Day 1-Welcome to Bhutan
Monday - 5th of November 2018 @ Metta resort
If you are arriving on a bright sunny day, your holiday begins with a panoramic view of the Himalayan range from your Drukair seat, where you’ll be greeted by Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, and our very own Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drakey. Make sure you are seated on the left side of the aisle for better views over the himalayan ranges (ask the check-in counter).
Upon arrival, our friendly guides will help you settle into your comfortable car, and then proceed to your hotel where your bikes will be waiting for you (if we are to provide the wheels). Take a easy spin around Paro valley to give you a first impressions of Bhutan. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang – believed to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan built during the 08th century. Dinner at some of the best restaurants and end the evening with a tour briefing session.
Day 2-Ride on Farm Roads around Paro Valley. 30-40km
Tuesday - 6th of November 2018 @ Metta resort
Lets prepare you for your ride in the coming days and start flexin your muscles and acclimatise to the altitude. After breakfast, ride on dirt roads to Pombitsa village and all the way to the village temple located on top of a mountain. The ride is circa 10 km on gentle ascents and trespasses several villages surrounded by apple orchards and rural life. The temple offers nice panoramic views over the valleys of Paro. After a picnic on the temple grounds, ride down to Paro valley.
This afternoon a 15km ride north up the Paro Valley to the old ruined fortress of Drugyel Dzong which burned down in the 1950′s. This is the historical site of the Fort of Drukpa Victory where the Bhutanese repelled countless attacks by the Tibetans over the centuries. On a clear day views of the majestic 24,000ft sacred Mt Chomolhari can be seen.
Returning down the valley cross over the suspension bridge at Lango village and travel on a farm road which passes through many small villages for an intriguing insight into rural Bhutanese life. Continue on down to south Paro for dinner in a very old traditional Bhutanese village house.
Day 3-Paro to Haa Ride. 60km
Wednesday - 7th of November 2018 @ Ugyen's Farmhouse or Soednam Zingkha Heritage Lodge
After breakfast, start riding to Haa valley. From Bondey town, the ride to the top of Chelela is 36km on gradual ascents. Altitude gain on this stretch if 1500m. On the way stop take detour tothe Kila goenpa – a nunnery that houses about 50 nuns – where we’ll also have a picnic. Continue to Chelela pass at 3900m that offers nice panoramic views over the valleys of Haa and Paro. Descend down to Haa and explore the town on foot. Visit the popular temples of Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo.
Stay overnight in Ugyen’s homestay and Chimi’s homestay. The farmhouses are run by two different families and both of the houses are more than 200 years old and is built in the traditional Bhutanese style typically seen all over Bhutan. It is an exceptionally large home displaying some fine features of days gone by, and fitted with amenities that cater to the western tourists. Guests will be guided over a babbling stream and past an ancient Buddhist Chorten (stupa) before being shown down a stone-lined path to be greeted by the whole family on the landing of the home-stay – a wonderful way to set the scene for a memorable stay.
We support these farmhouse actively in order for the Haa communities to benefit out of tourism as well. Spend the evening interacting with your host family.
Soak in a herbal hot-stone bath which is known to be therapeutic and helps ailments related to joints and muscle aches, besides simply soothing your mind and body. This is a complimentary value-added experience from Bhutan Travel Club without any hidden costs. Goes perfectly with some pints of locally brewed alcohol (ara).
Ride time 6-7 hours. Distance 60km.
Day 4-Haa to Thimphu Ride. 120km
Thursday - 8th of November 2018 @ Bhutan Suites
After breakfast, bid farewell to your host family and ride through a beautiful stretch of asphalt roads to Chuzomsa for 90km. Its mainly characterized be undulating descents passing through beautiful villages of Jyenkana, Bitekha and Dawakha and offers the ridings a peek into rural lifestyles along the roads. This strech paases through beautiful blue-pine and conifer forests with scenic views over the underlying valleys. From Chuzomsa, another 32 km of easy riding on the highway brings you to the capital city – Thimphu.
Visit to the Folk Heritage-a three stored,19 century traditional Bhutanese farm house which provides glimpse of Bhutanese life style, and artifacts from the rural house holds. One can come across typical households objects, religious tools and equipment..
Stroll around the city and enjoy a nice dinner at one of the best restaurants in the capital city.
Ride time 6-7 hours, 120 km.
Day 5-Explore the capital city Thimphu on wheels – Easy Day
Friday - 9th of November 2018 @ Bhutan Suites
Spend an easy day either on bikes or car explore some of the treasures of the capital town. Visit the Zorig Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts, the Royal Textile Museum and Academy. Stroll around town and visit the Bhutan Post Office where you can see the famous Bhutanese stamps. If you would like, you can make stamps with your photos on it and post them to your loved ones. Visit the colourful vegetable market where proud villagers behind pyramids of their agricultural produce greet you with stone weights in their hands and smiles on their faces. In the afternoon, you can visit the Trashichhodzong Fortress, the office of His Majesty the King and the Prime Minister, followed by a visit to Changangkha temple.
Enjoy a fabulous dinner at Thimphu’s most popular fusion restaurant called Chha Bistro & Bar. Our good friend and owner of the restaurant is a very friendly person and will definitely add a personal touch to your meal.
We can also explore the nightlife in Bhutan in high-end bars and music lounges such as the Mojo Park where young musicians will be belting out covers and originals. It would be interesting to see a bit of Bhutan’s urban culture! If anyone of you has a penchant for music, you might as well hit the stage too!
Day 6-Thimphu’s MTB Singletrack Trails
Saturday - 10th of November 2018 @ Bhutan Suites
Today is dedicated to the MTB trails around Thimphu valley. We’ll hit the hills upto the Takin Reserve centre to see the national animal first. Then continue to the Radio tower from where the Wangditse MTB single-track trail starts. The loop is about 6 km. Ascend to 300m into bluepine forests and then descend to Wangditse temple that is currently being renovated. The entire ride is on fantastic singletrack punctuated with great views over the capital city. You may also likely come across some of our local MTB riders on this popular trail.
Proceed to the Buddha point on a 4 km gentle ascent, where the largest Buddha statue (169ft) sits overlooking the Thimphu city. Take a short diversion on a MTB trail to the viewpoint to ride in the capital’s favourite MTB trails that extends for 8km and exits in Motithang.
After lunch or evening tea, ride north to the valley to Kabisa village to ride on the cross-country trail till Begana village and return to Thimphu. This is a 30 km loop.
Stroll around town in the evening.
Day 7-Thimphu to Punakha Ride. 77km
Sunday - 11th of November 2018 @ Hotel Lobesa
Ride to Dochula Pass (3140) from Thimphu on gradual ascent for 16km from Simtokha. Enjoy spectacular views over the Himalayan ranges from the pass and visit the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a collection of 108 chortens (stupas) that was built to exemplify the greatness of the Fourth King.
Descend to the low-lying rice valley of Lobesa on a 40km descent. Once in Lobesa visit the popular temples of Bhutan to pay your respects to one of Bhutan’s most charming and eccentric historic figures nicknamed ‘The Divine Madman’ at the Chhimi Lhakhang – also called the fertility monastery - our guide will explain the entire story about it. Going to the temple involves a short nice ride through a beautiful village surrounded by paddy fields.
Continue to Punakha on a nice stretch of undulating roads running adjacent to the river. Stay in a cozy resort overlooking the valley.
Ride time 6-7 hours, 77km.
Day 8-Punakha Sightseeing and Crosscountry ride. 60km
Monday - 12th of November 2018 @ Hotel Lobesa
Continue to ride to the Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers is considered as the most beautiful fortress in Bhutan. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body. After visiting the fortress, continue to ride across the valley and over the longest suspension (pedestrian) bridge and ride for 15km up north on single-track to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal stupa.
In the afternoon, ride to Nalanda Monastic School on gentle ascents for 15km on dirt roads. Interact with the monks and they love to speak English with visitors and learn about the ways of the world. We also volunteered to teach English to the young monks last year during off season. Overnight in a hotel.
Ride time 6-7 hours, 50-60 km
Day 9-Excursion to Gasa Hot-Springs. 90km
Tuesday - 13th of November 2018 @ Meri Phuensum Resort
Today, we’ll ride further north of Punakha valley along the Mo-chu river to the famous Gasa Hotsprings. From Punakha the ride is on asphalt and farm roads to Tashithang for 15 km. Continue to ride on gravel farmroads though idyllic countryside passing paddy fields and through sub- tropical and temperate forests for another 16 km to reach Goen Damji village at 2240m. From the village, you will be gradually passing through oak forests and also you will see different varieties of orchids. Before reaching Gasa the Dzong can seen from the view point. The trail to Gasa Hot spring you will be descending through quite thick forest and mini bamboo shrubs. The 16 km climb from Goen Damji to the Gasa Tsachu hotsprings is nice for MTB riders and is rewarded by the soothing waters of the hotsprings. Dip in the famous Gasa Tsachhu hotsprings for an hour or two – which is known to have curative and therapeutic powers as the srongs are rich in minerals.
Ride back to Punakha around 2 pm in the afternoon.
Ride time 7-8 hours including Hotsprings. Distance 90 km.
If the riders have a general consensus to have a easy rest day instead of riding to Gasa Hotsprings, we can also organise a rafting session today to spice up for your adventure holiday.
Day 10-Punakha to Paro Ride. 120km
Wednesday - 14th of November 2018 @ Metta Resort
After breakfast, start riding to Lobesa for 10 km and start climbing to Dochula pass on the longest climb of this trip for 40 km on gradual ascents. Ride downhill to Simtokha for another 16 km and then continue to Paro for another 50 km on plain easy roads. After a tough climb to Dochula pass, it's a easy scenic ride on the Paro-Thimphu highway interconnected by gorges and river systems. Stopover for a brief visit to Tamchog Lhakhang in Eusuna village. The temple is a historical site build during the 13th century lama – Thangthong Gyalpo – the bride builder of Bhutan. Remants of the ancient bridge connecting the temple is a great example of this master’s ingenuity for enginnering.
We’ll organise an “Accomplishment Toast”, and then the rest of the evening can be used to check out some souvenirs in town.
Ride time 7-8 hours, 118 km.
Day 11-Tiger's Nest Excursion and Ride
Thursday - 15th of November 2018 @ Metta Resort
Today you’ll experience Bhutan’s most valued attractions, and perhaps one of the major highlights of your trip. An excursion to the famous Taktshang monastery –translated as- Tiger’s nest monastery. A two hours hike would reward you with a spectacular temple clinging on a 1000 feet cliff. The temple was built in 1692 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Your guide will complement the experience with its story.
Visit the National Museum of Bhutan in the afternoon. Watch a game of Archery- the national sport of Bhutan played over a 120 m field. The games are always nice to watch as you’ll see it's the favourite passtime of local residents.
For those who still want to bike on this day, we can do that till Tsento illage (base of Tiger’s nest temple).
Visit the weekend market in Paro and buy some souviners if you would like to take home to remind you of this one exceptional experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Friday - 16th of November 2018 @
After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will take you to the airport. With a few thanksgivings, your guide will help you with the formalities and fare you well on your onward journey.