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Princely Bhutan Cycling Trip

Overview

Overview

“From Gross National Happiness to crazy wisdom, a journey to Bhutan is a journey into a different reality.”, a British travel writer, specializing in Central Asia, China and the Himalaya.

 

The Tourism Council of Bhutan should be proud of its High Value. Low Impact policy that has helped turn this tiny Buddhist kingdom on the eastern edge of Himalayas into nothing less than the world's last Shangri-La.

 

Bhutan is popular for its:

  • monasteries that occupy prime positions on hill tops,
  • fortresses (or dzongs) that are architectural masterpieces of cultural, religious and historical significance and
  • picturesque landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and low seated valleys.

 

 

DETAILS

DETAILS

Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights

Total Distance: 289 KM / 179.6 Miles

Total Elevation Gain: 7958 m. / 26109 ft.

Start Point: Paro

End Point: Bumthang

Day By Day

Day By Day

Paro is a valley town situated at a height of 2,250m/7,382ft, home to the country’s only international airport and thus a gateway to the last Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.

 

With its multicolored shop fronts and restaurants, Paro is one of the best Bhutanese towns to explore on the saddle. However, today is reserved for our acclimatization, so we will visit the National Museum. If time permits, we can even get a glimpse of the 16th century Drukyel Dzong.

 

But if the Paro Tsechu festival celebrations are on, it being one of the most popular annual festivals in Bhutan, we will skip the ride! This religious festival features various dance performances by trained monks and laymen in elaborate masks and costumes.

 

We drive towards the home of the Royal Family and the capital of Bhutan – Thimpu. It is also the largest and the only city of Bhutan that is home to several historic treasures. Thus, amidst all signs of modernization, Thimphu’s cultural values and identity are clearly visible to us.

 

Although a long drive, we enjoy the smooth and cemented roads of Bhutan passing villages and fields of rice, potatoes and chilies. Enroute the capital town, we pass by Chuzom Sa that is the confluence of Thimphu (Wong Chu) and Paro (Pa Chu) rivers.

 

DID YOU KNOW: In Chuzom - Chu means river and zom means join. For many traditional Bhutanese, this confluence is considered the union of a father and mother river.

 

Once we cross the busier highways and reach Thimpu, we head into the town with our bicycles and enjoy a heritage ride of the city starting with Memorial Chorten and then pedal uphill to the Buddha Point, that mounts a 51m high Buddha Statue and offers breathtaking views of the whole of the Thimphu Valley.

 

We get to ride on thoroughly kempt roads but may experience some traffic en route. Hence, at various road junctions, it will be important to follow the directions and hand movements of Bhutanese policemen standing in their small decorated pavilions.

 

DID YOU KNOW? Thimphu is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights.

 

We end the day by visiting the Postal Museum attached to the Post Office where the philatelist in you can get his own photo printed on a Bhutan stamp. How cool is that?

 

Ride Distance: ~35 km/22 mi
Elevation Gain: 400m/1,000ft
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 

We drive out of Thimphu for about 20km to start our warm-up ride on a flat terrain while an intense climb awaits us near the forest area. As we ride uphill, our endurance on the pedal is put to test. So, we take sufficient refreshment breaks to replenish out energies and soak in Bhutan’s magnificent beauty. At Duchu La, 108 stupas welcome us in their abode with numerous fluttering prayer flags. On a clear day, we may get a glimpse of the Gankar Punsum, the highest peak in Bhutan (7497 m). We also visit the Chimi Lhakhang, a Buddhist temple sitting on a hillock below the Metshina–Punakha road.

 

We now start to descend through a scenic route leading towards Punakha district that houses the Punakha dzong. If time permits, we will visit the Dzong before checking into our hotels and enjoy a cooler weather of sub-tropical Punakha valley.

 

Ride Distance: ~65km/40mi
Elevation Gain: 800m/2,600ft
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 

The condition of roads leading from Punakha to Phobjikha may vary and hence we prepare ourselves for a surprising as well as challenging ride today. After breakfast, we drive up a certain distance in the support van and start riding about 25 km short of our destination. The last few miles may seem hard but stick with it for you will be rewarded by mesmerizing views of the mountains and thick forests on the sides. The ride may not get easier but it may get faster if langur monkeys and red pandas start chasing you and your machine! Just 2km before arriving at the Lawa La pass at 3030m, we visit the 16th century Gangtey Monastery, that sits atop a hillock overlooking the glacial Phobjikha valley. From here on we get to enjoy the cool breeze on our face as we descend effortlessly for the next 10kms and retire at our hotel in the Phobjikha Valley, where the rare Black-necked Cranes from Tibet spend the winter.

 

Ride distance: ~35km/40miles
Elevation Gain: Ascent 1280m, descent 450m
Road condition: 30% paved, 70% unpaved road
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 

A long, up and down journey awaits us today! Early in the morning, we’ll ride downhill in the valley to visit the Black Neck Crane sanctuary. Every year the Bhutanese celebrate the arrival of these black necked bird species with the annual Crane Festival. This conservation area houses more than 13 vulnerable species and we’ll get to learn about them all!

 

From here we ascend for about 10kms to Lawa La once again and descend few miles until we climb up to the highest of the day, Pele La at 3390m. We can notice the landscape and vegetation change from deciduous forests to weeping Himalayan pine as we enter a town of shrubs and bushes.

 

From here, although a long ride, we don’t feel the pressure because most of it is pedal free on a downhill road to the Chendebji Chorten. The weather gets bit warmer and we ride alongside lush green vegetation and waterfalls. We continue our downhill journey into the Mangde Chhu (valley) where an imposing Trongsa Dzong, the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan, sits across a deep canyon.

 

We halt at a viewpoint to get some clicks of the town and the dzong and start the final lap towards an exotic hotel!

 

Ride Distance: ~80 km/50 mi
Total Elevation Gain: 550 m/1,800ft
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 

As we start riding out from Trongsa the zig-zag road immediately starts leading uphill. You could call this the final lap of our journey because by now we have covered almost half the country on our saddle and today we climb the highest pass of our trip Yotong La at 3425m. At this pass we are rewarded with breathtaking views of magnanimous mountains and some refreshing cool breeze. From here we descend into the Chumay Valley and ride through few uphill sections to arrive at Keke La at 2700m. We take another short refreshment break, click pictures and spend quality time in the lap of gigantic mountains until we pedal downhill effortlessly and reach our hotel in the beautiful Bumthang Valley.

 

In the evening, we can go on a walking tour of the Red Panda Brewery which starts at the manufacturing plant and ends with tasting some freshly brewed beer that is of top quality.

 

Ride Distance: ~65 km/40 mi
Total Elevation Gain: 1,200 m/ 4,000 ft
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

 

After breakfast, we set out to explore the valley of Bumthang. We can visit the Jakar dzong, built in the 16th century and located amidst serene and scenic greenery overlooking the Chokhar valley. We could also pay visit to the Burning lake or Mebar Tsho which is located along the way to the Tang village over the feeder road under Bumthang valley. Mebar Tsho is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region and on auspicious days people offer butter lamps at the lake. Lastly, we visit the Jambay Lhakhang or Temple of Maitreya which is said to be one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsän Gampo in 659 CE on a single day, to pin down an ogress to earth forever.

 

Today we will take a short 25 minutes flight to Paro and after checking-in to our hotels try to hike up to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. It is one of the most recognized landmarks of Bhutan and a hiker’s paradise. The hiking trail is steep and sometimes it can be slippery due to lose gravel, sand or mud. It can take one and a half hour going up, down a bit shorter.

 

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Hotel

 

We know that feeling! That great feeling of coming back home after a long ride when you want to stretch your legs, rest your back and sip some nice hot coffee. Our experiential home stays, hotels and guesthouses are carefully chosen to give you a complete experience, help you see things differently and offer a chance to learn, appreciate and respect the local surroundings. Our comfort seeking guests get to soak in the aesthetics and authenticity of our highly-curated accommodations throughout this cycling journey.

Dates

Price

 

Save $0
$4,495*

*Per person on twin sharing

  • Visa arrangement & US$ 40 per person (Single entry visa fee).
  • 35% TDF and all the taxes- deposited against social welfare and development of the country, Bhutanese enjoy free health care and education.
  • Accommodations in above hotels on twin sharing basis.
  • Breakfast in above hotels and lunch & dinner in tourist standard restaurants.
  • English speaking knowledgeable-team leader.
  • Transportation and sightseeing as per the itinerary based on group size.
  • Museums and parks fees indicated in the itinerary only.
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • Bike and Helmet.
  • Flight from Bhumtang to Paro.
  • Support vehicle throughout cycling days.
  • Client transfer vehicle throughout trip.
  • Snack, refreshments, fruits, dry fruits and Electrolytes during cycling.
  • Airport Pick up and Drop-off.
  • Trip leader and Assistant trip leader.
  • Personal expenses, phone calls, laundry , soft/hard drinks etc.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Taxes.
  • Transaction fees.
  • Photography expense at heritage sites.
  • Tips for crew members.

GET IN TOUCH

GET IN TOUCH


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