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Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • An English-speaking Bhutanese guide
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (Flight inclusive option)
  • Single, timed group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • Flights between Kathmanu and Paro and internal flights in Bhutan
  • Bhutan visa and Bhutan departure tax
  • Good standard hotel in Kathmandu, on a twin share and bed & breakfast basis
  • In Bhutan good standard hotel accommodation in main towns and best available hotels in outlying towns, on a twin share, full board basis
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Sightseeing where specified
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water-to-Go bottle or Mountain Kingdoms fleece
  • Carbon offset for clients taking our flight-inclusive option
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre-trip meet in the Cotswolds

Cultural Cycling Tour of Bhutan Festivals

Cycling Tours

Bhutan | Cycling Tours

New for 2019
Cultural Cycling Tour of Bhutan
Moderate

Our range of cycling tours are graded from gentle to strenuous. Full details can be found in the detailed PDF Holiday Itinerary.

Find out more...

Grade: Moderate ? Moderate
Duration:  18 days from the UK  
Cycling on: 9 days
Walks on: 2 days

Flight inclusive from £3,935,
Land only from £3,335

Book now or call 01453 844400

A fascinating cultural tour of Bhutan on two wheels, with a visit to a Bhutanese festival

Highlights

  • Climb stunning passes and be rewarded by exhilarating descents
  • Ride from Paro to Bumthang on a tremendously varied route
  • Visit villages, dzongs and the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery
  • Join the celebrations at a Bhutanese festival

Reviews          

...the walk to Tiger’s Nest Monastery on our return to Paro was another highlight. It is the iconic sight of Bhutan for me and it lived up to expectations.
Ms P, Berkshire

For me, cycling is a fantastic way to see the country, get off the beaten track and have the opportunity to interact with some of the people that you meet on the way. The other tourists are welcome to their air conditioned vehicles – I will keep on pedalling!
Ms P, Berkshire

All the arrangements went well. Good choice of hotels with some local characteristics.
Mr H, Newcastle

I really enjoyed the whole experience of cycling, seeing the country and the sights, and learning about Bhutan from our guide who was very informative. I enjoyed going to a country which is still off-the-beaten-track and seeing its culture and how it is developing.
Miss M, Newcastle

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Before the early 1960s the only means of travel within Bhutan was on foot or horseback. Recently cycling has become more popular - even the royal family are keen cyclists and it’s not unusual to find the fourth king riding his bike across the hills of Thimphu.

This relaxed pace cycling holiday has a back up vehicle on hand everyday, so you can enjoy the riding safe in the knowledge you can always get a lift if you fancy a rest. Our route takes us from Paro all the way across to the remote region of Bumthang. On the way we will visit Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, Punakha, Gangtey and Jakar. These towns and cities all have their own unique charm and fascinating cultural attractions. This is a tremendously varied route on which we will see the high peaks of the eastern Himalaya, conquer a challenging pass and enjoy hours of freewheeling descents. We’ll cycle over ancient bridges, through virgin forests and along ridges, and visit remote valleys, villages, hilltop Dzongs, and atmospheric Monasteries. This route combines excellent cycling with the culture, people and places of the ‘Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon’ and gives you a unique perspective that only travelling by bike allows.

We also include a visit to a festival for the complete Bhutanese experience.


At a glance

Grade: Moderate
Moderate

Duration:  18 days from the UK  
Cycling on: 9 days
Walks on: 2 days

Max. Altitude: 3,990m/13,090ft, Cheli La, Day 14

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Kathmandu

Accommodation types: Hotels

Festival:

March 2019 departure attends the Paro Tsechu.

November 2019 departure attends the Black-necked crane festival.

Meal arrangements: All meals included except lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1-3
(This is the itinerary for our March departure. The autumn departure can be downloaed below). Fly to Kathmandu. Fly to Paro.
4-5
Attend Paro Tsechu. Cycling in Paro valley and on to Thimphu.
6-8
Cycling and sightseeing in Thimphu and ride over to Punakha via the Dochu La. Drive to Gangtey.
9
Ride in Gangtey valley.
10-11
Cycle down from Pele La to Trongsa. Cycle to Bumthang.
12-13
Cycle to local monasteries and Dzongs around Bumthang. Fly back to Paro.
14
Drive to Cheli La Pass. Walk to Gila Gompa. Time at leisure
15
Walk up to Taktsang Monastery.
16-18
Fly to Kathmandu. Morning sightseeing tour. Afternoon at leisure, Fly to UK.
Leader: Local Leader, Cycling
Local Leader, Cycling

Mountain Kingdoms have been working with the same partner in Bhutan since 1986.Their guides are some of the best in the Kingdom.They speak fluent English, as this is taught in all Bhutanese schools, and are fully qualified guides.The Tourism Authority of Bhutan insists that a Bhutanese tour leader must pass his/her guiding exams in Thimphu before accompanying groups of foreign visitors.

Phub Tshering ‘PT’

PT is our main cycling guide in Bhutan, his knowledge of flora and fauna is second to none. PT lives in Thimphu with his wife and child and has been guiding for over 13 years so he has great experience and you’ll be hard pressed to find a fact he doesn’t know.


  1. Day 1 - Depart London

    Depart London on your overnight flight to Kathmandu.

    Overnight iconOvernight: In flight.
  2. Day 2 - Arrive Kathmandu. Group transfer to hotel.

    You will be be met on arrival at Kathmandu airport and there will be a group transfer to your hotel. You might like to venture out to Thamel for your evening meal, or eat in the hotel restaurant if you are tired from your journey.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  3. Day 3 - Fly to Paro in Bhutan. Visit Paro Tsechu if time.

    This morning you will return to the airport for your flight to Paro in Bhutan. The flight often gives fantastic views of the Himalaya, including Everest, and particularly exciting is the section through the Bhutanese foothills and the thrilling landing. Try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the best views. You will be met on arrival by your Bhutanese guide and then transferred to your hotel. There should be time for a visit to the Paro Tsechu in the afternoon.

    Tsechus are colourful festivals of music and ceremonial dance staged in honour of Guru Rinpoche. They commemorate his great deeds, all believed to have taken place on the tenth day of the month - the meaning of the word, Tsechu. Such festivals are primarily religious but they are also a rare opportunity for the people to come together in all their finery to socialise, celebrate and have fun. The Bhutanese believe that they will achieve merit by attending the festival and by watching the masked dances and the event draws people in from even the remotest villages of the surrounding district.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  4. Day 4 - Attend Paro Tsechu and watch the Thangkha unfurling ceremony. Collect bikes. Cycle to Drugyel Dzong and back to Paro. - 32km, 3 hours.

    This morning there is the opportunity to visit the Paro Tsechu before dawn to experience the unfurling of the Thangkha, a giant painting on cotton, or silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity. The Thangkha is only unfurled in the morning before the sun can cast its rays upon it, this helps to preserve this important cultural treasure. This is a very important occasion for the Bhutanese people and it is well worth the effort. You will then return to your hotel in time for breakfast after which you will be assigned to your bike.

    This afternoon you set of on your first ride which is designed to get you used to your bike and the roads of Bhutan, luckily the Bhutanese drive on the left hand side of the road so there shouldn’t be any issues there! You will start the day by freewheeling down the hill from your hotel, with beautiful views across the lush paddy fields to the impressive Paro Dzong. From the bottom of the valley you will head through the quaint town of Paro, with its traditional Bhutanese architecture and archery fields. It is a gentle incline that will lead you up to the junction that splits the road between Taktsang and Drugyel Dzong. Today you will be visiting Drugyel Dzong but the dramatic view of Taktsang from here will whet your appetite for your later visit.

    The road gets a little bit steeper here as you make your way up the valley but it shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge as long as you take your time and get used to the fact that the air is a bit thinner up there. The dzong itself is a fascinating building with a rich history. The building is in ruin now after a fire destroyed it in 1951, unlike many other fire damaged dzongs in Bhutan it has not been restored and in some ways this makes it more atmospheric. This is the point where a lot of our treks start from, including our epic Lunana Snowman trek.

    When you finish exploring you will cycle back down the valley to Paro, stopping en route to visit the interesting Druk Home Museum.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  5. Day 5 - Cycle to Thimphu, 2,320M/7,611ft - 50km, 3-4 hours. Visit Thimphu Dzong.

    Today you will cycle down to Paro and across the traditional wooden covered bridge to the foot of Paro Dzong (Rinchen Pung Dzong). You will be visiting inside this incredible building on your return to Paro but for now your guide will give you a brief history of one of Bhutan's finest examples of architecture. From here you will follow the river along the valley floor on quiet dirt roads before a short climb takes you up to join the smooth tarmac that will take you down to the junction at Chuzom where the road splits between the roads to the Ha valley, the border with India at Phuntsholing and also your road to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu.

    From here the road undulates as it makes its way up to the big gates that mark the start of Thimphu. All the way along the road there are fantastic views of lush green valleys stretching away on your left hand side. As you enter Thimphu you will notice that there are new buildings appearing on the outskirts of the town. It's interesting to note that even the new buildings follow the traditional styles of architecture. Lunch will be taken in a restaurant in Thimphu. After lunch you will cycle to your hotel to freshen up and then you visit beautiful Thimphu Dzong. This is a perfect time to see the dzong as the soft light of the late afternoon casts long shadows across the Dochey (central courtyard) as the monks chant inside the Utse (central tower).

    Cycling elevation and descent - Ascent: 550m Descent: 611m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Phuntso Pelri Hotel or Similar, Thimphu
  6. Day 6 - Cirucit ride with stop at Guru Lhakhang - approximately 3 hours.

    This morning there will be a short transfer of around 30 mins up to the start point of today's ride, this means that you will miss out on some of the climbing for today but will still get to freewheel down to town at the end of the ride. There is also the option to cycle this section if you would like.

    As you begin cycling the road undulates and before long you will reach a large image of Guru Rinpoche that has been carved into the rock face. Just round the corner from here there is a great view up towards the high mountains of the Himalaya. Continuing for a few more minutes you will arrive at Guru Lhakhang - a small temple built in 1959 by Tibetan refugees - which you will stop to explore. Riding on, the next sight you see is Cheri Gompa, perched on the hillside straight in front of you and with Tango Gompa to the right, also precariously placed. Cheri Gompa, the oldest in Bhutan, is now closed for refurbishment so sadly you won't be able to enter. However, if you cross the old cantilever bridge you will find a grassy area, with a large prayer wheel and chorten which makes an ideal lunch spot.

    After you have enjoyed your picnic lunch, it's time to hop back on your bikes as you head off on your return journey to Thimphu. The riding in the afternoon starts off on a beautiful quiet forest dirt road that passes through the remote villages of this area, don't be put off by the short sharp climb at the start, it's a lot easier after this! You will eventually rejoin where you were dropped off this morning and all that remains is to follow the winding road down to Thimphu to complete what has surely been a fantastic day.

    Cycling elevation and descent - Ascent: 421m Descent: 595m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Phuntso Pelri Hotel or Similar, Thimphu
  7. Day 7 - Cycle to Punakha via the Dochu La, 3,140m/10,302ft - 72km, 6 hours.

    Today is the big cycling challenge of the holiday, the Dochu La at 3,140m/10,302ft. There is no getting around the fact that this is a big climb at over 800m higher than where you start from, but the good news is that the gradient is a steady 4% all the way up the 21km climb and at no point does it become too steep to cycle. However, if at any time you find the climb too tough, the back up vehicle can always give you a lift!

    The scenery is the most breathtaking part of this climb. On your right hand side you will have excellent views back down to Thimphu, and all around you will be the lush green forest which only gets better and better as you enter a national botanical park, roughly half way up. When you start to see the prayer flags fluttering in the wind ahead, you know you are nearly there and the sense of accomplishment is huge. There is time to take a well deserved break and enjoy the fantastic vista. On a clear day panoramic views can be had of the eastern Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m/24,770ft. From here there is only one direction to go, down. You will make your way to a nice restaurant about ten minutes ride away where you will enjoy a buffet lunch and more great views of the mountains in the distance. You also have the security of knowing that if the climb to the pass is too tough for you the back up vehicle can always give you a lift!

    After you have refuelled and impressed your fellow diners with stories of your ascent it's time to start your 45km descent. From the top you get an idea of just how far you have to go down. It takes around 2-3 hours to make your way to the bottom which, when you consider you don't need to pedal the whole way, it really is incredible. If you hadn't already realised you were in the high country, you will by the end of today. As you head down through the varied forest on the windy road, with the trees clinging to the hillside, you will have to choose your spots to stop and enjoy the views carefully as if you stopped every time you saw great views, you would still be cycling the next morning. As you finally approach the bottom of the climb and Punakha you will notice that the temperature has risen quite a lot and the wind has picked up especially as you cycle past Wangdue Phodrang (or Windy Phodrang as the locals call it).

    Upon reaching the valley floor it's a short ride up to visit Drukpa Kunley's temple. Built in the centre of the Punakha Valley and called Chimi Lhakhang, this temple was built by the "Divine Madman" to celebrate his victory over the demoness of the Dochu La. It is famed for the many phallic symbols that can be found here and as you should be visiting late in the afternoon there is a good chance that the young monks will be relaxing by playing football in the grounds. They also enjoy cycling on your bikes if you're willing to pedal your bike up the short climb to the temple.

    The Divine Madman - Drukpa Kunley (1455-1520)
    In Bhutanese mythology, Drukpa Kunley is one of the most beloved and revered sages of Tibetan Buddhism. Many are the legends that surround him and he followed a wandering lifestyle and was both an eccentric and highly regarded saint. He was renowned for his shocking behaviour and his ability to perform miracles. He taught a form of Tantric Buddhism and advocated that sexual freedom was at the centre of Truth. The wooden phalluses that hang from the corners of Bhutanese houses and the paintings of penises that you often see on either side of the front door of houses are a relic of his teachings.

    Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 989m Descent: 2,100m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Zhingkham Resort or Damchen Resort or Similar, Punakha
  8. Day 8 - Visit Punakha Dzong. Drive to Gangtey, 2,900m/9,514ft - 83km, 3 hours.

    There will be time this morning for a visit to Punakha Dzong. This really is an incredible structure. Standing outside the main entrance you are struck by the sheer scale of the building. The inside is even more impressive.

    After your visit you will join your vehicle for the drive up to Gangtey. There is the option for those who really want to challenge themselves to actually cycle up this massive climb. It really is a challenge as the length of the climb is around 70km long. If you decide to undertake this challenge you will need to leave early in the morning and will be unsupported by the van for most of the way. For everyone else, you will sit back in the air conditioned vehicle as it makes its way effortlessly up this giant climb.

    This drive will take you up the road leading to the Pele La, however you will turn off a few kms from the top in order to make it to Gangtey. The views on the way up are fantastic but then you will have begun to expect nothing less by now. At the top of the valley is the impressive Gangtey Gompa - with its commanding views over the valley it's a 'must-see' location.
    Afterwards, as you make your way down to the bottom of the valley floor you will be struck by how wide open this valley is, it's quite unlike anywhere else in Bhutan. This valley is also home to the Black Necked Cranes and hopefully you will be able to catch sight of a few. Mostly they leave in early March for Tibet but you may see a few stragglers before they depart.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Yo Lo Koe Lodge, Gakiling Guest House or Similar
  9. Day 9 - Loop ride around Gangtey - 20km, 2-3 hours.

    After breakfast you will begin this morning's loop ride which takes you in a clockwise direction around the valley. With beautiful forests up high, potato fields down low, wild flowers growing everywhere and prayer flags all around, it's easy to see why this stunning valley is a favourite amongst Mountain Kingdoms' clients. As the morning light shimmers on the tranquil streams at the bottom of the valley you will set off on your morning's ride. On the first half of the loop you will be following a dirt road on the opposite side of the valley from your hotel, contouring along the side of the valley you will soon reach the picturesque Domchoe Lhakhang, which dates back to the 7th century. From here the valley opens up before you with views along to the small hamlets in the distance. The trail then heads down to the valley floor again, and works its way back towards the hotel, passing through remote villages and timber yards. Lunch will be taken in the hotel.

    Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 370m Descent 370m

    In the afternoon you will head to the interesting Black-necked Crane Visitor Centre for an insightful visit. This centre has many interesting exhibits as well as a couple of high powered Swarovski scopes to enable you to get a nice close up of these graceful birds. There is also an interesting hand woven carpet factory nearby that is worth a visit if time permits.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Yo Lo Koe Lodge, Gakiling Guest House or Similar
  10. Day 10 - Ride from Gangtey to Trongsa, 2,050m/6,726 - 70km, 5-6 hours.

    This morning you will be transferred to the top of the Gangtey valley to start today's ride. From here the road drops down briefly to meet up with the main road that heads up to the Pele La pass, 3,390m/11,122ft, this road is not too steep and is only a few kilometres long and before you know it you will be at the top taking pictures amongst the scattered prayer flags. The road then heads down the other side for another fantastic descent with more incredible scenery. Before you get too far there is time for a break at a fantastically located café on the side of the road; with views stretching away in front of you it's the perfect place to relax with a cup of fresh coffee. After your caffeine hit, it's time to get back on the bike and rejoin the road as it weaves its way down the mountain for approximately 60km. The road is cut into the mountain in places and passes by several beautiful waterfalls, mani walls, gompas and roadside stalls. The wildlife spotters amongst you will also have a field day with abundant birdlife, yaks and monkeys along the way.

    After around three hours of enjoying the downhill you will be met by a fantastic view of Trongsa Dzong, this viewpoint looks directly across at the Dzong and the town of Trongsa and is a great spot for pictures as you can see just how close to the edge of the rocky outcrop this Dzong is. There is a short downhill section to the bottom of the valley floor and then a short climb up to the town. You will then have a late lunch in your hotel before an afternoon visit to the fascinating museum which is inside the old watchtower that is perched high on the hillside overlooking the Dzong. This museum is well worth a visit and screens an interesting film that does a good job of summing up Bhutan's history and culture. The view from the top of the tower is incredible. After this visit you will head down to the dzong for a visit and then maybe a leisurely walk around town and back to the hotel for dinner.

    Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 400m Descent: 1,750m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Yangkhil Resort, Trongsa or Similar
  11. Day 11 - Cycle to Bumthang, 2,580m/8,464ft - 45km, 3-4 hours.

    This morning there are two options: For those of you who are feeling fit and fancy another challenge there is the climb to the top of the Yotong La. This is a 30km climb that will take around four hours. The road is a gradual climb and provides excellent views on the way up - it is quite similar to the Dochu La climb from earlier in the trip. This is the highest point of the trip at 3,425m/11,237ft. For those of you who prefer to take it a little easier there is the option of a later start and taking the van to the top from where there is another long sweeping descent down to the valley floor where you will have a picnic lunch.

    The afternoon's ride follows the valley floor on one of the flattest sections on the whole trip, but this will change as you approach the last high pass of the trip, the Kiki La. This climb is shorter than the other passes on this holiday and shouldn't prove to be too difficult, but as always there is the support van behind for those with tired legs. The final hairpin descent of today heads down the bottom of the valley and joins the rushing water of the Chakhar Chu River as it makes its way to Bumthang. The pleasant ride to the hotel passes by the town centre with its one main street heading away to your right.

    Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 282m Descent: 1,110m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Ugyenling Hotel, Jakar or Similar
  12. Day 12 - Loop ride around Bumthang Valley with stops at Ken Chu Sum Monastery and Kurjey Lhakhang - 20km, 2-3 hours.

    Today's loop ride of the Bumthang valley is a fairly casual affair so there is time to have a nice relaxing breakfast before heading off on your bike for the last time. The ride starts with a gentle pedal through town passing traditional arts shops and cafes, before heading to Ken Chu Sum monastery. The main temple of this monastery is being rebuilt after it was ravaged by fire. It is fascinating to see the process of rebuilding and the amount of time and work that goes into each part of the temple.

    Across the road from the monastery is the timber yard where all the wood is being prepared - from the slicing into planks to the fine detail carving, all the work is done on site. It's a fascinating place to walk around and the carpenters are friendly and happy to talk about their work. Just up the road is Tamshing Lhakhang, the most important Nyingma Gompa in the kingdom, established in 1501 by Pemalingpa. Inside you can see a suit of chain-mail armour which Buddhists believe will bring good fortune if worn and then walked around the inner temple three times.

    The next stop is Kurjey Lhakhang, a series of three large temples. The oldest of the temples here houses a rock indented with the body shape of Guru Rinpoche, whilst the most recent dates back just 25 years and was built for the Queen Mother - Ashi Kesang Wangchuck. It is at this monastery where the cremation takes place on the death of the kings of Bhutan. The final stop of today's ride is Jambay Lhakhang. This is one of the country's oldest temples, built in the mid-7th century. One interesting feature to look for is the set of three steps in the main temple. The first step, now hidden below floor level, is said to represent the time of the past or 'historical' Buddha. The second, very well worn, step represents the present Buddha, whilst the third step above, is said to represent the age of the future Buddha. The point at which the second step is worn down to ground level is held to be the time when the world as we currently know it will end. Lunch will be a delicious picnic; its location will vary depending on the progress of today's ride.

    The afternoon can be spent exploring the interesting town before returning to the hotel to relax.

    Cycling ascent and descent - Ascent: 260m Descent: 260m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Ugyenling Hotel, Jakar or Similar
  13. Day 13 - Fly to Paro.

    After breakfast you will be transferred to the small Bumthang airport, and after undergoing the stringent security checks (quick glance at your bags), you will board the small plane and enjoy the stunning views of the Bumthang valley before you climb high for great views of the high mountains off in the distance. This is only a 25 minute flight but it's incredibly scenic. Upon arrival at Paro airport you will visit the Paro Museum which is situated high up over-looking the Dzong, this is an interesting museum with some great exhibits. From here you will head down to the Dzong to take a look inside this impressive building.

    After lunch you will also visit the ancient temple of Kyichu Lhakhang which was one of 108 temples built by Songtsen Gampo, an important early Tibetan king, to pin down the Bon demon that was thought to hover over the whole of Tibet. The rest of the afternoon can be spent walking around the town searching through some of the great handicraft shops for the all important souvenirs, or simply relaxing in a café watching life go slowly by.

    (If the flight to Paro is cancelled you will drive back to Paro over the next two days. Your sightseeing in Paro will then be rearranged accordingly).

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  14. Day 14 - Drive to Cheli La. Walk to Kila Gompa nunnery. Return to Paro and time at leisure.

    Today you will drive up to the Cheli La, a pass at 3,990m/13,090ft, a journey of about 1½ hours. In clear weather you will have wonderful views of the snow-capped mountains to the west which mark the border with Tibet. You then walk to the Kila Gompa nunnery. The gompa is surrounded by a lush forest dominated by tall firs and sparkling mountain streams tumble down slopes which are covered with a variety of wildflowers and plants. The Gompa is a peaceful retreat for Buddhist nuns who dedicate their lives to spiritual fulfilment. About 30 nuns live here, ranging in age from about 20 to 80 years. The community is one of the oldest of seven nunneries in Bhutan and was initially established in the early 9th century as a meditation site. The nuns live a life of contemplation and seclusion, with daily prayer and spiritual practice. The temple itself is surrounded by numerous meditation huts, and many hidden caves lie inside the rocky cliffs.

    Following your walk you will return to Paro. The rest of the day will be at leisure.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  15. Day 15 - Walk to Taktsang Monastery.

    A short drive beyond Paro town takes you to the trail head for the walk up to the famous Tiger's Nest, Taktsang Monastery. The monastery is perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It's a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,115ft. Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of Taktsang, and those who prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others continue on. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress, you will not be able to enter the monastery but the further half an hour's ascent is well worth it, as it brings you to another viewpoint directly across from Taktsang. If you are able to make a visit, the final section of the walk takes you from here steeply down 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again to reach the monastery gate. You return to the tea house for a delicious and well deserved lunch before you descend back to the valley floor by your outward route and then drive to your hotel.

    The afternoon is free for simply relaxing or doing a little last minute souvenir shopping or sightseeing. If you brought your own bike with you then now is a good time to get it packed up ready for your international flight.

    This evening there will be a celebratory meal in the hotel, a great opportunity to relive the many great memories of this fantastic trip.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  16. Day 16 - Fly to Kathmandu.

    It's time to wave farewell to your crew this morning as you board the plane for your flight to Kathmandu. This incredibly scenic flight is one to remember so make sure you have your cameras handy. Upon arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by our friendly Nepalese staff who will transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to do your own sightseeing or just to relax at the hotel.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  17. Day 17 - Sightseeing in Kathmandu. Afternoon at leisure.

    Kathmandu is a fascinating city, a mixture of the modern and medieval. Rickshaws, taxis and hooting motorists add to the din and create the special atmosphere Kathmandu is so famous for.

    Today you will have a half day guided sightseeing tour of some of the city's main sights. One of the most sacred Hindu temples of Nepal, Pashupatinath Temple, is located on both banks of the sacred Bagmati River on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. Pashupatinath is the most important temple dedicated to god Shiva. Later you will explore Boudhanath where you will visit the ancient Buddhist stupa. Here pilgrims from all over the Indian subcontinent circle the stupa clockwise, turning prayer wheels as they pass. If you are there just before sunset a pleasant way to end the day is watching the sun go down over the stupa from the rooftop terrace of a café while sipping a cold beer.

    The rest of the day will be at leisure to do some more sightseeing on your own or to shop for souvenirs.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  18. Day 18 - Fly to London.

    After breakfast there will be a group transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

Map

Map Key

  • AirportAirport
  • General point of interestPoint of interest
  • Mountain RangeMountain Peak
  • TrekDay walk in this area
  • FlightsFlights
  • Internal TransfersInternal Transfers
  • Trek routeTrek

2019

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Mon 18 Mar - Thu 4 Apr 2019 Available£3335 Book£3935 Book
Sat 2 Nov - Tue 19 Nov 2019 Available£3335 BookContact us

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Optional supplements
  • Cycle Hire
    From £320
  • Single Room Supplement
    From £625
  • Single Room supplement
    From £625
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £96
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • An English-speaking Bhutanese guide
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (Flight inclusive option)
  • Single, timed group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • Flights between Kathmanu and Paro and internal flights in Bhutan
  • Bhutan visa and Bhutan departure tax
  • Good standard hotel in Kathmandu, on a twin share and bed & breakfast basis
  • In Bhutan good standard hotel accommodation in main towns and best available hotels in outlying towns, on a twin share, full board basis
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Sightseeing where specified
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water-to-Go bottle or Mountain Kingdoms fleece
  • Carbon offset for clients taking our flight-inclusive option
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre-trip meet in the Cotswolds

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees for Nepal
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu
  • Optional trips
  • Bicycle Hire
  • Tips


Review your holiday

Reviews

Read holiday reviews by Mountain Kingdoms travellers.

Overall score:           (Based on 7 reviews)

The holiday was everything we had hoped it would be and more!          

We got to see aspects of Myanmar that were definitely off the beaten track as well as the main tourist sites. It mixed comfort with the ability to test ourselves (whether on some of the cycles or in the choice of food). It was full-on but we never felt that we were pushed too hard. I'd recommend it to anybody!

Just brilliant fun!          

I very recently cycled the majority of this fantastic cycling adventure. From the first few minutes to the very end it was just brilliant fun! The bikes we provide in Bhutan are modern mountain bikes with disk brakes and good gear ratios. This cycling holiday is not a non-stop endurance exercise. It combines exciting cycling with meeting local Bhutanese people, seeing their culture and daily traditions, and visiting some of the kingdom's famous sights. You also get off-the-beaten-track and really close up and personal with their amazing scenery. It is such a thrill to whistle down the long descents from high passes and see friendly people waving and bowing to you as you pass by. The air is clean in the mountains and every leg of the journey is a fresh challenge. We were lucky inasmuch as we enjoyed wall to wall sunshine every day but if you did encounter rain you can always scramble into the back-up vehicle/s which stays behind you at a respectful distance all the way. Your Guide leads the route and is there to show you around and be an interpreter as well. In the many days cycling he had to mend only one puncture. You can if you want avoid toiling up to the top of the big passes and simply ride all the downhills. For instance the road down from the Dochu La Pass is all of 40kms downhill and never boring!! The hotels are of a high standard and there is plenty of time to rest and relax. The people in their cars and buses look at you with envy. Of course the 4th king (now retired), and the 5th king are keen cyclists and are often seen cycling the tracks north of Thimphu. The present king is very much involved with the 'Tour of the Dragon' - the annual cycle race from Jakar to Thimphu. There is little in the way of really busy traffic in Bhutan and certainly going east from Punakha there is very little traffic at all. I never felt traffic was remotely a problem. I would give this trip my highest recommendation for sheer excitement and pleasure.

Enjoyable experience          

I really enjoyed the whole experience of cycling, seeing the country and the sights, and learning about Bhutan from our guide who was very informative. I enjoyed going to a country which is still off-the-beaten-track and seeing its culture and how it is developing.

Cycling Bhutan          

All the arrangements went well. Good choice of hotels with some local characteristics.

Lived up to expectations          

...the walk to TigerÕs Nest Monastery on our return to Paro was another highlight. It is the iconic sight of Bhutan for me and it lived up to expectations.


Extend your holiday

Dwarika’s Hotel Kathmandu, Nepal

Dwarika’s Hotel Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Relax in a tranquil haven with indulgent facilities and first rate service
  • Discover a heritage property that echoes Kathmandu's Newari history and culture
  • Enjoy superb dining in the renowned Krishparnan restaurant
  • Indulge yourself in Dwarika's Aururvedic spa and pool

More Details

Dwarika’s hotel in Kathmandu is based on a vision that embraces the region’s great history and artisan craftsmanship in order to create an environment ‘with a sensation of the original’. This vision has been realised in the materials, style and artifacts that make Dwarika’s such a unique property and reflect Nepal’s ancient Newari heritage.

Dwarika’s though is so much more than a living museum. Large, luxurious rooms come complete with every comfort and the hotel has a library, fitness centre, Ayurvedic spa and free Wi-Fi throughout. Outside, it has a delightful courtyard and an enticing swimming pool that offers a haven from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. Dwarika’s has several bars and dining options including the renowned Krishparnan restaurant. Here you can enjoy a true feast of traditional Newari cuisine made from the finest and freshest ingredients.


Bumdra Trek Bhutan

Bumdra Trek Bhutan
  • Take a two day trek from Paro that visits several monasteries and sacred sights
  • Reach iconic Taktsang Monastery from above - unlike virtually all other visitors
  • Enjoy spectacular views of the high Himalayan mountains and the Paro Valley
  • Camp overnight beneath Bumdra Monastery with fabulous panoramic vistas
  • Fully supported trek with a guide, trek crew and mules to carry your kit

More Details

The Bumdra trek is a wonderful two day trek, with a perfect mix of challenging walking and culture. You ascend 900m to Bumdra monastery above the Paro Valley, and then on up to a viewing point for stunning views of snow-capped Mount Chomolhari. You camp the night at a scenic spot just below the monastery and the following day you have a leisurely descent, stopping at four monasteries, culminating in the famous Taktsang Monastery. This extension can be added to any of our scheduled group holidays in Bhutan.


Kathmandu Valley sightseeing, Nepal

Kathmandu Valley sightseeing, Nepal
  • Visit the ancient cities of Bhaktapur, Patan, Kathmandu and Timi with their stunning art and architecture
  • Observe traditional crafts such as pottery, woodcarving and thangka painting
  • Choose from a selection of full and half day guided tours
  • Travel in a private car with a driver and an English-speaking guide

More Details

The Kathmandu Valley has a long and rich history and a vibrant culture and there is much that is worthwhile to see there - crowded bazaars, ancient temples, Buddhist stupas, crumbling shrines and picturesque palaces. The Malla kings who ruled in the valley created three major cities in the valley, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan and each of these cities has buildings that are showpieces for the art and architecture of local Newari craftsmen. We offer a selection of half day trips and full day trips to these sites the valley.


Koshi Tappu, Nepal

Koshi Tappu, Nepal
  • Koshi Tappu is home to over 500 species of birds
  • Look out for exciting wildlife like jungle cats, crocodiles and rare water buffalo
  • Explore the park by foot, raft and jeep
  • Stay in the pleasantly located Koshi Camp

More Details

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is one of the finest birdwatching and wildlife areas in all Asia. Located in south-east Nepal, the reserve covers 175 square kilometres with large expanses of open water created by the Koshi barrage, with marshes, lagoons, sandbanks and mudflats offering an outstanding wetland habitat. The reserve is home to over 500 species of birds, with the resident inhabitants being joined by large numbers of migratory species from Siberia and Tibet, which take up residence from November to February. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve provides one of the best places in Nepal to view migratory water fowl, waders and shore birds with many species seen here which are not recorded elsewhere in the region.

There is also much wildlife to be seen in Koshi Tappu including blue bull, golden jackal, Bengal fox, fishing cat, jungle cat, mongoose, civet cat, porcupine, Indian flying foxes and rare Gangetic dolphins as well as rare Marsh Mugger crocodiles.  In addition, Koshi Tappu is the last habitat of the endangered Arna, a type of wild water buffalo.

During your visit you will explore the park with bird and animal spotting from a raft trip on the Koshi River, birdwatching walks, jungle walks and jeep trips. You will also have the opportunity to visit a family in one of the very interesting nearby local villages for a taste of rural Nepalese life. The Koshi Camp offers simple but comfortable accommodation and an expert staff of naturalists and birdwatchers to give you a comprehensive introduction to this wonderful area.


Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel, Nepal
  • Relax in luxuriously furnished accommodation with stunning Himalayan views
  • Relax and rejuvenate in the top of the range spa
  • Take a dip in the refreshing infinity pool
  • Enjoy locally sourced organic food at the resort's restaurant

More Details

Dwarika’s Resort is a charming hotel located just an hour’s drive from Kathmandu city and set on a ridge above the town of Dhulikhel. At an altitude of 1,700m/5,600ft and enjoying panoramic views of the mountains, Dwarika’s Resort is the perfect way to relax and feel revitalised and rejuvenated. The resort promises ‘a Himalayan approach to well-being in rustic luxury.’

Built in Dwarika’s own inimitable style the resort offers a relaxing atmosphere of complete harmony in the tradition of ancient Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. The rooms are spacious and luxurious and are set in lovely gardens with inspiring mountain views. Facilities include an infinity pool overlooking beautiful countryside, top of the range spa facilities, a fitness centre, a Chakra sound therapy centre and a Himalayan salt room and meditation room all inspired by a blend of Vedic Philosophy and Buddhist Medicine.

The resort offers an impressive range of ayurvedic treatments as well as yoga and meditation and classes. Its wonderful restaurants offer delicious food, sourced locally and from Dwarika’s own organic farm, with delicious menus carefully created to complement Dwarika’s philosophy and treatments. Other activities include lovely walks to visit their farm or to explore the surrounding area and visit traditional villages such as the legendary Namobuddha Monastery or the Newari village of Panauti, to experience the simple joys of Nepalese rural life.


Bhutan Hotel Upgrades
  • Upgrade your accommodation for your trip in Bhutan.
  • Choose from boutique and spa hotels in various destinations.
  • Stay in luxurious properties with first rate service and facilities
  • Enjoy fine dining and indulgent rooms

More Details

For our brochure trips to Bhutan we offer good standard tourist hotels and lodges, however, Bhutan also offers some lovely boutique and spa hotels which we are pleased to offer as upgrades on your trip. We offer a range of properties in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and other towns all of which provide excellent facilities and service as well as attractive locations.


Tibet Extension
  • Visit some of Tibet's most important historical and cultural sites and monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Offers a scenery completely different to that of Bhutan and Nepal.
  • Suitable to add to any holiday flying in/out of Kathmandu.

More Details

​A visit to Tibet offers an exciting extension to a visit to Nepal or Bhutan. Regular flights to Lhasa from Kathmandu make it possible to visit most of the major sights in and around Lhasa on an 8 day itinerary and a visit to Tibet will provide an exhilarating contrast to your trek or tour in Nepal or Bhutan. Tibet’s high plateau offers totally different and starker scenery to that of the other Himalayan countries. Here you will see some of the most important historical and cultural sites and monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism – the Potala Palace and Samye, Ganden and Drepung Monasteries.

If taking this extension you will need to spend an extra day beforehand in Kathmandu while our agents there process your Tibet visa. They will need your passport for the day for this purpose. You need to let us know in good time if you wish to take this extension as we need to put this process in hand and send your details to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu well before your departure date.


Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge - Extension

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge - Extension
  • Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara in the Annapurna range of Nepal
  • The lodge is an ideal base for you to relax in a rural mountain setting
  • Beautiful outdoor swimming pool reflecting view of the Annapurna range
  • Delicious Nepali dishes & continental specialities made from local fresh ingredients, home-grown herbs & garden salads

More Details

Why not extend your adventure in Nepal by visiting the beautiful Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. Tiger Mountain Pokhara lodge is a lovely place, situated on a ridge half an hour outside Pokhara and enjoying the most stunning mountain views over the Annapurna range of mountains.

The lodge is an ideal base for you to relax in a rural mountain setting, away from the bustle of town. With a central lodge, bar and dining room, the comfortable rooms are arranged in clusters of cottages resembling a Nepali village. All have attached bathrooms, private verandas and Himalayan views. Daily menus feature a range of Nepali dishes as well as continental specialities made from local fresh ingredients and home-grown herbs and garden salads. You may enjoy lovely walks through the forests and villages of the lovely countryside surrounding the lodge, escorted by trained local guides. The beautiful swimming pool reflects the distant white peaks of the Annapurna range. The lodge also offers a range of Ayurvedic and shiatsu therapy and yoga and meditation sessions are also available (at additional cost). You may also venture further afield to visit Pokhara, Nepal’s second city located on a lovely lake and also enjoying spectacular views.


Everest Flight - extension

Everest Flight - extension
  • Fly within five nautical miles of Everest
  • As well as Everest, see views of other 8,000m giants; Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu and Lhotse
  • Flights operate in the early morning, when weather conditions are at their best.

More Details

While in Kathmandu, why not experience the spectacular sight of Mount Everest? Instead of trekking into the region to gain a good view of this must-see landmark you could see it in under an hour! We fly with either Buddha Air or Mountain Air who both operate modern Raytheon Beechcraft 1900 aircraft. These hold between 16 and 18 people and as the seating is only two abreast everyone is guaranteed a window seat. The excursion includes hotel transfers, a celebratory glass of bubbly and a certificate signed by your captain after you land.


Chitwan National Park
  • Activities include; bird watching, elephant washing, canoe ride, elephant experience, landrover safari and jungle walks
  • Choice of accommodation from budget to luxury
  • Suitable to add to any holiday flying in/out of Kathmandu

More Details

Why not extend your adventure in Nepal by visiting Nepal’s jungle region for a complete contrast to the high mountains and the Kathmandu Valley. Chitwan is home to a rich and varied wildlife. Here are found wild elephant, rhinos, leopard, sambar, chital (spotted) deer, wild boar and
arguably the most magnificent of cats, the Royal Bengal Tiger. You may even see sloth bear, gaur (wild cattle) and crocodiles. Chitwan is also wonderful for birdlife especially in the spring, when the jungle rings day and night to the calls of several kinds of Asian cuckoo.


Shivapuri Heights Cottage extension
  • Escape the crowds and hustle and bustle of Kathmandu
  • Walks available from the cottage - explore the nearby countryside
  • Single and double rooms available, or exclusive hire of the entire cottage
  • Breakfast and dinner included, plus unlimited tea and coffee

More Details

While in Kathmandu, why not experience an exclusive, private, home away from home? Shivapuri Heights Cottage is a “home-stay-style” property that offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the City. It is located in 2 acres of land at an altitude of 6,000ft /1,830m on the edge of the protected Shivapuri Reserve, with beautiful views looking down into the Kathmandu Valley.


Bardia National Park - extension

Bardia National Park - extension
  • Jungle activities including an elephant experience, bird watching, rafting and nature walks
  • See wild elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, deer, wild boar and if you are lucky, the famous Royal Bengal Tiger
  • Stay at the delightful Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge situated on the edge of the park

More Details

After your adventurous time in the Himalaya why not add a relaxing Jungle Safari to your trip?
The Royal Bardia National Park is situated in the west of Nepal. We use Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge, which is acknowledged to be the best lodge in the area. Bardia’s remote geographic location and the fact that the lodge has only 12 rooms, lends a degree of exclusivity to the experience, in comparison to other more popular parks. From the lodge you will be able to participate in safaris and have the chance of seeing some of the country’s wonderful wildlife, for instance, wild elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, deer, wild boar and if you are lucky, the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. There is also the possibility of visiting the villages of the Tharu tribal people that surround the lodge. With its abundant wildlife, relaxing lodge and first class service, our Bardia extension is an experience you will savour!


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