Mystical Bhutan 15 day Biking Adventure

Journey to the Land of the Thunder Dragon from $7524 NZD
15 Days
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Rarely is any country well known and at the same time steeped in such mystery. This Bhutan cycling tour allows the opportunity to visit the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Nestled in the Himalayas, Bhutan is a landlocked kingdom bounded by two of the world’s largest nations: China and India. Bhutan’s topography and climate offers a variation of tropical lowlands in the south, to lush valleys, temperate forests and awe inspiring peaks and glaciers in the north. It is home to a wide range of flora, including medicinal plants, orchids, rhododendrons, and the blue poppy (National Flower). There is also an abundance of wildlife and birds plus Bhutan has one the world’s largest protective wildlife sanctuaries, which is home to many endangered species.
This sense of preservation stems from traditional Buddhist beliefs that all forms of life are sacred. More than 2,000 monasteries and countless chortens, ranging from simple to elaborate structures are scattered throughout the country. A journey to Bhutan is certainly an experience of a lifetime.

Paro to Guwahati

Paro Airport
  • Mountain Biking
  • Grade
  • Group size: minimum 2 / maximum 16
  • USD495 single room surcharge
  • USD220 bike hire
  • Prices subject to change after 1st Oct 2019
  • This tour is invoiced in USD
  • Biking is predominantly on paved roads (minimal offroad)
This bike tour is true classic with Himalayan mountain passes, sweeping descents, magnificent views, clean air, abundance of culture and history in one of the most secluded countries in the world. The riding varies between some easier shorter days and some challenging days due to the altitude and gradients involved. Cycling at over 3,400 meters above sea level takes a little bit of getting used to for most people, and we will need a few days to acclimatise. Participants should be in relatively overall good physical shape with at least a moderate degree of cycling experience. Our accommodations are generally 3-star hotels with traditional amenities. We have attempted to keep the tour as authentic as possible, and have tried to use local small accommodation wherever possible. Regardless of the location, every day you can be assured a comfortable room for the evening. Outstanding scenery, abundant wildlife and flora, a deeply religious and benevolent people makes for a bike trip that will live in your memory forever. This trip offers a few challenging rides, including difficult climbs as well as some fast, sweeping descents. There is one day of substantial hill climbs - but this part of the tour is on paved road so a smooth steady climb is possible. A reasonable level of fitness will be a huge asset however, the tour is fully supported, so the van is always close at hand if needed.

Full Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrival Day: Paro

No biking

You'll be met at Paro airport and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon we’ll visit the town's Museum, which features local art, textiles, artifacts, and sculptures. We’ll also visit one of the major Dzongs located in Paro. In the evening, we’ll have a welcome dinner prepared in traditional Bhutanese style.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2

Paro to Thimphu (and Dodina Loop)

Biking: 34 km

After a short morning transfer to Thimphu (approx 2 hrs), the rest of the morning will be spent visiting museums and the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (a school of arts and crafts). In the afternoon we ride to Dodina past small villages, farmland and dense forests. The end of the road in Dodina features two monasteries set back high amongst the mountains. The return road to Thimphu is a gradual downhill. This evening you can explore the town, well known for its handicrafts shops.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3

Thimphu to Punakha

Biking: 75 km

Today will be the first major hill challenge. We have a warm up of 5 km before an 18 km climb to the pass at Dochula, known for its spiritual energy and 108 Chortens that are located at the top. Lunch at the Dochula Café is the perfect place to take in the expansive views of the deep valleys and eastern Himalayas. We make the downhill journey after lunch and move from oak, maple and blue pine forests into the rhododendron, hemlock and fir vegetation. Along with the many monasteries that come into view, this descent will be one to remember.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4

Punakha to Wangdue

Biking: 20 km

The ride today is a more leisurely one as we take time to explore the beautiful and lush valley that surrounds Punakha. We will visit Punakha Dzong, one of the most impressive Dzongs in Bhutan which was built in 1638 and made all the more remarkable as it was constructed without the use of drawings or a single nail! The other major 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 way to Wangdue.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5

Wangdue to Trongsa

Biking: 68 km

Today we start with a transfer to avoid a 52 km climb. Starting at the summit of Pelela pass at 3420 m we will ride 68 km to Trongsa, home to Bhutan's largest dzong, built in 1644, which is situated high above the Mangde Chu and has sheer drops on one if its sides. The only road connecting eastern and western Bhutan passed through the courtyard of the dzong and the massive doors could be shut, dividing the country in two. We'll visit the dzong in the late afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6

Trongsa to Jakar

Biking: 68 km

It is an interesting ride today as we head over one pass, Yontong La (28 km), you can still see the old trade route that runs parallel with the pass before heading downhill for 24 km through the fir, then pine and bamboo forests before reaching Zungney. The final leg of the ride we have a gradual climb to Kiki La before descending down to Jakar, also known as Bumthang.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7

Jakar Loop

Biking: 20-30 km

The morning is free to sleep in and have a wander around the small town that is the trading hub of the Bumthang Valley. In the afternoon we have a leisurely ride and a chance to visit some of the many dzong’s and Goemba’s that are scattered around the valley.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8

Jakar to Tang Valley

Biking: 32 km

We cycle on the main road for 12 km before heading off to ride up the remote Tang valley. Our first break will be at the burning lake where we learn about the legend before riding on to a nunnery where we stop for a visit. We continue on up on a mix of paved and dirt roads to a former palace that is now a museum and guesthouse. We overnight in Ugyen Cholling and visit the private museum to learn about feudal Bhutan.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9

Tang Valley to Shirtung La to Ura

Biking: 55 km

Heading back to the main road our first climb of the day takes us to the Shirtung La, and at the top of the pass we’ll hopefully have a clear view of Gangkhar Puensum, which at 7,570 metres is the world’s highest unclimbed peak. Since 1994 climbing of mountains in Bhutan higher than 6,000 metres has been prohibited out of respect for local spiritual beliefs, and since 2003 mountaineering has been forbidden completely. We have the option to ride down on single track trails to Ura village or we can continue on the paved road.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10

Ura to Thrumshing La to Sengor campsite

Biking: 55 km

From Ura we make our way over the highest pass in Bhutan at 3,798 m, the Thurmshing La. We reach the summit of the pass after 22 kms of riding and are then rewarded with a glorious 20 km of downhill to our campsite at Sengor.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11

Sengor to Mongar

Biking: 85 km

Our downhill continues with a 60 km descent to the Kuru Chu River. We start at 3051m, descend all the way to 579 m before climbing back up to 1590 m. We slowly make our way up a series of switchbacks to the remote village of Mongar, one of the oldest educational hubs of the country.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12

Mongar to Kori La to Trashigang

Biking: 92 km

A day of ups and downs as we have a 20 km climb up to the Kori La at 2,390 m. Again we are rewarded for our efforts as we have a 42 km descent down to the Drangme Chu River. A relatively flat, for Bhutan anyway cycle along the river takes us to the bridge that crosses Drangme then it's one final uphill climb to our hotel on the outskirts of Trashigang, the easternmost point of our trip across Bhutan.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13

Trashigang to Yongphu La to Wamrong campsite

Biking: 85 km

A tough start to our day with 25 km on switchbacks up to the Yongphu La at 2,544 m. On the way we pass the town of Kanglung, home to Sherubtse College, the first accredited college in Bhutan, founded in 1966 by Jesuits. We have our final sweeping panoramic views before we continue on undulating terrain above scattered houses and fields to our campsite outside the town of Wamrong.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14

Warming to Samdrup Jongkhar

Biking: 94 km

We ride to our final pass at 2,388m and catch our first glimpse of the Assam plain. We next experience another amazing descent of 3080 m all the way down to the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar. We'll follow many rivers and will feel the change in temperature as we descend almost back to sea level, ending our ride at an elevation of 130 metres! Tonight we'll have a celebration of our accomplishment of crossing Bhutan from west to east!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15

Departure Day: Transfer to Guwahait Airport

No biking

Time to pack the bikes away as we cross the border to India. It will take approximately 4 hours to drive to Guwahait Airport, depending on the time taken at border control. Your flight should not depart before mid afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions:

Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation: 14 nights in mainly 3 star hotels (+ 2 nights camping)
  • Airport arrival transfer (day 1)
  • Airport departure transfer (day 15)
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary I
  • Local English speaking riding guide(s)
  • Vehicle(s) for transport and general support
  • Bhutan visa fee
  • Drinking water and snacks while riding

Tour Excludes:

  • International flights, airport taxes and other domestic flights
  • Indian visa
  • Bike hire
  • Optional activity costs
  • Personal expenses and drinks (except water while riding)
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for guide(s) and support crew