BHUTAN: Sacred valleys on wheels - Bike tour

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From To Base Fee Final Price Note
01/01/2021 31/10/2022 1210 € 1470 € Per person "starting from" in low season

Sacred valleys on wheels

Duration: 6 Nights, 7 days
Route: Paro-Thimphu-Punakha-Paro
Trip Style: Mountain Biking tour
Maximum Elevation: 3150 m                                                                          
Minimum Elevation: 1242m                                                       

Day 1: Paro                                                                                                                   
2km, 3hours

The flight often gives fantastic views of the Himalaya, including Everest and Jhomolhari, & particularly exciting is the section through the Bhutanese foothills and the thrilling landing. Try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the best views. You will be met on arrival by our representatives and then transferred to your hotel.

This afternoon you  will be assigned to your bikes and set of on your first ride which is designed to get you used to your bike and the roads of Bhutan, luckily the we in Bhutan drive on the left hand side of the road, so there shouldn’t be any issues there. From the bottom of the valley you will head through the quaint town of Paro, with its traditional Bhutanese architecture and archery fields. It is a gentle incline that will lead you up to the junction that splits the road between Taktsang and Drugyel Dzong. Today you will be visiting Drugyel Dzong ,but the dramatic view of Taktsang from here will wet your appetite for your later visit.

The road gets a little bit steeper here as you make your way up the valley but it shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge as long as you take your time. The dzong itself is a fascinating building with a rich history. The building was in ruins after a fire destroyed it in 1951, however now it’s being restored. This is the point where a lot of our treks start from, Soi Yaksa trek, Jhomolhari trek, Laya Gasa Trek and the epic Lunana Snowman trek.

When you finish exploring you will cycle back down the valley to Paro, stopping en-route to visit the interesting Druk Home Museum.

Overnight in Paro

Day 2: Cycle to Thimphu
Altitude: 2320m
55km 4 hrs. Approx.
Cycling elevation and descent - Ascent: 550m Descent: 611m

Today you will cycle down to Paro and across the traditional wooden covered bridge to the foot of Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong). From here you will follow the river along the valley floor on quiet roads before a short climb  that  will take you down to the junction at Chuzom where the road splits between the roads to the Ha valley, to Phuntsholing and also your road to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu.

From here the road undulates as it makes its way up to the big gates that mark the start of Thimphu. All the way along the road there are fantastic views of lush green valleys stretching away on your left hand side. As you enter Thimphu you will notice that there are new buildings appearing on the outskirts of the town. It's interesting to note that even the new buildings follow the traditional styles of architecture.

 After lunch you will cycle to your hotel to freshen up and then you visit beautiful Thimphu Dzong. This is a perfect time to see the dzong as the soft light of the late afternoon casts long shadows across the Dochey (central courtyard) as the monks chant inside the Utse (central tower).

Overnight in Thimphu

Day 3: Cirucit ride with stop at Guru Lhakhang
 31km, 3 hrs. Approx.
Cycling elevation and descent - Ascent: 421m Descent: 595m

This morning as you begin cycling the road undulates and before long you will reach a large image of Guru Rinpoche that has been carved into the rock face. Just round the corner from here there is a great view up towards the high mountains of the Himalaya. Continuing for a few more minutes you will arrive at Guru Lhakhang - a small temple built in 1959 by Tibetan refugees - which you will stop to explore. Riding on, the next sight you see is Cheri Gompa, perched on the hillside straight in front of you and with Tango Gompa to the right, also precariously placed. Cheri Gompa, the oldest in Bhutan. If you cross the old cantilever bridge you will find a grassy area, with a large prayer wheel and chorten which makes an ideal lunch spot.

After you have enjoyed your picnic lunch, it's time to hop back on your bikes as you head off on your return journey to Thimphu. The riding in the afternoon starts off on a beautiful quiet forest dirt road that passes through the remote villages of this area, don't be put off by the short sharp climb at the start, it's a lot easier after this. All that remains is to follow the winding road down to Thimphu to complete what has surely been a fantastic day.

Overnight in Thimphu

Day 4: Cycle to Punakha via Dochula pass
72Km, 6 hours Approx.
Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 989m Descent: 2,100m

Today is the big cycling challenge of the trip, the Dochu La at 3,150m. There is no getting around the fact that this is a big climb at over 800m higher than where you start from, but the good news is that the gradient is a steady 4% all the way up the 21km climb and at no point does it become too steep to cycle. However, if at any time you find the climb too tough, the back up vehicle can always give you a lift!

The scenery is the most breathtaking part of this climb. On your right hand side you will have excellent views back down to Thimphu, and all around you will be the lush green forest which only gets better and better as you enter a national botanical park, roughly half way up. There is time to take a well deserved break and enjoy the fantastic vista. On a clear day panoramic views can be had of the eastern Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m.

From here there is only one direction to go, down. it's time to start your 45km descent. It takes around 2-3 hours to make your way to the bottom. Upon reaching the valley floor it's a short ride up to visit Drukpa Kunley's temple. Built in the centre of the Punakha Valley and called Chimi Lhakhang, this temple was built by the "Divine Madman" to celebrate his victory over the demoness of the Dochu La. It is famed for the many phallic symbols that can be found here. The Divine Madman - Drukpa Kunley (1455-1520) In Bhutanese mythology, Drukpa Kunley is one of the most beloved and revered sages of Tibetan Buddhism. Many are the legends that surround him and he followed a wandering lifestyle and was both an eccentric and highly regarded saint. He was renowned for his shocking behavior and his ability to perform miracles. He taught a form of Tantric Buddhism and advocated that sexual freedom was at the center of Truth. The wooden phalluses that hang from the corners of Bhutanese houses and the paintings of penises that you often see on either side of the front door of houses are a relic of his teachings.

Visit Punakha Dzong in the evening.

Overnight in Punakha

DAY 5: PUNAKHA- PARO
114Km, 5-6 hours Approx.
Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 1926m Descent: 950m

After breakfast we will vist Sangchhen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery and drive back till Hongso. We will ride on a dirt road to Sinchula pass and continue till Taba top. We will descend to Pangrizampa via Kebisa and continue on Taba cyclying trail back to Thimphu. We will then drive to Paro.

Overnight in Paro

DAY 6: PARO | HIKE TO THE TAKTSANG (“TIGER’S NEST”) MONASTERY
Minimum Altitude: 2195 m, Maximum Altitude: 3120m

No journey to Bhutan is complete without a visit to Taktsang monastery. After breakfast drive through Paro valley-one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, graceful willow trees and rushing glacial river beneath snow covered peaks to take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, (one of the most sacred places in Bhutan due to its association with the Patron Saint Guru Rinpoche). It is believed that Guru Rinpoche reputedly flew to Paro Taktsang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming dakini-tigress in the 747 A.D., where he meditated and subdued evil spirits.

On the way back from Taksang take a drive to Drukgyel Dzong

(Fortress) where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago, once a ruined fortress now being reconstructed. The snowy dome of sacred Jhomolhari, "mountain of goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.  In the evening stroll around Paro town to explore at your own.

Overnight in Paro

Day 7: Depart Bhutan
Drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will then bid you farewell.

PRICES
LOW SEASON: January, February, June; July, August, December

Price per person (single individual): euro 1760
Price per person (Group of 2 people): euro 1690
Price per person (Group of 3 people) euro 1490


HIGH SEASON: March, April, May, September, October, November
Price per person (single individual): euro 1775
Price per person (Group of 2 people): euro 1710
Price per person (Group of 3 people) euro 1510

The price includes:
- accommodation for 06 nights in a 3*** hotel/camp
- meals as scheduled
- English speaking guide for the whole tour
- Mountain bike rental
- car / minivan available for the whole tour
- support
- Bhutanese entry fee
- Mountain bike charge
-visa

The fee does not include
- Flights to Bhutan
- drinks, meals not mentioned
- tips (around USD 10 per day)
- currency adjustment
- everything not expressly specified in "the price includes"