Southern Bhutan Loop Ride, 8 days

Tour highlights

  • Ride on robust Royal Enfield Himalayan
  • Highest motorable pass in Bhutan (3850m)
  • Loop through rarely visited southern Bhutan
  • Many scenic roads with moderate to low traffic
  • Hike to famous Tiger's Nest monastery
  • Most essential sights of Bhutan
# Itinerary Program
1 Arrival to Paro, drive to Thimphu Arrival to Paro by flight and drive to Thimphu with stop at Tachog lhakhang to see traditional bridge built using ancient iron chains. Optionally transfer from land border with India. Stroll in Thimphu town and optionally visit of Tashichho dzong, the seat of the king and government. Other sightseeing subject to arrival time.
2 Thimphu – Punakha Ride 86km, ~3h30m. In the morning you will receive the motorbikes and will get to know with the machine. Then ride to Buddha point, the stunning city viewpoint. Ride over 3000 meters high Dochu-la pass. Descend to Wangdue/Punakha valley and visit Punakha dzong, the most intricately decorated castle in Bhutan and Chimmy lhakhang, the temple dedicated to 16th century “divine madman” Drukpa Kunley. Ride to nunnery with great views of the valley.
3 Punakha – Trongsa via Phobjikha Ride 165km, ~8h. In the morning start riding from Punakha, gradually ascending to Phobjikha valley over Lawa-la pass (3350m). Peek into the historical Gangtey monastery. Ride back to main highway and cross Pele-la pass (3450m) where you can stop to see the various handicrafts sold by local yak herders. Start long and scenic descend to Trongsa in central part of Bhutan.
4 Trongsa – Gelephu Ride 190km, 7h. Morning visit to Trongsa dzong castle, from which the Bhutanese royal dynasty had risen at the beginning of 20th century. Also pay a visit to interesting museum in the watchtower with the brief and interesting exhibition. Then start ride down to the south. On the way you will go through two precarious and dramatic sections where the road is carved to the steep rock. You will pass through the Zhemgang district and if you feel for making some extra kilometers, you can make some 40km diversion to see the castle which is the center of district administration. Otherwise you can go straight bypass road. After Zhemgang, the climate, landscape and culture will start gradually changing. Here you are arriving to the low altitudes of the southern Bhutan, which is dominantly inhabited by people of Nepali origin, who are mostly Hindus. Reach to Gelephu town and rest in hotel.
5 Gelephu – Thimphu Ride 244km, 8h. Today will be long day. If you like, you can pay a visit to newly built Hindu temple, or start directly ride. At the beginning road will follow the border with India and only after some hour of riding, it will start ascending back to the mountains. You will be going through along the dense jungles which are home to many species of birds. Finally reach to Damphu town located on the hilltop. After short rest continue ride down to Sankosh river valley. You can stop in Sankosh bazaar to shop for various local produce including pickles, oranges, honey etc. Another section of driving will be affected by the hydroproject construction. Finally you will reach to Wangdue Phodrang bridge, which you crossed 3 days back when traveling to Trongsa. Retract your way back to Thimphu over Dochu-la pass and finally reach your hotel in the evening after exhausting full day ride.
6 Thimphu – Haa – Paro Ride 175km, ~6h30m. In the morning you might like to make some shopping in Thimphu as you will be leaving the capital for good. After that, ride to Chuzom (Confluence) between Paro and Thimphu. From here the narrow road is winding up to the Haa. This is very scenic section with less traffic. You will pass around Dobji dzong, which used to serve as a prison. Today it is a Buddhist monastery. Reach to Haa and after short rest start long ascending to Chele-la pass (3850m) which is the highest motorable pass in Bhutan. In clear weather you can see the Kanchejunga to the west from the pass summit. Short ride after the pass, the holy mountain Jomolhari can be seen to the north as well. It’s worth of stretching legs in the pass, hiking bit up through the “forest” of the prayer flags. Start descending to Paro. Take a road above the airport and make a stop at the Airport viewpoint. Paro is considered as one of the most daring international airport in the world. Reach to Paro and optionally stroll in town. Rest in hotel.
7 Paro Ride 35km, 1.5 hr. Today we will start with short ride below the famous Tiger's Nest monastery. We will park our motorbikes and will hike up to this most sacred point of Bhutan and it's most famous tourist place. You will need to hike up elevation difference of 600 meters and same amount down. Whole trip takes 4-5 hours including the sightseeing in temples, time depends on your shape. After lunch, we will ride to Drukyel dzong castle, currently undergoing reconstruction. The summit of holy Jomolhari peak can be seen from here in clear weather. Ride back to Paro and give goodbye to your motorbikes. Enjoy the last evening in Bhutan.
8 Departure Program subject to flight time. After that drop to airport and departure from Bhutan. Optionally depart to Phuntsholing/Jaigon land border with India.
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