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Bhutan - The Road to Shangri La

The fabled kingdom of Bhutan holds a special mystique. Nestled at the base of the world’s tallest mountains this remote land offers all that is pristine and untouched.

Culturally unique and resplendent with some of Asia’s most stunning monasteries. It is difficult to rush and the relaxed pace of the people will seduce you. We have an opportunity to see this untouristed land in a way that few are able to. From the saddle you will climb hills and meander through back country lanes. We combine the thrills of downhill with the challenges of remote passes. We are also determined to explore and experience the culture and beliefs of what some say are the friendliest people on the planet. Join us on this stunning journey. Who knows, we may find the right road to the fabled land of Shangri La. ***Clients are encouraged to bring their own bikes. Excellent Mountain Bikes can be provided for your tour at an extra cost of U$350 per person***

10 Day Itinerary
Departure:7th November 2016(Monday to Wednesday)
Price:USD$2800 Bike Hire AUD$350 per person if required
Day 1 - Arrive Paro on to Thimphu
Fantastic views of the Himalayas on clear days. On arrival we are welcomed with the white silk scarf called “Khadhar”. We head out directly to Thimphu which takes around an hour and half. Here we begin with the visit to the memorial temple which depicts the Buddhist teachings in form of paintings and statues. Originally this temple was initiated by the Third King who is known as the “Father of Modern Bhutan”. In the evening we can stroll through the town on our own. We will meet before dinner and discuss the plans ahead and preparation for biking.
Day 2 - Thimphu
We are biking from today onwards and will have the support vehicle following us for emergencies as well as water and snacks. We will start with the Memorial Stupa built to say a prayer for our journey. This will combat any negative elements that may lie ahead. We get the legs moving by biking through the hills of Thimphu city. We make stops at the Traditional Bhutanese Hospital and the Folk and Heritage Museum. After the leisurely pedal and sightseeing we head off on a 20km cycle up the valley heading north from Thimphu. Riding through the pine woods we pass the old palace of the Third King and the beautiful Thimphu river. We picnic lunch by the riverside amongst the evergreen temperate forests. After lunch we bike towards Thimphu. The ride takes us through a small village and then down through oak forests and conifers. Our cycle stops at Parizampa temple, beneath the 400 year old cypress tree. We then drive back to Thimphu in time to visit the Tashichho Dzong which is the centre of government administration and summer residence for the clergy. An option is there to bike another 10km back to our hotel
Day 3 - Thimphu to Punakha
Cycle distance today is around 75km. After breakfast we hit the road and begin our climb uphill to the Dochula Pass at 3,100m. The pass offers the most spectacular view over the greater eastern Himalayas so we enjoy a tea break at the cafeteria. We picnic and enjoy the beauty of nature in a forest just before Thinleygang village. We continue on to Wangdi Phodrang province where we visit the Wangdi dzong which is still traditionally roofed with wooden shingles. There are plenty of opportunities for extra biking today. Our night stop is at Punakha.
Day 4 - Punakha to Gangtey
Today we cycle approximately 60km on a gradual ascent using the west-east highway. We bike through many local villages but for the most part through lovely forests. We may see a variety of bird species as well as grey langurs and Red Pandas. Gangtey is a broad valley and is the haven for an endangered species of crane. The Black-necked crane migrates to Tibet in summers and their numbers are dwindling due to disturbances in the Tibetan plateau where nesting takes place.
Day 5 - Gangtey to Punakha
This morning we enjoy a short excursion in the Gangtey Valley. We will visit some villages before lunch and in the afternoon we will walk to Gangtey Monastery, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in western Bhutan. After lunch we will bike using a village footpath to the temple of the Divine Madman also known as Drukpa Kinley. He was a famous teacher with whom the phallic symbol is associated. Childless couples often go there to get blessed with a child. This is a spiritual and distinctly unique experience. We overnight in Punakha.
Day 6 - Punakha
We bike north heading into the Punakha valley. We aim for Wokhuna village and on the way we stop at the Khamsum Yueling temple. It is built on the spur of a hill with elaborate iconography on Bhutanese Buddhism. The view from the top terrace is magnificent. After lunch we bike to the Punakha Dzong, the old capital city and largest in Bhutan built in 17th century. The giant structure of the Dzong is situated at the junction of Pho-Chu and Mo-Chu Rivers. The Je Khenpo, the Head Abbot resides there during the winter season. We bike across the second longest suspension bridge over the Pho-Chu river. Crossing this bridge offers great views of the dzong and the rice fields in the Punakha valley. We continue on the farm road on the other side of the river all the way back to the hotel.
Day 7 - Punakha to Paro
Today we take our bikes on the truck to the pass. This leaves ample time to bike all the way to Paro. En route we stop at the legendary Sisina farmhouse for a taste of traditional farm living. This 400 years old house has its own history as your guide will recall. We continue on towards Paro with a picnic lunch at the Tachogang temple. We cycle across the old iron-chain bridge to find a lovely place to eat. Our journey into Paro follows a village dirt road giving us a feel for rural life.
Day 8 - Paro
We start the day with a visit to Ta Dzong built as watchtower in 17th century now housing the interesting National Museum. It has a fascinating collection of Bhutanese Thangkas (paintings), textiles, weapons and household accessories. After the museum visit we will bike down to Rinpung Dzong (the fortress of Jewels). As with all dzongs in the country, this functions as the centre for both the spiritual and political administration of the Paro region. We will then bike on the cobbled path down to the wooden cantilever bridge which offers wonderful photo opportunities. After lunch we visit the oldest temple in Bhutan. The Kyichu temple dates back from the 7th century. We then bike to the ruined Drukgyel Dzong which is situated at the northern end of the valley. It was here in the 17th century that the Bhutanese won the battle against the invading forces of Tibet and Mongolia.
Day 9 - Paro and the “Tiger’s Nest”
The visit to Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest” is a highlight for all travellers to Bhutan. It is an intimate pilgrimage for the Bhutanese and a joy to share the experience. The hike takes about an hour uphill to the viewpoint and another hour and half to main monastery. The monastery is open to visitors and reflects the sacred nature of the location. Stunning views accompany you throughout the entire journey. We stop for lunch then drive Chelila pass (3880m) where we will bike over the ridge using cattle trails. After an hour’s biking we have some tea while enjoying the scenic views. Finally we will thrill on our 35km downhill from 3880m to Paro town. This final cycle will take switch backs and the hairpin turns and will be a memorable finale to your biking adventure in Bhutan.
Day 10 - Depart Bhutan
We pack your bikes and board our homeward flight on Druk Air. Farewell and Tashi Delek!

Trip Options

Single Travellers:InquireDetails
Extra Accommodation: Single InquireDetails
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Pre and post trip accommodation is not offered on this tour as you must fly in and out on the scheduled start and finish days of the trip. The tour begins and ends at the Paro Airport. You will need to make you own arrangements if you intend to stay in any of the Druk Air hubs.

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