Bhutan cycling holiday

“A challenging but unique guided cycling holiday through the remote, happy kingdom of Bhutan Ė 9 days pedaling with steady climbs, sweeping descents, Himalayan views and ancient culture. ”


Kathmandu | Paro | Chele La | Haa Valley | Thimphu | Cheri monastery | Dochu La | Punakha Valley | Phobjikha Valley | Black Neck Crane sanctuary | Pele La | Trongsa | Yotong La | Bumthang | Mebar Tsho

Description of Bhutan cycling holiday

The tiny Kingdom of Bhutan is culturally rich, remote and inaccessible. Itís also a wonderful place for a cycling holiday! Tucked away at the eastern end of the mighty Himalaya range, it has some good paved roads, wonderful mountain scenery and a fascinating history to explore as you pedal along. The whole country is united by its love of the King and in Bhutan, GNH (Gross National Happiness) is more important than GNP.

This is a new trip, starting in Paro in the west and finishing in the Bumthang Valley in central Bhutan. We visit the remote Haa Valley and the capital, Thimpu. Crossing several passes, we get wonderful views of the Himalaya, even glimpsing Gankar Punsum, which at 7,497m is the highest peak in Bhutan. A side trip to the beautiful Gangtey Valley and Punakha Dzong are added highlights, as is a visit to one of the masked dance festivals.

There are plenty of long mountain climbs and exhilarating descents so a good level of cycling fitness is required. Youíll spend 9 days cycling (including one optional ride) on roads that are 75% Tarmac, 25% unpaved (some in poor condition), and with 100% vehicle support and a local guide. There are five passes at over 3,000m, but the gradients are mostly between 4% and 5%, so making it up is about riding slow and steady.

Bhutan is a beautiful and special place to visit and travelling here is still in its infancy. The daily rate is expensive, but a large proportion of this goes to the government in the form of a tax which provides free education and health care for all Bhutanese people.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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16 Oct 2020
including UK flights
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints (or tyre tracks!), however, this tour does actively encourage clients to make a positive impact by helping guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of Bhutan.

Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle using the containers provided in the support vehicle.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

The Impacts of this Trip

A Fair Deal:
We employ guides from the area for their insiderís knowledge and huge passion for Bhutan. In exchange for this local expertise, we provide fair wages to all our staff. They are fully trained and also given refresher courses on responsible travel issues and so are able to convey this to clients in careful briefings. These might include advice on where and when to dispose of litter on a cycling trail or appropriate dress and donations when entering a temple.

Accommodation & Meals:
During your trip to Bhutan you will spend all nights in hotels. The hotels employ local staff and try to source produce locally if possible in order to promote the areaís economy. The hotels usually offer buffet style food which is a mixture of Bhutanese and Chinese fare. All meals are provided, but clients are encouraged to stop in cafes as much as possible e.g. there is a small cafe opposite the Tigerís Nest Monastery which has the perfect view of the buildings clinging to the mountain, so this is a good place to stop for a bite. Your local tour leader will be able to point out several authentic spots which are more off the tourist trail and would benefit from your commerce.

Local Craft & Culture:
Although this trip is largely focused on cycling and the stunning natural scenery on offer, we like to include as many elements of culture as possible, too. This tour has a large focus on celebrating the culture of Bhutan and, of course, local crafts and traditions come into this. We visit monasteries and workshops, for example the weaving center and handicraft school in Thimpu. Our tours benefit these small communities here as travellers purchase goods as souvenirs and often make donations. There is also the advantage of perpetuating these ancient ways of life and manners of producing goods. The most flamboyant display of culture we support on the trip is the Paro Festival, where hundreds gather to see monks dressed in colourful brocade and painted masks, re-enacting tales about gods with music and dance. Also by law, $70 of the daily cost of any trip in Bhutan goes towards education and health.


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