Bhutan Thunder Dragon Ride
Bhutan & India, Bike - Semi Slick, 12 days - from £2,795 (land only) - from €3,775 (land only) - from $4,640 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Delhi which is conveniently located near the airport. Delhi Airport transfers are provided for clients arriving on this day. KE Land Only package services begin with the overnight at the group hotel.
Day 2: We take the spectacular onward flight to Bhutan's only airport at Paro, arriving in the afternoon. We meet our Bhutanese guide and crew and transfer to our hotel in the Paro Valley.
Day 3: We make an early start and set off biking on the new road towards Thimpu. In sight of the Bhutanese capital, we turn off and make the long climb over the Dochu La. A stunning 1700 metre descent then takes us into the Punakha Valley, where we can visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong. Overnight in Punakha. Ride distance 118 km (74 miles) with 1565 metres of ascent and 2697 metres of descent.
Day 4: One of the most challenging biking days lies ahead, as we climb over the Black Mountains that lead us to Gantey and the Phobjikha Valley, one of the winter homes of the Himalayan black-necked crane. Overnight in Gantey. Ride distance 75 km (47 miles) with 2751 metres of ascent and 1119 metres of descent.
Day 5: Our route today continues across the Chele La, with another fantastic descent on a twisting road through forest, to Tongsa. Overnight in a lodge close to the spectacular Tongsa Dzong. We visit the dzong in the afternoon and may even see some Bhutanese archery. Ride distance 76 km (48 miles) with 1085 metres of ascent and 1977 metres of descent.
Day 6: Another climb, to the Yutong La (3400m), followed by a long descent into Bumthang. There is a further short climb to the Kiki La, beyond which we coast down to our overnight stop in the small town of Jakar. Ride distance 70 km (44 miles) with 1919 metres of ascent and 1420 metres of descent.
Day 7: The Ura La provides another major ascent, followed by a long swooping descent through pasture and farmed land to our camping place beyond Ura Village and the crossing of the Wangthang La. Ride distance 77 km (48 miles) with 2018 metres of ascent and 1161 metres of descent.
Day 8: A long and gradual ascent to the Thumsing La (3800m), the last of the big climbs. Then an enjoyable, beautiful descent and a final climb to Mongar. Ride distance 109 km (68 miles) with 1671 metres of ascent and 3492 metres of descent.
Day 9: A more modest climb to the Kori La, then another superb descent to the Sheri River and a final taxing climb up to our lodge in the town of Tashigang. Ride distance 90 km (56 miles) with 1877 metres of ascent and 2341 metres of descent.
Day 10: Turning southwards towards India, we still have two long days of riding ahead of us. We initailly climb to Kanglung and cross several passes to reach Khaling, famous for its weaving and handicraft, before continuing our ride to Wamrong. Ride distance 78 km (49 miles) with 2561 metres of ascent and 1434 metres of descent.
Day 11: We climb to another low pass at 2450 metres, the last of the trip. From here, it's all pretty much downhill, as we follow an undulating ridge-top road to Samdrup Jongkhar and the Indian Border. Ride distance 95 km (59 miles) with 1344 metres of ascent and 3415 metres of descent.
Day 12: We cross the border and drive to the airport at Gauhati. From here, we fly to Delhi and transfer to our hotel near the airport for showers and dinner. Later, we transfer back to Delhi Airport to check in for our homeward flight. KE Land Only package services end on arrival at the airport.
This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.
GPS Trip Data
Click on the link below to view the detailed stats for this holiday via Garmin Connect. Tracked using a Garmin Etrek20 you can see detailed mapping of the route, daily distances travelled, the total ascent and descent each day and maximum altitude.