Thunder Dragon Motor Biking Expedition (11 Days 10 Nights)

About this Tour

Destination: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Phobjikha, Trongsa, Bumtha

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 01: Fly into Paro – Afternoon Sightseeing
On arrival at Paro airport you will be met by your guide and transferred by road to your overnight accommodation. Late morning you will be given a briefing and orientation of your Royal Enfield Motorcycle.

This afternoon enjoy an introductory ride north up the Paro Valley to the old ruined fortress of Drukgyel Dzong which burned down in the 1950’s. This is the historical site of the Fort of Drukpa Victory where the Bhutanese repelled countless attacks by the Tibetans over the centuries. On a clear day views of the majestic 7341m sacred Mt Chomolhari can be seen.

Returning down the valley cross over the suspension bridge at Lango village and travel on a farm road which passes through many small villages for an intriguing insight into rural Bhutanese life. Over night at Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY 02: Haa Valley Excursion – 6 hrs ride time
An exciting day trip to the remote Haa Valley on Bhutan’s highest navigable road via the Chele La (pass) at close to 4000m. This very picturesque region was only opened to tourists in 2001.

Around the valley are many scattered monasteries and near the pass is the Kila Nunnery – reputedly the oldest nunnery in the Kingdom. The area is very fertile and the staple crops are millet, wheat, barley and potatoes. The actual riding time is approx 2.5 hours each way plus touring in the valley. O/N Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY 03: Paro Valley to Punakha Valley – 4 hrs 30 mins
This morning departs Paro for the Punakha Valley. En-route pass the Semtokha Dzong built in 1629, the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, and which today is a monastery. Continue ascending past small villages to Dochula La (pass – 3116m) to view the 108 Stupas; commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya and the rhododendrons and alpine flowers will be in full bloom.

On entering Punakha Valley start with a visit to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman), and also referred to as ‘The Monastery of the Mad Monk’. The Lhakhang (temple) is an easy 20 minute walk across paddy fields from the road at Sepsokha. It is believed that childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving a “wang” (blessing). Take an excursion up a very scenic road to the traditional village of Talo. Here you can wander the serene & beautiful gardens of the local monastery. O/N Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY 04: Punakha Valley to Trongsa – 4 hrs 30 mins
Head southwards down the Punakha Valley to Wangdue Phodrang (known as Wangdi). Pass the dramatic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong (currently under restoration after the Dzong burned down tragically in June 2012) & notice the large cacti that cover the hillside below. These were planted long ago to discourage invaders from climbing the steep slope to the Dzong.

Across the river you can also view Rinchengang, one of Bhutan’s oldest villages, which did not have access to water, electricity or schooling until the early 1990’s. The craftsmen of Rinchengang, originally from India, are sought after for their stonemasonry skills in construction of Dzongs and Lhakhang.Continue eastwards to Trongsa via the Pele La (Pass) which crosses through the Black Mountains National Park and divides western and central Bhutan. This is the best place in Bhutan to see yaks from the road. Passing the village of Rukubji, surrounded by extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley and wheat, keep a watchful eye out for Rhesus Macaques (Brown Monkeys)! Trongsa Dzong is perched at the end of a ridge and seems to hang in space at the head of the valley.

The Dzongs location afforded it great power over this part of the country as the only foot & mule trail, between east and western Bhutan, lead straight through Trongsa and the Dzong itself. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Bhutan. Time permitting this afternoon visits the excellent Tower of Trongsa Museum, built into the ancient watchtower overlooking the Dzong it provides a wealth of information on Bhutan’s colorful past and affords spectacular views over the Dzong and valley. O/N Trongsa – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY 05: Trongsa to Choekor Valley – 2 hrs
This morning continue eastwards to the central Bumthang valleys via the Yotu La (pass). The Bumthang region encompasses the four major valleys of Choekor, Tang, URA and Chumey. On arrival in the Bumthang region notice the large fields of buckwheat that cover the valleys…..buckwheat noodles and pancakes are a Bumthang specialty. On arrival in Choekor Valley your options for visits are the Wangdicholing Palace and/or the Jambay & Kurjey Lhakhang, which are the oldest monasteries in the kingdom. All the Kings of Bhutan are cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang. Later take a stroll through Chamkar town and do check out the bars there tonight for an entertaining and fun mix of pool, soccer on TV, karaoke and a good chance to chat with the locals! O/N Choekor Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY 06: Excursion to Ura Valley – 4 hrs – or relax instead
Choose today between an excursion ride to Ura Valley or a day at leisure in Choekor Valley. If staying locally in Choekor consider a visit to the Tamshing Monastery where about 95 Monks reside, most being under 15, from poorer families who cannot afford to send their children to state school. Follow this up with a visit to Mebartsho (the burning lake) which is a very sacred Buddhist site with quite a legend. Alternatively enjoy one of the hikes available in this region and your guide will assist you with options. The Ura valley is the highest in Bumthang and believed by some to have been the home of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. The very traditional Ura village gives you an insight into how the central Bhutanese live with its cobbled streets lending a medieval feel. The elderly women of this region still wear sheepskin shawls on their backs which double as a blanket and cushion. On the return ride, time permitting, make a short detour to Mebartsho (Burning Lake), one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Kingdom. O/N Choekor Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

DAY 07: Choekor Valley to Phobjikha Valley – 4 hrs.
This morning transfer back westwards to the Phobjikha Valley via a stop in Chumey Valley to view or buy very high quality Bhutanese textiles and weaving’s. The owner likes to share his arra (spirit made from grain) which is very good and almost 15 to 20 % alcohol content which is like Japanese wine sakay.

Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, and one of the most beautiful open valleys in Bhutan. It is also one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country and the winter home (late October to early February) of the rare black necked crane, which annually flies in from Tibet. There are also (barking deer), wild boar, sambar, Himalayan black bear, leopard and red foxes. Until recently the Phobjikha valley’s only electricity came from solar or mini hydro plants however in 2011 underground cabled electricity gradually connected the valley to the national grid. Potatoes are this region’s primary cash crop and are mainly exported to India. On arrival hike the Gangtey Nature Trail. O/N Phobjikha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 08: Phobjikha Valley to Punakha Valley – 3+ hrs.
At leisure this morning to explore the Phobjikha Valley before departing for Punakha. Visit the Black Crane nature information centre and the sacred Gangtey Monastery. Late morning ride to Punakha and take a fascinating hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten through fields of vegetables, rice paddies and tiny hamlets. This Chorten holds very special significance being consecrated in 1999 and dedicated to the protection of the former Crown Prince – today’s current King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. O/N Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 09: Punakha Valley to Thimphu – 3 hrs
This morning visit the awesome Punakha Dzong, the second of Bhutan’s Dzongs, which previously served as the seat of the government and is still the winter residence of the Darshang (Central Monk Body). Punakha holds the title of the winter capital because of its more temperate climate. This is Bhutan’s most spectacular Dzong and an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and a centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has adapted and evolved for modern day use. A leisurely morning ride back over Dochula La to Bhutan’s capital stopping en-route at the awesome Golden Buddha to enjoy a stunning view of the city & valley. From here you can take an option 3 km hike through the adjacent national park. Enjoy the remainder of the day to explore Thimphu, both by bike and on foot. Your options n include a ride up north of the city to view the majestic Tashichhoe Dzong, houses of parliament, Supreme Court building and the celebrated Royal Textile Academy is well worth a visit as you arrive back into the city. Or just chill out & enjoy wandering through Thimphu’s city streets. Thimphu’s bars are worth a visit and your guide will direct you to the best in town. O/N Thimphu Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY 10: Thimphu Valley to Paro Valley – 1 hr 30 mins.
After a leisurely breakfast this morning enjoy your ride back to the Paro Valley on Bhutan’s best section of road. On arrival in Paro Valley take a pilgrimage hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) which clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at nearly 1000m above the valley floor. Choose a 1.5-2 hrs round trip hike to the monastery viewpoint (where you can take lunch at the Viewpoint Cafe) or for those with at least moderate fitness, and the inclination, continue all the way to the Monastery itself….a 5 hour round trip. All Bhutanese Buddhists aspire to make this journey at least once in their lives where each step along the track accrues merit points for their lives ahead. This hike will be a highlight and is a great way to end your Bhutan experience. Later have a leisure time in the beautiful Town of Paro for some jewellery & handicraft shopping, before say goodbye to your motorcycle this afternoon, and tonight enjoy your farewell dinner. O/N Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

DAY11: Early morning departure to Paro airport for your onward flight.

All night stay at 3 star hotel
All transportation throughout the tour
All meals (B/L/D) throughout the tour
All entry fees to dzongs and museums
Complimentary mineral water bottle
Well experienced guide service
Airport pick & drop
Government royalty
Doctor consultancy only

Airfare cost
Upgrade to 4 & 5 star hotels
Upgrade to specific language guide
Personal purchases & expenses
Extra cost due to natural calamities
Extra cost due to delays
Travel insurance
Bellboy services