West to East on Low Carbon Wheels biking tour

Mountain biking is the best way to discover Bhutan, a very scenic mountainous terrain. Bhutanese locals and visitors are taking to this new sports tourism as it is Low Carbon and it gives an authentic experience by cycling through off roads inhaling fresh air all the way. As much as riders are expected to be adequately fit, our tour guides and van drivers are perfectly equipped with survival and safety skills required to tread these routes.

Best features you will find on this Cycling experience:

  • *  Traditional Bhutanese Welcome.
  • *  Ride to visit SimtokhaDzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627 in Thimphu.
  • *  Biking to Punakha covering almost 70 km within 4 hours with scenic stops at Dochula Pass featuring 108 stupas at 3,116m for a hot cup of Bhutanese tea (Suja).
* Bike trail along 17th century PunakhaDzong and a 21km ride to Wangduephodrang (ap- prox.2 hours).

*  Altitude ride of about 70km for about 4 hours to Gangtey to enjoy an   excursion of Phob- jikha valley (famous for black-necked cranes and endangered species).

  • *  Enjoy the night skyline under your tent.
  • *  The longest ride from Gangtey to Trongsa (125 km, approx. 6 hours) crossing 3,300 m high Pelela pass.
  • *  See the stupa patterned on Swayambhunath in Kathmandu.
  • *  Stay in local homestays in Trongsa.
  • *  Ascend 3000m (68km in 5 hours) and descent 2700m (swiftly) to get to Bumthang for relaxation and enjoy sights of beautiful valleys and temples
  • * Experience a village at 3000m elevation named Ura Valley to explore monastery and village lifestyle.
  • * Experience tented nights at Limithang camp and local markets in Mongar.
  • * Ride for 5 hours from Mongar to GomKora across Kori la pass at an elevation of 2,450m.
  • * Experience local weaving activities at TrashiYangtse (65 km away from GomKora).
  • * See the confluence of two valleys in Doksum and visit the “ChortenKora”.
  • * Cycle on an interesting journey from TrashiYangtse to Trashigang (65 km, approx. 5 hours) on a trail, which has gradual ups and downs for 55 kms.
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* Experience easy rides from Trashigang to Mongar within 3 hours covering over 90kms.
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* Enjoy the challenge of Mongar to Bhumthang within 7 hours an over 190kms, and from Bhumthang to Thimpu covering over 265km within 11-13 hours. These routes back to Paro are indeed a challenge to any cyclist.

Demography: Explorer/ Challenger

Duration: 15 days

Best to visit: March to November

Our trips provide a sense of being transported back in history. Bhutan’s mountainous terrain offers a fascinating adventure for biking enthusiasts.

Day 01: Bangkok/Delhi/Katmandu – Paro

Highlights: Spectacular views of Mt Everest (8,848 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586m) and Lhotse (8,414 m); and a literal adrenaline-pumping landing on the roof of the world.

Travel by Druk Air, Bhutan’s national airline, to Paro, the country’s only international airport. The flight is exhilarating to say the least, as the route traverses parallel to the mighty Himalayas enabling passengers to see the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest, and many more. The descent affords a panoramic view of Bhutan’s foothills culminating into a thrilling landing at what is considered one of the world’s most challenging airports.

Meet your guide at the airport and head to the hotel for lunch. Devote the afternoon to sightseeing around the Paro valley famed for its natural beauty, historical monuments, agricultural farms and quintessentially Bhutanese village communities. Visit the National Museum, formerly a watch tower, and then the Castle on a Heap of Precious Jewels or RinpungDzong. Wind up the day with a stroll around Paro town. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02: Discovering Paro Valley

Highlights: Hike to the Tiger’s Lair, the most famous Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas, built on a sheer rockface.

After breakfast, drive for half an hour and start hiking up to the temple that is renowned in the Himalayan Buddhist world as one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage. The five-hour round trip follows an ancient but oft-trodden footpath flanked by water-driven prayer wheels.

The temple, precariously perched on a hair-raising ravine about 1,000 metres above the valley floor, is considered sacrosanct as it was in a cave within this temple that the eight century tantric saint, Padmasambhava, subdued the evils who obstructed the teachings of the Buddha. The saint is believed to have come to Taktshang in a fiery wrathful form riding a tigress. Over the years, many Buddhist saints have meditated in and around the temple and discovered numerous hidden treasure teachings.

Visit the ruins of DrugyelDzongenroute. The fortress known as the “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, is a symbol of Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetan invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries. We can also get a view of the sacred mountain, Jumolhari, along the way. On the way back to our hotel, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Temple believed to have been built on a place that resembled a knee of a giant ogress.

Evening Bike check, briefing & familiarization ride an orientation briefing before a short acclimatization ride in the valley. Overnight at hotel

Day 03: Paro – Chele La (3810m) and Haa Valley (2670m)

Start early for the drive to Haa via Chele La (pass) which, at 3810m, is the highest road pass in Bhutan. The road snakes upwards through blue pine and rhododendron (EthoMetho) forests for 35km and on a clear day the view sweeps away to the snow-dome of Bhutan’s highest peak Mt Jhomolhari (7314m).

The Haa valley only opened to foreigners in 2002 due to its strategic proximity to the border with Sikkim and Tibet. This beautiful &unspoilt valley harks back to a simpler more traditional time.

After a bracing ride along the prayer flag bedecked ridge it is a freewheel all the way down to WangchuloDzong in the remote valley of Haa. The Dzong is presently occupied by the Indian Army and makes for a quirky experience. Having visited the local bazaar it is a short bike ride along the HaaChhu (river) to a picnic spot for lunch. Having climbed to the road head we enjoy the freewheel back to LhakhangKarpo (the White Temple). Evening free walk in Haa town and villages.Overnight at hotel

Day 04:Haa-Thimphu 110km

Ride to Thimphu, this will take appx 05 -06hrs depending on the level of professionalism and biking skills. The ride is all along the lined willow trees and the beautiful villages of Haa. All along you ride parallel to the riverbank.  Enrout stop at HaaDhobjiDzong for amazing pictures with the group and descend down to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu River known as chuzom. Than you can ascend gradually up to thimphu and when to arrive to Thimphu. Check into hotel. Evening have a leisure in the capital. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: A Sojourn in Thimphu

Highlights: The power centre and the capital city of the Happy Kingdom. Also the hub of commerce and culture.

In the morning we will drive to Buddha Point which provides a spectacular 360 degree close-quarter view of entire Thimphu and the adjoining areas. This is the site of the world’s tallest statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. Our next destination is the 12th century Changangkha Temple, Takin Zoo and the viewpoint at Sangaygang. On our way back, we stopover at a nunnery, the Folk Heritage Museum and the Textile Museum.

After lunch, we will proceed to TashichhoDzong, a 17th century castle-fortress which today houses the offices of the King, Chief Abbot and government ministries. We will also take the opportunity to see the nearby parliament complex, the School of Arts and Crafts, vegetable market, and then spend the rest of the day watching an archery match and strolling around the town.

Day 06: Thimphu – Punakha. 80km. 
Do some quick sightseeing and places of interest before heading for the Dochula pass, this will take about 02-03hrs uphill, But once you reach the Pass at 3000m, views and hard work is rewarding with the Eastern Himalayan range weather permitting. After that it is all downhill till you reach the warm and lush valley of Punakha region. Can visit the Chimeylhakhang/monastery of the divine mad man or the temple of fertility. Lunch at local restaurant.

Explore the fertile and flat valley of Punakha, ride north towards the Crown Prince’s Monastery perched on a strategic location on a hill top overlooking the rich rice terraced fields. Visit the PunakhaDzong, which is located on the confluence of two rivers. This Dzong used to be the former capital of Bhutan and till date still used as the winter capital by the clergy. Overnight at hotel

Day 07:Punakha – Gangtey 83km. 
Ride to Phobjikha valley, the abode of the black neck cranes, enroute visit WangdueDzong, all along you ride and see the villages of Sha. The backup vehicle will always there following the cyclists and at any point of time riders get exhausted you can continue on the back up car.

Day 08: Gangtey–Tronggsa

Highlights: Landscape, semi-nomads, diverse vegetation, and sighting of high altitude birds and animals enroute

Time to climb, over Lawala pass up to Pele La but the effort is rewarded with a 27 km downhill to Chendebji, with the Black Mountains providing a stunning backdrop. Then it’s a gentle climb all the way to Trongsa. Overnight at hotel

Day 09: Trongsa – Bumthang

Highlights: Trongsa palace-fortress, Black Mountain range, and local textile

We begin our day with a visit to TrongsaDzong, the biggest palace-fortress in the Kingdom reputed to have been built without using a single iron nail. This fortress has for centuries been the vanguard of powerful warriors, one of whom even led successful expeditionary forces against British-Indian army in the southern boundaries of his domain. We complete our Trongsa sojourn with a visit to the Watch Tower, Ta dzong, which is today preserved as the Museum of Bhutanese Kings.

The drive to Bumthang is initially an upward ascent for nearly half the journey till we reach the highest point at Yotong La pass (3,400 m). After a brief stopover to view the Black Mountain range, we drive towards Chumey entering the country’s most expansive and beautiful valley known as Bumthang or a Meadow of Beautiful Vase. The women of Chumey are known for their skills in weaving the exquisite Yathra – a clothing with intricate floral patterns woven out of sheep’s wool.

Night halt in Bumthang

Day 10: Stopover in Bumthang

Highlights: Monuments and structures which bring alive the exploits of saints and kings

This is the valley of myths and legends. One of the oldest surviving man-made structures in Bhutan, a temple dedicated to Buddha Shakyamuni, JambayLhakhang, was built in 639 AD as part of an oath by Tibetan emperor SongstenGampo to subdue a demoness who lay spread-eagled across the Himalayas obstructing the teachings of the Buddha. Our next visit will be the Castle of the White Bird (JakarDzong) whose central tower (utse) is the tallest in Bhutan. The castle currently serves as the administrative centre for the district.

From Jakar, we drive a short distance to Chakhar and then to KurjeyLhakhag. Albeit oblivious today, Chakhar is the site of the legendary “Nine-Storied Iron Castle” built by Sindhu Raja (king) in the 8th century and the innumerable myths surrounding it. Kurjey, meaning “Body Imprint on Rock”, has temples built against a wall of cliff. The imprint belongs to the 8th century saint Padmasambhava who mediated in a rock cave and, using his tantric powers as well as guile and guise, subdued the evils who tormented the people in the vicinity.

After lunch at our hotel, we drive to Tamzhingmonastery which preserves the remains of the works of TertonPemaLingpa who, in the 15th century, discovered many secret tantric teachings hidden by Padmasambhava. PemaLingpa was an artist and sculptor extraordinaire but, more importantly, one of the five “King Tertons” – treasure revealers – of Vajrayana Buddhism. Our last visit for the day is the “Burning Lake” in Tang where PemaLingpa, challenged by a local warlord, took a dive into a pool with a lighted butter lamp on his head and re-emerged from the lake with the lamp intact and holding a hitherto unknown statue in his hands.

Night halt in Bumthang.

Day 11: Bumthangvalley hike

Today you will be hiking around Bumthang valley with picnic lunch.  During the hike you will visit some monastery, farmhouse and enjoy local food with families.If you would like to do horse riding for two or three hour we can arrange for you. Overnight at hotel

Day 12– Bumthang to Mongar via Ura valley (Central to East)

Today we have a long drive about 193 km, it take 8 to 9 hours drive. Enroute visit MembarTsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rimpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover PemaLingpa. It’s a good place to meditate. On the way you will really enjoy the scenery of nature beauty of Snowcap Mountains, flowers, yak and deep forest, you’ll make a stop in URA valley for view of temple and village. Ura Village has a medieval look to it because of the cobblestone streets, and the typical clothing of the women includes a sheepskin shawl.

Sengor Valley separates Central from Eastern Bhutan. Eastern Bhutan is the least traveled area of the country and is where many of the kingdom’s most ancient spiritual sights are found. Begin your journey to the East is one of the most beautiful. Out of Ura, the highway climbs steeply to Thrumshing La (the second highest pass, 3,800m-12,465ft.) along the West to East highway. The descent from Thrumshing La to Lingmithang is amazing for a number of reasons. The road drops from 3,800 meters to 650 meters in only a few hours passing from pine forest through semi-tropical forest to orange groves. Arriving at Mongar marks the beginning of your eastern Bhutan experience. Many towns in eastern Bhutan are built on the sides of the hills which contrast to the west where they develop on the valley floor. MongarDzong was built in 1953 by the orders of the Third King, JigmeDorjeWangchuck. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13:Mongar to Trashigang

After breakfast drive about 93 km it take 3 hour drive, morning visit the MongarDzong.   Begin your trip to Trashigang, passing through several villages. In the afternoon, you can visit TrashigangDzong and stroll through the town, absorbing the culture of eastern Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14: Trashigang to Tashiyangtse and back

After breakfast drive 48km it’s an hour more to Tashiyangtse is a small town rich in Bhutanese arts and legend. On the drive to Tashiyangtse you pass the small town of Duksum located on the DrangmeChhu and its tributary. It is a few kilometers past GomKora A large boulder sits in the garden of GomKora (GomKora) Temple and its is said that if anyone can climb below the rock and emerge from its summit, he will be forgiven of his sins. Duksum is nothing fancy but it is a small weaver’s town where you can find a fair amount of weavers producing some very nice work. Every year in spring, ChortenKora is the sight of one of the most famous festivals in Bhutan. Although quite remote the ChortenKoraTshechu attracts people from all parts of the country. Overnight at hotel.

Day 14:Trashigang – SamdrupJongkhar in the south

The 6-7 hours drive down south to the SamdrupJongkhar is about 180 km. the route takes you through Kanlung the University called (Sherubtse College – the only one in the Bhutan) town; pass the till village of Khaling where you will have a heartwarming experienced at the blind school and weaving center beside highway. Most of the road is built on ridges and lined in places by stone chortens; a common site is the dwellings raised on stilts and roofed with bamboo mats, the last ridges you will cross in the military camp at Deothang2850feet. Descend down into broader town SamdrupJongkhar. Overnight at hotel

Day 15: Samdrupjongkhar – Gauhati and fly out

After breakfast drive 154km its take 3 hour to Gauhati Airport.

Good bye! And fond memories from the Kingdom in the sky.

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