Mountain biking in Bhutan is relatively new, but within the span of short time it has gained much momentum among the locals as well as visitors.
Bhutan is a natural Mountain Biking Country with its environment, landscape, villages, valleys, mountain passes and so forth. The roads are not so good for driving but its great for bikes and with recent addition of many farm roads, that are often not passable even for 4WD vehicles is perfect for our mountain bikes.
Every flight to Bhutan has panoramic view of the high mountains of the world. As airstrip is in the valley, landing at Paro Airport is breathtaking. Arrive in time for your flight to Bhutan. Please note that Druk Air flight timing may change! The best way to reconfirm is to call their local office when you are in departing place. Please arrive in time for departure flight to Paro, Bhutan (PBH).
Please note that you have to produce VISA copy upon arrival. There are no fees and photos needed for VISA. Upon arrival in Bhutan, clear Immigration, customs and you will meet our representatives and be transferred to Thimphu, the capital city where we will spend two nights. After lunch in Thimphu, visit Tashichoe Dzong and Folk Heritage Museum.
Road from Paro to Thimphu: The distance of about 65kms from Paro town takes one and half hours. Drive south following Pachu River to the confluence at Chuzom, which is also the hub of road network going to Paro, Haa, Thimphu and Phuntsholing. From Chuzom, the drive takes about an hour, staying close to Wangchu River in the valley floor, as we pass through villages and suburbs to the capital, Thimphu. En-route we can stop to view Tachogang temple and the nunnery at Wangsisina.
Thimphu: (El. 2300m) is Bhutan’s capital city and center of government, religion and commercial activities. About one and half hour drive east from Paro is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development with ancient traditions. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. It was a wooded farming valley until 1960s, when it became Bhutan’s official national capital. The massive Tashichoe Dzong, about 700 yrs old, was carefully revamped in the 1960s by the Late King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to house the Royal and main government offices. Even today, it still only has a few street and no traffic lights with estimated population of 90,000 people. Thimphu has many places and sights to visit, in addition to several days excursion possibilities. It has relatively more choice in terms of the accommodation.
Tashichoe Dzong: This fortress serves as the office of the King, Ministers and various government organizations. It also is the headquarters for Central Monastic Body of Bhutan. Bhutan’s spiritual leader, Jekhenpo and the monks of both Thimphu and Punakha recite here during summer. It is also the venue for Thimphu festival in the fall season.
Folk Heritage Museum: A century old building is converted as museum to show the folks that how our forefathers used to live in the mid 19th century with all household belongings. The house is built with ramped mud wall and shingled roof.
After breakfast drive north to a wooden cantilever bridge, the starting point of hike to Chagri Goempa. After lunch in the town, visit the National Memorial Chorten, Takin Reserve, Zhilukha Nunnery and drive west to the Buddha point. Then transfer to the hotel and stroll around the Thimphu city in the evening.Overnight in Thimphu
Tango Monastery: The hike starts at an elevation of 2600m and takes about 45 minutes uphill. The monastery was founded in the 13th century by Phajo Drugom Zhipo, the founder of Drukpa Kagyupa School in Bhutan. It was enlarged to the present form in 1688 by Gyelsey Tenzin Rabgay, the 4th Temporal Ruler of Bhutan, similar to a dzong. Now is the residence of young reincarnation of Gyelsey Tezin Rabgay.
National Memorial Chorten: was built by Royal Queen Mother, Ashi Phuntsho Choden in 1794 in memory of her son, the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The stupa now stands as a symbol of peace, where people of all age come to pray and circumambulate for merit.
Takin Reserve:Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor) has been chosen as the national animal of Bhutan because it is based both on its uniqueness and association with country’s history and mythology. It is said that Divine Madman, a popular Tibetan saint is said to have created the beast with his magical power at a large congregation of devotees. It resembles a calf from back, a goat from the front and continues to befuddle Taxonomists, who can not quite relate to other animal. It looks like Canadian Moose.
Zhilukha Nunnery: is housed in Drubthob Goemba (monastery). There are about 50 nuns who live and pray every day in the monastery. There are good views of the Tashichoe Dzong, Golf course and upper Thimphu.
Buddha Point: The newly built large statue of Buddha is one of the top visual priorities in Thimphu.
Drive east to Punakha takes about 3hrs. En-route, we stop to take the panoramic view of the Himalayan range from Dochula Pass (El. 3,050 m). We can take a short hike to Lunchutse Lhakhang for an hour in the forest exploring the nature. Descending from the Dochu-la Pas, visiting the Botanical Park Centre at Lamperi lets us know about the vegetation and habitats of the Park. Just before arriving in Punakha, we will take a short and easy walk for an hour. The hike to visit Chimi Lhakhang (No-dog temple), dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as ‘the Divine Madman’ and considered as folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways.Camping in Punakha along the Mo-chu river
Road from Thimphu to Punakha: The drive from Thimphu to Punakha or Wangdue Phodrang (75kms) takes about 3 hrs. The road climbs from Thimphu to Dochula Pass (3,050m), descends through ever changing forest into the semi-tropical valley of Punakha and Wangdue at about 1250m. Dochula Pass en-route, provides spectacular snow-capped mountains views of Eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan’s one of the highest mountains (Gangkar Phuensum – 7570m), on clear days. The pass is marked by 108 stupas which were built in 2004 commemorating victory of Bhutanese Army over Indian group of militants; ULFAs, Bodos and KLOs.
Lungchutse Lhakhang: The hike of an hour to Lunchutse Lhakhang (El. 3600m) through the rhododendron and orchids in oak forest is a great time to explore and enjoy the nature. The temple was built two and half centuries ago, served as the seat of the Treasure Revealer, Drukda Dorji. He had prophesized the birth of great fourth monarch of Bhutan, His Majesty the king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Her Majesty the queen Ashi Dorje Wangmo Wangckuck restored the temple along with 108 stupas at Dochu-la Pass in 2004.
Chimi Lhakhang: A fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popular as ‘the Divine Madman’ and considered a folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways. Drukpa Kuenley originally built a black stupa at the site; the temple was later built in the 15th century by his half brother, Ngawang Chogyal. The temple, flanked by nearly 100 tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill. It has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. This easy walk takes about less than 1 hr.
Drive to the idyllic countryside north of Punakha and start a gradual hiking ascent through cultivated field and little hamlets to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a shrine recently built by the Royal family. The shrine is an amazingly elaborate structure with rainbow images of Guru Rinpoche and superb views of Punakha valley. The hike uphill takes about ½ hr and after return, instead of driving back we follow the ancient riverside trails, amid farm houses, through So-nga-gasa and arrive near Punakha Dzong. This walk back from Khamsum to Punakha Dzong is expected to take more 2hrs depending on the weather conditions. Visit impressive Punakha Dzong, an architectural masterpiece, located on the confluence of Pho and Mo Chu rivers. Lunch will be served either picnic or at the camp.Overnight in tent
Punakha Dzong: or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, “ palace of great happiness” is located on the confluence of Pho-chu and Mo-chu Rivers. It was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in accordance to the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Master of the 7th century. The dzong still follows the ancient traditions; it serves as winter residence for chief abbot (Je-khenpo) and the monks of Central Monastic Body and Thimphu as the summer residence. The Building was damaged and rebuilt several times, due to flooding, fire and earthquake. It is an exemplary masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.
We will be driving early from Punakha same way back to Paro via Dochu-La Pass to visit Semtokha Dzong in Thimphu. Lunch will be in the Thimphu city. If interested, you can again grab your bikes to Paro. Stroll through the town in the evening.
Semtokha Dzong: The first dzong built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in Thimphu houses the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies. The fortress has been renovated with funding from the Indian and Bhutanese Government.
Start early! Drive to the starting point to Taktsang Monastery. Hike up for about 1 ½ hours to the Tea House, first half of the hike. Tea or coffee would be served at the Tea House and rest for a while. Hike further up to the monastery with lots of view points along the way.
After coming back from the hike visit Kyichu Lhakhang on the way back to the hotel.
Taktsang Goemba: Taktsang (Tiger’s lair) – or Taktsang Pelphug is one of the most venerated and famous monasteries of Bhutan. It is located on the face of a sheer 1000m cliff above the Paro valley. It is an impressive sight but accessible only by trek or pony. The walk to the Tea-house is a steep one hour uphill (about 350m ascent). From the Tea-house (El. 2795m), one can get a close-up view of Taktsang and most actually return back from here. After tea, snacks and rest, we will trek further uphill to a high observation point (3140m), where there is a Chorten (stupa). Continue down the flight of cliff-hanging steps on the narrow trail to a beautiful waterfall that plunges down the chasm and alongside is a retreat hermitage. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), the great Buddhist tantric master, who spread Buddhism across the entire Himalayas is said to have flown here in 8th century on the back of a Tigress. During his visit, he meditated in the cave here for three months. In 1692, Gyesey Tenzin Rabgye, Paro Governor built a two storey temple here, which over a period of time was expanded and refurbished. In April 1998, tragically, two of the three temples were completely burnt down by fire. It has now been restored to its original splendor.
Jyichu Lhakhang: is one of the most important Buddhist temples similar to Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang, before the advent of Buddhism in Bhutan. Tibetan King, Songtsen Gempo built the temple in 7th century, in order to pin down an ogress, obstructing him in flourishing Buddhism in the Himalayas.
Start early for Chelela Pass (3800m) between Paro and Haa by car. Chelela Pass offers a panoramic view of Mt. Jomolhari (7314m) towards north. Drive back for 30 minutes and start biking on an unpaved road through forest to Ugyen Guru Lhakhang (temple). Biking through the forest of pine, oak, hemlock and spruce is interesting and prominent to spot Pheasants. We may visit Ugyen Guru Lhakhang in the afternoon and descent to Bondey through village. Drive back to the hotel.
Leave for airport after breakfast
Trek Price - USD 1750