Motorcycle Bhutan

Bhutan… the name echoes with all the mystery of an ancient Buddhist Kingdom, so isolated for so long that it has developed its own truly unique forms of culture, architecture, food and clothing styles.

  • Intro
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Price and What's Included

Load up the bikes and take a ride along the brilliant little mountain roads that make Motorcycle Bhutan a motorbike touring heaven – we head out to the east as far as Bumthang, exploring as we go and taking it all in, before one big day back to Thimphu for some exploring in and around the capital.

On our Motorcycle Bhutan tour, choose either the burly Royal Enfield Bullet 350/500cc or the KTM 640 Adventure Bike for your exploration of this majestic kingdom. Like stepping back in time, Bhutan has been preserved so that you can’t help but be in awe of the beautiful culture and natural environment before you.

Motorcycle Bhutan itinerary








View Detailed itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to Bhutan
The spectacular flight into Paro is a great introduction to beautiful Bhutan – you may have breathtaking views of Mount Everest, KanchanJunga and many other Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jhomolhari and Mt Jichu Drake in Bhutan. Your guide will meet you on arrival at Paro and take you to your hotel to settle in and have some lunch.After lunch we head out of town to visit Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched high on a cliff and one of the most important places in Buddhism. While flying on the back of a tiger, Guru Rimpoche identified Taktsang as a sacred place and meditated in a cave for three months.  Guru Rimpoche is also known as Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD. Today it’s perhaps the best known monastery in the world, because of its stunning location and it is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. The monastery was built around the meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro and although a fire destroyed most of the original buildings in 1998, these have since been painstakingly restored to their former glory. The hike to Taktsang is a steep uphill walk and takes approximately 3 hours to reach. The trail is certainly quite a hard walk and we will no doubt be short of breath from the altitude, but it is also a stunning hike as we climb through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.

Stay: Tashi Namgay Resort
Meals: L, D

Day 2 – Ride to Thimphu via Haa Valley (166km)
Today’s route is over one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan, the Cheli La, at 3850m. This is possibly the most spectacular climb in the country, with incredible views to the highest mountain peak of Bhutan, Mt. Jumolhari 7,230m. The pass is famous for the traditional Sky burials and if we choose we can walk to the top of the pass before continuing on our way.After the pass we have a steep descent down to the beautiful and little visited valley of Haa. If we like we can visit the Nagpo and Karpo Chortens – these two famous monasteries are also known as Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to be almost identical to that of the Jowo temple in Lhasa and legend has it that local deities assisted in the construction of Lhakhanga Karpo. The Bhutanese come here to adorn the hills with prayer flags and to make offerings to the Mountain Gods. After enjoying our packed lunch in the valley we ride on to Thimphu, check in and relax!

Stay: Hotel Migmar
Meals: B, L, D

Day 3 – Rideto Gangtey (143km)
After an early breakfast this morning, we start our awesome day’s riding by heading first up a side road to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. On the way we cross the Dochu La, where we will have a superb view of the Himalayan Range if the weather is clear. Driving through swarms of prayer flags fluttering in the wind we cross the pass and descend into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley. On arrival in Punakha we will have lunch and explore the old town a bit before continuing our stunning drive to Gangtey. On the way we can stop at the Chimi Lhakhang (temple), also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. This temple was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman for his odd ways) in the 15th century who subdued a demoness with a magical thunderbolt and made her the protective deity of the temple. Heading into Wangduephrodang, the last town before entering central Bhutan and which played a vital role in unifying the districts of Bhutan, we will see the stunning Wangduephodrang Dzong, another icon of Bhutan. If we feel like it we could stop at the Wangdi bridge and take a short hike to the Richengang Village which is about 45 minutes walk from the road side near the Wangdi bridge. This is a very unique and interesting village with all the houses clustered together, Tibetan style. Here we can visit some village houses and spend time with a Bhutanese family to learn about how people live and some fascinating details about daily life. Continuing on from “Wangdi” we cross a mountain pass and ride into Gangtey, having gained about 1800m.

Stay: Thekchen Phodrang Guest House
Meals: B, L, D

Day 4 – Ride to Bumthang (130km)
After a hearty breakfast we hit the road again and head into the Central Bhutanese town of Trongsa crossing the Pele La at approximately 3300m. We then descend on the spectacular road to Chendebji and continue on into Trongsa (approx 2200m) to see what is said to be the most impressive dzong in Bhutan! From Trongsa we have a great ride, firstly on a dramatic road through forest and over a great mountain pass before the scenery changes to the gentle spruce and fir covered slopes of the Bumthang region. The Yutong La (3400m) is a great place to stop for a good look around before descending down and down into the Chume Valley at an approximate altitude of 2600m. From here ride up and over the Kiki La at approximately 2,740m before we roll on down into Bumthang town.

Stay: The Swiss Guest House
Meals: B, L, D


Day 5 – Ride around Bumthang in the morning, then ride to Trongsa (67km)

Bumthang is as a truly amazing ancient city and today we will take some time to explore the old town and the beautiful valley on our bikes.Options for today include visiting the Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Fort of the White Bird”; Lamey Goemba, a beautiful royal mansion and monastery built in 19th century;  and not to be missed is the Jambay Lhakhang, revered as one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. It is one of the 108 temples said to have been miraculously built in one night by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo to pin down a demoness. This temple was built to hold down her knee, while the Kichu Lakhang in Paro holds down her left foot. There are three stone steps inside believed to represent past, present and future, which are slowly sinking into the ground. It is said that when all the steps disappear the future Buddha will arrive and we will all gather in Bumthang Valley to receive his teachings. We could also visit the Mebar tsho (Literally means “Burning Lake”), a short distance up the road leading to the Tang Valley. According to the legend, Pema Lingpa is believed to have retrieved several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures (Terma)  from the lake. Mebar Tsho derives its name from the fact that Pema Lingpa submerged himself into the lake holding a butter lamp and on emerging from the lake, the lamp was said to be still burning. We then hit the road back to Trongsa where we stay the night. Trongsa Dzong, built in 1644, is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Traditionally, the King of Bhutan first becomes the Penlop (governor) of Trongsa before being named Crown Prince and eventually King. Built on a mountain spur high above the gorges of the Mangde Chhu (river), the dzong controlled east-west trade for centuries. The only road connecting eastern and western Bhutan passed through the courtyard of the dzong and at the command of the Penlop the massive doors could be shut, dividing the country in two!

Stay: Yangkhil Resort
Meals: B, L, D

Day 6 – Ride to Thimphu (206km)
After breakfast we start our drive back towards Thimphu. We will make plenty of stops along the way and enjoy the scenery on this beautiful but long drive. We will stop for lunch in Wangduephodrang which is known for the majestic Dzong we saw on the way east, as well as its bamboo products, slate and stone carving.

Stay: Hotel Phuntshopelri
Meals: B, L, D

Day 7 – Explore Thimphu and head back to Paro
Today we have plenty of options for exploring. For example we could take a ride out towards Tango and Cheri Monastery; we might catch an archery match; explore around town to learn about the design, architecture and history of Bhutanese towns, as well conservation work going on in Bhutan; take a ride up the valley to Takin Sanctuary to see the Takin (Bhutan’s ‘national animal’) or to Sangay Gang lookout to enjoy the view out over Thimphu city. On the way back to town, we can visit the Zilukha Nunnery, Folk Heritage Museum and Textile museum. There’s heaps to see before we hit the road back into Paro in the mid afternoon.

Stay: Tashi Namgay Resort
Meals: B, L, D

Day 8 – Farewell for now
This morning we are free until it is time to head out to the airport for our spectacular flight home.

Meals: B

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Seasons

The best times to visit Bhutan are Spring between March – May and Autumn between September – November.
Low lying cloud and monsoon rains mean that summer is not idea for travelling in Bhutan.
Winter can be very pleasant as it largely remains dry and cool, but snow can cause road closures on the high passes on this trip.

Best time to go

March

April

May

September

October

November

Base price per person $2280

Price includes Royal Enfield Bullet 350/500cc
Supplement to upgrade to KTM 640 Adventure bikes is $400
Please note all members of your group must be riding the same style bike. Minimum 2 pax, Enfields maximum 15 pax, KTMs maximum 10 pax.

Services

Accommodation is in comfortable guest houses and hotels, all meals are provided as per the itinerary. Your local guide will be there to help you out with anything else you’re not sure of, making sure you have a fantastic trip. Your local guide is also a bike mechanic, plus you’ll have a back up vehicle, just to ensure that we’ve got your back at all times.

What is included

  • Hotel nights as specified in the itinerary; based on standard rooms on twin share
  • All meals
  • Entrance fees and guide for sightseeing
  • Hire of motorbikes (see pricing for bike options)
  • Your guide and mechanic, with all their transport (doubles as back up car/baggage transport), equipment, insurance and including their meals and accommodation and a first aid kit appropriate for the group size and activities
  • Bhutan visa fee, Tourism Development Fund and airport tax.

What is not included

  • Services and activities not mentioned in the detailed itinerary
  • Any gear or equipment that you may need to rent/buy
  • Petrol for your bike for the duration of the trip
  • Any excess baggage charges
  • Travel insurance (we insist you have one)
  • Rescue/evacuation costs (to be covered by your insurance)
  • Additional nights, optional trips and sightseeing tours outside the detailed itineraries above
  • Personal expenses (eg tips, bottled water/soft drinks/bar bills, laundry, telephone calls, postage, donations, extra snacks, camera charges etc)
  • Tips for your guide and crew
  • Costs incurred due to changes in programs and reservations due to unforeseen events (eg landslides, strikes, large increase in diesel prices etc)

Eye Candy

A truly epic journey! The Roof of the World on a bike – what better way to explore Tibet and Nepal, meet the locals, experience the amazing culture and stunning scenery!
Felix Haslimeier Edinburgh, New Zealand