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Above The Clouds – Chomolhari Laya Gasa Trek

Chomolhari Laya Gasa trek

19

Days

TREK

Above The Clouds – Chomolhari Laya Gasa Trek Trip Map, Route Map
Trip highlights
  • Abundant wildlife such as Blue Sheep, Takin, elusive Snowleopard and many birds.
  • Remote villages of Yaksa, Lingshi, Chebisa, Goyul, Laya and Gasa.
  • Rich and diverse landscape and vegetation.
  • Spectacular mountain scenery
  • Cultural highlights and towns of western Bhutan

Chomolhari Laya Gasa Trek – also spelled as Jumolhari Laya Gasa trek. Despite the opening up of a number of new trekking possibilities in Bhutan, this long-established route from Chomolhari  to Laya and Gasa, (‘Above the Clouds’) will always rank as one of Bhutan’s finest and of the world’s great treks. The reason for this is not hard to find. It offers a great variety of trekking conditions; from picturesque farmland and forest to a breathtakingly beautiful lunar landscape, dwarfed by immense glistening peaks, abundant wildlife, including blue sheep, Takin, a wide variety of birds and the elusive snow leopard. Numerous isolated Dzongs and scattered settlements, including the outlandish village of Laya, provide a great deal of cultural interest’s en route.

This long and moderately challenging trek that traces a loop along Bhutan’s northwestern border with Tibet, is probably the most aesthetically beautiful of any trek in Himalayas.
At Wind Horse we are proud to have done this trek many times over the 18 years as a private trip, and last few years we have started to offer as part of our small group journey. Join us on this trek, and we promise you that you will return home with lasting memory and more better fitness too. It is truly once in a lifetime experience.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Upon arrival at Paro (Bhutan) airport, you are met and transferred to the hotel. Depending on the arrival time, you may be able to see few places in the late afternoon or evening, along with a familiarization tour of Paro town. Overnight in hotel.

Day 2 & 3: Paro valley & Hike to Taktsang  
During this two full days, we will spend one day for touring and short walks around serene Paro valley and another day for hike up to the famous Taktsang (Tiger’s nest) monastery. These two days should provide the required acclimatisation before the trek. Overnight in hotel.

Day 4, 5 & 6: Begin trek from Shana Zam   
Drive north of Drugyal Dzong for about 1-2hrs along the new farm road and begin trek into Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park. The first two days are about 3-4hrs trek each day, slowing gaining altitude. Third day trek is about 5-6hrs to Jangothang,  a beautiful grassy meadow beneath the enormous east face of Chomolhari.

Day 7: Jangothang Rest day 
Today is a scheduled rest day, intended to aid acclimatisation before the crossing of the high passes. Jangothang is one of the most spectacular camping places in the entire Himalayas. Snow capped peaks dominate the horizon on western side, with stream running through the open valley, surrounded by yak herders villages. Option to hike up the ridge, from where there is an incredible close-up view of Chomolhari and its glaciers. The cooks will have had all day to prepare a small feast for your dinner.

Day 8: Trek to Lingshi  
By now, you will have well acclimated, but if you feel any attitude sickness, it is a best point from where to return back towards Paro instead of continuing on. Climb steeply up with the views of Jichu Drake, Jumolhari, Tserimkhang and the adjoining peaks into a glacial valley with many moraines, above the tree lines. You may be able to spot blue sheep on the hillsides and see mountain marmots. Cross Nyile La pass (15,970’/4870m). descend steeply to camp beside the stream near Lingshi.

Day 9: Trek Lingshi – Chebisa  
One of the short trekking days, but a  fascinating one as as a delightful path contours the hillside, passing numerous farms with good views across the valley of the Peaks. Pass through Lingshi school and village, then through the picturesque Goyul village with beautifully designed stone houses. Leaving Goyul, the path continues along the hillside to arrive at a spectacular fairy-tale-like setting of Chebisa village, where we camp for the night

Day 10, 11, 12 & 13 : Trek to Shomuthang, Robulthang, Limithang & Laya  
From Chebesa, each day we cross a high pass or two and camp in the valley. These areas have no villages but we may come across nomadic yak herder’s camps. You will pass through areas that have large herds of blue sheeps. In Tsharijarithang valley, you should be able to see large number of Takins (national animal of Bhutan) in wild, among the wild yaks. Each day the mountains views are beautiful and on several occasions, you will see it really up close. Among others, you will see Mt. Gangchen Ta (6840m) Kangbum (6526m) and Tsherim Kang and the tip of Chomolhari. Around mid day of Day 13, you will arrive in a large village of Laya with the backdrop of Ganchenta and Masangang dominating the skyline. Locals are immediate to welcome and greet the visitors and you have time this afternoon to chat and wander around.

Day 14: Halt in Laya  
The extra day in Laya is to get some rest and to explore and meet the locals.  This is one of largest isolated community  of Bhutan with roughly 1500 people, who speak their own dialect and wear distinct dress. The women keep their hair long,  and wear conical bamboo hats with spike at the top (traditionally Bhutanese woman have close-cropped hair). They dress in black Yak wool jacket and skirt with some colored strip. Their jewelry include array of silver teaspoons tied at the back of the hair. extra day in Laya is to get some rest and to explore and meet the locals. The village is spread out over the hillside, close to the Tibetan border at an altitude of 3700m, and it is one of the highest villages in Bhutan.

Day 15: Trek Laya – Koena -Gasa Hot Spring (Trek ends)  
Today is one of the long trekking day and so we must start really early; as we are trying to cover more than usual one days’ trek to avoid a muddy campsite at Koina. The new farm road has reached nearly Koina .  Although the overall tendency is to descend, there are many places where the path has to climb high above the river to negotiate steep spurs. Towards the end of day, meet the vehicle and drive to Gasa Dzong and further downhill to Gasa Tsachu (Hot spring), where we make camp. Gasa Hot Spring is well known for its medicinal properties and there are several pools for you to enjoy the warm bath.

Day 16: Punakha & Wangdiphodrang  
Enjoy one more dip in the hot-spring before your breakfast. Then drive along the winding road, and downhill through rich subtropical jungles to Tashithang and then to Punakha, which could take about 3hrs. Once in Punakha, former winter capital of Bhutan, visit the 17th century Punakha Dzong located on the confluence of Pho and Mo Chu rivers. If time allows and if you are interested, we can also take a short hike to visit Khamsum Yuelley temple, located on a ridge, overlooking the paddies and river below. Overnight hotel in Punakha

Day 17: Thimphu
Before heading out of the valley, visit some sights in Punakha & Wangdue valley. Then drive over the magnificent Dochu La Pass, with spectacular panoramic mountain views, to capital Thimphu. In the afternoon, we will take a short tour of Thimphu to familiarize, including visit of great Tashicho Dzong. Overnight hotel in Thimphu

Day 18: Thimphu sightseeing  
We have a full day tour of Bhutan’s capital city, which has many interesting monuments and sights to see. Towards the late afternoon, drive for about 1hr to Paro for overnight and farewell dinner.

Day 19: Departure 
Transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight.

  • Group Size Maximum 8

  • MealsAll meals are included

  • Trip Accommodation12 nights camp & 6 nights in hotel.

  • Trip TypeTrekking

  • Trip SeasonsBest from end of March till May and from late Sept till beginning of November.

  • Best MonthsApril, October

  • Good MonthsMarch, May, September, November

  • Lean MonthsJune, July, August

  • Not RecommendJanuary, February, December

Prices & Dates

The trip is priced according to the number participants starting from $4160. Contact for details.

Start dateEnd DateRemarksStatus 
21 Mar, 201908 Apr, 2019 Attending Dzongdrakha FestivalAvailableBook now!
08 Oct, 201926 Oct, 2019 Attending Thimphu FestivalAvailableBook now!

Included

  • Bhutan Royalties, tourists fees, Visa fees and taxes.
  • Accommodations in listed or similar hotels (pleasant hotels 3-4 star type) during the tour and in tents during the trek.
  • All meals, including evening tea/coffee etc through-out the trip.
  • All land transfers, sightseeing with entrance fees.
  • Experienced English Speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
  • Bottled water in the vehicle and other Comp. services.
  • During the trek: Fully-serviced camping trek
    Provided during the trek: tents (sleeping, dining Kitchen and toilet tents), trekking mattresses, small air pillow, Hot-water bag, Pressured Altitude Bag for altitude emergencies, Pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency. Basic Medical Kit. Trekking Guide, Cook and assistants accompany the group. All meals, beverages and snacks are provided.
    Sleeping bag is available for nominal cleaning charges.
    Also available to borrow for free: Walking Sticks (trekking poles), Umbrella/Pancho, Water Bottle
    We are constantly upgrading our trekking equipment and gears, so you can be assured that you will receive the best and latest. We use the best sleeping tents (Mountain Hard Wear Trango).

Not included

  • Flights in and out of Bhutan.
  • Personal trekking gears such as sleeping bag, clothing, shoes etc.
  • Sleeping bags are available for small cleaning fee.

Accommodations

For camping, we upgrade regularly so all our trekking gears including Tents are fairly updated.


Hotels in Thimphu

Hotels in Paro

Hotels in Punakha

Trip Guide/Leader


  • Yonten Phuntsho

    Yonten Phuntsho

  • Pema Namgay

    Pema Namgay

  • Namgay

    Namgay

Reviews / Testimonials

  • Above the cloud trek, 2017, Fall.
    Richard Fedrick Wilson
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Jan 1970
    Above the Cloud Trek – Fall, 2017 ( Above the Cloud Trek – Fall, 2017)
    4 " " Dear Anand, I wanted to take a few minutes to add my personal thoughts on what Peter said about our Windhorse experience. Most importantly we all agree that in no way should our comments be judged a criticism of our guides Yonten and his crew. They worked very had to accommodate us and

    Above the Cloud Trek – Fall, 2017 Dear Anand, I wanted to take a few minutes to add my personal thoughts on what Peter said about our Windhorse

  • Above the cloud trek, 2017, Fall.
    Peter Michle Briglia
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Jan 1970
    Above the cloud trek, 2017, Fall. ( Above the cloud trek, 2017, Fall.)
    4 " " Windhorse Tours – Above the Clouds Trek – October 2017 Our group of 5 from Seattle was hastily formed in late summer 2017 for an October trip. Windhorse did an excellent job of arranging our trip on such short notice. We took the 19- day Above the Clouds Trek that involved

    Above the cloud trek, 2017, Fall. Windhorse Tours – Above the Clouds Trek – October 2017 Our group of 5 from Seattle was hastily formed in late

  • Deborah
    Wilmington, Vermont. USA
    Jan 1970
    Laya – Gasa Trek for Debby & Kathy ( Laya – Gasa Trek for Debby & Kathy)
    5 " " Wind Horse was an incredibly wonderful company to work with. They catered the trip to my specific wants. Trekking with Yeshi and rest of crew was highlight- 12 days with pack horses- the planning, care, food was fantastic, never mind the most amazing scenery! I owe such thanks to the

    Laya – Gasa Trek for Debby & Kathy Wind Horse was an incredibly wonderful company to work with. They catered the trip to my specific wants. Trekking with

  • Above the cloud Trek, Spring 2016
    Gregory John Berminghan
    Australia
    Jan 1970
    Above the cloud Trek, Spring 2016 ( Above the cloud Trek, Spring 2016)
    5 " " The 13 day 'Above the Clouds Trek' is a magnificent walk. I rate it more interesting, enjoyable and challenging than the Everest Base Camp walk which I completed 15 months earlier. The trek takes you through remote and wild country. For much of the time, the trail follows along the southern edge of the

    Above the cloud Trek, Spring 2016 The 13 day 'Above the Clouds Trek' is a magnificent walk. I rate it more interesting, enjoyable and challenging than the Everest Base

  • Above the Cloud Trek
    Rebekah Bell
    Melbourne, Australia
    Jan 1970
    Above The cloud Trek & Customised Cultural Trip. ( Above The cloud Trek & Customised Cultural Trip.)
    5 " " Above the Cloud Trek (Bhutan) Travelling in Bhutan is fabulous and amazing, but travelling in and experiencing Bhutan with the team at Wind Horse makes the experience truly unique and memorable. The Wind Horse difference is immediately obvious; from the support you receive in designing your adventure, the range of Wind

    Above The cloud Trek & Customised Cultural Trip. Above the Cloud Trek (Bhutan) Travelling in Bhutan is fabulous and amazing, but travelling in and experiencing Bhutan with the team

  • Above the cloud Trek
    Kerry T
    Clovelly NSW, Australia
    Jan 1970
    Above the cloud Trek ( Above the cloud Trek)
    5 " " Hi Anand, It was good to talk to you while I was in Bhutan. As I said before, I really enjoyed my trip and was very happy with the standard of care I received. Although the trek had its scary moments, Yonten made sure I was looked after and he encouraged

    Above the cloud Trek Hi Anand, It was good to talk to you while I was in Bhutan. As I said before, I really enjoyed

  • David A. G.
    Newton, Massachusetts,USA
    Jan 1970
    I would say it was both challenging and wonderful! ( I would say it was both challenging and wonderful!)
    5 " " TID - 8769, Above the Cloud (May 25 - June 14,2015) Guide - Namgay Dear Anand -  Well! Jeremy Gansler and Paige Williams called the trek "the experience of a lifetime." I would say it was both challenging and wonderful! Windhorse staff were terrific- starting with our outstanding guide- Namgyel Buh, and

    I would say it was both challenging and wonderful! TID - 8769, Above the Cloud (May 25 - June 14,2015) Guide - Namgay Dear Anand -  Well! Jeremy Gansler and

  • Ms Joy M.R. & Janet D
    Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
    Oct 2018
    Still basking in the afterglow from our wonderful experience in Bhutan with Wind Horse ( Still basking in the afterglow from our wonderful experience in Bhutan with Wind Horse)
    5 " " Above The Clouds (Jhomolari & Laya Trek) from 4 Oct to 24 Oct (TID 789) Hi - I have safely returned from Bhutan via Thailand and am still basking in the afterglow from our wonderful experience in Bhutan with Wind Horse. Karma, Sonam, Tenzen and Rinzen were wonderful to be with and

    Still basking in the afterglow from our wonderful experience in Bhutan with Wind Horse Above The Clouds (Jhomolari & Laya Trek) from 4 Oct to 24 Oct (TID 789) Hi - I have safely returned from

  • Jon W
    Woodinville,WA, ZIP 98072,USA
    Jan 1970
    As it turned out, my ideal was exceeded. I enjoyed every single day as it came ( As it turned out, my ideal was exceeded. I enjoyed every single day as it came)
    5 " " TID 726 - April 12 - May 06, 2014 Ugen, I want to thank you again for arranging our recent 14 day trek in Bhutan (April 2014). The whole trip was absolutely superb! The "Above the Clouds Trek" through Laya was just the right choice for us - challenging (but not too

    As it turned out, my ideal was exceeded. I enjoyed every single day as it came TID 726 - April 12 - May 06, 2014 Ugen, I want to thank you again for arranging our recent 14 day

  • Ben Lyons
    69 W 106th St, Apt #3B
    Jan 1970
    Our guide was very personable and friendly, and the food, horses and equipment were all of a good standard. ( Our guide was very personable and friendly, and the food, horses and equipment were all of a good standard.)
    5 " " We completed the "Above the Clouds" 14 day trek to Laya and Gasa and found it to be an incredible and very worthwhile trip. There were several days of simply spectacular Himalayan scenery and numerous cultural experiences that were simply fabulous. Bhutan was fascinating and full of contrasts-- and still

    Our guide was very personable and friendly, and the food, horses and equipment were all of a good standard. We completed the "Above the Clouds" 14 day trek to Laya and Gasa and found it to be an incredible

  • Pamela S
    Pittsburgh, PA, US
    Jan 1970
    I wanted you to know what a wonderful trip Ellie and I had in your beautiful country. I feel like I had stepped into a fairytale. ( I wanted you to know what a wonderful trip Ellie and I had in your beautiful country. I feel like I had stepped into a fairytale.)
    5 " " To Laya but did Chomolhari Trek Hi Ugen!! I am still recuperating from jetlag and an accompanying cold, but I wanted you to know what a wonderful trip Ellie and I had in your beautiful country. I feel like I had stepped into a fairytale; is so pure and lovely! Our guide,

    I wanted you to know what a wonderful trip Ellie and I had in your beautiful country. I feel like I had stepped into a fairytale. To Laya but did Chomolhari Trek Hi Ugen!! I am still recuperating from jetlag and an accompanying cold, but I wanted

  • Gerald O
    Alta, Utah, USA
    Jan 1970
    Thanks for all the help putting the tour together for us. It was more than we had hoped ( Thanks for all the help putting the tour together for us. It was more than we had hoped)
    5 " " Chomolhari Laya Gasa Trek and across Eastern Bhutan 32 Days trip with Wind Horse in Bhutan - Oct & Nov 2005 And.......thanks for all the help putting the tour together for us. It was more than we had hoped. Tashi dele with Windhorse. Jerry Oyama.

    Thanks for all the help putting the tour together for us. It was more than we had hoped Chomolhari Laya Gasa Trek and across Eastern Bhutan 32 Days trip with Wind Horse in Bhutan - Oct & Nov 2005 And.......thanks

  • Bill Wilmot
    Missoula, Montana, USA
    Jan 1970
    Of all those trips, the Windhorse trip was exceptional. ( Of all those trips, the Windhorse trip was exceptional.)
    5 " " I have traveled extensively in Asia and completed 5 separate treks in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Of all those trips, the Windhorse trip was exceptional. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and we had a fantastic time. We did both an arduous trek and did visits to monasteries and other cultural

    Of all those trips, the Windhorse trip was exceptional. I have traveled extensively in Asia and completed 5 separate treks in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Of all those trips,