The Core Trip

Paro to the Tang Valley

Our 10-day core trip covers some of the most beautiful scenery and important cultural landmarks in Bhutan. Pedal with us through alpine meadows populated with woolly yaks and colorful wildflowers, and then ride beside crystal clear rivers in lush valleys. Along the way, we’ll visit majestic temples, amble through open-air markets, learn to make traditional buckwheat noodles, catch brown trout with hand-made flies and explore the remote Tang Valley, rarely visited by tourists. A comfortable support van will transport your luggage and is always available for tired riders. And unlike most other trips that include the beautiful Bumthang Valley, we minimize the time in a van by flying back to Paro.

Day 1

Upon arrival, you’ll immediately feel the pure alpine air and friendliness of the Bhutanese people. We settle into the stunning Zhiwa Ling hotel with the option of a leisurely bike ride in the Paro Valley before our festive welcome dinner.

Day 2

Ride in the Paro Valley alongside a patchwork of rice paddies with frequent stops to watch an impromptu archery competition and enjoy colorful markets. We’ll share tea and stories at the top of Dochu La pass with dramatic vistas of the Himalaya.

Day 3

Wake up to the symphony of bird calls from the beautiful gardens surrounding our hotel. Ugyen gives us a personalized tour of the Punakha Dzong, home of the Central Monastic Body, and teaches us about the arrival of Buddhism in Bhutan. We then travel to the pristine Phobjikha Valley, winter home of the rare Black-necked Cranes. We will stay at the magnificent Dewachen hotel, perched above the vast glacial valley.

Day 4

Take a morning stroll in the tranquil Phobjikha Valley and then ride past yaks in fields of dwarf bamboo to the top of Pela La. The ensuing 27 km descent on our bikes is unrivaled, winding through the gorgeous cliffs and waterfalls of the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park, the largest temperate forest reserve in the entire Himalaya.

Day 5

Visit the Trongsa Dzong and engage with monks of all ages in this grand monastery and historic fortress. The ride today includes a long, but beautiful climb to Yotong La, the highest point of our trip (3,425 m), and then a cup of celebratory warm tea before the astonishing descent into the Bumthang Valley, home of many important Buddhist temples and local artisans that specialize in cheese and honey production.

Day 6

Enjoy breakfast overlooking picturesque family farms before we have a perfect day of biking through forests of blue pines and massive rhododendrons to the pastoral Tang Valley, rarely visited by tourists. End your day by the river with a soak in a luxurious hot stone bath.

Day 7

Visit Ugyen’s home village in the Tang Valley, where nearly everyone walks and cars are rarely seen. We will make buckwheat noodles with his mom and have our fortunes told by his dad, the village astrologer. We then visit the village of Jakar and its charming artisanal shops and ancient temples.

Day 8

We fly from Bumthang to Paro, enjoying the dramatic views of central Bhutan and the high peaks of the Himalaya. In the afternoon, you can choose to visit either the renowned Thanka Painting School or the bustling shops and open markets of Thimphu, the capital. We will end our day with a private dinner with a member of the Bhutanese government to learn about the Kingdom's cultural changes and political challenges.

Day 9

Enjoy a light ride through the Paro Valley before we hike to the spectacular Tiger's Nest, Bhutan's most venerated site. Before our farewell dinner, we will be entertained and astounded by a private performance of traditional Bhutanese dances and songs by an award-winning troupe.

Day 10

Relish your last few hours in Bhutan at a beautiful private meditation temple or relax at the spa of the Zhiwa Ling hotel.

Photo Courtesy of T. Wagner & PJ Blankenhorn