BIKING TOUR IN BHUTAN OVERVIEW
Mountain biking tour in Bhutan is a whole new sport that is steadily gaining popularity amongst the Bhutanese and visitors alike. The country’s topography, especially in the western, central and eastern regions, are not the most cycle-friendly but that is precisely why mountain biking is gaining momentum amongst more and more visitors. The mode of transport itself calls for a certain intimacy seldom experienced in vehicles.
Most biking trips in Bhutan go through well paved roads while others trail on to dirt roads and trails. The traffic is still relatively very light and the experience very intimate. This is the “Road Less Travelled.” The more adventurous have the option of making side excursions for more “off-the-road” ventures if preferred.
The surface accommodates most types of frame styles: from MTB, Hybrid, and Road, depending on your cycling style and experience. Biking trails mostly meander through small towns and villages and rural areas; it’s just you, your bike, the tour group and the agrarian and natural scenery. Biking in Bhutan allows you many opportunities for self reflection along with the absorbing, rich environment. There are also numerous opportunities for optional hikes with a bit of climbing thrown in.
BIKING TRAIL IN BHUTAN
Thimphu – Pangrizampa – Hongtsho
The Pangrizampa – Hongtsho trail starts from the Thimphu Town Square (known locally as the Clock Tower) and continues biking along the Thimphu – Dechencholing highway until the junction at Dechencholing – Pangrizampa and Dechencholing – Tango/Cheri road. From here we follow the dirt motor vehicle road until Pangrizampa (the bridge of Pangri). From Pangrizampa the biking ascends along the logging road until Taba Top at an average gradient of 11%. The logging road ends here.
Flora and Fauna
The trail is home to vegetation ranging from blue pine forests in the lower valley to mixed coniferous forest at higher altitudes. The forest type is basically coniferous in nature which supports less wildlife than broad leaf forests. The main vegetation found here are Blue Pine, Poplar, Oak, Hemlock, Spruce, Fir, Larch, Juniper, Rhododendron et al.
Some important cultural entities that can be viewed by biking along the Thimphu -Pangrizampa – Hongtsho trail are the Tashi
Chho Dzong, the Parliament building, Dechenphodrang Lhakhang, Dechencholing Palace, Pangrizampa Lhakhang and Kabjisa village. From the Taba Top, a bird’s eye-view of the following monasteries are visible: Dodedra, Tango and Cheri monasteries.
From Sinchula Pass a glorious vista awaits the rider in the form of the snow capped Himalayan eastern range, including Jhumolhari. As the trail descends towards Hongtsho, clear views of Hongtsho valley overlooking the Trashigang monastery across the valley can be seen. As the journey ends, you come across Semtokha Dzong, the oldest in Bhutan and after about 5 km ride from here, you will be back at the Clock Tower Square.
Khuruthang – Samdingkha – Punakha
Although the proposed biking journey is over 17 km, the new trail construction is slightly over 7 km. The proposed journey will take off at Khuruthang and stay along the feeder road until the footpath suspension bridge at Samdingkha. From Samdingkha the new trail mostly follows along the footpath at an average gradient of 10% until Punakha Dzong where the trail connects to the road. The terrain topography of the new trail is generally steep exceeding 100% in some stretches. However, the trail is an up-gradation of the footpath. After reaching Punakha Dzong, you keep following the asphalt road along the Mo Chhu till Khuruthang town, a place to stretch the arms and spend a night at the cosy hotels.
Punakha, the old capital, is a pleasant sub-tropical valley. It is home to the impressive Pungthang Dewachenpoi Phodrang Dzong- the administrative and religious centre of the district. In winter it is home to the Bhutanese Central Monk Body. Since the 1680s the dzong has also been the site of a continuous vigil over the earthly body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the country, which lies in a special chamber in the dzong. Built by Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal in the 17th century, the fortress stands at the confluence of two rivers- the Pho (male) Chhu and Mo (female) Chhu Rivers.
Flora & Fauna
Chir pine is the dominant forest with very little undergrowths. These forests are poor in terrestrial birds. However, along river courses plenty of water birds can be spotted especially during winters. Some of the resident water birds are: Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck, Mallard, Crested Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Great Cormorant, River Lapwing and Ibisbill.
Punakha is the ancient capital of Bhutan and the winter residence of the Central Monastic body. The Punakha Dzong is one of the
most impressive in Bhutan- built at the confluence of the rivers Pho Chhu and the Mo Chhu. It has survived many natural disasters (the most recent were floods caused by glacial lake outburst upstream of the Pho Chhu.) The trail passes through several villages: Jimithang, Manakha, Jara, Samdingkha, Jangkhorlo and Tempakha.
There are two potential biking trails: Jemina (in Thimphu) – Ta Dzong (in Paro); and Wochu – Dzongdrakha – Bondey trails. The trails snake through pastoral landscapes and stunning sceneries.
Jemina – Ta Dzong
The Jemina – Ta Dzong mountain biking trail lies between an altitude of 2280 – 3600m above sea level. To make a loop, it is suggested that the journey trail start from the Paro Town Square and continue bike along the Paro – Thimphu Highway until Khasadrapchhu. From here, you bike across the bridge at Khasadrapchhu and follow the asphalt road through the narrow Jemina valley. The logging road to Jedekha starts from the industrial estate. The logging road ascends at an average gradient of 11% till Jedekha, where the actual biking trail begins. From Jedekha the trail until Jele Dzong Pass climbs at an average gradient of 8%. The topographic terrain is mild till the Jele Dzong Pass. It does not exceed 70%.
Flora & Fauna
There are four type of vegetation along the trail. The vegetation changes as the altitude elevates. Blue pine forest is prominent in
the lower altitude, mixed coniferous forest in the middle range, fir forest and Juniper forest around the pass. The main tree species are Blue pine, Poplar, Walnut, Oak, Hemlock, Spruce, Fir, Larch, Juniper, Rhododendron et al.
Although the forest type is not home to bird life, a few bird species that roost here are Nutcrackers, Yellow-billed Magpie, Whistling Thrush, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Kalij Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Coal Tit and Wood Snipe. Wild animals are elusive but droppings confirm the presence of Wild cats, Deer, and Leopards.
Please keep in mind that before you take this trip. Few things to remember are your visa acceptance letter, your air tickets, Passport validity should be 6 months and more. If you have any health condition please make sure your health insurance covers all.
Being a responsible company, we are always available for 24 hours a day, in case if you need any emergency help. It is best to first call your designated travel coordinator or sales person (whose contact numbers are will be listed on your tour agreement), for any reason if you are not able to reach to him/her then please ring us on the below numbers:
Thimphu Head Office: (00975)-331423
Mobile number: (00975)-17140505(Available 24/7)
Note: office working time is 9am – 5pm from Monday to Friday.
Mr. Sagar Pradhan (Sales Manager) 00975 17343496 (Available for 24 hours a day)
Best months to Bike in Bhutan:
The best time to bike in Bhutan is Spring and Autumn if you prefer dry and sunny weather and for those veteran bikers Bhutan is considered all year round season for Bikers. Summer will be more fun to ride the bike because of greenery vegetation along the route. Winter months will be risky because of icy road and cold wind that will the ride. I would suggest all the bikers to avoid winter.
Bhutan is a unique travel destination with some special considerations. It is highly recommended that you undertake some background reading before riding your bike to Bhutan. The more you learn about your destination, the more rewarding your travel experience will be. We shall assign the best Biking guide for your trip to Bhutan.
Bike Type and Hiring cost: We have enfield Bike for the Hire. The cost of hiring the Bike will differ from duration of the ride. We use latest model not more than 5 years old Bike for all our clients interested to ride the Bike in Bhutan. The Bike hire cost will be USD 75 per day.