Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Destination: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue
An incredible 8 days biking journey in the mystical kingdom of the Thunder Dragon is an escape into the rich natural environment of Bhutan that lies mostly in undisturbed and pristine form. The places included in this tour are Paro, Haa, Thimphu and Punakha valley and these regions possesses a real charm. Along with your ride, the tour also offers numerous opportunities for optional day hikes some are of easy reach or few hours walk. You will be led through the countryside, meet the local people and learn about their culture, history and traditions. Adventure travelers will not be disappointed by the rugged mountain terrain as you paddle you pads over 3000 meters above sea level but it is always satisfying letting you experience the amazing rich natural landscape, breathtaking view and an unforgettable experience in an unspoiled and unexplored environment.
Day 01: Arrival Paro
Depart from any of the connecting sector to Bhutan this morning on Bhutan Airline. If the weather is clear, you may see some of the highest mountain peaks of the Himalaya like – Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Jomolhari, the sacred mountain of Bhutan. At your arrival at Paro International Airport and completing your custom formalities, you will then met by our local representative at the exit door and transfer you to your hotel for short refreshment. After the refreshment our local representative will give you some important guidelines on road condition and traffic rules. After assembling your bike and following your local leader you can spend half day biking in Paro valley, beginning with Paro Ta Dzong, a 17th century monument, which now house the National Museum, following the Museum you can turn back to visit the giant Paro Dzong overlooking the valley below. Along the way downhill if interested you can have a short stop at Jangsa Dumtse Lhakhang that lies just outside of the town. The Chorten like temple was built in 1421 by Tibetan Saint Thongtong Gyelpo who came to Bhutan in search of iron ore to be used for constructing bridge in his homeland Tibet. After the temple ride down through the main town to the archery ground where you will spent some time watching the match. Archery is the national game of Bhutan and most Bhutanese men grow up learning the spot.
Day 02: Paro – Haa Valley
Today you will leave Paro in the morning on your bike to Haa valley following Chelela Pass (12,200ft/3720m). In the morning hour, the ride is quite an uphill task and takes around 40km till you reach the top. If you are not fit for uphill ride, you can choose to drive. The pass lies at a cool crisp and your route takes you through a spectacular lovely forest of pine, oak and rhododendrons that a ablaze with red and pink blooms in April and May. The top is one of the highest motor road in Bhutan and once you reach the top its unlike any other pass that offers a scenic valley view of both Paro and Haa valley. Importantly, if the weather is clear one can view the sacred Mt. Jomolari and Jichu Drakey on the northern border of the valley. After the pass it is all the way downhill ride until you reach Haa Valley. It takes around 30km and takes you through lush green forest of pine and rhododendron forest. Reaching Haa, check in to your hotel and rest day at leisure.
Day 03: Haa – Thimphu
After your early breakfast in the hotel, leave Haa on your bikes following the winding road beside the Haa Chhu River. It a long distance and cover around 115km. You can choose half-day bike and half-day drive. Thr route offers an impressive view of the valley, traditional settlements and farmhouses. En-route you can stop to take pictures and the valley between Thimphu and Haa has a charming landscape with evergreen forest of pine, oak, rhododendron. The valley is also dotted with scattered settlement with many golden roofed temples dotted on the hilltop. As you near Chundzom the confluence, you will then slowly enter the charming valley of Thimphu. The countryside from Chundzom to Thimphu is less forested than what you have been seeing so far and the valley are narrow except for two sections where it is widen into gentle slope. Enjoy your ride along the expressway following the Wang Chhu River, the valley is dotted with terrace of rice fields and lovely stands of confer forest. Reaching Thimphu, check in to your hotel. Rest day at leisure.
Day 04: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today is off day biking and you can choose to drive while doing sightseeing in Thimphu valley. In the morning drive further northern end of Thimphu valley to visit Cheri and Tango Goemba. The drive takes you through crossing the SAARC Convention Center and then Dechencholing Palace, which serves as the residence of the royal grandmother and then through Pangrizampa. The road ends at Dodena and from there you are allowed to hike for 1.5 hour to Cheri Goemba through crossing the historical wooden bridge. Cheri Goemba was built in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is the place where he established the first monastic body. However, if you are interested you can take the other alternate to visit the Tango Goemba, which is a 300m walk from the parking lot. The Goemba sits at the edge of the richly forested hillside. Return for lunch in Thimphu. After lunch, we recommend you to visit the Kuensel Phodrang wher the giant Buddha Dodrelma stands overlooking the valley below. The spot offers an overall view of the Thimphu city. Returning back stop at National Memorial Chorten, which is one of the most visited site in all of Thimphu. The chorten was built in 1974 by the late Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her late son the third King of Bhutan. If you are ere in the weekend visit Tashichhoe Dzong. On weekdays, one can visit the dzong only after 5pm or after the office hours. In the evening, stroll around the downtown of Thimphu city.
Day 05: Thimphu – Punakha
We suggest you making an early start, since the view of the eastern Himalayan Mountain range from Dochu La Pass (10150ft/3100m) are one of the best in the country. In the morning hour, the ride is quite an uphill task, takes around 22km to reach to the past, and can be negotiable within 1.5 hours. It takes you through rich pine forest and apple orchards. The pass is further enhanced by 108 Druk Wangyel Chortens built by Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk in 2004. From this lofty pass it is all the way downhill bike for around 38km till you reach Punakha (4430ft/1351m). The descent takes you through broad-leaved forest, terrace of rice fields and settlements. As you near Lobesa, en-route stop to visit the popular and historical Chemi Lhakhang. The temple was built in 1499 by Lama Ngawang Chogyel and was built in memory of his brother Lama Drukpa Kuenley popularly known as the “Divine Mad Man”. Head to Khuruthang the newly founded town of Punakha for lunch, after a good lunch ride to visit the Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Temple in the further north of Punakha Valley. The ride takes you through passing several royal palaces, warm broad-leaved forest and terrace of rice fields. It takes you following the Mo Chhu River till you reach the parking lot below the temple. From here, one can choose to hike to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Temple which takes around 1.5 hours walk through crossing the Yebesa Village. The temple is one of the beautiful in the country and offers spectacular view of the valley below and the surrounding mountains. Return to Khuruthang for your night halt.
Day 06: Punakha – Paro
Today before you depart to Paro, make a short visit to the impressive Punakha Dzong. Punakha serves as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. The Punakha Dzong saddles between the confluence of two rivers Pho Chhu River and Mo Chhu River. It was built by Zhabdrund Ngawang Namgyel in 1637, and was the second largest Dzong built by him. After spending good time in exploring the dzong return back to Khuruthang for lunch. After the lunch, you will be transferred to Paro via following the same route that you came. Evening at leisure.
Day 07: Hike to the Famous Tiger’s Nest
We recommend making an early start today. The hike to Taktsang Goemba is quite an uphill task and it takes around 3-4 hours walk at an average speed. The goemba perched on the cliff side is believed to be the most important and historical sites in all over Himalaya. To get to the goemba you have to drive from your hotel passing the main Paro town for around 11km to the parking lot of Taktsang. The goemba lies at an altitude of 3000ft/915m from the valley bellow and 9700ft/2950m from the sea level. It is believed that in the eight century Guru Rinpoche visited the site flying on the back of the tigress from the eastern Bhutan and underwent for meditation for three months subduing the evil spirit. After him many permanent religious visited the site. The fourth regent Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgyel built the goemba in 1692. Unfortunately, the whole structure of Tiger’s Nest has been damaged by fire in 1998. It was rebuilt in the same year to the present structure and renovated in 2005. Lunch will be served en-route in the Cafeteria and after lunch walk down to the parking lot at your own stream. In the evening stroll around the town for your last day shopping and buying gifts for your family and friends back home.
Day 08: Depart
A sensational take off