Cycling tour: Bhutan-south central!
Bhutan, the secret Shangri la or the Land of the Peaceful Thunder Dragon is the best-kept secret in the travel industry. Due to its relative isolation, the country is not known to the outside world and until 1960; western visitors rarely visited the country. Today still, few people know of the beauty of Bhutan. The few who do visit this magical place find an ancient Buddhist culture thriving in a landscape of incredible natural beauty.
The mountains are magnificent, the countryside green, the pure air and unpolluted and the architecture striking.
The mountainous road are well maintained throughout Bhutan, reaches heights of 4000m and offers the most romantic sights of the Himalayan ranges, the rides are through various types of vegetation ranging from sub tropical to alpine vegetation, in the valleys passing through many villages of terraced rice fields and fairy tale rivers.
Day1. Arrive Paro from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu or Kolkata.
The flight into Paro (2280m/ 7524ft) on Druk Air is spectacular. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the verdant greens of the Paro Valley. The first gift from Bhutan is the cool, clean fresh air as we step from the plane. After clearing customs and visa control we are met by our guide and then drive a short distance to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure with a walk through the main streets of Paro or you can start riding around the Paro valley.
Day2. Paro local rides and acclimatization.
Get acclimatized with the altitude for the rides for the following days. Ride to the National museum, ride to Drugyal Dzong and Kichu Monastery which is the oldest monastery in the country. Total you have about 32km rides over all. Time permitting can do the Taktsang hike, the Taktsang monastery is a landmark of the country and a famous religious site for Buddhist all over the world. The Monastery clings magically on a cliff 300m above the valley floor.
Day3. Paro-Thimphu 65 km
Ride to Thimphu, this will take appx 05 hrs depending on the level of professionalism and cycling skills. The ride is all along the lined willow trees and the beautiful villages of Paro. All along you ride parallel to the river banks. On arrival at Thimphu, be at leisure or just explore the Thimphu city, can visit the weekend market starts on a Thu thru Sun, where the residents of Thimphu do their weekly marketing and farmers and vendors all over the country visit this market to sell their handicrafts and farm produce.
Day4. Thimphu-Punakha. 78km
Do some quick sightseeing and places of interest before heading for the Dochula pass, this will take about 02-03hrs uphill, But once you reach the Pass at 3150m, views and hard work is rewarding with the Eastern Himalayan range weather permitting. After that it is all downhill till you reach the warm and lush valley of Punakha region. Can visit the Chimey lhakhang/monastery of the Devine mad man or the temple of fertility.
Day5. Punakha-Gangtey 83km
Ride to Phobjikha valley or Gangtey, the abode of the black neck cranes, enroute visit Wangdue Dzong, all along you ride and see the villages of Sha. The backup vehicle will always there following the cyclists and at any point of time riders get exhausted you can continue on the backup car. Today there is an uphill climb that starts from 1500m till 2600m.
Day6. Gangtey to Trongsa 73km.
After completion of sightseeing and exploration of Phobjikha valley, continue towards Trongsa via the Pelila pass 3420m and along the Black Mountain range to Trongsa. The ride today does not involve steep gradients and will be a very comfortable with warm and lush winds as you approach Trongsa. You will encounter yaks depending on the season, experience vegetation from high alpine forests to dwarf bamboo vegetation to subtropical as you reach Trongsa while riding through many settlements. After reaching Trongsa can visit the Trongsa Dzong, which is the largest Dzong in the country, which is of particular importance to the Monarchy in Bhutan, it was from this Dzong that the present Wangchuck dynasty started its rule.
Day7. Trongsa to Zhemgang 115km
From Trongsa ride towards the south of Bhutan to the district of Zhemgang. We will ride through many interesting Kheng villages, the district of Zhemgang is one of the remote places in Bhutan but with very rich ecological diversity and rich flora, fauna and avifauna. We also come across some interesting waterfalls and wildlife enroute.
Day8. Zhemgang to Geylegphug 130km
From Zhemgang continue towards the south of Bhutan. The ride is mostly downhill in many places and the ride involves going the Manas national park towards the border town of Geylegphug where the weather will be warm as it falls in the tropics.
Day9. Geylegphug to Tsirang 94km
The ride involves riding through rich forest diversity and varied weather patterns as we ride for some time in the tropics and again climb to conifer belts, meanwhile traveling through many small villages. From Geylegphug to Sarpang it’s a flat out 35km on the plains and again the next 65 km is an uphill gradual climb.
Day10. Tsirang to Wangdue 95 km
The road from Tsirang to Punakha is one of the interesting roads all along the Punatsangchu river with warm weather, you have a downhill for about 20 km before reaching the valley floor and after that the ride is adjacent to the Punakha river until you reach Wangdue. You will see mega hydro power plant construction as you approach Wangdue.
Day11. Wangdue to Thimphu end Tour 78km
Today the last day of the tour will be an uphill climb for nearly 50km to gain heights upto 3150m at the Dochula pass and then it’s all downhill until you reach Thimphu the capital city. End your ride and be at leisure to explore the Thimphu city. Farewell Dinner.
50minutes transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.
Price from : US$ 2580 per person.
-Bhutan visa and permits.
-Hotels and A grade resorts in all places with 4N of camping arrangements.
-Meals full board 3 meal plan.
-English speaking Cycling Guide throughout tour.
-All entry fees to sights where applicable.
-Support vehicle carrying luggage and bikes should you not ride sometimes.
-All entry fees to sights where applicable.
-Tips to crew.
-Use of bar and beverages and hotel facilities.
This tour can be undertaken throughout the year but the best time would be Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, April and May