What To Expect
Rarely is any country well known to the rest of the world, but at the same time steeped in such mystery. The Mystical Bhutan tour allows you the opportunity to journey to the Land of the Thunder Dragon! 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.
Itinerary B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Arrival. We check into the hotel, and in the afternoon we'll visit to Paro 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.
There is a short morning transfer to Thimphu (approx 2 hrs), and then 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, farmlands and dense forests.The end of the road in Dodina features two monasteries set back high amongst the mountains. The return is a gradual downhill to Thimphu. Later in the evening, you can explore the town well known for its handicrafts shops.
Today will be the first major hill challenge, we have a warm up of 5 km before we start climbing for the next 18 km to the pass at Dochula, which is known for its spiritual energy and 108 Chortens that are atop the pass. Lunch at the Dochula Café is the perfect place to take in the expansive views of the deep valleys and eastern Himalayas. After lunch as we descend down the pass we move from oak, maple and blue pine forests into the rhododendron, hemlock and fir vegetation, and along with the many monasteries that come into view make this a downhill ride to remember.
Today's ride is an enjoyable out and back ride with the outward leg being a gradual climb to Tashithang. We pass through lush forests which are famous for their rhododendron trees, and if they are in bloom make for magnificent views. This area is also well known for its birdlife and wild orchids.
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.
We have to be up early today as the ride is probably the toughest on the tour, though we are going through a beautiful valley. The pass itself takes us over the Black Mountains, the division between east and west Bhutan, and offers some quite spectacular views. From our staring point the ride is a gradual climb of 1 km to Tikke Zampa and from there the next 27 km to Nobding is at an average of 7-10% gradient. After Nodbing it is another 12 km to the top of the pass at Lawala, identifiable by the prayer flags that adorn every mountain pass in Bhutan. After the pass it is a gentle downhill though bamboo and pine forest to our welcome resting place for the night in Phobjikha.
A rest day from the bike today. The glacial valley we are in makes a great place to explore by foot as the area below the recently restored Gante Goemba monastery is dotted with villages and Ihakhangs (Buddhist temples).
Today starts with a 16 km climb over Lawala pass up to Pele La, before we have the reward of a 27 km downhill to Chendebji, with the Black Mountains providing a stunning back drop. Make sure you take a peek over your shoulder on the way down so as not to miss some of the superb views on offer. From here it is a gentle climb all the way to Trongsa.
We start today with a visit to Trongsa Dzong, situated high above the Mangde Chhu that has sheer drops on one if its sides. 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.
The morning is free to wander around the small but interesting 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
Free day to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Scenic relaxing drive from Bumthang to Wangdue Phodrang (approx 8 hours).
Today is an opportunity for those with the energy to ride the Dochula pass in reverse, otherwise it is chance to see the valley from a different perspective and plenty of chances to stop and take in the view. The climb up the pass is then well rewarded with a ride back down to the bottom where we will then transfer back to Paro (approx. 2 hours).
Tour concludes and we transfer you to the airport for onward travel.
Meals indicated in itinerary*
All hotels (twin share** or dorm) specified
Cycle support by a/c vehicles
All entrances to museums and sites mentioned
All water and snacks whilst riding
Personal travel insurance
Tips and gratuities
Optional activity costs
If these dates don't suit your travel schedule, please contact us to talk about operating a private tour or customizing a tour for you or your group.
Participants must be at least 18 years old.
*Most meals are local dishes and feature noodles, rice, curries and soups. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
**Single Supplement surcharge is not required when traveling alone. Shared accommodation with another traveler of the same gender may be arranged. If you prefer not to share, a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room.
***This tour starts and ends in Paro. International flights to and from there are not included in the tour price. Flights to / from Bangkok to Paro are arranged by local operator. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times.
****The only way to get a visa is to get it on arrival to the country. However, you must apply with a tour operator and submit an application form for approval BEFORE you arrive. Local operator will submit your application for approval to the DOT; approval process takes a minimum of 1 week.
Biking Difficulty: 4 out of 5; Good quality tarmac roads but they are at high altitudes which raises the
difficulty level. No technical experience required.
Biking Conditions: This tour is primarily on paved roads with very little traffic. The tour goes though mountainous passes as well as valley flatlands. There are a few challenging climbs as well as some fast, sweeping descents. There will a short section off road. Any portion can be skipped by utilizing our support vehicle.
Suitability: Expect a few challenging rides. 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. Being physically fit will of course be a huge asset but as the tour is fully supported the van is always close at hand if needed.
Bikes for hire The bikes are well-known makes of Hybrid or Mountain bikes (depending on the tour) with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, v-brakes and Shimano components and front suspension.
it is in good mechanical order.
Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
All our card payments are protected by thawte to give you peace of mind.