GASA HOT SPRING TREK – 11 DAYS
Hot springs, more commonly known as Tshachus in Bhutan, are believed to have healing properties. For centuries, the local people around the country have visited these hot springs to cure themselves of body aches and sinus. There are many hot springs across the country. Small treks surrounded by beautiful forests on a backdrop of snowy mountains will take you to one of the hot springs where the bath houses are made with bathing facilities.
The hot springs are located throughout the country. The main hot springs is Gasa Tshachus Punakha, Dur Tshachu located in Bumthang. Duenmang Tshachu located on the riverside of Mangde Chu, Trongsa and Gelephu Tshachu in southern Bhutan.
Day 1: Arrive Paro then to Thimphu
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. If you arrive via Kathmandu, which offers the most breathtaking view of the range, it’s possible to see Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga as well. Upon arrival in Paro, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon you can visit the Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the Dzongs (forts) currently. You’ll cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to the Dzong. You can then tour the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the Dzong. It now houses a collection of fine arts, paintings, thangkas, statues, and antiques. Afterward you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Later drive to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu
Day 2: Thimphu
After breakfast you will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972),Buddha Point, Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). After a relaxing lunch, you will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichodzong. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu-Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time).
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. After Lunch, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). And drive for about 12 km and from the road point take a walk across the rice fields and a river to reach the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which is located on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang. It houses the paintings and statues belonging to the Nyingmapa tradition. Visit Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chime Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple, where you may receive a special fertility blessing if you wish.
Day 04: Drive to Tashithang and trek to Geon Damji (Trek Starts)
After an early breakfast, drive through the valley of Punakha on the Mo-chu side to Tashithang which will be approx. 18 km and 1 & half hours drive. Start the trek at Tashithang (1840m) and camp at Geon Damji (2430m). First the trail gradually climbs up above the Mo-chu into the lush semi-tropical forest filled with banana trees, creepers and different kinds of orchids. If luck favours ‘Takin’ the national animal can be seen on the other bank of Mo-chu. Geon Damji is a large village with rice terraces along side. Overnight at camp (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)
Day 05: Trek to Gasa Hotspring (2,240m)
Today, the trail gradually passes through oak forests and also different varieties of orchids can be spotted along the way. Before reaching Gasa, a Dzong can be seen from the view point. The trail to Gasa Hot spring is to descend through quite thick forest and mini bamboo. Overnight at Camp. (Walking Durations: 4-5 hrs)
Day 06: Rest at Gasa Hotspring (2,240m)
The day will be at leisure and to try out the hot spring located by the bank of a stream. There are cement pools to dip into. The day can also be spent going up to Gasa Dzong with packed lunch. The trek to Gasa Dzong will be quite a tough climb and takes about 2 hours upto an elevation of 2770m. Overnight at Camp.
Day 07: Gasa Tshachu to Geon Damji (2,430m)
The trail winds through rolling hillsides with vistas of fields, villages and Oak and Pine forests. Gasa Dzong will be visible behind glued to the valley wall as the trek proceeds ahead. The route goes through small settlements and finally at camp of Geon Damji – a large village with rice terraces on the hillsides. Overnight at Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)
Day 08: Goen Damji to Tashithang (1840m) & drive to Punakha (1,310m)
Start from Geon Damji and end at the vehicle point at Tashithang. From here it is 18 km (1 hour drive) to Punakha but the initial 5-6 km is unpaved road. Upon arrival in Punakha, check-in hotel. Overnight at Hotel. (Walking Duration: 5 hrs)
Day 9 Punakha-Paro
Set out for Paro with a stop in Thimphu for lunch and a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum. In the afternoon, you will continue the drive to Paro. In the evening you can visit a traditional farmhouse and, if you wish, enjoy a hot-stone bath and a typical Bhutanese dinner. Overnight in Paro.
Day 10: Hike Paro Taksang
Drive up to Satsam Chorten, 10 km from Paro town and hike up to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The Monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 3000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and river. Taktsang is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world. It is believed that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava, known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated in the spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hours.
Day 11: Depart Paro
Drive to the Airport for the departure.