|Arrival to Paro, drive to Thimphu
|Arrival by plane to Paro airport and drive to Thimphu. Stop at Tachog lhakhang to see traditional bridge made using ancient iron chains. If time permits, visit Tashichho dzong, the seat of the king and government.
|Thimphu (cycling & sightseeing)
|Ride 25 km, ➚ 650 m, ➘ 650 m. If you need to rent a bike, we will go to select the best one for you from renting shop as the first thing of the day. Otherwise, we will start right with the program, riding through the town and further up the hill to Kuensel Phodrang, place with 54 meters high statue of Buddha. Enjoy wonderful glimpses of the Thimphu valley. Then ride back to the town and pay a visit to Memorial Chorten, always busy with devotees. Place was built to remember third king of Bhutan. Continue riding through the town, crossing the famous main traffic junction directed by the policeman with dance-like moves. Thimphu is famously only capital in the world without any traffic lights. Reach to Changlimithang stadium. If you are lucky, national game of archery will be just going on! Get lunch and continue sightseeing on the bicycle. We will ride to the Changankha lhakhang and will visit this temple which is popular among parents to get blessing for their children. Continue riding to Motithang preserve where national animal of Bhutan, the takin, might be seen. Then we will be riding scenic road with the views of town and also of Tashichho dzong, the seat of the king and the government. On the way, you can stop to visit Zilukha nunnery, one of the few monastic establishments for females. Conclude your ride at Dechenphodrang temple with beautiful view all around. Ride back to hotel and get rest. If you are in party mood, you can visit The Mojo Park rock club or other venue to mingle with young Bhutanese.
|Thimphu – Wangdue / Punakha (cycling)
|Ride 50-70 km, ➚ 0-700 m, ➘ 1800 m. Right in the morning, we will start riding to Dochu-la pass (3015 m). This will be a long, more than 20 km, ascent. From the pass, the great views of Himlayas in clear weather might be sen. You can also visit interesting temple Dochu lhakhang dedicated to the fourth king of Bhutan. If you like to make this day easy, you might also travel in vehicle up to the pass and ride from here only. The rest of the ride is very long descent to tropical Wangdue and Punakha valleys through mixed quickly changing forest. Sceneries to be seen from the road are superb. Reach to hotel and take rest after demanding ride. In case you arrive early, you might like to extend ride to the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang nunnery which has beautiful views of the valley.
|Wangdue / Punakha (cycling sightseeing), drive to Phobjikha
|Loop ride 40 km, ➚ 450 m, ➘ 450 m. In the morning we will start riding to Chimi lhakhang, temple famously dedicated to the Buddhist saint who professed religion through drinking, singing and rampant sexual behavior. Visit temple and get blessed by the wooden phallus, allegedly carved by saint himself. Then continue riding along the Punatsang chhu river north, crossing Khuruthang town and finally reaching the confluence of Mo chhu and Po chhu rivers between which lies magnificent Punakha dzong, the castle which used to be the winter capital of the country. Visit the beautiful castle and it’s temples. Enjoy picnic style lunch. Then again ride, this time to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, stretching 160 meters over Mo Chhu river. Cross the bridge and follow road on other side back to confluence. Continue on the other side of the river until you reach Bajo town. See mighty Wangdue Phodrang dzong, the castle built on the strategic hill overlooking the river. As of now, it is undergoing reconstruction after disastrous fire in 2012. Here, we will load our bikes to the vehicle and the rest of the way, we will drive high to the mountains, up to glacial Phobjikha valley crossing the 3350 meters high Lawa-la pass. Road is scenic and while going back, we will ride it downwards on the bikes! Reach to hotel in the late afternoon or evening.
|Phobjikha (farmroad cycling)
|Loop ride 35 km, ➚ 500 m, ➘ 500 m. Today we will make entertaining ride around the Phobjikha valley. First we will ride till the Black Neck Crane center, where we will see interesting short documentary about these elusive birds which comes for winter roosting to the valley. Also see exhibition about them and Karma, the injured bird which lives at the center’s compound. Then we will continue ride by the road, ascending to the hill and finally reaching Gangtey village and monastery on the top. Village is very beautiful and monastery historically important. After visiting temples, take a ride down to other side of the hill. Briefly we will follow popular walking Gagntey Nature Trail, but at the beginning of the forest, we will start ascending up to Hel village. Reaching there, we will descend to Kewa Lhakhang, another temple along with small monastery. Now it will be a time to detour to local farmhouse to enjoy the traditional Bhutanese food as eaten in the villages. Also try local spirit called “ara” and salty tea referred as “suja”. After lunch, we will take gentle mostly straight ride to the Ngelung Drechagling Lhakhang nunnery, very scenic place and one of the few places in Bhutan to see Buddhist nuns. Continue ride alongside the river after finally reaching bridge to cross on the other side. Now continue biking back until you reach Black Neck Crane center and finally get back to hotel and rest after rewarding loop biking.
|Phobjikha – Wangdue / Punakha (cycling), continue to Gasa by car
|Ride 65 km, ➚ 500 m, ➘ 2200 m. Today we will start early going back all the way to Paro, at least part of it on bikes. From Phobjikha we will first ascend to Lawa-la pass in 3350 meters. Here long descend all the way to Wangdue starts. Scenery is terrific, but one needs to be careful due to the traffic in the numerous curves. If you feel tired by descent, you can always decide to load bike to vehicle and continue in car. From Wangdue onward, we will drive to mountainous district of Gasa, reaching there by evening. Local farmhouse is only accommodation option here so get ready for simple conditions. On the other hand, you will experience the traditional hospitality and meals. Sleeping is arranged on ground level mattress and clean blankets are provided.
|Gasa – Wangdue / Punakha (cycling)
|Ride 65 km, ➚ 750 m, ➘ 2215 m. In the morning, you might like to enjoy dip in the famous Gasa hot springs. There are numerous pools here with different temperatures. Then we will start days ride back to Punakha, using same road which you took by car day before. It is scenic mostly descending ride with just few ascents. You can decide to change for vehicle whenever you can. Finally you will descend to Kabesa village where it will be best to change for vehicle. Or you can continue further if time is favorable. Reach to hotel in Punakha and rest.
|Wangdue / Punakha – Paro (by car), cycle sightseeing
|Ride 12 km ➚ 100 m, ➘ 200 m, In the morning, we will drive all the way back to Paro, where the tour started. While crossing Dochu-la pass, you will have another chance to see mountain panorama. Car will take you to Dzongdrakha lhakhang, the very scenic temple perched on the rock. Visit beautiful spiritually loaded place with great views of vast paddy fields. From there, you will be taking upper road with the good views of the Paro airport. You might be lucky to spot plane landing! After reaching hotel you can get rest or visit busy town with a lot of cafés, shops and bars!
|Paro (cycling, hiking)
|Ride 25 km, ➚ 500 m, ➘ 500 m + 4-5 hours hike. Today we will hike to Tiger’s Nest monastery, one of the tour highlights. We will start ride from Paro to the north and on the way, we will visit ancient Kyichu lhakhang temple, which dates back to 7th century. Then we will leave bikes on the parking and start hike. Monastery overlooks the valley from the high cliff. Hike takes from 4 to 5 hours and it’s as much demanding as rewarding. After hiking, we will visit to Paro dzong, the castle in which Bernard Bertolucci's Little Buddha film was shot and will spend rest of the afternoon in leisure, shopping in town or getting rest.
|Departure from Bhutan. Program subject to time of travel.