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Bhutan Biking – 8 Days

Bhutan, small nation in south Asia that boasts for its nickname ‘the last Shangri-la’, is as adventurous for cycling experiences as it is for viewing its impeccable mountainous beauty. Himalayas, rich culture, natural beauty, unique

OVERVIEW OF THE TRIP

Trip:
Tour Type: Mountain Biking
Trip Duration: 8 Days
Max Altitude:
Trip Starts From: Bhutan
Trip Ends At: Bhutan
Trip Region: Bhutan
Best Season: 
March-May September-November
Trip Level:
Trip Route: Paro–Thimpu–Punakha–Dochula–Paro

Trip Information

Bhutan, small nation in south Asia that boasts for its nickname ‘the last Shangri-la’, is as adventurous for cycling experiences as it is for viewing its impeccable mountainous beauty.
Himalayas, rich culture, natural beauty, unique life styles of people: These are the ways this Himalayan kingdom is. Bhutan still is too little talked-about and shrouded in mystery, thus making this land a very less explored one, especially on a bicycle.

If you have ever dreamed of a pleasant ride through the lush green forests, over the rolling hills, along creeks and pristine villages and ancient monasteries, Bhutan, also known as ‘the Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is the place to be in. Ever since the government opened the country for tourists, mountain biking has slowly gained pace. Biking in Bhutan is a very rejuvenating experience.

Snow-capped mountains, emerald green landscapes, fascinating wildlife and gentle people all await you. Go experience Bhutan! It could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for you to collect reminiscing moments cycling around the exotic locations of Thimpu, Punakha, Paro and lot more! Cycling- a great way to explore this land of the thunder dragon. You will be greatly amazed by all your cycling experiences.


    ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Arrive in Paro & Transfer to Thimpu in a private vehicle. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 2: Bike Checks & Warm up ride to Buddha Point, 15 kms. Afternoon sightseeing in Thimpu. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 3: Ride from Thimpu – Punakha, 72 Kms. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 4: Sightseeing & Riding Excursion around Punakha- 20 Kms. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 5: Ride from Punakha to Dochula, 55 Kms. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 6: Ride from Dochula to Paro- 63 kms & Sightseeing around Paro. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 7: Hike to the Tigers Nest Monastery & Sightseeing. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 8: Final Departure


    TRIP DETAILS

  • Day 1: Arrive in Paro & Transfer to Thimpu in a private vehicle.

    You can take flight to Paro from Bangkok, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Dhaka etc. We recommend you to fly from Bangkok because Druk air offer everyday flight from Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok whereas Druk air do not operate everyday flights from other sectors.

    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 Bhutanese tour guide will meet you at Paro airport, traditionally welcomed with silk scarves and after completion of arrival formalities we take we take an hour long scenic drive to the capital (Thimpu) past rice fields, hamlets & wayside mountain villages, Brief stop at the confluence where Thimpu River meets the Paro river with the three styles of stupas commonly found in the Himalayas.

    These kinds of monuments are built to ward off evil spirits believed to be haunting the places where rivers and spurs meet. These kinds of monuments are also used as trail markers. Most of these monuments are built by high monks or by layman contains holy Buddhist relics

    After a brief rest at your hotel in Thimpu, we embark on a leisurely exploration / walking tour of the Thimpu Market Area. We will also take some moment to witness a game of the national pastime, archery- at the local archery range.Overnight in Hotel.
    (Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 2: Bike Checks & Warm up ride to Buddha Point, 15 kms. Afternoon sightseeing in Thimpu.

    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 viz. Sculpture (both statues and masks) , Calligraphy , Painting (Mural ,Scroll and House) , Wood Crafts (Carving ,Wooden Bowl Making , Paper Crafts ,Carpentry and Furniture) ,Leather Craft , Casting , Embroidery , Weaving , Bamboo Crafts ,Pottery ,Gold & Silver Smithy , Black Smithy & Masonry.

    Folk Heritage Museum,the museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide 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 – A visual odyssey conceived and printed by MIT, USA, the biggest book in the world is displayed here.

    Bhutan Posts: Bhutan is much known for its colorful stamps on varying themes; the display gallery offers a good opportunity to pick up postcards and stamps. Depending on the factor of time and interest visit the adjoining Bhutan National Bank to observe the banking system.

    Drive to the Thimpu viewpoint at Sangyegang, en route we visit the unique /highly endangered Takin (national animal) Preserve.

    National Memorial Chorten: The building of this Thimpu landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. 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.

    (Open Fri – Sun) We visit the weekend farmers market in Thimpu where farmers & traders from all over the country converge each weekend to sell their products consisting of farm product & 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 Thimpu Bazaar (Market)

    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 (currently under construction and estimated to be complete in December 2012). Overnight at Hotel.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 3: Ride from Thimpu to Punakha- 72 Kms

    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.
    In case if there are any 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-temple of the Divine Madman who is popularly known as Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He is revered as a symbol of fertility and most childless couples make visit to this temple to seek its blessing’s. Overnight at Hotel.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 4: Sightseeing & Riding Excursion around Punakha- 20 Kms

    In the morning we ride across the traditional footbridge that spans across the river into the castle of Punakha. Explore Punakha fortress/castle miraculously located between the two rivers, Pho Chhu and the mo Chhu (male and female rivers).

    Explore and experience the architectural grandeur of the “castle of great happiness”. The Castle of great happiness is a massive stricture built on the junction of two river Pho Chhu (Male River) and Mochu(Female river).Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and the Dzong serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan`s first king was crowned in this Dzong in 1907. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and earthquakes and flood, the Dzong has been fully restored by the fourth king.

    Enjoy an exciting ride across the longest suspension bridge in the Kingdom. Visit the Youth development funded souvenir production centre operated by the youth from disadvantaged communities.

    Enjoy a Picnic lunch by the scenic and tranquil riverside of Punakha(Optional). In the afternoon, hike (1: 30 min round trip) to the glorious Khamsum Yulay Namgyal Temple located north of the valley, the viewing platform on the roof of this magnificent landmark offers picturesque view of the northern Bhutanese Himalayas and the panoramic valley of Punakha to the south or Ride to the northern reaches of Punakha valley across paddy fields and villages. Overnight at Hotel.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 5: Ride from Punakha to Dochula- 57 Kms

    In the morning we retrace the drive to the tranquil and picturesque Dochula Pass for the Overnight.

    The ride today will be the toughest on the route esp. while climbing up to the Dochula Pass, our support vehicle / tour vehicle will also trail behind in case of any support requirement .

    Rest & Relax in the pristine surroundings of the Dochula Pass. There will also be options available to visit the nearby temple.Overnight at Hotel.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 6: Ride from Dochula to Paro- 73 kms & Sightseeing around Paro.

    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 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.

    A walk through the bridge, over a stone cobbled path, offers an up close view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it.

    Visit the National Museum Explore (former watch tower), established in 1968. 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. Overnight at Hotel.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • 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 precariously perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. Guru Rinpoche arrived at this spot on a back of tigress and meditated here in a cave and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as the most spiritual of sites in Bhutan and many eminent saints have meditated in this area. Now it is visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their life time. The monastery defies both gravity and mind’s eye.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 farmer’s house for a traditional feast and also to observe the traditional way of life and living. Overnight at Hotel.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 8: Tranfer to Airport fro your final Departure.

    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.
    (Breakfast Included)


    COST INCLUDES

  • Pick up from and drop off at the hotel and the airport on a private tourist vehicle.

  • Standard government-approved accommodation (in twin sharing rooms) for the duration of the tour.

  • Full-board meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea & snacks - for the duration of your stay.

  • Drinking water for the duration of the tour.

  • Country presentation and tour Briefing on the evening of Day 01 with welcome drinks.

  • Private transportation and a designated driver within Bhutan. Toyota 4WD luggage vans and light trucks for group travel.

  • Monument and museums entrance fees at all sightseeing locations detailed in the itinerary.

  • Cultural afternoon/evening sessions with traditional mask and folk dances (with beverages). Only for group tours.

  • Local Bhutanese licensed English-speaking mountain biking guide(s). The number of guides and assistant guides is dictated by the group size.

  • Mountain bike for the number of days riding. The brands include Cube, Trek and Giant hardtail or full-suspension bikes, depending on your choice (We recommend to bring your own Bike).

  • The required number of local staff, porters and mules to carry your luggage in the biking trip.

  • Food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment and medicine for all staff.

  • Free Aarohi Holiday duffel/kit bag, sun hat and T-shirt – if you are flying to Paro from Kathmandu (yours to keep).

  • Bhutan visa fees and processing assistance.

  • Government royalty (35% of $200), which goes to the country's health and education projects.

  • All route access and monument entry permits and fees.

  • All government taxes, official expenses and tourist service charges.


    COST DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • International airfare and airport departure tax.

  • Your travel insurance (mandatory for the trip; should cover helicopter rescue charges)

  • All items of personal nature like drinks, laundry etc.

  • Biking attire and other personal gears.

  • Tips for biking staff and driver. (Tipping is expected)

  • Others expenses not mentioned in the Price Includes section.


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