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Bhutan Hike and Bike

With its high mountain trails and sealed mainly car free roads, the Kingdom of Bhutan lends itself to exploration on foot and by bike for a fully immersive experience. Pedal through the Paro Valley to the foot of the famous Taktsang 'Tigers Nest' Monastery, built high on a Himalayan cliff, freewheel from the Dochu La (3110m) to the Punakha Valley and take in the cultural highlights of Thimphu by bike. The cycling is fully supported with a vehicle on hand should you wish to take a break. Swapping our two wheels for our hiking boots, and in the company of our expert local guides, we follow trails that lead high above the Paro and Thimphu valleys to gain unrivalled views of the Himalayan peaks that define the borderlands of Bhutan and Tibet. Much of the route is through pristine forests of conifer, oak and rhododendrons while part of the trek experience is encountering yak herders as they establish their summer encampments. During the trip there is ample time to wander through markets and appreciate the monasteries and forts that reflect the deep cultural heritage of this remarkable Buddhist kingdom.

Inclusions

12 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 12 dinners
airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 13
English speaking local guide
good quality accommodation in Paro / Thimphu / Punakha
the use of a World Expeditions trek pack which includes a quality sleeping bag, down or fibre fill jacket and insulated mat (valued at over US$500)
support vehicle and bike mechanic on cycle sections
rental of good quality mountain bike
all group camping equipment
mineral water on cycle sections
private vehicle transport
trekking permits, park entrance fees, sight entrance fees
animals to carry 20kgs personal equipment
pre-departure Information Guide, with all you need to know for your trek
souvenir World Expeditions kit bag
Bhutan Government visa and sustainability fees
Hightlights
Bike the Dochu La and freewheel to Punakha with its magnificent dzong
Ascend forest trails to absorb the sweeping views of the sacred Chomolhari Peak (7326m)
Cycle and hike to Taktsang 'Tiger's Nest' Monastery
Discover the monasteries and market places of the capital, Thimphu
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
13
Price From
AUD $5,440
Start Location
Paro, Bhutan
End Location
Bhutan
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
3 to 16
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Adventure, Cycling/Trekking
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
29 Mar 201910 Apr 2019AvailableAUD $5,440
06 Apr 201918 Apr 2019AvailableAUD $5,440
20 Sep 201902 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $5,440
27 Sep 201909 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $5,440
27 Mar 202008 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $5,440
04 Apr 202016 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $5,440
18 Sep 202030 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $5,440
25 Sep 202007 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $5,440
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
You will be met at the airport by our Bhutan group leader who will then transfer you to your hotel. Once checked in, we take our first opportunity to explore Paro. In the evening there will be a briefing held by our Bhutan guide on your stay in Bhutan.
Day 2
This morning offers your first opportunity to experience Bhutan from the saddle with an optional ride to the road head near Taktsang Monastery. Alternatively, make use of the transfer vehicle to transport you to the base of the Taktsang Monastery. From the road head it is a two to three hour ascent, providing an excellent opportunity to acclimatise for the adventure that awaits in the coming days. Taktsang Monastery - the site of the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery which is one of the divine resting places of the Guru Ringpoche. The monastery was destroyed by fire a few years ago but the rebuilding is nearly complete thanks to various donations from European NGO's. After visiting Taktsang monastery, an unforgettable experience, we return to our hotel.
Day 3
In the morning we cycle to the National Museum. From the museum we switch our mode of transport and walk to the beautiful Paro Dzong. This fortress dates back to the 15th century and houses the Royal Government offices along with the residences of the monk body. A short walk from the Paro Dzong we will rendezvous with a vehicle that will be waiting with your bike. From here bike on the Chele La road and for those with energy to burn why not tackle the 1500 metre ascent of Chele La (3700m).
Day 4
A short stage to assist acclimatisation. We ascend through a forest of blue pine and silver birch for a further two hours. Just above the treeline we reach an alpine glade and the Jilli La (3580m) and gain fine views back down the Paro Valley. It's a short distance onto camp in a beautiful sheltered clearing to the east of the pass (3490m). In the afternoon we visit the nearby Jilli Dzong, an impressive fort cum monastery with panoramic views. In the vicinity of the Dzong there are many prayer flags hung from commemorative poles that reflect the ancient Buddhist beliefs that extend across the ridge tops of Bhutan.
Day 5
Today we hike for about 4-5 hours, through beautiful local forests. The trail meanders through the Bhutanese countryside, ascending over mountain ridges and descending to ford the streams below. Views of the Paro town are again a feature of the days trekking.
Day 6
Another spectacular day as we continue north along tan alpine ridge. En route we cross a series of small passes in the vicinity of 4050m with each marked by a stone memorial and an abundance of prayer flags. From the passes there are also fine views of many of the peaks that form the border with Tibet. From our lunch spot we can appreciate the location of our campsite on the shores of the Jimilang Tsho. To reach the lake involves a long and gradual descent taking an hour or so, at first across alpine meadows and then through rhododendron and conifer forest to this wonderful campsite.
Day 7
From the lake the trail ascends through rhododendron forest before traversing a series of grazing meadows. It takes around three hours to reach the secluded encampment of Janye Tsho (3950 metres) and a fine place for a break. Thereafter the profile of the trail continues with short ascents and descents to reach the campsite above Simkota Tsho (4050 metres). From the campsite you can appreciate Jilli Dzong and the ridge-line you trekked along a few days earlier.
Day 8
On our final day along the ridges we head over a series of small passes leading towards the Thimphu Valley. En route we pass a number of yak herders settlements and alpine lakes before reaching the Phume La (4200m) from where we appreciate the vast sprawl of the Thimphu Valley. We continue our descent to a campsite near Phajoding Gmba (3650m). This is a beautiful Buddhist monastery and an important pilgrimage site for the Bhutanese people. In the afternoon we descend into the Thimphu Valley through yet more pine and rhododendron forest before arriving into the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu, in the early evening.
Day 9
Bhutan's capital is by no means large and is easily explored by bike. You will be taking in such sights as the large Stupa dedicated to the late King HM. Jimge Dorji Wangchuk, regarded as the founder of modern day Bhutan. Then there is the Handicraft Emporium with famous weaving, woodcarvings and paintings while the Post Office sells Bhutan's world-renowned stamps. The main Secretariat building is our final stop for the day, the Tashichho Dzong is the most prominent building consisting of the main Secretariat, the National Assembly Hall, the Office of the King and the Throne Room. It's remarkable 13th century construction is in traditional Bhutanese style without the use of nails or metal of any kind.
Day 10
This morning bike to the Dochu La, where at 3000 metres one can get spectacular views of the surrounding Bhutanese Himalayas. From here we bike downhill to the ancient capital of Punakha. The magnificent Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Mo Chhu and the Pho Chhu. Allowing for a breathtaking vista to mark your arrival as you cycle into town. En route there is the possibility of taking a detour hike to the temple of the Divine Madman Drukpa Kuenley named so on account of his unconventional methods and teachings.
Day 11
Today you will hike to the Khamsum Yuley Namgyel monastery, a lovely hike that takes 45 minutes past cabbage and chili fields. From here the monastery affords breathtaking views of the valley below and up to the highlands of Gasa. After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong. This 16th century Dzong houses about 500+ monks during the winter months and was the site of the corination of the first King of Bhutan in 1907. Here you will also find some of the largest statues of Buddha, Guru Rimpochey and the Shabdrung, prominent figures and objects of worship by Bhutanese Buddhists.
Day 12
Today we head back over the Dochula, this time by vehicle, and onto Thimphu for Lunch. After lunch, we again saddle up for the leisurely ride along the paved road back to Paro, an enjoyable way to round out this Bhutanese adventure.
Day 13
Your guide and driver will accompany you to the airport and bid their farewells.