- Unique Experience- Cycle through Bhutan’s central valleys, rich with ancient historical and sacred Buddhist sites, mixed forests, pasturelands and valleys dotted with villages rich in culture.
- Ride down mountains with exhilarating drops of thousands of metres.
- Challenge yourself with surmounting high passes of over 3000 metres
- Opportunities and time to connect with the locals are also included into our mountain biking itineraries
- Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.
Day 1: Welcome to Paro and Drive to Thimphu.
Paro Altitude: 2,250 m (7,200 feet)
Driving distance: 1 hr. 15 minutes
Flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression.
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be greeted by Bhutan Rila’s representative. On completion of airport formalities, drive towards Thimphu. Next check-in to your hotel in Thimphu and sightseeing after lunch includes the Folk Heritage Museum; the Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan and where you can interact with the students; and the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s most unusual national animal.
In the evening visit the Tashichho Dzong/Fortress of the Auspicious Religion and office of the Golden throne of the Dragon King of Bhutan. Join Kevin in offering 108 butter lamps and long life prayers at Zangtho Palri Temple in Thimphu.
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 2: Explore Thimphu on Bicycle
Thimphu Altitude: 2350m
After breakfast visit Changangkha temple built on top of a hill from where one can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Thimphu valley below.After the customary three rounds around the temple and getting spiritually blessed, you will mount on your bike, ride a little further up till the Nado incense factory, where religious incense is made. To the left is a trail that leads towards the giant Buddha Statue at Kuenselphodrang. The trail will take you through sparsely populated blue pines giving a perfect view of the Thimphu valley and as you enter further, the jungle gets thicker with thick leaved coniferous trees like oak and shrubs of bamboo. The trail especially in winter is carpeted with Oak and Blue pine leaves and in the spring beautiful with colorful cherry blossoms and rhododendron flowers. However the trial maybe a bit tricky during the monsoon due to heavy rain, but your tour guide will help you on the muddy stretches.
The trail leads through gentle slopes as well as steep rugged mountain paths between the placid woods. We would suggest you to get down from your bike when the rocky cliff tests your tires in between some unfinished trail.
After 2 hours of cycling g under the cool shade, you will come to an open space where you will see the giant statue of Buddha Dordenma – the biggest sitting Buddha in the world. On the down hill visit the beautiful Memorial Chorten/stupa in town is another favorite with the tourists and a regular sight for congregation of devout Buddhists circumambulating the Chorten from dawn till dusk. The main statue of the Buddha inside the Chorten is said to grant wishes for the earnest and honest hearted!
Later in the afternoon visit
• Folk Heritage Museum
• The Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan
• Then visit Postal Musuem. The postal museum narrates the story of the evolution of communication, transportation and postal services in Bhutan’s history.
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 3: Thimphu – Pangrizampa – Hongtsho- Punakha
After breakfast start your day to ride through the Thimphu- Pangrizampa – Hongtsho trail which continues along the Thimphu-Dechencholing road until the Tango/Cheri junction and from here we follow the dirt road to Pangrizampa.
From Pangrizampa the biking ascends along the logging road until Taba Top at an average gradient of 11%. The logging road ends here. We continue biking descending to Hongtsho village, where there is an opportunity for a short hike to the nearby Lhakang (temple) The trail falls between an altitude of 2,300 and 3,700m above sea level. The total length of trail loop is 46 km. After a picnic lunch in the woods ride down hill towards Punakha Valley.
Overnight in Punakha Valley.
Day 4: Punakha
Altitude: 1350 m
In Punakha we will begin our day to ride through the Khuruthang-Samdingkha-Punakha trail and explore the beautifully situated dzong at Punakha, once the summer capital. While pedaling down a mostly unsealed back road, we get great views of the river and Punakha Dzong. Before reaching the dzong we cross an exhilarating suspension footbridge (the feeling depends on your perspective). This is the longest and highest suspension footbridge in the country, stretching over 200m above the Pho Chu River. After a picnic lunch by the tranquil riverside of Punakha ride up to visit Khamsum Yuelley monastery the rest of the afternoon is free for rest and relaxation off the bike or you may choose to wander around for a brisk walk in the valley or spend some time exploring town.
Overnight in Punakha
Day 5: Punakha- Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Altitude: 2900 m
Today we travel to Gangtey, a valley famed for its conservation efforts. Along the way, we’ll walk to the famous fertility temple. The drive from Punakha takes us to the Lawala Pass at 3300m after which we descend into the beautiful Phobjika/Gangtey Valley where we visit the Gangtey Monastery and Crane information center. The Gangtey Monastery, established in the 16th century, is a significant center for the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism and will provide an interesting cultural stop on our journey. Gangtey Valley is an ecological hotspot for Bhutan, known to be the roosting site of the rare black-necked crane that is an extremely honored bird in Bhutan. We’ll make a visit to the Crane Information Centre for further exploration.
Overnight in Phobjikha Valley.
Accommodation Option: Hotel or Farm House Stay
Day 6: Phobjikha Valley- Half day Hike and Cycling
Today we cycle for half of the day and explore the beautiful valley of Gangtey / Phobjikha. The day is casual and can be custom tailored with recommendations from your guides. In the afternoon we’ll begin hiking on the popular Gangtey nature trail. The two-hour long hike takes us across the grounds of the black-necked cranes that roost here during the months of November until May each year and provides us with peaceful forest views. Later in the evening we have archery (Bhutan’s national sport) lessons for the group as a fun way to round out the day.
Overnight in Phobjikha Valley
Accommodation: Hotel/ Farm House Stay
Day 7: Phobjikha –Khotokho- Paro
Start the ride from Tabiting at 2830m towards Gogona. Today is a moderate ride passing through meadows and fields then ascends the Tselela pass at 3440m through mixed forest of Juniper, bamboos, Rhododendrons and Magnolias. Gogona is a small village with an outstanding monastery under the care of Gangtey Gompa. En-route come across people who speak different dialect called Bjop-kha (language spoken by nomads in Bhutan). Because of their isolation they continue using their own dialect and a life of their own. Continue riding towards Khotokha (2700m).
A short climb will reach the Tashila pass at 2800m. Then the trail does down through a beautiful forest changing from rhododendrons to magnolia to ferns and dwarf bamboos. This stretch of trail is one of the finest bird-watching areas in Bhutan where species like laughing thrush, shrike, magpie and woodpecker can be spotted. The trail then plunges down past steep terraced wheat fields to a cluster of houses at Whachay. The trail eventually meets the road near Tikke Zampa at 1500m. Drive from Tikke Zampa to Paro .
Overnight in Paro
Day 8: Trek to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
In the morning, we’ll trek up to one of Bhutan’s most venerated sites: the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. This stunning site is precariously perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro Valley floor. Tiger’s Nest has been recognised as one of the most spiritual sites in Bhutan and many eminent saints have meditated in this area. Reward your physical activity by soaking up the energy of this place!
You should now be quite familiar with the town of Paro and the evening is yours to explore Paro town and enjoy at your leisure
Day 9: Paro- Depart Bhutan
After breakfast an early morning transfer to Paro Airport for your onward flight. Thank you for joining us in Bhutan for this special Bhutan Cycling Tour.