Bhutan Hike & Bike Tour

Long Duration Tour
From₹ 70,000
Long Duration Tour
From₹ 70,000
Fixed Departure
Private/Custom Tour
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September 15, 2019
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  • 10 Days
  • 250 kilometres
  • Bagdogra, Siliguri
  • Bagdogra, Siliguri

Tour Intensity

Medium Intensity Tour

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Best Season

Tour Overview

Bhutan Bike and Hike Tour

Bhutan, the “Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is no ordinary place. It’s a Himalayan kingdom replete with myths and legends of kings, saints, and magical Yeti’s. Our expedition starts from Paro, a small quaint border town of Bhutan and traverses through the lower Himalayan ranges into the heartland of Bhutan, the last remaining country that is ruled by a King. On this expedition, our travellers get an insight into the Buddhist country of Bhutan, its people, and their way of life. This expedition combines a good combination of cycling and hiking allowing you to explore the beautiful kingdom of Bhutan.

On this 10-day expedition, we’ve packed the right mix of cycling, hiking, leisure, and exploration that will introduce you to the people, their culture, and cuisines of the region. Hands-on experiences like archery lessons, a Cham (mask) dance performance, and all-encompassing sceneries will indulge your senses and the pace of a pedal will allow you plenty of opportunities to interact with the locals.

Who can do this tour?

The Bhutan Hike and Bike trail is a moderate intensity tour and ideal for a habitual cyclist. The vistas are pristine and the trail in Bhutan is a mix of gentle climbs, steady descents, combined with high altitudes reaching up to 3,500 metres. Cyclists should be in relatively overall good physical shape with at least a moderate degree of cycling experience. Being physically fit will of course be a huge asset but as the tour is fully supported the van is always close at hand if needed. We will climb up to 2 high passes above an altitude of 3,000 metres. The ascents however are fairly gradual and not intensely steep. Gradients vary between 5-10%.

Tour Video
Itinerary

The cycling leg of this expedition starts in Paro and makes its way through the diverse landscapes that are culturally and historically significant in Bhutan. The goal is to celebrate the land of happiness, share real-world experiences, where you will interact with the locals, understand their way of life, and relish the local cuisines. The terrain in Bhutan is quite hilly and the altitude ranges between 1,500 metres to 3,810 metres. Distances peddled daily will range between 40 to 80 kilometres (25 to 50 miles). The difficulty level will vary from being easy and manageable to challenging along the journey.

Day 1 : Drive to the border town of Bhutan

Arrive in Bagdogra, travellers are expected to arrive in Bagdogra before 3:00 PM and meet the Unventured team. You will take a cab to Phuentsholing (about 180 kilometres and a 3-4 hour ride) through the intricately crafted Bhutan Gate. Post completing the paper-work/formalities you will drive straight to the hotel and check-in.

Drive distance: 175 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You’ll meet and greet our fellow riders on the tour
• Take a long drive into Bhutan border
• Finish immigration formalities at the border town

Day 2 :Drive to capital town, Thimphu

You will drive from Phuentsholing to Thimpu stopping along the scenic route for pictures. At Thimpu, you will pick up your bikes (cycles) and fine-tune for best fit. If time permits, you will drive to Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) – one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.

Drive distance: 165 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You’ll drive to Bhutan capital town Thimphu
• Do a bike fit and gear check and ensure you’re ready for the ride
• Explore the market in the evening followed by a tour briefing at dinner

Day 3 : Ride up to Dochula Pass and long downhill ride to Punakha

Begin your bike trail through Bhutan with a ride up towards Dochu la Pass and onwards to Punakha. The distance is 23 kilometres to the top of the pass, trailing past balmy lush landscapes toward Punakha. Post lunch on top of the pass, you will mount your bikes and drive down to Punakha. Once in Punakha, you will check into the hotel and rest up.

Ride distance: 70 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Resort

Highlights:
• You’ll take the ride up to Dochula Pass
• Ride downhill to Punakha

Day 4 : Explore Punakha on bicycles

Explore the Punakha valley, ride through villages and towns, out to monasteries and Dzongs. The monastery is never short of stories and your tour leader will fill you in on the stories of the region and about legends and events. The trail around Punakha has views of the fresh green valleys and the gorgeous Mo Chu and Po Chu rivers. You will stop by for a scenic picnic lunch by the riverside. For the adventurous folks, you can ride across Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge and also indulge in a session of white water rafting (optional and time permitting) and finally ride back to our hotel.

Hike distance: 35 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Resort

Highlights:
• You’ll visit the monastery and Dzong famous in Punakha
• Enjoy the picturesque views of the valley and local interactions
• Adventure: Ride across a suspension bridge and go white water rafting

Day 5: Hike in Gangtey valley

Drive to Gangtey along the Phobjikha valley. The drive distance is approximately 80 kilometres and depending on the roads, it will take about 3 hours. Phobjikha is a bowl-shaped glacial valley on the western slopes of the black mountains bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park, which is famous for its winter visitor, the black-necked crane. These hills are also home to leopards, and red foxes. Post lunch, you will hike to witness surreal views of the valleys. You will spend the night at a monastic homestay, a fantastic experience sitting by the fire, tasting some local cuisine and enjoying the hospitality and conversations with the local hosts.

Drive/Hike distance: 80 kilometres/10 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Lodge

Highlights:
• You’ll drive into Gangtey
• Walk through the village and visit the black-necked crane centre
• You’ll hike up to Gangtey Monastery

Day 6 :Drive to Thimphu, night life in the capital town

After breakfast, you will drive towards Thimphu. It may take up to 6 hours. Post checking in to the hotel, you will head out for an authentic Bhutanese meal. Perhaps a visit to the handmade paper unit or to see the Takin (Bhutan’s national animal) and shop the high streets of Thimphu for memorabilia. In the evening, you’ll all grab a beer or visit the local karaoke club and sing to some Bhutanese tunes. Bhutan is safe for travellers, both men and women; sit back and enjoy their way of “modern” lifestyle.

Drive distance: 150 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You’ll drive to Thimphu
• Try singing karaoke and enjoy the nightlife in Thimphu
• Visit the Takin Conservatory (time permitting)

Day 7 : Bike ride to Paro

Post a hearty breakfast, you will ride out to Paro. The road to Paro is 65 kilometres and you will often meet fellow local cyclists trailing this route. Take the time to interact and perhaps gain an insight into the local cycling scene. Your trail has perfect tarmacked roads, with views of the valley on either side. The rolling terrain makes for fairly easy cycling. Check-in and lunch is at the hotel. Post lunch, you can head out to try your hand at archery or visit the Paro Dzong.

Ride distance: 55 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• Take a ride into Paro
• Visit a local microbrewery
• You’ll visit a local market and go shopping

Day 8 : Ride to Bhutan’s highest pass

Ride to Cheli La pass, the highest motorable pass in Bhutan, It’s located at a climb of 32 kilometres. You start early post a light breakfast and ride through surreal, lush green canopies all the way to Cheli La. As you ride, look for the roadside drub Chuu (natural spring) with a rock painting of Guru Rinpoche and his two wives. As you reach the top, join the Bhutanese in a hearty cry of “lha-gey lu!” (May the Gods be Victorious!), at the elevation of 3,819 metres on top of Cheli la. Lunch will be at the top of the pass with the views of the grand mountains. Enjoy the rewards of your climb with a downhill ride along the same trail back to Paro. In the evening, enjoy a dance of celebration with the mask dancers at your hotel.

Drive distance: 90 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You’ll ride up to Bhutan’s highest pass
• Enjoy the long downhill ride
• Be amazed by the evening performances

Day 9 :Hike up to Tiger's Nest Monastery, and drive back to India border

It’s time to bid goodbye to the mountains, your fellow travellers, and head toward your onward journey with many memories of the “Mysterious land”. For any assistance with ticketing and planning an extended holiday, you can always reach out to your tour guide who will assist you accordingly.

Drive/Hike distance: 0 Kilometres

Accommodation Type: None

Highlights:
• Bid adieu to new friends
• You’ll be given a drop to the airport

Tour Inclusions

The Unventured Experience

The Bhutan Hike and Bike Expedition is set against the backdrop of lush green mountains, river streams and valleys, quaint villages, and happy people living simple lives. The land is home to some of the most beautiful flower-bedecked meadows. The rich biodiversity of this mystical land makes it the Land of the Thunder Dragon. This 9-day expedition begins and ends in Bagdogra and includes about 300 kilometres of cycling over 7 days. We’ve packed the right mix of cycling, leisure, and exploration. You will experience stretches that challenge your limits, sceneries that indulge your senses and interactions with the locals that expose you to their culture. 

Preparedness – Physical & Mental

Our Bhutan Hike & Bike Expedition is a good blend of nature, culture, history, local food, and real-world experiences of Bhutan giving you a unique experience of “The Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a regular city commuter; you should be able to handle this trail. It has a good combination of challenging climbs to downhills through quaint countryside roads, villages, forest trails, and plantations for you to trail leisurely and interact with the locals.

This tour is graded medium intensity in terms of distance and gradient climbing since most of the rides will be done on 100% tarmac roads. We suggest that our guests start mountain biking in their own home country a month before this trip. This is to ensure you take away the unfamiliarity with mountain bikes that occur due to lack of practice, physical unpreparedness, and you don’t hold up the other prepared participants. This tour will include a local guide, a tour leader, mechanic, and a designated support vehicle with driver.

Cycling Support

Your tour will be supported with a “support vehicle”. The cycles are 21-speed aluminium 6061 alloy frame mountain bikes. You will also have a well-trained mechanic accompanying you, and a full repair kit with essential spares. We will also be carrying a backup cycle along the expedition; just so that nobody misses out on the riding experience, should his or her bike have a serious breakdown.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in 2-3 star hotels and homestays with good hygienic bathrooms offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport: A team of 10-12 riders will be supported by one coaster bus with a carrier that will transport both the riders and bikes along with a spare cycle, lunch packs, and water. Through the day this vehicle will trail with the riders.

Our tour cost is inclusive of:

  • Trasnport From Bagdogra to Bagdogra
  • Accomodation on all days
  • All meals specified in the itinerary, water, juices, and snack pack
  • Good quality cycles and helmet (Mountain Bikes)
  • Mechanical and medicinal support through the tour
  • Services of a local guide

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic/aerated beverages
  • Camera charges (still and video)
  • Evacuation charges
  • Expenses incurred beyond our control (bad weather, natural calamity)
Photos
1 Review
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Taresh Ghei

Solo Traveller

Bhutan, a land with breathtaking sceneries and the highest happiness quotient in the world. What better way is there to experience this country, it’s people and their culture than through the pace of the cycle. The Unventured team is a group of highly passionate and enthusiastic individuals and that passion and enthusiasm shows through every facet of the trip. Right from the initial telephone conversations, the welcome emails, the information snippets, to practice rides and to the actual trip, everything is meticulously planned and flawlessly executed. Accommodation arrangements in Bhutan were brilliant, We got to savour some of the local cuisine along with the traditional Indian meals and the bikes we rode were also well maintained.
The Rides themselves were very well balanced between easy to medium and slightly hard on the last day climb up Chele La Pass. All during the trip, there was plenty of freedom to just stop and take a few photos and the organizers made sure that the group rode together. Every query was answered and every concern was addressed immediately. Bhutan is a beautiful country and every Dzong, every Monastery has a story and we got a chance to learn about their history, culture and customs. Some of the places we traveled to were stunning especially Phobjikha Valley in Gangte. The ride through the valley was surreal.
All in all, this was one of the best trips that I have taken so far with a fantastic group of people. I highly recommend going on a trip with Unventured.

February 16, 2018
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