11 Days 10 Nights Royal Highlander Festival At Laya

The “Royal Highlander Festival” is being organized at Laya, Gasa District to sensitize the highlanders on decline of yak farming with increased vulnerability from instantly short term income generating activities that seem to be challenging the sustainability of livelihoods in future in the highlands. The festival is also aimed to enlighten stakeholders on the importance of their spirited participation in enhancing the economic opportunity of the highlanders.

Climate at Laya:

Laya is at an altitude of 3800m and the festival venue at 4000m. It can be fairly cold in October, with daytime temperatures ranging between 1-12 C, and nighttime temperatures dipping below 0 C. Light drizzles and snowfall may be also expected. Afternoons are windy, with an average relative humidity of 48%. The walk to Laya from Gasa can be challenging especially if the weather is wet. Extra war, wind/rain proof clothes and good walking shoes are advised.

Day 1

     Arrival in Bhutan, Thimphu

Elevation 2,320 m     Weather in Thimphu

Welcome to Bhutan and your first day in the magical Land of the Thunder Dragon! Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, just outside the arrival hall, you will be greeted by one of our guides. At more than 7,300 feet above sea level, you will need to acclimate to the high altitude. So, we will take it easy with a short drive to your hotel, enjoy a Bhutanese lunch, and then visit a few sights around the capital city of Thimphu.

 We start our tour at Motithang Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s national animal, the takin. This unusual animal is often described as looking like a moose that was stung by a bee. Formerly a small zoo, the king decreed that penning up animals was contrary to Buddhist beliefs, so they were released. The takin had difficulty adapting, so the preserve was established to care for these gentle creatures.

 We will then drive up to Buddha View Point where the Buddha Dordenma statue sits. At 169 feet tall, this bronze statue can be seen from just about anywhere in Thimphu. One of the largest statues in the world depicting a seated Buddha, it is the perfect place to enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the city.


Day 2

     Thimphu to Punakha

Elevation 1,300 m     Weather in Punakha

On our way to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, we will stop at Dochula Pass. Providing stunning 360-degree views of the Himalayan Mountains, it is also the location of the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the present Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the memorial to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate the souls of those who died.

Sitting at the fork of two rivers, Punakha Dzong is considered one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. With spectacular displays of Bhutanese architecture, it stands like a medieval city surrounded by lavender Jacaranda trees. Built in 1637, the six-story structure is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. It still serves as the winter home of the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbott of the clergy. In 2011, it hosted the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.

Day 3

     Punakha to Gasa to Tongchu Zam Camp

Elevation 4500 m     Weather in Gasa

Early Morning leave your hotel for your approx. 4 hours drive to Gasa where the road ends, from there start your trek (4 hours) to Koina which, is your destination for tonight. Starting from end of the road, trek for approx 4 and half hours, the trail first winds with a gradual descend till Koina and then winds up with a gradual climb till your camp site past the small bride (Thongchu zam).
Overnight Camp.

Day 4

     Tongchu Zam to Laya

Elevation 4800 m     Weather in Paro

After breakfast, start trekking to your destination, the beautiful highland village of Laya. The trail winds up gradually and at times with steep climbs till you reach Laya. Early arrival to your camp and enjoy the scenic beauty of the landscape and then you will come across a lot of locals in their typical Laya costumes.

Overnight Camp.

Day 5

     Laya (2 Days Festival)

Elevation 4800 m     Weather in Gasa

The Royal Highlander festival was first introduced last year (2016 on 16thOf October) to mark the celebration of the birth of HRH the Gyalsey; 400 years of Zhabdrung Rinpoche and the Rabjung (60 years cycle) birth year of Guru Rimpoche. This year will be the 2nd year of the Royal Highlander festival and will be held on 23rd and 24th Octber, 2017. The Royal Highlander festival shares the beauty and the wonders of Gasa district through its nature, history and its age old tradition and culture, to share Gasa’s vision of “Good to Great Gasa” and to finally share all theses authenticity and the simplicity of the life of the Highlanders with our guests.

During the festival, visitors can witness The traditional offering of Buelwa (Gift offering) with Auley (traditional epic poem/song recitation tradition originated from Zhabdrung Rinpoche days) that begun during Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s reign in showing loyalty and respect by the community of Laya is being offered for dynamic and visionary leadership of our successive monarchs.

Variety of cultural programs will be performed by Layaps. Competition such as traditional songs and dances.

The various competitions on highland animals including the Yaks, horses and Mastiffs will be held.

The festival consists of series of stalls ranging from local based yak produce to highland technology, highland agriculture technology, medicinal herbs & plants and others

Day 6

     Laya to Thongchu Zam

Elevation 4500 m     Weather in Gasa

After the festival, we trace your way back to Thongchu Zam on days 7.

Over night at Thongchu Zam.

Day 7

     Thongchu Zam to Gasa

Elevation 4500 m     Weather in Gasa

On Day 8 we go back to Gasa. Have a warm hot spring bath after your long travel.

Over night at Gasa Camp.

Day 8

     Gasa to Paro (6 hours drive back)

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

We head back to scenic Paro Valley, home to many of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and the country’s only airport. This mixture of old and new makes Paro an important part of Bhutan’s past, present, and future.

 The valley is home to Jomolhari Mountain, located on the northwestern border of Bhutan and Tibet. Often called the wife of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, Jomolhari is Bhutan’s third tallest mountain at 24,035 feet. The glacier waters flowing from the mountain feed the rivers of the Paro Valley.

 Paro (Rinpung) Dzong means Fortress on Jewels because it was built using stones rather than clay. It is an excellent example of 15th-century architecture and one of the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. It currently serves as the government center of Paro. A cantilever bridge that crossed the river was damaged by fire in 1907 and later washed away by floods, so the original construction was lost.

 Located on a hill above Para Dzong is Ta Dzong. This cylindrical watchtower was built in 1649 and converted into the National Museum of Bhutan in 1968. The spiral-shaped building holds antiques, art, textiles, weapons, and household items that tell the history of Bhutan.


Day 9


Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Are you ready for the long awaited hike to Tiger’s Nest?

We will take a two-hour hike to Taktsang Monastery, arguably one of the most photographed monasteries in Bhutan. Accessible only by foot, this sacred site was built precariously on the cliff’s edge, more than 10,000 feet above sea level. This is where Guru (Rinpoche) Padmasambhava, the father of Bhutan Buddhism, is said to have flown on the back of a tiger to meditate in a cave for three years. An exhilarating climb to the cafeteria is decorated with colorful prayer flags and provides breathtaking views of the Himalayas.


Day 10

     Depart from Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to Singapore. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek!

What's Included

Suitable Months
  • Festival Date: 23rd - 24th October 2018
  • For Travel during Royal Highlander Festival
  • USD 2949 for 1 person traveler
  • USD 2849 per person for 2 person travelers
  • USD 2549 per person for group of 3 and above
What's Excluded

Our Guarantee

Guaranteed Visa approval. We have yet to disappoint a single of our travellers in term of Visa issuance.

Your choice of hotels will be confirmed for your inspection before your arrival. We only book you on hotels which we love and would love again.

We will be happy to change your guide, driver or vehicle on the first two days of arrival in Thimphu if you are not satisfied with our selection. Drop us a note and our hospitality team be on the spot to assist you.

We’re here to help. Our world-class member services team is available by phone or email — there's no automated system or call center; you'll communicate with a real person.

Community Partners

Your trip to Bhutan will contribute to one of the following causes Simply complete your trip feedback and Druk Asia will pledge a donation to your chosen charity

Ask Us A Question

Login is required to post a question.