Cycling Adventure Tour - 13 Days

Overview

Bhutan is a mountainous small country located in South Asia and often also called ‘the last Shangri-la’ have plenty of adventurous cycling opportunities. The land is blessed with great views of the snow-capped mountains, rich cultural heritage, simple ways of life of the Bhutanese. The mystical land is still yet to be explored especially on a bicycle. Lush green forests, rolling hills, creeks and distant beautiful villages, age-old monasteries and shrines await on such a pleasant biking trips. Biking in Bhutan is a different experience and mountain biking is slowly gaining it’s pace in the Dragon Kingdom. The bike trail passes through majestic views of the snow-capped mountains, emerald green valleys, varied wildlife and some gentle people greeting you along the trail. The 12 nights & 13 days biking tour explores the major cities of Bhutan like the tiny capital- Thimphu, the old capital city of Punakha and the colorful – Paro. The tour further extends to Trongsa, Bumthang, Gangtey, Ura Valley, Phobijikha Valley and the Haa Valley. Another highlight of the tour is the hike to the Taktsang Monastery perched in a vertical cliff, also popularly known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’.

Outline Itinerary for Cycling Adventure Tour
Day 01 : Arrive Paro and transfer to Thimphu (2250m)
Day 02 : Biking in Thimphu (2350m)
Day 03 : Riding bike from Thimphu to Punakha (1310m) 77km
Day 04 : Biking in Punakha (1310m)
Day 05 : Riding bike from Punakha to Trongsa (2300m) 142km
Day 06 : Riding bike from Trongsa to Bumthang (2800m) 68km
Day 07 : Biking in Bumthang (2800m)
Day 08 : Ride to Ura Valley (2850m)and back to Bumthang (2800m) 69km
Day 09 : Bumthang to Gangtey (2900m) – Phobijikha 188km
Day 10 : Gangtey (Phobijikha) to Thimphu (2350m) 135km
Day 11 : Riding a bike to Haa valley (2740m) -Day excursion 115km
Day 12 : Hike to Paro Taksang ‘Tigers Nest’ (3120m)
Day 13 : Paro depart

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy pleasant ride discovering green forests, beautiful landscapes, along creeks and distant villages, ancient monasteries.
  • Visit the major cities of Bhutan – Thimphu, Punakha & Paro cycling.
  • Explore the Bumthang/Phobijikha Valley.
  • Commence day excursion ride to the Haa Valley closer from Paro.
  • Witness the contrasting Bhutan in cities, valleys and high mountain passes.
  • Hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Paro and transfer to Thimphu (2250m)

Flying into Paro is a great experience flying over world’s highest mountain series with majestic views of the awesome peaks of Bhutan like Jomolhari, Jichu Drake including Mt. Everest. Upon arrival at Paro airport, our representative will meet/greet you. After some refreshments at the Paro town and cycle towards Thimphu. En-route visit the splendid ‘Tachocho Lakhang’, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder. Further ride will reach Chuzom marked by the confluence of Paro Chu (river) and the Wang Chu. There are three Chortens at the confluence each built in a different style. Overnight at Hotel (Thimphu).

Day 2
Biking in Thimphu (2350m)

Explore around Thimphu today visiting the important landmarks of Thimphu like the National Memorial Chorten- a stupa for world peace and prosperity built in 1974 in the memory of the Third King of Bhutan. Then to the National Library to see the kingdoms’ rich culture, the National institute of ‘Zorig Chusum’ where a training course of Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts are given, the Folk Heritage Musuem which adds insight of the traditional Bhutanese farm house and the rural past.

After lunch, visit ‘Changangkha Lakhang’ which is fortress like temple located in a ridge above Thimphu. Then to Takin Preserve where the rare national animal of Bhutan ‘Takin’ is kept. This animal is associated with the country’s religious history and mythology. Further ride to the ‘Buddha’s Point’ which offers impressive view of the Thimphu Valley. A big Buddha statue seated on a throne is located here symbolizing peace and happiness in the world. Then bike towards the BBS Tower which also has bird eye-view of the capital city, visit the nunnery temple as well. Now drive to ‘Tashichoo Dzong’ after storing bike in the car. This Dzong is the fortress of the glorious religion and Bhutan’s administrative and religious centre. It houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and other government offices. The Dzong is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Overnight at Hotel (Thimphu).

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

Bike towards Punakha (the ancient capital) through agricultural land and valleys crossing over Dochu La, 3050meters pass, snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. The road from the Thimphu valley to Dochula Pass is ascending up for about 1 hour more. At Dochula pass and enjoy the view of eastern Himalayan ranges stretching about 25 kilometer in a clear day. There are 108 chortens at Dochula built by the eldest Queen Mother. Continue biking to Punakha winding down through the lush forest of oak, fir, spurs, and rhododendron. En-route pass thru Sopsokha village and visit the temple of fertility “Chimi Lhakhang” which is located atop hill. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 4
Biking in Punakha (1310m)

In the morning ride towards the Punakha Dzong built in 1637 standing majestically at the junction of the two rivers Pho Chu and Mo chu. Arguably Punakha Dzong is considered to be the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan with outstanding structure and intense artwork, and it’s also the winter residence of the Je khenpo, the chief abbot of Bhutan. Also this is the second Dzong built in Bhutan by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the year 1637. Enjoy the afternoon then cycle off road about 3 hours along the Phochu river to visit farm house and walk along the rice field. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 5
Riding bike from Punakha to Trongsa (2300m) 142km

Today from Punakha bike towards Trongsa crossing over the Pele La pass (3390m) on the black mountain range, a frontier of western and central Bhutan. Trongsa is a historical place where attempts to unify the nation was launched. Continue towards Trongsa, you will come across the incredible Trongsa Dzong, an architectural wonder. Trongsa medieval watchtower and the great Mangde Chu further adds to the beauty of Trongsa Dzong. The Dzong was built in 1648 and was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan from where the first and second kings ruled the country. Overnight at Hotel (Trongsa).

Day 6
Riding bike from Trongsa to Bumthang (2800m) 68km

After breakfast, visit Ta Dzong (Royal Heritage Museum) located above the Trongsa Dzong. This Dzong infact is a watchtower and used to guard Trongsa Dzong. It is now being restored from the ground up turned into a museum. After lunch, the bike ride proceeds from Trongsa ascending to Yotong La Pass (3425m). From the pass, get the first glimpse of the Black Mountains and other high snow-capped peaks like Mt. Jomolhari and the pass is marked by prayer flags in hundreds. Then bike along through a lush valley and hilly forest en-route stopping at Yathra, the textile weaving handloom, you can also even get a glimpse of some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight at Hotel (Bumthang)

Day 7
Biking in Bumthang (2800m)

Explore biking around Bumthang with visits to Jakar Dzong- the administrative centre of the valley, Jambay Lakhang- one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan dating back to the introduction of Buddism in Bhutan and Kurjey Lakhang- a scared place where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint on the cave when meditating. From Jambay Lakhang to Kurjey Lakhang is biking thru agriculture field and from there on cross a suspension bridge to Tamshing Lakhang located on the other side of the river opposite the Kurje Lakhang. Also visit Mebar Tsho (Lake of burning fire), scared lake for Bhutanese where it’s belived that Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from the lake. Overnight at Hotel (Bumthang).

Day 8
Ride to Ura Valley (2850m)and back to Bumthang (2800m) 69km

Today is biking to the Ura Valley crossing Shertang La pass. Four valleys (Ura, Chumey, Tang, Chokhor) made up of Bumthang and it is one of the most beautiful and scared valleys of Bhutan. En-route pass thru pastureland, fields and mountains via zigzag roads before reaching the clustered village of Ura. Explore around Ura then ride back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel (Bumthang).

Day 9
Bumthang to Gangtey (2900m) - Phobijikha 188km

After breakfast, visit the glacier valley of Phobijikha which is one of the most important wildlife preserves of Bhutan as black-necked cranes migrate from Tibet in winter here. An interesting Nyingmapa Monastery dated back to 17th century is also located here. Lunch will be at Chendebjee then continue drive to Phobijikha Valley; before reaching Phobijikha, ride along from the Lawala pass till hotel. Overnight at Hotel (Phobijikha).

Day 10
Gangtey (Phobijikha) to Thimphu (2350m) 135km

Drive back to Thimphu then visit the Crane Observation and information centre. Continue driving en-route visiting Wangdue Dzong and short walk to Rinchen Gang clustered village where houses are made up of mud and stones. People inhabiting this village is said to be of Indian origin. Stop at Dochula for lunch then continue drive to Thimphu. Evening: Stroll around Thimphu town/shopping. Overnight at Hotel (Thimphu).

Day 11
Riding a bike to Haa valley (2740m) -Day excursion 115km

This day is day excursion to the Haa Valley crossing over Chelela pass (3822m) riding along past forests of blue pine, fir & oak. Mt. Jomolhari can be spotted from here including other snow-capped peaks and beautiful valley below the pass. After lunch, bike further down to reache the Haa Valley where Meri Phuensum, three mountains symbolizing Rigsum Gonpo: Jampelyang (manjushri), Chana Dorji (vajrapani) and Chenrizi (avaloketeshvara) are located. Explore aoudnt the remote village takig about 30 minutes of walking and stroll in town later. Also visit Lakhang Karpo and Lakhang Nagpo. In the evening drive back to Paro. Overnight at Hotel (Paro).

Day 12
Hike to Paro Taksang ‘Tigers Nest’ (3120m)

After breakfast bike through the outskirts of Paro Valley then start the hike on foot towards the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This hike ascending all the way up takes about 2 hours passing through pine forest. The monastery is perched in a huge granite cliff of 900 meters and it’s believed that a great saint ‘Padmasambhava’ came here in 7th century on a flying tigress to meditate for 3 months. The holy location is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese.

Afternoon: visit Kyichu Lakhang- a sacred monastery dating back to 7th century, then proceed towards Drugyal Dzong- a fort which defended Paro Vallry from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. You can spot Mt. Jomolhari from Drukgyal Dzong in a clear weather. Later on return back to Paro. Overnight at Hotel (Paro).

Day 13
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

 

What is Not Included
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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Cycling Adventure Tour

Trip Facts

  • Bhutan
  • 12 Nights/13 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 'Tiger's Nest', Paro Ringpung Dzong. Thimphu City, Punakha Dzong, Phobijikha Valley, Trongsa Dzong, Bumthang, Ura Valley
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above

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