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Riding the Dragon: A Cycling Adventure in Bhutan

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver (on some days), meals and two liters of water per day, bike or e-bike, English-speaking biking guide, a support vehicle, spare bike parts and tools, activities and entrance fees, Bhutan travel permits and visa processing. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.

FROM $11,400 PER PERSON
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DURATION

7 days | 6 nights

DESTINATIONS

Bhutan

INTERESTS

Bicycling,
Responsible

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Make a pilgrimage to the cliffside Tiger’s Nest Monastery
  • Take on the cycling challenge of Bhutan’s Himalayan topography
  • Absorb dramatic peak and valley views over the Land of the Thunder Dragon
  • Rest at Six Senses lodges; one of the world’s most sustainable hotel brands in one of the world’s most sustainable destinations

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Traverse the Himalayan nation of Bhutan by bike on this week-long endurance challenge, which combines immersion in Bhutan’s undulating landscapes with experiences focused on Bhutanese heritage and culture. Land in Paro, head to the capital of Thimphu, climb the Dochula Pass to lush Punakha, then return to Paro and end your trip with a hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

DAY-TO-DAY

DAY 1: Paro

Arrive into Paro, where you’ll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your accommodation, Six Senses Paro. The Six Senses brand is known for its commitment to sustainability, providing luxurious lodge accommodation in Bhutan that has a low impact on the surrounding environment and wildlife, but a positive impact on the local community. The lodge is perched above the Paro National Museum, which is the perfect introduction to Bhutan and a great place to visit if you have time for sightseeing on your first day. Relax and enjoy a dinner of authentic Bhutanese-style cuisine made using organic, local produce.

DAY 2: Thimpu

In the morning, you’ll drive for two hours to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, and dip your toe in the city’s attractions, learning about traditional Bhutanese arts and culture. After lunch, your cycling adventure starts with a loop to Dodina. Riding through villages, farmlands and forest to mountaintop monasteries, you’ll discover a side to Bhutan more off the beaten path. Descending back down to into the capital, you can rest and freshen up at Six Senses Thimphu with a meditation or yoga class (optional – at your own expense), followed by dinner at Namkha - the lodge’s restaurant, which specializes in Bhutanese and Indian cuisine.

DAY 3: Punakha

Leave the capital for Punakha via the most challenging section of the cycling route, which sees you climb nearly 850 meters to an altitude of over 3,000 meters. This area, known as Dochula, is thought to have a special spiritual energy - 108 chortens (shrines or monuments) can be found atop the Dochula Pass. After refueling with lunch in a scenic spot with views over the steep valleys of the region, you’ll descend 1,750 meters into Punakha through beautiful blue pine forest. Your lodging will be at Six Senses Punakha, a “flying farmhouse” that looks out over verdant rice fields.

DAY 4: Punakha

Today, you’ll remain based in Punakha and tackle the nearby Tashithang Loop. The first leg will be a gradual ascension of 1,785 meters, then a quick descension of 1,795 meters, followed by mostly level riding for the rest of the day. Your 62-kilometer route will wind through the area’s forests, known for their rhododendron trees, orchids and birdlife. Back at the lodge, take a dip in Six Senses Punakha’s outdoor pool, try Bhutanese dishes with a Western twist at restaurant Ari, then curl up with a good book in the lodge’s cozy library.

DAY 5: Punakha

Your final ride in Punakha covers a shorter distance and a more gradual incline, as you spin around the gorgeous valleys that encase the city. Take a trip to Punakha Dzong, which dates back to 1638 – not a single nail was used in its construction. Next, you’ll visit Chimi Lhakhang, which predates the dzong by over 150 years; built in 1499, this temple has a rich history and is known for its fertility blessings. Enjoy your final night at Six Senses Punakha – we recommend a thorough massage (optional) to relax and unknot tired muscles after a tough few days of cycling.

DAY 6: Paro

You’ll leave Punakha early in the morning and take a road transfer back to Paro, which takes around four to six hours. On arrival, you’ll stretch your legs with a hike to the Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery, which is cut into the cliffside. The path crosses a bridge, routes around a 60-meter waterfall and finally heads up the cliff to the sacred monastery – the most spectacular finale to your Bhutan travel experience.

DAY 7: Departure

Your Bhutan cycling adventure comes to an end, as you check out of Six Senses Paro and head to the airport for your onward flight. Consider adding extra sightseeing or relaxation time at the end of your trip, or combine Bhutan with a second destination for an even bigger adventure.

To further combat your carbon footprint, we advise offsetting your international flights through a carbon offset program, choosing an environmental cause that speaks to you.

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