Bhutan – Cycling the Himalayas

  • Destination:
  • Duration: 15 days

Bhutan is one of the most fascinating countries in the world and has managed to keep their local way of life pretty well conserved whilst gradually opening up to international tourism over the last 35 years. Exploring the country by bicycle is a fabulous way of getting closer to local people and the countries stunning nature. Riding in the country is usually considered to be a tough challenge – due its verticality and high mountain roads but we found a way of making it an almost undemanding cycling experience by choosing the most suitable sections of roads where steeper climbs are kept to a minimum and a downhill bias prevails.

Day 1
To Kathmandu

Flight to Kathmandu, transfer into town centre and overnight in hotel

Day 2
Stop over in Nepal

Transfer to Kathmandu airport and flight to Paro (Bhutan), relax and bike fitting in the afternoon

Day 3
Exploring Paro and surroundings, 35km

Gentle warm up ride into the valley around Paro, passing spectacular Drugyel Dzong and later afford fabulous views across the high mountains of the Himalayas. Later time to explore Paro on foot.

Day 4
To Thimpu via Chele La Pass, 50km

Transfer to Chele La Pass high above Paro (3.810m), we start cycling a few km before the pass, enjoy later incredible views from the top and start our exhilarating 26km downhill into the Haa-Valley. Continue cycling more through small hamlets and dense Himalaya forests before we transfer by bus to the capital Thimpu

Day 5
Cycle to Eraclea Minoa and on to Agrigento, 52km cycling

We leave town by bus this morning and our first visit is to Castello Incantato, a quirky sculpture garden, before we start cycling not far from here. After stopping for lunch at a wonderful beach near Eraclea Minoa we continue riding to our hotel in the small town of Porto Empedocle overlooking the Strait of Sicily and being ideal base to explore nearby Agrigento.

Day 6
In Punakha valley, 30km

Today we explore the green valley of Punakha on bikes. The first stop is for visiting the amazing Dzong – one of the 3 largest in the country. Then continue through rural scenery and rice fields. Optionally the ride can be combined with a 1h walk + additional 13km of riding.

Day 7
To Phobjika Valley, 32km

We cycle from the hotel, soon following several rivers. After 20km we pack up and drive up into the mountains again. At a mountain pass (3.350m) with incredible views across the central Himalayas and its peaks rising up to 7.500m we start cycling again, mainly downhill – into the Phobjika-Valley. En route stop and visit of Gangtey-monastery.

Day 8
To Trongsa, 26km

In the morning we stop at a nearby visitors centre, discovering the story of the protected Black-neck Cranes, migrating to this valley every winter. After that easy walk of 1h through the valley before we drive up to Pele La Pass (3.400m). The keen cyclists can cycle this up, 14km and +650m. At the pass we all continue cycling, with longer downhill sections. En route we can enjoy the sight of the Black mountains – one of Bhutan’s primary cloud forests. Once we see the Trongsa Dzong on the other side of valley we can choose between getting there on a fascinating walk through the gorge – passing through genuinely tropical vegetation – or cycle another 11km to our hotel

Day 9
To Bhumtang Valley via Yotang La Pass, 49km

After breakfast we visit the spectacular Dzong and the village centre with its local market. Then we drive up to Yotang La Pass. We get on the bikes, climbing the last 5km to the top (3.425m) for enjoying more of stunning views across the Himalyas before descending into the Bhumthang region. In the afternoon we reach our hotel, situated in the outskirts of Jakar town

Day 10
Free day in Bhumtang, optional 15km ride

Free day for rest, for exploring Jakar town with its many wooden buildings or for an optional bike ride into the valley. We can visit a Suisse owned cheese factory on route. For those wanting to walk – there are many options into the surroundings forests.

Day 11
Exploring Tang valley, 37km

We get on the bikes and cycle from the hotel to the remoter valleys of Tang – last human settlements before the Tibetan border. En route we see small hamlets and a lot of agricultural activity of the locals. Later drive back to the hotel in Jakar on bus.

Day 12
Fly back to Paro

Flight to Paro. Afternoon free for relax and/or shopping in Paro’s well sorted souvenir shops.

Day 13
Walk up to Tiger Nest

We drive north and walk up to the Tiger Nest – Bhutan’s most important and most stunningly located monastery, tucked into the rocks at 2.600m altitude.

Day 14
Stop over in Nepal

Flight from Paro to Kathmandu, transfer to hotel in town for overnight stay.

Day 15
Fly back to Europe

Transfer back to Kathmandu airport and fly back to Europe.

Tour facts

Grading: moderate
Recommended airports: Paro
Highlights: Cycling across epic mountain passes, meeting a very friendly local culture, spectacular Buddhist monasteries and temples, stunning nature with 70% of the country covered by forests.

Season: Late October to December and April

 

More info about this tour

 

Map

View on Google Maps

Maybe you’re also interested in…

· Sri Lanka – Cycling