8 Day Cycle and Hike
This adventure is designed for travellers who want to get outdoors in Bhutan but only have limited time. The route to Punakha is on sealed roads and we provide a support vehicle for your safety and comfort, and of course your luggage. We supply the bikes and riding gear, so you won't have to pack anything bulky for the flight into Bhutan. This is not a self-guided tour, you will be joined by a guide all the way through.
As always we can tailor this sample itinerary to suit your exact needs. See below for a price guide as well.
Day 1 / Arrive in Paro and transfer to Thimphu
The flight to Bhutan offers scenic views of some of the highest peaks in the world. Paro is at an altitude of 2280m above sea level and this valley serves as an ideal area for rice, apple, wheat, potatoes and vegetable growing.
Our tour guide will meet you at Paro airport after which we take an hour long scenic drive drive to the capital, the drive takes us past rice fields & wayside mountain villages.
After a brief rest at your hotel in Thimphu, we embark on a leisurely exploration / walking tour of the Thimphu market area. We will also take a moment to witness a game of the national pastime at the local archery range.
Day 2 / Thimphu Sightseeing / 15km
In the morning, we visit the Institute for zorig chusum (commonly known as painting School) where students undertake a six year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Folk heritage museum: The museum opened in 2001 and provides fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
Visit the institute of traditional medicine, where traditional medicine are manufactured and healing are practiced in accordance to ancient scriptures and traditions.
National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.
Bhutan is much known for its colorful stamps on varying themes therefore a visit to a post office is a must, The display gallery at the Bhutan Posts offers a good opportunity to pick up postcards and stamps. Depending on the factor of time and interest we can also visit the adjoining bhutan national bank to observe the banking system.
Thimphu viewpoint at sangyegang, en route we visit the unique and highly endangered Takin (the national animal) preserve.
National memorial chorten :The building of this Thimphu landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. It was completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the late king (“the father of modern bhutan”) and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into buddhist philosophy.
We visit the weekend farmers market in Thimphu where farmers & traders from all over the country converge each weekend to sell their produce consisting of farm produce & items of daily use. This experience will provide some insight into the bhutanese culinary culture.
Later in the day we take a leisurely stroll in Thimphu bazaar.
In the afternoon we take some time off to check our cycling/biking equipment, also test the bikes in preparation for the biking adventure across the country and also enjoy a test ride to the Buddha point, the site of the world’s biggest statue of Buddha.
Day 3 / Ride the Thimphu to Punakha / 63km
In the morning we start the scenic ride to Punakha over the dochula pass (3050m). This pass offers a panoramic view of the eastern Himalayan ranges on the clear days. Stop briefly here to take in the view and admire the 108 stupas built to honor His Majesty the King, world peace and for the benefit of all living beings.
Enjoy an exciting downhill from the pass all the way till the alluvial Punakha Valley,en-route stop at the Royal botanical park and view the many rare species of flora and some fauna on display.
Along the way, In case if there are any local fruits in season we stop by the wayside farmers market at Lobesa to sample some fresh organic fruits. In the afternoon enjoy a short walk (rating : easy with no gradient / 1 hour round trip with sightseeing) or bike ride to chimmi lhakang, a temple dedicated to the divine madman/god of fertility. Walk past villages and rice fields to Chimi lhakhang, the temple of the Divine Madman who is popularly known as Drukpa Kinley. He inherited the title of the divine madman since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He is revered as a symbol of fertility and most childless couples visit this temple to seek its blessing.
Day 4 / Sightseeing and excursion around Punakha / 20Km
Explore and experience the architectural grandeur of the “castle of great happiness”. The Castle of great happiness is a massive stricture built on the confluence of the phochu (male river) and Mochu (female river). Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and the Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monastic body. The coronation of the Kings of Bhutan and royal wedding ceremonies are held in the Dzong.
Enjoy an exciting ride across the longest suspension bridge in the Kingdom followed by a picnic lunch by the scenic and tranquil riverside of Punakha.
Option ; In the afternoon, hike to the glorious Khamsum Yulay Namgyel Temple located north of the valley, the viewing platform on the roof of this magnificent landmark offers picturesque view of the northern BhutaneseHimalayas and the panoramic valley of Punakha to the south. Or, Ride to the northern reaches of Punakha valley across paddy fields and villages.
Day 5 / Cycle from Punakha to Dochula / 57km
In the morning we retrace the route to the tranquil and picturesque Dochula Pass for the overnight. The ride today will be the toughest on the route due to the climb until the Dochula Pass, our support vehicle / tour vehicle will also trail behind in case of any support requirement.
We will rest and relax in the pristine surroundings of the Dochula Pass. There will also be options available to visit the nearby temple.
Day 6 / Dochula to Paro and Sightseeing / 73km
In the morning we leisurely take the scenic route across the Dochula Pass into Paro valley. In the afternoon Biking exploration around Paro Valley. In Paro we also explore the Paro Rimpung Dzong (fortress/castle) built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body and district administration En-route, we take the traditional walk (15 mins) route across the 16th century cantilever bridge.
We also visit the national museum, It houses some of the finest specimens of arts including masterpieces of bronze and paintings. The museum with its extensive collections interprets history and culture of Bhutan through its exhibits.
Evening at leisure or enjoy a stroll in town.
Day 7 / Hike to the Tigers Nest Monastery & Sightseeing
Hiking excursion (2 hours on ascent and 1 hour on descent) to the tigers nest monastery.
One of the most venerated places in the country the Tigers Nest sits precariously perched on the side of a cliff 800m above the Paro valley floor. Guru Rinpoche arrived at this cliff face on a back of tigress and meditated here in a cave, hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as the most spiritual of sites in Bhutan and many eminent saints have meditated in this area. We will have lunch and refreshments at the cafeteria which offers an imposing view of the cultural landmark of Tigers Nest.
In the evening we visit a nearby farmers house fora traditional feast and also to observe the traditional way of life and living.
Day 8 / Paro to onward destination
We check in two hours prior to flight departure to ensure the best seats on board, best suited to take in the panoramic view of the Himalayas.
We bid you goodbye and happy travels.
Price Guide and Inclusions
High season touring for 8 days will typically cost USD$2400pp for a group of two or more people. The following are included in that price guide:
Luggage transfers between hotels
Visa for entry into Bhutan
What's not included:
International flights into and out of Paro
Drinks and Alcohol
Tipping for your guides