Please note that you are using a browser that is no longer supported. Please consider viewing this website on another browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Skip to main content
Call us: +44 (0) 1453 844400Email us:

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

The Layap People of Bhutan

If you are looking for a culturally fascinating tailor made holiday, Bhutan is one of the best countries to visit. The remote mountain kingdom is home not only to a well-preserved Buddhist culture, but to various ethnic groups living in the high mountains of the Eastern Himalaya.

Layap people met on our tailor made holiday to Bhutan. Photo courtesy of N Sloman

One of these groups is the Layap, who live in the north-west of the kingdom. On a tailor made holiday in Bhutan, that treks out to the high mountains, we can visit the village of Laya, inhabited by the Layap people, giving visitors an opportunity to meet them and learn about the way they live.

The most obvious detail that visitors to Laya will notice is the conical hats worn by the Layap women: made of darkened bamboo strips, woven together, with a pointed top. They wore this same hat when their people were banished from Tibet in the 15th century. It is a Layap belief that if they cease this practise, they will upset the village spirits. Yaks are an integral feature of Layap life. They are herded up and down the mountains around Laya, primarily for their milk and their fur, which is used to make clothes and the tents they stay in when looking after the yaks away from the village. If you have wanted to meet yak-herding people on a tailor made holiday, Bhutan is one of the best places in the Himalayas to do this and encounter people maintaining a traditional way of life. The Layap people also grow small yields of crops. Their religion is a harmonious meld of old animism and the more recently introduced Buddhism, with animist spirits now venerated as protectors of Buddhism. The Layap people are friendly and welcoming to visitors. During our stay in Laya on our tailor made holiday to Bhutan, we have the time to meet many of the villagers and see how they live in this remote corner of the world. It is a unique and wonderful experience; every time we visit, we feel privileged to be there.

Back to top