Bicycles and Bhutan are a perfect fit. The tiny remote mystical Kingdom of Bhutan is probably the most culturally rich of all the Himalayan Kingdoms and is one of the most inaccessible. Tucked away at the eastern end of the mighty Himalayas, the Land of the Thunder Dragon is a wonderful place for a bike trip with some good paved roads, forests, glacial rivers, wonderful mountain scenery and cultural diversity. This new trip takes us from Paro in the west to Punkaha, the erstwhile capital of Bhutan. We visit the remote Haa Valley and the capital, Thimpu. Crossing several passes over 3000m, we get wonderful views over the Himalaya. A side trip to the Punakha Dzong are added highlights as is a visit to one of the masked dance festivals (on certain departures). There are plenty of long mountain climbs and exhilarating descents to get your lungs pumping!
- Day 1: Paro: Arrival at Paro and local sight seeing on bicycle
- Day 2: Tiger’s Nest Trek: Trek up to the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery today
- Day 3: Paro to Haa Cycling : Today we cycle to one of the Western most Dzongkha’s of Bhutan and traverse across the mighty Chele-la Pass
- Day 4: Haa – Thimphu cycling: We cycle to the capital of Bhutan the only capital in the world with no traffic lights!
- Day 5: Thimphu – Punkaha cycling: Cycle past the famous Dochu-la pass to the erstwhile capital of Bhutan
- Day 6: Punkaha Paro: On our last day we cycle back to Paro from where it all began
- Day 7: Departure: Departure from Paro airport
- 3 nights in Paro
- 1 night in Thimphu
- 1 night in Haa
- 1 night in Punakha
Room with Breakfast, lunch and dinner: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Haa
Day 1: Fly Into Paro
Flight into Paro with Bhutan Air. The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering most beautiful scenery of the world’s highest peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (fortress) on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now National Museum, above it. After arrival and immigration you will settle into your homestay and go exploring the beautiful Paro valley on a bicycle.
Overnight stay at a homestay with a local family at Paro.
Day 2: Tiger's Nest Monastery
Visit the Taktshang Gompa or Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Your hike to Taktshang from the road point will take through the well-maintained path, which is quite uphill, and it takes around 3-4 hours at an average walking speed. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees adorned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.
This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger Dorji Drolo, said to be his consort.
Day 3: Paro to Haa
After breakfast start cycling to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelela Pass, the Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. From the pass, you get a good view of the Himalayan Ranges and the sacred Mt. Jomolhari. Have a packed Lunch at Chelela Pass.
After Lunch, you will continue the ride towards Haa.
Haa is made up of five counties and was closed to the outside world until 2002. Once in Haa, visit Wangchucklo Dzong dating back to 1915 and Lhakhang Nakpo (Black temple) and Lhakhang Karpo (white temple).
Overnight at Heritage Hotel in Haa.
Day 4: Punakha to Thimphu
Today, we will depart for Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. This is a beautiful ride that is relatively free of traffic. The road takes us back to Chuzom (river conﬂuence) where we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits, and then traverses left past Dobje Dzong, an ancient prison which now houses a monastery.
Picturesque and quaint villages dot the hillsides for the rest of our drive to Thimphu.
Overnight at hotel/homestay in Thimphu.
Day 5: Thimphu to Punakha
The road to Punakha begins with a 22km ride and a height gain of 670m up to the 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 . Overnight at your Farmstay in Punakha.
Day 6: Punakha to Paro
Today’s excursion begins with sight seeing around Punakha. Visit the famous 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.
Drive uphill towards Thimphu, On the way take some breathtaking pictures. Lunch at Dochula, Take a break of 1 hour for some rest and pictures around the Dochula pass. Cycle down to Thimphu valley and move towards Paro Valley.
Overnight halt at Paro.
Day 7: Departure from Paro
Fly out with memories to cherish for a lifetime!