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Cultural Cycling Tour of Bhutan
Having travelled through Bhutan many times by car, Mountain Kingdoms Managing Director, Steve Berry, has often thought of how much fun it would be to complete the journey on a bike. Earlier in 2018, he had the opportunity to do so, on our Cultural Cycling Tour of Bhutan. Steve found it to be the ideal destination to explore on two wheels, with its scenic roads, spectacular countryside and engaging sights.
Their adventure began with a gentle ride in the beautiful Paro Valley followed by a group visit to the Drugyel Dzong, a fascinating building with rich history. From here they enjoyed a dramatic view of Taktsang, the iconic sacred Buddhist site and temple complex located in the cliff-side of the upper Paro Valley, before cycling to the capital of Thimphu where they experienced impressive views and explored Thimphu’s best attractions. After some time to rest on the optional car journey up to the Dochu La they embarked on an utterly thrilling 42km downhill ride through forests and quiet backroads to the glorious Punakha Dzong. Steve described this as an incredible experience and the highlight of his trip.
Following their Dzong visit, they rode on to Wangdipidrang and along the Valley, where they reached their vehicle and continued their journey with a drive up to Gangtey. In late autumn and winter, Black-necked Cranes migrate to the Gangtey Valley and add unique sightseeing opportunities to any visit. Steve and his group enjoyed some pleasant cycling in the Valley, drove over the Pele La all the way down to Trongsa, home of the largest monastery in the kingdom. They rode over the Keke La pass and cycled on to the holy valley of Bumthang. The cycle ride then drew to a close as they reached their last but certainly not least cultural highlight of the tour, Jambay Lhakhang, one of the country's oldest temples.
There is no need to worry about being extremely athletic to complete this tour, as a huge amount of the cycling is downhill, with the choice to opt out of the very steep ascents. This holiday is perfect for leisure cyclists, with a moderate level of fitness.
This trip has a support vehicle on hand every day, so you can enjoy the riding with peace of mind, knowing you can always get a lift if you fancy a rest. The tour is led by a knowledgeable Bhutanese guide who also acts as your personal mechanic!
Steve found that travelling through Bhutan on a bike enabled him to get to know the country on a much more personal and intimate level than he has done previously by driving.During his journey he met with many more locals along the way, and experienced many more places of cultural interest, including monasteries, small friendly townships and Buddhist shrines (Chortens).
Overall, a wonderful and rewarding adventure.