An isolated kingdom in the Himalayas, so-called ‘last Shangri-la’ that is Bhutan offers many cycling tour opportunities for adventurous travelers. The rocky, mountainous topography and spectacular landscapes of this remote county combine to make a rewarding experience for those wishing to explore its attractions by bike. If you are interested in signing up for cycling tours of Bhutan, here are some things you should know.
Do you need to be Ultra Fit to Cycle around Bhutan?
Cycling around Bhutan rewards you with stunning views and a chance to get close to both nature and culture. To enjoy a bicycle tour, you need to be fit enough for gentle but long rides at high altitudes. Most of the riding is on paved roads with little traffic, but there are also rougher trails along the way.
Experienced cyclists will get the best value from multi-day, 500+ kilometer cycling tours, but there are also shorter itineraries for beginners. Note that some tour operators require participants to be at least 18 years of age. Call ahead your tour operator to avoid any disappointment.
What Places are covered by Bhutan Cycling Tours?
This all depends on the tour provider. Most itineraries start from Thimpu (after transferring from Paro)and head east, with stops at fortresses (called Dzongs), temples, and monasteries to let you and absorb the Buddhist culture. You will get to commune with preserved nature and meet friendly locals along the way. Most cycling tours are designed for exploring Bhutan’s history and heritage, taking you through the country’s abundant flora, wildlife and introducing you to its deeply religious and compassionate people.
This country has less than 700,000 residents and there is no need for traffic lights, as traffic jams do not exist. Scattered across Bhutan’s deep and wide valleys are beautiful fortresses and monasteries. One of the highlights is the Taktsang Monastery (also called Tiger Nest). Permits are required to enter such attractions. The cycling tour company should take care of those requirements for you.
If the itinerary involves passing Dochula, expect a major hill challenge. From the top, you will be rewarded with a panoramic 360-degree view of the stunning Himalayan mountain range-especially scenic on clear days during the winter when snowcapped mountains form a majestic backdrop to the 108 chortens that grace the mountain pass. After Dochula, you can enjoy an easy out and back ride through verdant forests that arepopular fortheir wild orchids, amazing birdlife, and beautiful rhododendron trees.
Be sure to sign up with a reliable Bhutan bicycle tour company that can take care of all your needs (or your group’s needs). The company should be a member of the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators.