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  • Bhutan Cycling Tour

    Bhutan’s mountainous terrain offers a fascinating adventure for cycling enthusiasts. The roads wind up and down mountains with exhilarating drops of thousands of metres, and of course the challenge of surmounting equally high passes of over 3000 metres. The route is accompanied by mixed forests, pasturelands, rich meadows and valleys dotted with medieval villages and towns rich in culture. This tour allows time for visiting the highlights of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Trongsa and Bumthang. You can choose from easy to adventurous trails, and will be backed up by professional support staff at all times. Bhutan Senses Travel will co-ordinate your entire trip including arranging quality mountain bicycles for your riding pleasure unless you choose to bring your own bike.


    HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUDE

    This feature "Bhutan Cycling Tour" offers a fascinating adventure for cycling enthusiasts. Bhutan offers a great diversity of landscapes to ride through, including wide valleys, forests and challenging high mountain passes. This tour also visits significant historical and sacred sites throughout the western valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and the central areas of Trongsa and Bumthang.

    • Cycle through mixed forests, pasturelands and valleys dotted with villages rich in culture.
    • Ride down mountains with exhilarating drops of thousands of metres.
    • Challenge yourself with surmounting high passes of over 3000 metres.
    • Spend 3 days trekking the area around the beautiful Phobjikha Valley,
    • Explore Bhutan’s central valleys, rich with ancient historical and sacred Buddhist sites.
    • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
    • Experience Bhutan’s unique culture up-close with farmhouse visits and village excursions.
    • Drive over high mountain passes affording sensational views of the Himalayan peaks.
    • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
    • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
    • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
    • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
    • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

    DETAILED PROGRAM

    Day 1

    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 BTB representative 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 Rinpung 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 centres, 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 in Paro.

      Bhutan National Museum, Rinpung Dzong

    Recommended Hotels in Paro:

    - Metta Resort & Spa
    - Bhutan Mandala Hotel


    Day 2

    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 Simtokha 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 in Thimphu.

      Cycling from Paro to Thimphu, visiting Simtokha Dzong

    Recommended Thimphu Hotels:

    - Gyelsa Boutique Inn
    - Hotel Thimphu Towers


    Day 3

    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 Tashichhodzong. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

      National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Temple, School for Arts and Crafts...


    Day 4

    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 in Punakha.

      Riding from Thimphu to Punakha through Dochu La pass, visiting Punakha Dzong

    Recommended Punakha Hotels:

    - Lobesa Hotel Punakha
    Damchen Punakha Resort


    Day 5

    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 in Trongsa.

     Chendibji Chorten

    Recommended Hotels in Trongsa:

    - Puenzhi Guesthouse
    - Tashi Ninjay Guesthouse


    Day 6

    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. Afters 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 Yutong 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 in Jakar, Bumthang.

     Trongsa Dzong, Yutong La pass

    Recommended Hotels in Bumthang:

    - River Lodge Bumthang
    - Kuenzang Norling International Hotel


    Day 7

    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.

     Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Tamshing Lhakhang


    Day 8

    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.

     Cycling from Jakar valley to Ura valley, enjoying views along roads


    Day 9

    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 in Punakha.


    Day 10

    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 in Thimphu.

      Riding from Punakha to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten


    Day 11

    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 market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, 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 in Paro.

      Riding back to Paro, walking through local market


    Day 12

    After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre 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 teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.

    In the afternoon drive or ride the relatively flat road to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, built to commemorate a victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. 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 characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. On the return to Paro, you may choose to ride the exhilirating downhill run from Chelila Pass. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

      Trekking to Taktsang Lhakhang, visiting Drukgyel Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang


    Day 13

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

     

     

    WHEN TO GO?

      MORE TOURS HERE


    Notes:

    • Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. At Bhutan Senses Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.
    • Prices include the following:
      . All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast
      . Internal economy flights as stated with airport taxes
      . All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle
      . Private services of local guides
      . All special events & private tours, guest experts
      . All entrance fees into historical sights & museums
      . Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring
      . 24/7 support from the Bhutan Senses Travel Team

     

    Location
    Accommodation

    PARO
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    Metta Resort & Spa

    • Metta Resort and Spa offers accommodation in Paro. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free private parking is available on site.
    • All rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some units include a seating area where you can relax. Every room includes a private bathroom fitted with a shower. Extras include bathrobes and slippers. Metta Resort and Spa features free WiFi .
    • There is a 24-hour front desk at the property.
    • The resort also offers car hire. The nearest airport is Paro Airport, 5 km from the property.

    THIMPHU
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    Gyelsa Boutique Inn

    • Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Gyelsa boutique offers accommodation in Thimphu. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free private parking is available on site.
    • Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain units include a seating area where you can relax. You will find a kettle in the room. Each room has a private bathroom fitted with a shower.
    • There is a 24-hour front desk at the property.
    • The nearest airport is Paro Airport, 23 km from Gyelsa boutique.

    PUNAKHA 
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    Lobesa Hotel Punakha

    • Hotel Lobesa is a three star hotel situated in the Punakha countryside.
    • The property is relatively new and offers guests a comfortable stay at convenient prices.

    BUMTHANG
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    River Lodge Bumthang

    • Set in an idyllic and strategic spot at the entrance of Bumthang’s Chamkhar town, River Lodge is justifiably the mythical district’s hospitality master.
    • Established in 1997, it has served guests from all corners of the globe. Renowned for its multi-facet services, including spa and sauna, River Lodge Bumthang is a synonym for Excellence, a haven for peace and bliss and an ideal holiday resort.
    • It is a perfect blend of the traditional and modern, with the Lodge’s stunning Bhutanese architecture moulded with the latest modern amenities.