farewell.

Q: Who should consider booking this tour, or for whom is it suitable?

This tour is designed for those who seek their first glimpse of Bhutan, particularly focusing on western Bhutan. It caters to individuals with a special affinity for tribal or indigenous cultures, as the journey centres around Laya, home to a semi-nomadic community. Additionally, this journey provides insights into the overall culture, people, art, architecture, and way of life of the Bhutanese populace.

Q: What accommodations can we expect in this trip?

We offer a minimum of three-star hotel accommodations as part of our package. For those seeking higher-category accommodations such as four or five-star hotels, these can be arranged upon request, with additional charges applicable. However, during your stay in Laya and Gasa, you will experience the unique hospitality of local farmhouses.

Q: Will the Company coordinate our visa and flight arrangements?

Yes! Your visa and flight arrangements are seamlessly included in your package, with no extra charges. We'll take care of your internal flights, and if you require assistance with external flights, we can make special arrangements upon your request.

Q: What’s optimal season for this trip?

It's an ideal destination for year-round exploration, with the exception of July, August, and mid-September when the weather tends to be little wet, making it less suitable for touring.