The ultimate 'Bhutan by bicycle' tour
Cycle the Himalayas in this remote, little visited and mystical kingdom. This trip runs Paro to Paro.
Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of Bhutan for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbours. Take a ride in this mystical kingdom that exists almost as an enigma due to its policy of restricting visitor numbers and protecting its culture.
We won't lie, this will be a challenging ride with plenty of long mountain climbs and hairy descents and you'll be riding at altitude. But the rewards for this are beyond belief.
13 days duration
384 km distance
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
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Top quality Trek 4300 mountain bikes with handlebar bags are included in the price.
All hotel nights are in 3 star hotels and resorts.
An experienced English speaking, local leader will host you on this trip who is well spoken, very well informed, and charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local leaders who have a passion for their country and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country and will help you to connect with the villagers you meet along the way.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available in case you want a break from riding, and to carry your luggage.
All meals are included throughout the whole trip. All dietary requirements catered for.
Take It Home
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home.
2 to 10
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 2 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 10 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
Many people think getting into Bhutan is hard - it's not! We will arrange your Bhutan visa for you.
Bhutan levies a compulsory government tourist tax on all foreign visitors which goes towards funding things like the free education and free healthcare programs for locals. You don't need to worry about this thought as the tour price already includes this tax!
for Land of the Thunder Dragon
Arrival Day in Paro
On arrival in Paro you will be picked up from the airport and taken to our hotel. For those who have the energy and are not jet lagged we take a little time in the afternoon to see some of the sights of Paro. You will get to visit your first dzong (incredibly grand Bhutanese fortresses which were constructed at strategic locations throughout the country). Meals: D
Day Ride in Paro
Paro sits at a height of 2200m so we take it easy today and do a short ride to get used to the altitude, warm up the legs, aquaint ourselves with the bikes and see a little more of Paro Valley. Visit a ruined dzong, visit a farmer's house and enjoy a traditional Bhutanese dance on this relaxing day out. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Thimphu
It is time to leave Paro and begin the ride across Bhutan. This first point to point ride is the easiest on the tour. Our Bhutanese friends describe this day as 'flat' as you will only be riding between 2100m and 2350m throughout the journey, although the road does undulate and there are actually no flat roads at all! In the afternoon take a leisurely walk through the Thimphu Market area and explore the forbidding yet elegant dzong. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Phunakha
The first pass of the trip, Dochu La, sits at 3050m and offers a panoramic view of the Eastern Himalaya on a clear day. After a long ride up to the pass a downhill is due which will take you 40km all the way down to the intriguing 'fertility temple'. The final section undulates along the valley to our overnight stop at Phunakha which sits at a lowly altitude of 1350m. Meals: BLD
Day Ride in Punakha
We take a day to explore the beautifully situated dzong at Punakha, once the summer capital. Riding a back road that is largely unsealed, we get great views of the river and Punakha Dzong. But before the dzong you must cross a terrifying or exhilarating suspension foot bridge (the feeling depends on your perspective). This is the longest and highest suspension foot bridge in the country stretching over 200m above the Pho River. After a picnic en route back to the hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free for some relaxation. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Gangtey
Easily the toughest day of any Grasshopper bike ride, the ride to Gangtey is almost all ascending with over 50km of climbing. The gradient is not steep so it's all about going slow and enjoying the beautiful scenes of the day. After finally reaching the Lawala Pass at 3300m we descend into the beautiful Phobjika Gangtey Valley (3000m). Meals: BLD
Rest Day in Gangtey
Gantey is one name for the area of the Phobjika Valley, a glacial valley where the rare black-necked cranes from Tibet spend the winter. Dwarf bamboo, eaten by yaks, is the prominent vegetation here. For those with the energy visit monasteries or take a nature trail walk. Those that need a rest can relax at the comfortable, quiet hotel. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Trongsa
In the morning cycle over Pele La Pass (3300m) in the Black Mountains, considered the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large monument and many prayer flags. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo. The 27km downhill from here winds through pristine pine forests, wayside villages and markets. You then have a gentle climb up to Trongsa (2300m), home of Bhutan's largest fortress. Meals: BLD
Cycle to Bumthang Valley
The final day of riding brings more climbing, the highest pass of the tour and a great sense of satisfaction as you ride into Bumthang. By now you will have ridden halfway across the country over some serious terrain. There are two passes to get over today, Yutong La (3400m) and Kiki La (2860m) so it will be an up and down ride taking you through pine forests, wide open farming valleys and down to the Bumthang Valley. The valley is actually a combination of four valleys with altitudes from 2600m to 4000m and home to many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Meals: BLD
Explore the Bumthang Valley
To explore the sites of the valley we will take an easy walk to explore Bhutan's oldest temple, the local farmland and the family temple of a local friend. For those with the energy we will also hold our own Bhutanese dart competition where you can try your hand at hitting a tiny target from 30m. Hitting the target is worth it just for the song and dance that your local team mates perform in your honour! Meals: BLD
Drive to Wanduephodrang
Bhutan basically consists of one main east-west road so today we start the journey back to the west. You will be retracing the roads you had previously cycled but this time in the support vehicle. To break up the journey we will make a stop in Trongsa to visit the impressive museum. Meals: BLD
Drive to Paro, Trek to the Tiger's Nest Monastery
This morning we drive back to Paro via Dochula Pass. In the afternoon there is an option to trek up to one of Bhutan's most venerated places, the Tiger's Nest Monastery, which is precariously perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro Valley floor. This site has been recognised as one of the most spiritual sites in Bhutan and many eminent saints have meditated in this area. Meals: BLD
Tour Concludes in Paro
The tour ends with your transfer to the Paro Airport in time for your departing flight. Meals: B
What's the Riding Like?
7 days riding
98% of the roads are sealed but all the riding takes place at altitudes from 1300m to 3400m - you need to be prepared for all uphill or downhill riding. Most of the ride is on poorly made single lane roads so care is needed with other vehicles using the road. Bhutan is a sparely populated country so traffic is light and gets even lighter as we travel east. At all times there will be a support vehicle so even if the ride seems too hard for you, you can still join the tour and ride the sections you are comfortable with, whilst enjoying the beauty and peace of Bhutan.
What our guests tell us...
Just a selection of our great reviews!
Probably one of the best experiences I have had in Asia - from about 7-8 trips in the last 10 years.
This is a wonderful company!
You provided me with the journey of a lifetime, and the group provided for it to be a worthy challenge with people whose common denominator is first and foremost, to maintain and perpetuate this magical fragility! I can only speak on my behalf, but I do not think I fall on deaf ears with this expression of pleasure and happiness!
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