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Cycling into the Mighty Himalayan Kingdom

 Tour Highlight

The rugged, mountainous landscape of Bhutan lends itself well to both on-road or off-road mountain biking and the sport is seeing increasing popularity among both visitors and Bhutanese alike. This tour will make you experience both smooth journeys on paved roads to challenging off-road dirt trails that wind through rough terrain. This tour will also make you feel and see people and the Bhutanese environment. You will also be visiting few monasteries and temples to know the importance of Buddhism to every citizen of Bhutan. This tour covers western part and Central part of Bhutan.

 Tour Duration: 12 Nights and 13 days

Places Covered-Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang

Detailed Itinerary-

 Day 1: Arrive at Paro

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our representative from Colorful Bhutan Travels will meet you at Paro airport.

After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centers, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards walk to the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge still in use. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide.

Overnight at your hotel at Paro.

Day 2: Paro – Thimphu (Cycling)

After breakfast guest will begin a full day’s ride to Thimphu till the point guest can ride. The average gradient of the road is excellent for cycling, as there are few steep climbs or descents. Enjoy riding beside rivers and through a mixture of rice fields, coniferous forests and hills dotted with chortens and monasteries. After enjoying a picnic lunch at a wayside spot, continue riding via a narrow gorge through to the widening valley at Namseling. Finally, the quaint suburbs of Thimphu begin to appear and you will see the impressive Semtokha Dzong, built in 1627. The ‘Bridge of Prophecy’ decorated with many prayer flags welcomes you to downtown Thimphu where you will continue down the main street to your hotel. Enjoy remainder of day at leisure.

Overnight at your hotel at Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu – Thimphu

Enjoy sightseeing in Thimphu beginning with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the third King who passed away in the year 1972.

Other highlights include the 12th Century Changangkha Temple, Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha nunnery, the School for Arts and Crafts where the students are taught to master the 13 types of Bhutanese art, the National Library housing a collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. If there is time, you may also visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. And later in the evening we will Tashichhodzong which houses the office of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and Chief Abbot.

Overnight at your hotel at Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha (Cycling)

The road to Punakha begins with a 22km ride and a height gain of 670m up to Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters). The hillsides are covered in a luxuriant temperate forest of abundant rhododendron and magnolia and several species of deer and monkeys make their home in this forest. Stop for lunch at Dochu La where on a clear day you will have a spectacular view of the Himalayan Mountains.

The downhill ride from the Dochu La into the Punakha valley will leave you speechless as you glide through lush forest spread over a distance of 50 kilometres.

After refreshing in the hotel in Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter residence of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu in the colder months. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver.

 Overnight at your hotel at Punakha.

Day 5: Punakha – Trongsa

Enjoy exploring the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang before visiting Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. Drive over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range, which divide western and central Bhutan. White langur monkeys can often be spotted in the moss-draped forests in this area. Further on, in silent isolation surrounded by great forested hills is beautiful Chendibji Chorten built in the 18th Century to commemorate the subjugation of a local demon. It is built in a style unusual for Bhutan, with painted eyes facing the four directions. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road.

 Overnight at your hotel at Trongsa.

Day 6: Trongsa – Bumthang (Cycling)

After breakfast visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Trongsa has the largest Dzong in Bhutan and its foundations were laid in the 16th Century. There are now 22 temples in the complex. After a light refreshments begin the drive to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual heartland of the kingdom. The road climbs rapidly up a series of hairpin turns out of Trongsa. After passing through cultivated fields and forested hillsides you will reach the Yutung La Pass (3400m). From here ride down through a dense, beautiful coniferous forest to a wide, cultivated valley known as Chummey valley before continuing on in the soft afternoon light to the town of Jakar.

Overnight at your lodge at Jakar, Bumthang.

Day 7: Bumthang – Bumthang

In the morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Afterwards enjoy exploring the village of Jakar, Bumthang’s main township.

Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.

Day 8: Bumthang – Ura – Bumthang (Cycling)

Cycle to the Ura Valley, approx 69 kms from Jakar. The ride begins with a height gain of 900 metres over almost 40 kilometres to the Shertang La pass. The Ura Valley, on the far side, is the highest of the Bumthang Valleys. Extensive pastures line the road and just before the pass there is a panoramic view of the mountains of Lunana. Descend from the pass on long looping roads through pastureland and fields to Ura village. Enjoy some sightseeing in Ura Valley before driving back to Bumthang.

Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.

Day 9: Bumthang – Punakha

Drive back to Punakha, stopping at Trongsa for lunch. There will be opportunities to ride along various stretches of road if desired.

Overnight at your hotel at Punakha.

Day 10: Punakha – Thimphu (Cycling)

Enjoy a leisurely ride of about 12 kms to reach Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten situated on a beautiful hillock. It houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before riding back to Punakha. Afterwards, drive for Thimphu.

Overnight at your hotel at Thimphu.

Day 11: Thimphu – Paro

After breakfast you can either begin riding back to Paro, or elect to drive there later to allow time to stroll around Thimphu. If it’s the weekend, you can walk through the Centenary Farmer’s market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.

Overnight at your hotel at Paro.

Day 12: Paro – Paro

After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometer above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a tea house where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.

On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

Alternatively, day 12 could be spent on a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterized by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. On the return to Paro, you may choose to ride the exhilarating downhill run from Chelila Pass.

Overnight at your hotel at Paro.

Day 13: Depart Paro

Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

Cost Inclusion

  1. All meals – American plan include
  2. English Speaking Guide for the tour
  3. All Entrance Fess of all Places of interest
  4. Internal Transport within Tour Activity: Cultural/Hiking
  5. Accommodations – minimum of 3* hotels or resorts
  6. All Government Taxes
  7. Cycles

Cost Exclusion

  1. Travel Insurance
  2. Laundry Services
  3. Shopping and Telephone services
  4. Tipping for service providers
  5. Air fare
  6. Alcohol and Beverages

Tour cancellation & refund policy

Tour Programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

  • 45 days or more prior to arrival date in Bhutan– no charges
  • 45-30 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 20% of rate
  • 22– 29 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 30% of rate
  • 15-21 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 50% of rate
  • Less than 15 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – No Refund
  • An Administration fee of USD75 will be applicable for all cancelled tours

In the event of cancelled or shortened trips due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund will be made due to the company already having paid for hotels and other logistics.

No refund will be made for missed connections or no show at the airports.

Tashi Delek!