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Thunder Dragon Ride in Bhutan

Starts: Delhi, India
Finishes: Delhi, India

Visit: Delhi, Paro Populated3, Punakha, Tongsa, Naspe, Mongar, Tashigang, Kanglung, Samdrup Jongkhar, Delhi

Tour Type: Small Group

Accommodation: Moderate

Activity: Road Cycling

Overview

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The classic bike ride across Bhutan is one of the world's most challenging cycling holidays. At the eastern end of the Himalaya, sandwiched between India and Tibet, the 'Shangri La' kingdom of Bhutan is renowned for its colourful Buddhist culture and for the beauty of its unspoiled mountain scenery. A single spectacular road runs west to east across the country, traversing a succession of steep-sided and heavily wooded ridges.

Presenting long climbs on easy-angled switchbacks, as well as mind-blowing descents that seem to last for hours, this largely deserted single-track highway provides the basis for one of the worlds' great bike journeys. Starting out from Paro and crossing several high passes, we accumulate a total of 15,500 metres of ascent and a staggering 18,200 metres of descent, en route to the eastern land border with India at Sandrup Jongkhar. Staying primarily in characterful lodges and with plenty of opportunity to meet the Bhutanese people, this is an unmissable adventure biking holiday. A sparsely populated country, Bhutan is often likened to Switzerland because of its small size, jealously guarded isolation and stunning mountain scenery. More than 90% of the population are hill farmers who live in small villages spread over rugged mountain country. Buddhist teachings and philosophy are influential throughout the kingdom, as they have been since the 7th century and a deep and traditional reverence for nature has led to Bhutan imposing some of the strictest standards of environmental preservation in the world. More than 65% of the land is still under forest cover and some of the rarest of Himalayan wildlife, such as the blue sheep, takin and golden langur, are quite common. It is generally reckoned that even the most experienced traveller will find Bhutan to be a revelation and we cannot disagree. In this country known as Druk Yul, the 'Land of the Thunder Dragon', the fortunate visitor will find a rare combination of harmony and accord, amongst incredible natural beauty. The air is clean and unpolluted, the mountains are magnificent and the architecture is inspiring. Bhutan is the least visited of all the Himalayan countries, as a direct result of a deliberate government policy that restricts the number of tourists allowed into the country.

Please note that the ongoing process of widening Bhutan's East-West Highway (scheduled for completion in 2019) is ongoing and this is affecting the nature of the ride. At the start of 2018, the first 350 kilometres of the ride from Paro to the village of Ura (beyond Jakar) had mostly been completed and the road is now in excellent condition. On the next section, from Ura to Trashigang, you can expect to encounter roadworks, where the tarmac has been removed and hardcore has been laid in preparation for resurfacing. In dry conditions, the unmade sections are simply more challenging to ride than the old tarmac road. If it is wet, they can be muddy and unpleasant. There could also be delays as we await our turn to traverse sections of roadworks. From Trashigang down to the Indian border, the road is again very good. Feedback from our November 2017 clients was all positive in spite of the roadworks. There has been significant recent progress and the end product will, of course, be a smoother ride for our groups in the future.

Highlights

    • Challenging climbs, endless descents, the perfect cycling holiday
    • The monasteries at Punakha, Tongsa, Gantey and Jakar
    • Meet Bhutan`s colourful people by bike
    • Please see note below about the ongoing road widening work

Trip Details

The Trip

Product Code: 166961
Tour Type: Small Group
Accommodation: Moderate
Transport: Private & Local (Public)##Private & Local (Public)
Guide Language: Engligh

Starts: Delhi, India
Finishes: Delhi, India
Duration: 12 days
Physical rating: Basic

Includes

  • A biking leader
  • Delhi Airport transfers (on Day 1 and Day 12 of the Land Only itinerary)
  • Internal flights and all land transport as detailed in the itinerary
  • Support vehicles and drivers throughout the time that the group spends in Bhutan
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan

Excludes

Price

Price person (sharing double) $4,915 ($410/day)

Deposit:

$300 per person for bookings made 56 days or more prior to departure

Full Amount for bookings made less than 56 days prior to departure

Cancellation: Strict

Trip Notes

Price does not include airfare (to the Trip start & from the end location)

Trip Price generally includes accommodation, transport/transfer, activities, services of a professional guide & more. (Please refer to the include/excludes section for details)

Tour packages spare you the hassles of trip planning, a la carte booking, organizing and managing the logistics at a foreign location.

Itinerary

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Bhutan, India Delhi, Paro, Thimpu, Dochu La, Punakha, Wangdi, Black Mountains, Gantey, Phobjikha Valley, Pele La, Tongsa, Yutong La, Bumthang, Jakar, Ura La, Lunana, Wangthang La, Thumsing La, Mongar, Kori La, Sheri River, Tashigang, Kanglung, Khaling, Wamrong, Samdrup Jongkhar
Do
Road Cycling

Availability

Reviews

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Ian B  

One suggestion I would make is that you review where your brochure says 90% tarmac and 10% dirt. While much of the route has some amount of bitumen, a material amount is not well maintained, covered in dirt, being dug up or only 1 foot wide. Maybe this was because we were there right after monsoon. I would be putting min 25% dirt so people can get a more realistic idea of surfact conditions. Pls note, this is not a criticism, I loved the rough stuff as I had a suitable bike, but two of our grou p, brought bikes that had no suspension. Just a thought. All the contact persons turned up on queue and the process was seemless. Clearly well organised and you have reliable people on the ground. Accom was better than I expected and we could see was the best you could do, given the options, so happy there. The tour guide was excellent! We appreciate that you put him in charge of our tour. He has a great balance between leading his team, imparting real world knowledge of his country and culture and keeping the customers moving forward as a group and making sure we had fun without overly restricting us. His assistant was also great and funny. On a scale of 1 - 10 I would rate the experience about a 15. We had such a great experience which we will remember forever. Everything went right and we couldn't be happier. I will definitely make you my first port of call for next adventure without doubt and will be recommending you. Cant say enough good things really. Thanks again.

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Jill J  

AMAZING country, felt rather privileged. The great group helped.Need more time to enjoy this great country, it would be nice to have a little look around Paro at least. My main issue would be to extend trip by at least one day to enjoy this country just a little more. It was a fab trip but right now I'm still completely knackered and do not want to see any of my 4 bikes for at least a week !!

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Paul B  

The trip was initially advertised as "intermediate" - but was modified to "difficult" - which it was. It was advertised as slick or semi-slick - in fact large parts of the ride were over rubble/sand/mud/water/ice. There were multiple 30km+ climbs which are several hours long and somewhat tiring. It should be emphasised that temperatures at a campsite in the Himalayas 3300m above sea level are going to be minus 10.

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Sara P  

What a fantastic country! Bhutan is indeed 'shangri la' - soaring mountain views, deep valleys, fertile lands and crystal clear air. The people are gentle and very obliging. We had such a wonderful cycling trip which was both challenging and rewarding and extremely well organised. It was a real adventure especially at the end when we had to cross the border into India at 3am! Our Bhutanese guide, back up team, mess team who cooked us some delicious meals, and the boys who put the tents up were always cheerful and professional and only too pleased to help. Although it was a challenging trip, with some quite difficult road surfaces on occasion,it was all very do able. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and look forward to my next Adventure cycle holiday.

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Sally A  

I enjoyed the challenge, the talks about the country from Karma and the scenery was stunning. I would have loved to have had a little time to paint some landscapes there!

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Michelle M  

Our support crew looked after us very very well. They looked after us wonderfully. I can't speak highly enough of them. They have a wealth of cultural information and was a pleasure to have around.The camps were surprisingly well set out. I particularly liked the toilet tent. The food was great and all the workers were friendly and all did their jobs well.I enjoyed being able to ride when I wanted to and being able to sit in the support vehicle. I really enjoyed that time with the crew and learning about their culture. I would have like a bit of time for shopping and mixing with the locals.

Tour Operator

KE Adventure Travel

KE is your number one choice for classic treks such as Everest Basecamp in Nepal, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Toubkal in Morocco or the Tour du Mont Blanc in the European Alps. Our record is also second-to-none on climbing expeditions to peaks as diverse as Mera Peak in Nepal, Mount Khuiten in Mongolia and Monte Rosa in Switzerland

In Business Since 1984

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http://www.keadventure.com

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