Biking & Hiking (Itinerary One) Multi Sport Trip

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DAY 01

Day 1: Arrive Paro

After leaving Bangkok, you will land at Bhutan’s Paro International airport. Once on the ground, a short shuttle will take us to our location for a bike fitting, safety talk, lunch, and the starting point of our first bike ride.

Warm up while riding on well-paved gentle surfaces, passing incredible views of national cultural sights like Paro Dzong(the ancient center of administration), the national museum perched on the hillside, and through the town of Paro.

Paralleling aside the crystal clear Paro Chhu (river) and surrounded by rice paddies and mountain slopes, we peddle towards Drukgyel Dzong. After visiting the ruins, we hop back on the bikes to the hotel.

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DAY 02

Day 2: Tiger's Nest Hike

Today we hike toward one of Bhutan’s most sacred places, the site of the cliffside monastery called Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest. The temple complex virtually hangs on the mountainside, ensuring that meditation is not distracted or disturbed. 

The trail is wide and rises slowly above the valley to the higher reaches of the mountain with spectacular views of the valley below. Reaching our destination, which sits at 9,200 feet, we enter the sacred and magical sanctuary as prayer flags rustle in the wind. 

After descending the mountain, we return to the hotel for lunch, followed by an afternoon of choices. Spa appointments, shopping in Paro, or trying your hand at archery.

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DAY 03

Day 3: Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan

This morning we will take a 35-minute domestic flight to Bumthang, situated in the middle of the country. Bumthang has 4 valleys of beauty and serenity; it is often referred to as the ‘Switzerland’ of Bhutan. 

Bikes will take us along roads and trails to numerous temple sites and religious compounds, including Jambay Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Wangdicholing Palace, & the impressive Kurjey Lhakhang.

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DAY 04

Day 4: Bumthang – Tang Valley

Today offers options of distances for biking and adds in a hiking portion to visit mystical and legendary sights in the remote Tang Valley.

Our bike ride to Tang Valley takes us through small villages and spiritual sights as we leave one valley and enter another, peddling our way to the end of the biking route. From there, we hike into this historic valley to visit the ‘flaming lake’ and have lunch at the Old Palace Museum. Life in this portion of the country is a little more primitive than in the bigger towns and is evident in the basic structures and simpler and basic approach to day-to-day activities. This valley is typical of what the majority of the country is like.

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DAY 05

Day 5: Ride to Gangtey Valley

After two nights in the spiritual heartland, it is time to start our journey west and explore the exquisite sweeping Phobjikha Valley. The little visited valley is home to the quaint rural settlement of Gangtey on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. 

The glacial valley is a designated conservation area and winter home of the endangered Black-necked cranes. The ride starts from a spectacular viewpoint at Trongsa Dzong, looking towards Chendebji Chorten, a stupa built in the style of the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. The route follows broad valleys to the base of Pele La (pass).

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DAY 06

Day 6: Gangtey to Punakha

From the top of Lawa La (pass), the bike ride starts its downward trend to the Punakha valley. Biking along ridges and through valleys dotted with forest and crystal clear streams, the temperatures will get warmer and the vegetation more tropical as we descend. 

Punakha sits at 5000 feet, and as we enter the valley, you are greeted by the impressive Wangdi Dzong and the glaciated waters of the Punakha Chhu river. We bike along the river bank soaking in the new scenery and balmy temperatures as we make our way up the valley to the hotel.

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DAY 07

Day 7: Rafting the Pho Chhu River

The morning ride takes us once again to the banks of the river but heading toward the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu (mother and father river). After crossing a spectacular suspension bridge, the route takes us up the Po Chhu to meet our rafting guides and inflatable rafts for a thrilling paddle to our lunch spot. Festive tents greet us for our catered lunch on a sand bar with views of the Punakha Dzong – one of Bhutan’s most revered and impressive structures.

After lunch, we will tour the inside of the Punakha Dzong and witness where the Coronations and Royal weddings take place, as well as home to hundreds of monks.

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DAY 08

Day 8: Transfer to Thimphu via Dochula

Today we will transfer from Punakha to Thimphu via Dochu La (10,000 ft. pass). The top of the pass is capped with 108 religious Chortens to commemorate the King’s stability and progress in the nation. From this point, we hike through moss-covered forests and rhododendron trees to Lungchu Zeka Monastery (Tiger temple), following the same pilgrimage route that the Queen Mother makes once a year. 

Following the ridge line, we come to a nunnery dedicated to meditation, where we will silently pass through the alleys and courtyards en route to the valley below. 

Arriving late in the afternoon in the heart of Thimphu, the country’s capital, there may be some time before and after dinner for some shopping. We’ll gather for dinner and mark the final night for those choosing Option B’s itinerary.

 

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DAY 09

Day 9: Thimphu Valley Exploration

Everyone drives up above Thimphu to share in amazement one of the world’s largest Buddha statues measuring 169 feet high and housing 100,000 smaller Buddhas inside. From here, those that have a flight out of Paro will depart, and the rest will begin biking. The bike ride takes us off the hillside. Arriving at the end of the valley, we leave the bikes for a hike to Cheri Goempa. Built in 1620, it is considered one of the most sacred places in Bhutan, where the first monk body took residence. 

Lunch is set up in the meadow below, where you can also try your hand at the national sport of darts.

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DAY 10

Day 10: Haa to Paro

This spectacular day of riding begins in the Haa Valley, which only opened to visitors 4 years ago, highlighting untouched forested hills, cultivated farms, and extended views while riding on good surfaced roads. 

The headiness of the ride is derived from the sense that few before you have enjoyed this route. The day has a couple of good climbs but lots of pleasurable downhills, one of which is 7km long! 

Lunch is a picnic along the way before completing the ride past the confluence of two rivers and along the Paro Chhu back to the valley of our origin 10 days ago. There is time to take in the hotel’s magnificent location before the cocktail gathering and dinner that await our final night.

 

 

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DAY 11

Day 11: Departure

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our departure flight.  We hope you have enjoyed your visit, found it rewarding, and left with a new understanding.

Tashi Delek !

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