Mountain biking in Bhutan is a whole new sport that is steadily gaining popularity amongst the Bhutanese and visitors alike. The country’s topography, especially in the western, central and eastern regions, are not the most cycle-friendly but that is precisely why mountain biking is gaining momentum amongst more and more visitors. The mode of transport itself calls for a certain intimacy seldom experienced in vehicles.
With better roads replacing the old and the increasing number of off-road roads, biking is now becoming a very unique and original way of seeing and interacting with the country, people and the Bhutanese environment. Most biking trips go through well paved roads while others trail on to dirt roads and trails. The traffic is still relatively very light and the experience very intimate. This is the “Road Less Travelled.”
The more adventurous have the option of making side excursions for more “off-the-road” ventures if preferred. The surface accommodates most types of frame styles: from MTB, Hybrid, and Road, depending on your cycling style and experience.
Biking trails mostly meander through small towns and villages and rural areas; it’s just you, your bike, the tour group and the agrarian and natural scenery. Biking in Bhutan allows you many opportunities for self reflection along with the absorbing, rich environment. There are also numerous opportunities for optional hikes with a bit of climbing thrown in. There are some challenging climbs with one in particular that is more than seven hours. You peddle the pads over two miles (3,400 meters) above sea level. The effort made is equally rewarded with a view and an experience that is as rare as anything in this increasingly globalizing and monotonous world. Riders should have an adequate level of fitness and stamina and be experienced enough in the art of mountain biking. Tours are fully supported by a van following riders. The van allows riders the option to sit in and take a break.
Duration :12 Nights/13 Days
Places to see :Paro; Thimphu,Punakha; Wangduephoihdrang; Trongsa; Gangtey;Bumthang.
Day-1; Paro – Thimphu (60 Km/1 Hour):Depart Druk Air to Paro. If you are lucky, you will have glorious view of the snow-capped Himalayas. The remarkable and steep descent into the Paro valley is an awe-inspiring beginning to an adventure of a lifetime. After visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will meet the Bhutanese representative from Bhutan mind vacation, drive to Thimphu, and the modern capital city of Bhutan. Make a visit to the Tashi Cho Dzong after the office hours (Seat of government’s offices and central monk body summer residence). Overnight in Thimphu.
Day-2; Thimphu – Sightseeing (2320m):Morning start with the National memorial chorten built in memory of the late king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk built in 1974 .Visit the Institute of Traditional Medicine. Bhutan has long and rich tradition of medicine based on natural remedies. Next briefly stop at the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts. Then visit the Folk Heritage Museum: This museum lets you experience the Bhutanese way of living, visit the National Library. This repository houses ancient religious and historical manuscripts. After lunch visit Textile Museum: This museum displays the finest art of weaving from various regions of Bhutan. Drive up to Sangaygang hill above Thimphu for a fabulous view of the city. En route you shall also visit the mini zoo to see the national animal “Takin” and Zelukha nunnery. Stroll around the town in the evening do check out the national handicraft emporium .Overnight in Thimphu.
Day-3; Thimphu – Punakha 77 Km (1300m):Depart after breakfast start with your bike, begin climb up to Docula pass (3050m), which is about 22km and will take approximately 2½ hrs. From there you can see most enchanting views of Bhutan’s Himalayan peaks. After lunch, we’ll cross the pass and descend to Metshina (1250m) which is about 39 km, you will stop there and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chhimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple. Then continue another 12km or so to Punakha (total decent is about 1800). The day should be about 8 hours en route. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day-4; Punakha – Trongsa 150 Km (2190m):Morning visit Punakha Dzong, one of the most impressive Dzong in its architecture. It is ideally located between two rivers Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female). Then we depart for Trongsa, we shall drive through the tropical vegetation to Nobding and from Pelela pass (3,300m). From Pelela pass you can take the bike and proceed the 27km (taking approximately 1½ hrs) onto Chendepji Chhorten (stupa was patterned on Kathamandu’s famous Swayambhunath) and you will have lunch at Chendepji restaurant. After lunch proceed to Trongsa (41km), which is a nice way to end the day with approximately two hours of biking on almost flat land to reach Trongsa. Overnight Hotel, Trongsa.
Day-5; Trongsa – Bumthang 68 Km(2600m):Morning sightseeing with visit to Trongsa Dzong and Ta Dzong and then drive to Bumthang (68 km, approx. 41/2 hours) crossing Yotongla pass (3,240m) you can ride to descend to reach Gyetsa valley (2,700m), stop in Chhumey at a weaving center run by a local family. They have an array of famous local sheep-wool textiles and later cross 2,900m Kiki la pass while reaching to Jakar (Bumthang). Bumthang is a general name given to combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Hot Pack Lunch. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day-6; Bumthang – Sightseeing:The aim is to make a full day biking tour and visit important religious pilgrimage sites. While riding towards to visit Tamshing Monastery along dirt road visit Swiss farm and cross suspension bridge to visit Thangbi Monastery. After lunch ride to Kurjey Lakhang and visit Mebartsho -‘the burning lake’ then back to hotel. Hot Pack Lunch. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day-7; Bumthang - Sightseeing (2600m):Today day morning visit Jambay lhakhang. Jambay lhakhang is one of the 108 temples built in a day across the Himalayas by King Songtsen Goenpo who was believed to be the reincarnation Buddha of compassion. Afternoon ride to the road head to Tang valley and visit Mebartsho (flaming lake), where the Terton Pema Lingpa has discovered the treasure hidden by Guru Rimpoche. A short ride further up is big nunnery. Ride back to your hotel .Overnight Hotel, Bumthang.
Day-8; Bumthang – Ura(3100m):After breakfast ride from Bumthang to Ura, which is about 60km and it will take approximately 4 hours on bike to ride there. You will be riding along the road and cross Shertang La pass (3,596m) and descend to Ura village . Afternoon explore around village and its community and late afternoon drive back to Bumthang. Overnight Hotel, Bumthang.
Day-9; Bumthang – Trongsa – Gangtay 128 Km (2900m):Depart Bumthang and re-cross the Pele La pass (glorious views!) following the National Highway to the forest road, which leads up to beautiful Gangtey valley. Lunch will be serve at Chendebji restaurant. Before reaching Gangtay from Lawala pass (3,030 m) ride into the Gangtay valley through draft bamboo bushes and into pine trees then comes into wide open valley with view of Gangtay Gonpa (about 9 km from the hotel). On reaching visit Gangtey Goempa, which overlooks the large green expanse of Phobjikha valley, a glacial valley on the western slopes of the black mountain range. The valley is an important wildlife centre in Bhutan and is the roosting ground of the endangered blacked necked cranes that fly there from the Tibtean plateau during the winter grounds. Overnight Hotel, Gangtay.
Day-10; Gangtay – Wangdue 68 Km (1300m):After breakfast ride around the valley and observing the cranes. After lunch drive back to Wangdue and visit Wangdue Dzong, sitting right above from the bridge is the dzong of Wangdue Phodrang, town’s most visible feature. Overnight Hotel, Wangduephodrang.
Day-11; Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro 130 Km (2230m):Morning drive to Thimphu. After lunch witness Archery tournament. Late afternoon drive to Paro. Overnight Hotel, Paro.
Day-12; Paro – Hike to Taktsang(700m above the valley):We drive straight away to the north of Paro valley to Ramthangkha, from where we start our hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). It takes a little less about one and half hour. Return Lunch will be served at back on the way. Walk downhill to the road and en route visit Drukgyel Dzong (now in ruins) which reveal the reminiscence of ancient architecture and followed by visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by Songtsen Gompo, which denotes the spread and emergence of Buddhism in the country. And visit Paro Rimpung Dzong.Overnight Hotel, Paro
Day-13; Paro – Depart:Your journey into the Dragon kingdom ends. After an early breakfast in the hotel, your guide will see you off at the airport.
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