Majestic Bhutan – 12 day Bike tour

12 Day Cycling Tour from $6715 NZD
(5/5) from 2 reviews

The remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is still one of the world’s most untouched, unique and mystical destinations.

Ride through stunning scenery where snow-capped peaks tower above forested gorges, and majestic fortress-like dzongs and monasteries perch precariously on cliffs. We’ll ease you into the high altitude with a short ride through villages and fertile farmlands before the true climbing begins with a series of passes followed by some great descents.

From Trongsa, home to Bhutan’s largest dzong situated high above the Mangde Chu River, you’ll descend to Jakar (also known as Bumthang), where there will be time to explore the many temples and Goembas scattered around the area. Then fly back to Paro and hike to the most sacred place in Bhutan, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

As well as the spectacular scenery, the tour also offers plenty of opportunity to learn more about the culture and traditions of this ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’.

12 Days
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  • Availability Guide:
  • Current date selected
  • Plenty
  • Limited
  • Closed or too close to departure (Call Us for options)

Reviews for Majestic Bhutan – 12 day Bike tour - Tour

All aspects of the tour were great, my personal achievments exceeded my expectations. The tour group worked well together and support came from many quarters. The local guides and drivers were quite amazing. A very friendly tour of an exotic country, with a culture very different to our own. Would certainly recommend this tour to others.

Graeme May 14, 2019

The whole tour was an experience with new sights and challenges everyday.

Greg May 14, 2019

Global Cycling Adventures - Bhutan Cycling Tour

We had an awesome time in both Bhutan & Sikkim. The cycling was hard in both places - either up or down - there is no flat - but the scenery, people, culture etc. made all the effort worthwhile.

Wendy Thompson & Peter Woods https://globalcyclingadventures.com/tours/asia/majestic-bhutan-cycling-tour/ October 30, 2017

Paro to Paro

Paro Airport
  • Mountain Biking
  • Grade
  • Group size: minimum 3
  • USD 190 pp Bumthang to Paro domestic flight (subject to change until booked)
  • USD 350 single room surcharge
  • USD 300 mountain bike hire
  • USD 720 e-bike hire
  • This tour is invoiced in USD
Total riding distance is approx. 400km which will be challenging due to the altitude (often above 3,000m asl) and steepish gradients. The biking is predominantly on paved roads (on several days single trail options available) and traffic is usually light. We recommend a good fitness level but the support vehicle is always available.

Full Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrival Day: Paro

No Cycling

You will be met at one of the most beautiful airports in the world (altitude 2,310m) and transferred to your Paro hotel. In the afternoon we’ll visit the town’s museum which features local art, textiles, artefacts and sculptures. We’ll also see one of Paro’s major Dzongs (Buddhist monastery and fortress).

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2

Paro to Thimphu

Cycling: 54 km

Today we ride for 54 km along on the windy and scenic road which firstly follows the Paro River and then the Thimphu River. With some undulations it should be a very pleasant warm up for the days ahead! Thimphu sits at an elevation of 2,315m, which is almost the same as Paro. In the afternoon we’ll visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (a school of arts and crafts) and see the giant golden Buddha Statue, located on top of a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3

Thimphu to Punakha

Cycling: 67 km

We have our first major hill challenge today. After an 8 km warm up its a 17 km climb to the pass at Dochula (at 3,120m), known for its spiritual energy and 108 Chortens that are located at the top. We’ll stop here for coffee & tea - the perfect place to take in the expansive views of the eastern Himalayas and the deep valleys. After a 15 km descent there will be lunch at a nice restaurant before we continue all the way down to Punakha (at 1,270m). During the ride the vegetation will change from oak, maple and blue pine forests to hemlock, rhododendron, and fir vegetation. Plus many monasteries will come into view, so this descent will be one to remember.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4

Punakha to Wangdue

Cycling: 44 km approx.

Today’s ride is more leisurely as we take time to explore the beautiful and lush valley that surrounds Punakha. We will visit the Punakha Dzong, one of the most impressive Dzongs in Bhutan which was built in 1638 and all the more remarkable as it was constructed without the use of drawings or a single nail! The other main visit today will be to Chhimi Lhakhang, built in 1499 and also known as the temple of the “Devine Madman” (Lama Drukpa Kunley) and disciple of one of the five great tertons (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa. This temple is also noted for its blessing of women who wish to bear children. In the afternoon we ride the short distance to Wangdue (at 1,368m). Note: an option MTB single track ride is available in the morning.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5

Wangdue to Phobjikha

Cycling: 57 km approx.

This probably the toughest day in the saddle. After riding through a beautiful valley we climb to a pass which crosses the Black Mountains (the division between east and west Bhutan). From our starting point its more or less a continuous ascent for 45km (average gradient 7-10%) via Tikka Zampa, Nobding and Lawala Junction to the top of Lawala Pass (at 3,340m). The Pass is identifiable by the prayers flags (which normally adorn every mountain pass in Bhutan). The views from here are spectacular. Finally, it is a welcome descent through bamboo and pine forests to Phobjikha (at 2,913m), our destination for the next two nights.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6

Rest day in Phobjikha

No cycling

A welcome rest from the bike today (or there is an optional 20km single track ride). The glacial valley we are in is easily explored on foot, as the area below the recently restored Gangtey Goemba Monastery is dotted with villages and Lhakhangs (Buddhist temples). Phobjikha Valley is also home to the rare and endangered black neck crane which migrates from the Tibetan plateau in the winter (migration period is from late October until early March). You may like to visit the Crane information Centre to see the documentary video about this bird. Or maybe hike the reasonably easy 6km trail (one way) to Gangtey Goemba (2km through the wetlands, then a gradual 4km climb through the forest).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7

Phobjikha to Trongsa

Cycling: 87 km approx.

We start by re-tracing our route for 11 km back up to Lawala Pass (at 3,340m). Then its just another 4km via Lawala Junction to Pele La Pass (at 3,418m). With the hard work done, we’re rewarded with a 27km descent to Chendebji, with the Black Mountains providing a stunning backdrop. Make sure you take a look over your shoulder on the way down so you don’t miss some of the superb views. From here its mainly undulating and downhill for the next 34km to Bjee Zam. We finish the day with a short 4km climb to Trongsa (at 2,054m), home to Bhutan's largest Dzong (built in 1644). If there is time we will visit this Dzong before dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8

Trongsa to Jakar (Bumthang)

Cycling: 67 km approx.

This morning we’ll ride the only road connecting east and west Bhutan, which used to pass through Trongsa Dzong’s courtyard. When the massive doors were shut, it divided the country in two. The first 27km of today’s ride takes us over Yotong La Pass (at 3,430m) from where the old trade route that runs parallel can still be seen. After a 24 km descent through the fir, then pine and bamboo forests to Zungney (at 2,750m), its a gradual climb to Kiki La before we finally descend to Jakar (at 2,647m), a town which is also known as Bumthang.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9

Jakar (Bumthang) Loop

Cycling: 16 km approx.

A leisurely bike ride takes us past many Dzongs on the way to Jambay Lhakhang Temple, which dates back to 659 AD. You may like to wander around this small town that is the trading hub of the Bumthang Valley. In the afternoon we visit the Red Panda Brewery and Cheese Factory and hear the interesting story of how it all began back in the 1960’s when a young Swiss man came to live in Bumthang.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10

Jakar (Bumthang) to Paro

No cycling

After breakfast we will be transferred to the airport for the 45 minute flight to Paro (bikes can be transferred by road which will take a full day). After checking into your Paro hotel you have the rest of the day at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11

Paro (excursion to Tiger’s Nest Monastery)

Hiking: approx 3hrs return

This morning we head up to Tiger’s Nest Monastery – one of the most iconic of the country’s buildings. The approx. 2 hour hike up the hill will be well worth the effort as it’s a spectacular place to visit. Perched on a cliff ledge high above the Paro Valley the monastery is still an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Although it was partly destroyed by a fire in 1998 its been completely restored to its former magnificence. We return to Paro and pack our bikes before tonight’s farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12

Departure from Paro

No cycling

Today you will be transferred to Paro Airport in time for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions:

Tour Includes:

  • Hotels & guesthouses: 3 star standard with traditional amenities
  • Meals: all included (Bhutanese style)
  • Snacks and water during rides
  • Airport transfers
  • Air conditioned support vehicle(s)
  • Experienced english speaking cycling guide(s)
  • Entrance fees (for sites mentioned in the itinerary)
  • Bhutan visa fee (pre-approval required in advance)

Tour Excludes:

  • Domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro
  • International flights (& any applicable airport taxes)
  • Bike hire (available) or take your own mountain bike
  • Personal expenses, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
  • Tips for guide(s) and support crew
  • Travel insurance
 

Tour Video