Above The Clouds – Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek
Small Group Journeys

Above The Clouds – Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek

Chomolhari Laya Gasa trek

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Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek, also spelled as Chomolhari Laya Gasa trek, is among Bhutan’s and the world’s best treks. It offers diverse trekking conditions, from scenic farmland and forests to a stunning lunar landscape surrounded by majestic peaks. Wildlife sightings of blue sheep, Takin, various bird species, and even the elusive snow leopard are possible. Along the way, you’ll encounter isolated Dzongs, scattered settlements like Jangothang, Lingshi Chebisa, and the unique village of Laya, which provide cultural interest. This moderately challenging trek forms a loop along Bhutan’s northwestern border with Tibet and is considered the most aesthetically beautiful trek in the Himalayas.

At Wind Horse, we take pride in having organized this trek as a Private trip for over 25 years and a small group journey annually for a decade, with small modification over time with changing conditions.

Embark on the extraordinary Jomolhari Laya trek, where you will ascend above the clouds for a truly unforgettable journey and once-in-a-lifetime experience. This journey promises to forge enduring memories while enhancing your fitness.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Day 2: Paro Valley Tour
Day 3: In Paro Hike to Taktsang 
Day 4, 5 & 6: Trek from Shana to Jangothang
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 Jomolhari.

Day 7: Jangothang Rest day (Base Camp) 
Today is a scheduled rest day, intended to aid acclimatization 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 & 9: Trek to Lingshi & Chebisa villages  
Cross Nyile La pass (4870m) to Lingshi village. And next day walk shorter distance to Chebisa. It is around these area that you see tons of blue sheeps .

Day 10, 11, 12 : Trek to Shomuthang, Robulthang & Limithang
Each day cross a high pass or two and camp in the lower valley. There are no villages but one may come across nomadic yak herder’s camps. In Tsharijarithang valley,  one will normally 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.

Day 13 &14: In Laya
A short trek from Limithang camp brings you to Laya by midday. Locals are immediate to welcome and greet the visitors. You have time this afternoon and full day next to explore this large highland village, spread across the hillside.

Day 15: Trek Laya – Koena -Gasa Hot Spring (Trek ends)  
Our final day of trekking that brings us to the nearest roadhead (Tongchudra). It is a long march downhill, but what a way to end by soaking ourselves in the popular hot springs below Gasa. Overnight in a tents or Guest House as available.

Day 16: Punakha & Wangdiphodrang  
Back into the civilization and visit the former winter capital of Bhutan.

Day 17 & 18: Thimphu
Drive to the capital Thimphu and spend a day and half here to explore its many attractions

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

 

Overview

trekking Trip Type Trekking
Activities Included Activities Included
Activities Included Trekking
Accommodation Accommodation 12 nights camp & 6 nights in hotel.
Meal Meal All meals are included
Best Seasons Best Seasons Best from end of March till May and from late Sept till beginning of November.
  Best Months Best Months April, May, October, November

Good Months Good Months March, September

Lean Months Lean Months June, July, August

Not Recommended Months Not Recommended Months January, February, December

  • 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

Cost Information

  • The trip is priced per person according to the number participants in a group.
    $2950 + SDF  for 5 or more travelers
  • $3100 +SDF for 3-4 travelers
  • $3800+SDF for 2 travelers
  • $6250 +SDF for Single traveler including single room/tent supliment.
  • $300 for Optional Single tent/room supplement.
    SDF is $1800 per person for the 18 nights of this trip extra above the land cost provided.

Included

  • Accommodations in hotels as listed during the tour and in tents during the trek
  • All meals
  • All transfers
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees.
  • English Speaking Wind Horse Local Tour Leader.
  • Bhutan visa including visa fees.
  • SDF (Sustainable Dev. Fees)
  • During the trek: Fully organized trek with all meals, and beverages. All trekking gears including Tents, Thermal mats, Blow pillow, Hot-water bag for warmth during night. Portable Altitude chambers Bag for emergencies. Pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency, Basic Medical Kit. Trekking staffs include first aid trained Guide, Cook, assistants and horseman.
    Sleeping bags can be borrowed ! (cleaning charges will apply)
    Borrow for free; trekking poles, water bottle, rain poncho, duffel bag

Not included

  • Flights in and out of Bhutan.
  • Travel/Medical Insurance
  • Optional expenses: bar/beverages, gifts, tips
  • Personal trekking gears & clothing

Group Travel Dates

Start Date
End Date
Status
Remarks
 
10 Oct, 2024
28 Oct, 2024
Limited Seats !!! 2/8

Mountain Festival & Royal Highland Festival in Laya

Traveller Review

17 Reviews:

Guides

Trip Photos

FAQs

  • What is the best time to do the Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek (Above the clouds) ?

    The trek is most commonly undertaken during two seasons: spring and autumn. In the spring, the trek should begin after mid-March and end before mid-May. Alternatively, in the autumn season, trekkers should set out after the last week of September and conclude their journey by late November, enjoying clear days and beautiful views.

    It is advisable to avoid trekking during the winter months from December to February due to potential snowfall and impassable routes for pack animals. On the other hand, the summer months, spanning from June to September, may bring occasional rainfall but also bring the upper regions of the trek to life with vibrant flowers. These months coincide with the active season for the nomadic communities, adding a unique cultural experience to the adventure.

  • How would you describe the level of difficulty for the Jomolhari Laya Trek (Above the clouds trek)?

    The Jomolhari Laya Trek is categorized as moderately strenuous by Wind Horse, primarily due to its 12-day duration, which includes two rest days. The trek’s difficulty level varies throughout the journey. In the initial three days, you can expect relatively easy walks, averaging 3-5 hours per day. There are a couple of more demanding days when you’ll trek for a full 7-8 hours. On an average day, you’ll walk approximately 6 hours, covering a distance of around 10-15 kilometers. Additionally, several mountain pass crossings are encountered, but these typically occur after the fourth day of the trek. By this point, trekkers have acclimated to the altitude, and their physical condition has improved. This gradual progression in difficulty allows trekkers to adapt to the challenges, making it a manageable and rewarding adventure.

  • Is previous trekking arrangement necessary for this trek ?

    Prior trekking experience is not strictly necessary for the Jomolhari Laya Trek, but it can significantly enhance your preparedness and enjoyment of the journey. One should be physically fit and mentally prepared for the weather, terrain, and sleeping in tents for an extended period.

  • What is the highest elevation on this trek and risk of altitude sickness on this trek?

    The highest elevation reached on the Above the Clouds Jomolhari Laya Trek is 5005m at Sincela pass between Robluthang and Limithang on the 9th day of the trek.
    The maximum Campsite altitude is 4,220m at Shomulthang on the 7th night of camping.
    Your first crossing of the high pass is on the 5th day of the trek between Jangothang and Lingshi at Nyile La pass at 4870m.
    Due to the well-planned itinerary, and gradual ascent strategies typically employed on the Jomolhari Laya Trek, the likelihood of experiencing altitude sickness is significantly reduced.
    If altitude sickness were to occur, it’s likely to become noticeable by the third day of the trek at Jangothang, before embarking on the high mountain passes. This pivotal point in the journey offers trekkers a significant advantage in recognizing any symptoms and taking appropriate action. If such symptoms were to emerge, it is feasible to make a decision to retreat from the trek at this stage, potentially descending to lower altitudes for rest and recovery.

  • What kind of communication options are available in case of an emergency during the Jomolhari Laya Trek?

    The trek often follows or remains near cell phone towers, with some dead spots in which case there are there are Military Posts with Radios or villages with Radio communication While satellite phones and two-way radios were once carried, improved cell phone coverage has made them less necessary in recent times.

    Our experienced guides are trained in basic wilderness first aid and carry essential medical supplies. They can swiftly communicate with our office in Thimphu, enabling us to contact emergency services or arrange evacuations if necessary. It’s vital for trekkers to ensure they have appropriate Travel Insurance coverage to safeguard their trekking experience.

  • How can I access detailed information about trekking, camping facilities, and meals during the Jomolhari Laya Trek?

    On this trek, we use high quality imported 4 season tents by leading manufacturers such as Mountain Hardware, North Face and Alps Mountaineering for sleeping.
    In addition to the sleeping tent, we bring a Mess/dinning tent, also pitch simple pit toilet with a tent cover. We have a separate tent for staffs and Kitchen.
    For more details about food, typical day on a trek, visit the our trekking in Bhutan page:

Overview

trekking Trip Type Trekking
Activities Included Activities Included
Activities Included Trekking
Accommodation Accommodation 12 nights camp & 6 nights in hotel.
Meals Meals All meals are included
Max Group Size Max Group Size Maximum 8
Best Seasons Best Seasons Best from end of March till May and from late Sept till beginning of November.
Best Months Best Months April, May, October, November

Good Months Good Months March, September

Lean Months Lean Months June, July, August

 Not Recommended Months Not Recommended Months January, February, December

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