Start: Paro

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Bhutan Thunder Dragon Guided Cycling Holiday
Guided | 12 days | 11 nights | Please call us for latest prices.

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Tour Summary


A mountain biking holiday across the Shangri La kingdom of Bhutan

“A chance to explore one of the least visited of the Himalayan countries.”

· Challenging climbs, endless descents, the perfect cycling holiday
· The monasteries at Punakha, Tongsa, Gantey and Jakar
· Meet Bhutan`s colourful people by bike
· One of the best cycle touring holidays in the world

9 nights hotels and lodges, 2 nights camping, 9 days biking, 780 km (485 miles), 10% off-road, 100% vehicle supported, Max altitude – 3822 metres.

Join in Delhi, MEAL PLAN: All meals included.

Tour Introduction


The classic bike ride across Bhutan is one of the world’s most challenging cycle holidays. At the eastern end of the Himalaya, sandwiched between India and Tibet, the ‘Shangri La’ kingdom of Bhutan is renowned for its colourful Buddhist culture and for the beauty of its unspoiled mountain scenery.

A single spectacular road runs west to east across the country, traversing a succession of steep-sided and heavily wooded ridges. Presenting long climbs on easy-angled switchbacks, as well as mind-blowing descents that seem to last for hours, this largely deserted single-track highway provides the basis for one of the worlds’ great bike journeys.

Starting out from Paro and crossing several high passes, we accumulate a total of 15,500 metres of ascent and a staggering 18,200 metres of descent, en route to the eastern land border with India at Sandrup Jongkhar. Staying primarily in characterful lodges and with plenty of opportunity to meet the Bhutanese people, this is an unmissable adventure biking holiday.

A sparsely populated country, Bhutan is often likened to Switzerland because of its small size, jealously guarded isolation and stunning mountain scenery. More than 90% of the population are hill farmers who live in small villages spread over rugged mountain country. Buddhist teachings and philosophy are influential throughout the kingdom, as they have been since the 7th century and a deep and traditional reverence for nature has led to Bhutan imposing some of the strictest standards of environmental preservation in the world.

More than 65% of the land is still under forest cover and some of the rarest of Himalayan wildlife, such as the blue sheep, takin and golden langur, are quite common. It is generally reckoned that even the most experienced traveller will find Bhutan to be a revelation and we cannot disagree. In this country known as Druk Yul, the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, the fortunate visitor will find a rare combination of harmony and accord, amongst incredible natural beauty.

The air is clean and unpolluted, the mountains are magnificent and the architecture is inspiring. Bhutan is the least visited of all the Himalayan countries, as a direct result of a deliberate government policy that restricts the number of tourists allowed into the country.

Day-by-Day Cycling Holiday Itinerary


Day 1: Delhi Airport

Rendezvous at the group hotel in Delhi which is conveniently located near the airport.

Delhi Airport transfers are provided for clients arriving on this day.

Package services begin with the overnight at the group hotel.

Day 2: Flight to Paro

We take the spectacular onward flight to Bhutan’s only airport at Paro, arriving in the afternoon.

We meet our Bhutanese guide and crew and transfer to our hotel in the Paro Valley.

Day 3: Dochu La

We make an early start and set off biking on the new road towards Thimpu.

In sight of the Bhutanese capital, we turn off and make the long climb over the Dochu La.

A stunning 1700 metre descent then takes us into the Punakha Valley, where we can visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong. Overnight in Punakha.

Ride distance 118 km (74 miles) with 1565 metres of ascent and 2697 metres of descent.

Day 4: Phobjikha Valley

One of the most challenging biking days lies ahead, as we climb over the Black Mountains that lead us to Gantey and the Phobjikha Valley, one of the winter homes of the Himalayan black-necked crane. Overnight in Gantey.

Ride distance 75 km (47 miles) with 2751 metres of ascent and 1119 metres of descent.

Day 5: Tongsa

Our route today continues across the Chele La, with another fantastic descent on a twisting road through forest, to Tongsa.

Overnight in a lodge close to the spectacular Tongsa Dzong.

We visit the dzong in the afternoon and may even see some Bhutanese archery.

Ride distance 76 km (48 miles) with 1085 metres of ascent and 1977 metres of descent.

Day 6: Bumthang

Another climb, to the Yutong La (3400m), followed by a long descent into Bumthang.

There is a further short climb to the Kiki La, beyond which we coast down to our overnight stop in the small town of Jakar.

Ride distance 70 km (44 miles) with 1919 metres of ascent and 1420 metres of descent.

Day 7: Wangthang La

The Ura La provides another major ascent, followed by a long swooping descent through pasture and farmed land to our camping place beyond Ura Village and the crossing of the Wangthang La.

Ride distance 77 km (48 miles) with 2018 metres of ascent and 1161 metres of descent.

Day 8: Thumsing La

A long and gradual ascent to the Thumsing La (3800m), the last of the big climbs.

Then an enjoyable, beautiful descent and a final climb to Mongar.

Ride distance 109 km (68 miles) with 1671 metres of ascent and 3492 metres of descent.

Day 9: Tashigang

A more modest climb to the Kori La, then another superb descent to the Sheri River and a final taxing climb up to our lodge in the town of Tashigang.

Ride distance 90 km (56 miles) with 1877 metres of ascent and 2341 metres of descent.

Day 10: Wamrong

Turning southwards towards India, we still have two long days of riding ahead of us.

We initailly climb to Kanglung and cross several passes to reach Khaling, famous for its weaving and handicraft, before continuing our ride to Wamrong.

Ride distance 78 km (49 miles) with 2561 metres of ascent and 1434 metres of descent.

Day 11: Samdrup Jongkhar

We climb to another low pass at 2450 metres, the last of the trip.

From here, it’s all pretty much downhill, as we follow an undulating ridge-top road to Samdrup Jongkhar and the Indian Border.

Ride distance 95 km (59 miles) with 1344 metres of ascent and 3415 metres of descent.

Day 12: Gauhati

We cross the border and drive to the airport at Gauhati.

From here, we fly to Delhi and transfer to our hotel near the airport for showers and dinner.

Later, we transfer back to Delhi Airport to check in for our homeward flight.

Package services end on arrival at the airport.

Map & Route Information

Is this holiday for you?

A mountain bike fitted with semi-slick tyres is ideal for this holiday.

This is a mostly road-based trip and is suitable for regular weekend riders.

The road is narrow, little used and 90% tarmac, with rough sections on the high passes.

This trip has some long days and several tough climbs. There are 10 road passes to cross on this spectacular ride, the highest of which are the Pele La (3420m) and the Thumsing La (3800m).

What goes up must come down, and the descents are equally awesome, the longest involving 3259 metres of descent over 85 km (53 miles) – one of the longest in the world.

The climbs are usually not steep and the roads are generally narrow and almost traffic-free.

Biking at altitudes between 600 metres and 3800 metres, we will notice a marked difference in temperatures – from very pleasant and warm to cold and frosty on the highest of the passes.

Winter clothing is recommended for the highest of passes and some of the descents will be cold! The average time in the saddle will vary between 6 and 8 hours each day, with at least 2 longer days of up to 10 hours, inclusive of stops, covering in excess of 100 km (62 miles).

The route is rideable in the time we have allowed, but we do have a support vehicle throughout and riders finding the going tough can opt to take a rest at any time.

Aimed at regular bikers, this holiday will provide a sustained challenge and you will need a good level of fitness to fully enjoy it

Where is the starting point of the holiday?


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Tour Route Map
Map & Route information will become available shortly.

Tour Information

Holiday Information


Holiday Overview

Please read carefully as important information is contained in the below…

What’s Included

• Delhi Airport transfers (on Day 1 and Day 12 of the Land Only itinerary)
• Internal flights and all land transport as detailed in the itinerary
• Support vehicles and drivers throughout the time that the group spends in Bhutan
• All accommodation as described
• All meals included

What’s Not Included

• Travel insurance
• Indian and Bhutan Visas
• Delhi Airport transfers (other than on Day 1 and Day 12 of the Land Only itinerary)
• Tips for local support crew
• Departure taxes
• Miscellaneous expenses – drinks and souvenirs etc
• Bike Carriage on the flights – please check with the airlines for charges

Meal Plan

All meals are included except lunch and dinner on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and lunch on Day 12.

Accommodation

On arrival in Delhi we stay in a tourist class hotel near to the airport.

On our return to Delhi at the end of the trip, the group will have time for an evening meal in a restaurant before transferring to the international airport.

Although no overnight hotel is included on this last night we make use of a couple of day rooms to allow us to shower and change ahead of our homeward flight.

We use the best available standard of hotel and lodge accommodation during our time in Bhutan and there are one/two nights where we will probably have to camp.

All accommodation is allocated on a twin-sharing basis.

If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex.

It is possible to hire a single tent for the camping nights, at additional cost (please note that single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels).

Depending on availability, it should also be possible to book a single room for the hotel night in Delhi and for the hotels and lodges in Bhutan.

Is this holiday for you?

A mountain bike fitted with semi-slick tyres is ideal for this holiday. This is a mostly road-based trip and is suitable for regular weekend riders. The road is narrow, little used and 90% tarmac, with rough sections on the high passes. This trip has some long days and several tough climbs.

There are 10 road passes to cross on this spectacular ride, the highest of which are the Pele La (3420m) and the Thumsing La (3800m). What goes up must come down, and the descents are equally awesome, the longest involving 3259 metres of descent over 85 km (53 miles) – one of the longest in the world. The climbs are usually not steep and the roads are generally narrow and almost traffic-free.

Biking at altitudes between 600 metres and 3800 metres, we will notice a marked difference in temperatures – from very pleasant and warm to cold and frosty on the highest of the passes. Winter clothing is recommended for the highest of passes and some of the descents will be cold! The average time in the saddle will vary between 6 and 8 hours each day, with at least 2 longer days of up to 10 hours, inclusive of stops, covering in excess of 100 km (62 miles).

The route is rideable in the time we have allowed, but we do have a support vehicle throughout and riders finding the going tough can opt to take a rest at any time. Aimed at regular bikers, this holiday will provide a sustained challenge and you will need a good level of fitness to fully enjoy it! Bike hire available locally.

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Your Prices

Bhutan Thunder Dragon, 12 days, 11 nights
Prices are per person and excludes bike hire.

Please call us on 0161 703 5819 for latest prices and availability.

For help and queries regarding this tour…
Contact us

Holiday Price: £Call
Single Supplement: On Request

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Call: 0800 731 1631

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