Bhutan Cycling Tour

Summary

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a perfect place for exploration by bike with its predominately car-free roads, allowing you to truly experience this vibrant and fascinating country. Tucked away in the Himalayas bike through its mountainous terrain, with a mix of forests, verdant meadows & valleys with quaint villages and towns steeped in rich culture and history. In this tour, you will visit the highlights of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang & Gangtey, including hiking up to the Tigers Nest monastery perched 2000m above sea level.

Guided by an expert in Bhutan and Buddhism, this cycling tour is for someone who is reasonably fit, and looking for an adventurous holiday. There is no cycling between two destinations, with each city being explored on cycles, with a  vehicle close by if you get tired. A cycling adventure in Bhutan is truly adventurous, with unrivalled scenery and a cultural experience so extraordinary, it surprises even the most well travelled.

Maximum guests - 10

Tour Includes

  • Flights, transfers and accommodation
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • English Speaking guide for sightseeing as per the Itinerary only
  • Single entry to the monuments mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Govt. royalty, visa and tourism fee, permits, taxes
  • All applicable taxes on hotel & transport

 

  Duration

15 Days

Price

From £6,669 per person based on sharing [Guide Price*]

Best time to go

The best time to go on this tour is from mid-November to April

Tour Highlights

  • Catch the sunrise in Thimphu over a cup of tea and cycle from Buddha Dordenma
  • Mandala making session with a local followed by a talk on Himalayan Buddhism
  • Explore Punakha Valley on cycles
  • Rafting on the river Mochhu in Punakha
  • A cycling pilgrimage of the spiritual heartland of Bumthang
  • An evening with a local Bhutanese author in Paro
  • Interaction with Anis (Buddhist nuns) in a 9th century nunnery
  • Hike to the Tiger Nest Monastery in Paro

Day 1: Departure

Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2: Delhi

Upon arrival at Delhi airport meet your local guide for a private transfer to your hotel to check-in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.

Overnight: Airport Hotel [Breakfast]

Day 3: Paro - Thimpu

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Paro. Landing in Paro is a breathtaking experience. The aircraft waves precariously after a sharp right turn and descends to a high altitude bowl amid colossal mountain peaks before touching down, coming very close to the picturesque roofs of nearby houses within feet of clipping them. Warm welcome at Paro airport by the representative and later drive along the Pachu and Wangchu rivers through mountain roads to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. In the evening, visit the Trashichho Dzong in time to watch the lowering of the National Flag and the March of the Guards.

Overnight: Le Meridien [Half Board]

Day 4: Thimpu

It is a day of luminous awakening. Start early to drive to the Buddha Dordenma – one of the tallest Buddha statues in Asia (51.5 m) – sitting on top of a hill overlooking Thimphu city. Catch the sunrise here over a cup of tea. Cycle back to the hotel. Post breakfast, gather for a session towards a better understanding of Himalayan Buddhism followed by a Mandala making session. Cycle to the Memorial Chorten of Thimphu, an excellent site to know more about Himalayan Buddhism in all its complexity, depicted through paintings and statues. Visit the Textile Museum which showcases the evolution of textiles in Bhutan and spend time with students at the Zorig Chosum which offers a comprehensive six-year course in different traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Overnight: Le Meridien [Half Board]

Day 5: Thimpu - Punakha

Drive to Punakha. Post lunch, cycle to the magnificent 17th century Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's most beautiful Dzong. Later, cross one of the longest and highest suspension footbridges in the country stretching over 200m above the river Pho. It is a terrifying yet exhilarating experience! Continue to cycle along a dirt road following the river, with great views of the Punakha Dzong. Pass by small villages surrounded by paddy fields.

Overnight: Uma by COMO [Half Board]

Day 6: Punakha

Explore Punakha Valley on cycles. Drive to the picturesque village of Talo. From here, cycle to the Nalanda Monastery. Continue cycling to the charming village of Nobgang – the native village of the four Queens of Bhutan. From Nobgang, walk for about 90 minutes to arrive at a private orchard in the village of Yongu. Enjoy a cup of tea at the orchard while admiring the great view of the Punakha Dzong. Cycle or drive back to the hotel.

Overnight: Uma by COMO [Half Board]

Day 7: Punakha - Gangtey

Post breakfast, hike to the Khamsum Yuelling Temple and enjoy the stunning views of the Punakha Valley. Later, raft for about 6 kilometres (two hours) on the river Mochhu. Don't expect wild rapids here. Enjoy the crystal clear water and the beautiful 360˚ views of Punakha Valley. Post lunch, drive to Gangtey, the winter home of the black-necked cranes from Tibet.

Overnight: Dewachen, Gakiling, or farmhouses (Basic Hotel) [Full Board]

Day 8: Gangtey

Explore the Phobjikha valley on cycles. Visit the Gangtey Monastery and the areas around Chhu Nap (Black River) near the Khewang Temple. A shed made with stones to house the local farmers' autumn potato harvest is the setting for tonight's dinner. The walls lined with candles, the wine Italian and the food Bhutanese; it is surreal, yet a very special experience.

Overnight: Dewachen, Gakiling, or farmhouses (Basic Hotel) [Full Board]

Day 9: Gangtey - Bumthang

Spend most of the day getting to Bumthang through winding mountain roads. Bumthang will remind you of a rustic town of the Wild West with small wooden storefronts on both sides of the main street. Half of them are general stores with a bar-cum-saloon. Stop at the Pele La Pass to hang a prayer flag of thanksgiving.

Overnight: Mountain Resort, Tsela Lodge (Basic Hotel) [Full Board]

Day 10: Bumthang

Post breakfast, head out on a cycling pilgrimage of the spiritual heartland of Bhutan by visiting some of its most important Lhakhangs (temples). Enjoy a traditional Bumthang lunch and also get to see the monks debate in an interesting Tibetan style called Tsenyid (Monday to Saturday at 16:00 hours). The physicality in such debates is striking, embellished with hand clapping and emphatic gestures.

Overnight: Mountain Resort, Tsela Lodge (Basic Hotel) [Full Board]

Day 11: Bumthang

Post breakfast, drive to the Tang Valley. Visit the 19th-century Ogyen Chholing, once the country estate of a prominent religious aristocrat of Bhutan for a sneak peek into life in pre-currency Bhutan. Cycle back to the hotel.

Overnight: Mountain Resort, Tsela Lodge (Basic Hotel) [Full Board]

Day 12: Bumthang - Paro

Transfer to the Bumthang airport for the flight to Paro which is a short haul of 20 minutes. With its tiny hut for an arrival and departure terminal, Bumthang airport may well be Asia's quirkiest airport. In the afternoon, drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. On a clear day, there is a splendid view of Mt. Jomolhari from the approach road. This is as far as anyone can go on a paved road in Paro and it marks the trailhead to many treks to the high Himalayan peaks close to the Tibetan border. Cycle back to the hotel. Spend the evening interacting with a local Bhutanese author.

Overnight: Uma Paro [Half Board]

Day 13: Paro

Drive up the steep road that climbs to Chele La Pass, through blue pine and rhododendron forests. On a clear day, there is a superb view of Mt Jomolhari and Mt Jichu Drake from Chele La Pass. Spend time here strolling around, enjoying the lovely mountain scenery. Continue the walk to a 9th-century nunnery nestled in a craggy patch of rock on the mountainside below Chele-La Pass. A steep hike for an hour will take us to the serene home of the Buddhist Anis (nuns). The ride downhill is quite steep and challenging, but the scenery and the landscape are stunning. It is recommended that you make several stops if cycling.

Overnight: Uma Paro [Half Board]

Day 14: Paro

Start early for the hike up to the Tiger Nest Monastery, spectacularly located on the side of a cliff 900m above the valley floor. The hike up (three hours) to the most famed meditation site in the world is strenuous. The path is steep yet rewarding at the end. The air is thin, dry, and crisp. After spending time soaking in the positive vibrations of the Tiger Nest, have lunch at the monastery's cafeteria and hike down to the vehicle. Drive back to the hotel.

Overnight: Uma Paro [Half Board]

Day 15: Departure

Transfer to the Paro airport in time for the onward flight.

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Tour ExcludesMeals not mentioned in the itinerary, beverages, visa, Travel Insurance, gratuities or other personal expenses

These itineraries are just samples of what we have already done for our guests. Speak to one of our travel experts to create your perfect holiday based on your travel requirements.

* This is a guide price, based on travel in low season


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