Bhutan Cycling Tour - 7 Days

Overview

Nepal summer treks are also good which is a bit off-tourist-season when trekking trails won’t be crowded as in the main tourist season. It’s a monsoon period in the summer season in Nepal, so the weather will be hot and humid. Trekking is actually possible in the rain-shadow areas like Mustang which receives less rainfall compared to other parts of the country. Bhutan is considered ‘the last Shangri-la’ and a small nation tucked in South Asia. Due to its geographical location and spectacular mountain beauty, Bhutan offers plenty of adventurous cycling opportunities. The Dragon Kingdom is blessed with snow-capped mountains, rich cultural heritage, abundant natural beauty, simple ways of life of the Bhutanese people. The land is still shrouded in mystery and its landscapes, unexplored, especially on a bicycle. If anyone’s up for some pleasant ride passing along lush green forests, the rolling hills, along creeks and far-flung villages, ancient monasteries then a cycling tour in Bhutan certainly is a perfect choice. Mountain biking is slowly gaining its popularity ever since the government opened up the country for tourism. It’s like taking a breath of fresh air when biking in Bhutan. The road trails are filled up with snow-capped mountain views, emerald green landscapes, varied wildlife and some gentle people. The cycling trip is a once in a lifetime experience collecting moments riding around the tiny capital-Thimphu, the old capital city of Punakha and the colorful- Paro.

Outline Itinerary for Bhutan Cycling Tour
Day 01 : Arrive Paro (2250m) & cycle ride to Thimphu (2350m)
Day 02 : Biking in Thimphu (2350m)
Day 03 : Riding bike from Thimphu to Punakha (1310m) – 77km
Day 04 : Biking in Punakha (1310m)
Day 05 : Punakha to Paro (2250m)
Day 06 : Hike to Paro Taktsang ‘Tigers Nest’ (3120m)
Day 07 : Paro depart

Trip Highlights

  • Experience great ride into the lush green forests, beautiful landscapes, along creeks and distant villages, ancient monasteries.
  • Cycle around the major cities of Bhutan – Thimphu, Punakha & Paro.
  • Discover Bhutan in a different way with it’s rich cultural past.
  • Hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’.
  • Explore the historical and religious landmarks in Bhutan.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Paro (2250m) & cycle ride to Thimphu (2350m)

Fly to Paro crossing the world’s highest mountain series like Jomolhari, Jichu Drake of Bhutan including Mt. Everest. Upon arrival, our representative will meet/greet you at the airport.

Biking begins
After refreshment at Paro town, transfer to Thimphu cycling. En-route stop at the impressive Tachocho Lakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder. Further ride will reach Chuzom marked by the confluence of the Paro Chu (river) and the Wang chu. Towards the opposite at the confluence are three protecting Chortens each one constructed with different styles. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 2
Biking in Thimphu (2350m)

Today explore around Thimphu on cycle with visits to National Memorial Chorten- a stupa for world peace and prosperity built in 1974 in the memory of the third king of Bhutan, the National Library, the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts & crafts are taught, Folk Heritage Museum which exhibits traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past.

After lunch, visit the fortress like temple ‘Changangkha Lakhang’ located above Thimphu perched on a ridge. Then to Takin Preserve to observe the rare national animal of Bhutan ‘Takin’ – a unique animal and associated with the country’s religious history and mythology. Afterwards, ride towards ‘Buddha’s Point’ which provides panoramic views of the Thimphu Valley. A 138.6 foot tall Buddha statue seated on a 62 foot tall throne is located at Buddha’s Point which symbolizes peace and happiness for the entire world. Further cycle towards the BBS Tower providing bird’s eye-view of the tiny capital, visit the nunnery temple as well. Now, store the bike in car and drive to Tashichho Dzong ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’, Bhutan’s administration and religious centre where the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and other government offices are located. The dzong is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 3
Riding bike from Thimphu to Punakha (1310m) - 77km

This day is ride towards the old capital city of Punakha passing along agricultural land and valleys. The first stop is at Dochu-la Pass (3140m) from where panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas stretching about 25 kilometers can be spotted in a clear day. The bike ride from Thimphu to Dochu-la ascends up for about an hour or so to reach the pass. There are 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens built by the eldest Queen Mother. After the pass, continue riding towards Punakha winding down through lush forests of oak, fir, spurs and rhododendron. En-route pass along the Sopsokha Vilage and also visit the ‘Chimi Lakhang’ located atop a hill, the temple of fertility. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 4
Biking in Punakha (1310m)

Morning begins with cycling towards the Punakha Dzong built in 1637 which stands majestically at the confluence of the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu. This dzong is considered the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan and it’s a great structure with intense artwork. It’s the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, the chief abbot of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637 as the second dzong in Bhutan. In the afternoon, cycle off road for about 3 hours alongside the Pho Chu River of Punakha visiting farm houses and walking along rice fields. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 5
Punakha to Paro (2250m)

Early in the morning drive back to Paro. En-route visit the Druk Wangyal Lakhang at Dochu-la which was built by the eldest Queen Mother. The Lakhang has details that seem to merge the past and future telling a story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Contine the drive to Paro where visit Ta Dzong (Watch Tower), it’s now turned into a national museum in 1960’s. Afterwards, visit Rinpung Dzong, the administrative centre and school for monks then walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into the town of Paro. Evening: Free/At leisure or stroll around town. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 6
Hike to Paro Taktsang ‘Tigers Nest’ (3120m)

After breakfast, cycle through the lush Paro Valley and take the interesting hike on foot to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in a vertical cliff. The trail to the monastery is hike all the way uphill through pine forest taking about 2 hours. The monastery is located in a huge granite cliff of 900 meters. It’s believed that a great saint called ‘Padmasambhava’ came here in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 months. Taktsang is the pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese and to visit it once in their lifetime.
Afternoon: visit the 7th century scared monastery ‘Kyichu Lakhang’, Drukgyal Dzong- the fortress which defended Paro Valley in the early 17th century from the Tibetan invasion from north. In a clear day, Mt. Jomolhari can be spotted from Drukgyal. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 7
Paro depart

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains.

Cost

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
  • Bhutan visa fee - including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Trip Information

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below:
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons. During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May.

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing.

The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.

WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.

Other requirements:
A quality sleeping bag.
Waterproof gators.
A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
Binoculars and Camera.
Small day pack.
Water bottle
Towel
Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
Mini-flashlight

DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.

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Bhutan Cycling Tour

Trip Facts

  • Bhutan
  • 06 Nights/07 Days
  • Spring (March-May) & Autumn/fall (September-November)
  • Cycle/Private Vehicle
  • Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)
  • Moderate
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Cycling/Sightseeing/Hiking
  • Biking & Sightseeing tour
  • Taktsang Monastery, Paro Ringpng Dzong, Buddha's Point
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above/Tent during camping

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