Bhutan Thunder Dragon Ride
- Complete bike traverse of Bhutan the land of the Thunder Dragon
- Challenging climbs, endless descents, the perfect cycling holiday
- The monasteries at Punakha, Tongsa, Gantey and Jakar
- Meet Bhutan`s colourful people by bike
- One of the best cycle touring holidays in the world
The classic bike ride across Bhutan is one of the world's most challenging cycle 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 we run this holiday in conjunction with our friends at Hauser, the German adventure specialists. This enables us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get the trip up and running quickly. The cosmopolitan nature of the groups will be an important part of the experience! The holiday will be led by an English-speaking guide.
Is this holiday for you?
SEMI-SLICK ADVENTURE. A mountain bike fitted with semi-slick tyres or a cyclocross bike is ideal for this holiday. This is a mostly road-based trip and is suitable for regular weekend riders. The road is narrow, little used and 90% tarmac, with rough sections on the high passes. This trip has some long days and several tough climbs. There are 10 road passes to cross on this spectacular ride, the highest of which are the Pele La (3420m) and the Thumsing La (3800m). What goes up must come down, and the descents are equally awesome, the longest involving 3259 metres of descent over 85 km (53 miles) - one of the longest in the world. The climbs are usually not steep and the roads are generally narrow and almost traffic-free. Biking at altitudes between 600 metres and 3800 metres, we will notice a marked difference in temperatures - from very pleasant and warm to cold and frosty on the highest of the passes. Winter clothing is recommended for the highest of passes and some of the descents will be cold! The average time in the saddle will vary between 6 and 8 hours each day, with at least 2 longer days of up to 10 hours, inclusive of stops, covering in excess of 100 km (62 miles). The route is rideable in the time we have allowed, but we do have a support vehicle throughout and riders finding the going tough can opt to take a rest at any time. Aimed at regular bikers, this holiday will provide a sustained challenge and you will need a good level of fitness to fully enjoy it! BIKE HIRE AVAILABLE LOCALLY.