Gasa the northern most district of the country has the smallest population. The entire district falls under the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park. Of culture meet the people of Laya, the nomads of western Bhutan. These people live on yaks and harvest of Cordycep (fungi of high value, used in oriental medicine). Gasa means a place of happiness or a place to laugh. Experience for yourself and see which suits you.
The valley of Lunana is the most remote of Gasa district. To see Lunana is to experience the culture of the Himalayan people residing amongst glaciers. The people here make their living from yaks and sheep. The nomads here know a lot about medicinal herbs and have benefited a lot from cordycep harvesting. This wonder worm (Cordyceps sinensis) has given the Lunaps an added earning which will eventually lead to continuation of this drifting ethnicity.
Legend has it that once a vulture swallowed a pen-knife by accident while feeding on a dead animal. The vulture suffered days with the metal inside. A holy man meditating nearby witnessed this but had no ways to help the bird. One day, the man saw the vulture drinking water from a cave and eventually getting better within few weeks. The old man found the cave water hot and smelly. He drank the water and soaked in it. He too became healthier and happier. Thus the hot springs were introduced to mankind. For a Bhutanese visiting hot springs is a wellness therapy.
Let your adventurous spirit take you on a three nights trek to Laya from Punakha. Situated at an altitude of 3800m, this village will charm you with their unique culture. It is amazing how a small pocket of an ethnic group survived for so long in the north of this small country.