Get an inside look at the fascinating culture of Bhutan on this two-week cycling adventure. Closed to foreign visitors until the 1970s, this Buddhist kingdom offers a glimpse into the past with exquisitely preserved traditions, fascinating cultural monuments, and a wide range of natural wonders. You'll traverse this Himalayan landscape on two wheels, visiting the country's top highlights along the way.


  • Cycle around the Bhutanese countryside
  • Hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery
  • Camp under the stars in Bhutan's lush valleys
  • Enjoy gorgeous views of the Himalayas

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paro Paro
Day 2 Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery Paro
Day 3 Cross Chele La Pass  Ha homestay
Day 4 Cycle Through the Haa Valley Ha homestay
Day 5 Bike to Dobji Dzong Dobji Dzong campsite
Day 6 Continue to Thimphu Thimphu
Day 7 Ride to Punakha Punakha or river campsite
Day 8 Cycle Around the Punakha Valley Punakha or river campsite
Day 9 Bike to Chuzomza Chuzomza
Day 10 Ride to Phobjikha Valley Phobjikha Valley campsite
Day 11 Explore the Phobjikha Valley Phobjikha Valley campsite
Day 12 Cycle to Khotokha Valley Khotokha Valley campsite
Day 13 Bike to Wangdue Phodrang Wangdue Prodang
Day 14 Depart Bhutan  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro

A view of Paro, Bhutan

Welcome to Bhutan! You'll arrive in Paro, home to Bhutan's only international airport. Meet your guide and make your way to your accommodation. Then hop on a bike and spend the rest of the day cycling around this valley town, home to several sacred sights. Stop by Khyichu Lhakhang between the rice paddies just outside town. The beautiful 7th-century Buddhist temple is believed to be Bhutan's oldest.

Day 2: Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery

Hiking to the Tiger's Nest Monastery

Today you'll hike up to one of Bhutan's most famous and most sacred sites: Taktshang Goemba, also called the Tiger's Nest Monastery. This fascinating temple is perched high up on a cliff about 2,952 feet (900 meters) above the Paro Valley. You'll climb up through shady pine forests and explore the monastery. In the afternoon, you'll visit the stunning fortress of Paro Dzong, one of the best examples of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Then check out the National Museum in the watchtower above Paro Dzong to get an inside look at Bhutan's history, culture, and customs.

Day 3: Cross Chele La Pass

Taking a break at the Chele La Pass

This morning marks your first bike ride in the mountains! First, you'll drive up to the Chele La Pass at an elevation of 12,467 feet (3,800 meters), where you'll take in wonderful views of the snow-capped Himalayas to the north. Then cycle downhill to the remote farming town of Ha, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) away. You'll have excellent road conditions for biking, with a paved lane and little traffic. Spend the night with a host family in Ha.

Day 4: Cycle Through the Haa Valley

Prayer flags draping the hillsides of Bhutan

The Haa Valley is one of the most picturesque regions of the Bhutanese countryside. You'll see farmhouses, potato and barley fields, and several Buddhist temples as you cycle around today. Stay on small paved roads as you clock 22 miles (35 kilometers) on your roundtrip ride from Ha to the village of Haatoe on the other side of the valley and back. Spend a second night with your host family.

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Day 5: Bike to Dobji Dzong

Dobji Dzong, located high up in the hills

You'll leave the Haa Valley today and start pedaling towards Dobji Dzong, about 34 miles (55 kilometers) away. You'll cycle along a small, paved road with almost no traffic to reach this peaceful hilltop fortress. This dzong is thought to be one of the oldest in the country, and once served as Bhutan's main prison. It has since been returned to its spiritual roots and currently functions as a school for monks. Set up camp for the night in a quiet spot in the valley.

Day 6: Continue to Thimphu

Monks walk in the garden of a dzong in Thimphu

Head out from Dobji Dzong towards Chozom Bridge, where you'll get on the highway to the capital city, Thimphu. Although this is the busiest stretch of road in the country, traffic is still relatively light. However, if you find it too crowded, feel free to ride in your guide's support vehicle for the drive to Thimphu. Today's cycling distance is 31 miles (50 kilometers), and if you arrive in the capital early enough, you can bike around the north side of the valley above the dzong for another loop of 22 miles (35 kilometers).

Day 7: Ride to Punakha

 Views from the Dochu La Pass, Bhutan

This morning you'll set out from the city center straight into pristine forests. Take your time on the climb up to the Dochu La Pass; the incline is gentle, but the altitude change makes it challenging. Once you reach the top of the pass at 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), enjoy panoramic views of Bhutan's tallest mountains to the north. Then start on your descent to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. Take in the gorgeous scenery along the way and bask in the warmer temperatures of this region. The total cycling distance today is 38.5 miles (62 kilometers) along quiet, well-paved roads. Stay the night in a hotel in Punakha, or camp out by the river.

Day 8: Cycle Around the Punakha Valley

Cycling in the Punakha Valley

Today you'll ride around the atmospheric Punakha Valley, visiting several cultural sites along the way. Your first stop is Punakha Dzong, often referred to as the most beautiful dzong in the country. Continue on to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a gleaming temple that can only be reached by a short, steep hike up the hillside. From here you'll have sweeping views of the entire valley. Walk back down to the road and bike back towards the city. On the way, stop in at Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple in the village of Lobesa. Choose again between a hotel in Punakha or camping by the river for the night.

Day 9: Bike to Chuzomza

A mountain village in Bhutan

Get right on the highway this morning and bike eastward for 10 miles (16 kilometers) to a riverside resort in remote Chuzomza. After an early lunch, drive up to the villages of Samtengang or Baylangdra, then bike downhill for about 16 miles (25 kilometers) on a dirt road through idyllic countryside and forests.

Day 10: Ride to the Phobjikha Valley

Scenery in the Phobjikha Valley

Today you'll set out towards the Lawa La Pass, the entry point into the lovely Phobjikha Valley. This scenic glacial valley is the winter home to rare black-necked cranes and is an important wildlife reserve for wild boars, Himalayan black bears, red foxes, and many other animals. You'll ride along a flat dirt road toward the Pele La Pass for 35 miles (56 kilometers) and camp out overnight.

Day 11: Explore the Phobjikha Valley

Riding on a dirt road in the Phobjikha Valley

The slopes of the U-shaped Phobjikha Valley (also called Gangtey Valley) are dotted with farmhouses, potato fields, and unspoiled pine forests. You'll ride into some of the more remote areas of Phobjikha today, visiting authentic villages and ancient monasteries. Clock a total of 16 miles (25 kilometers) along farm roads with no traffic. Spend another night camping out in nature.

Day 12: Cycle to Khotokha Valley

Monks on bicycles outside a Bhutanese monastery

Riding along the old Gangtey trekking trail, you'll see just how remote this area of Bhutan is. On your 16 miles (25 kilometers) of dirt road, you'll see just one village with a handful of houses. Spend the rest of the day biking through the forest, traversing two mountain passes at an elevation of around 11,483 feet (3,500 meters) each. You'll stay the night at a campsite near a monastery in the Khotokha Valley.

Day 13: Bike to Wangdue Phodrang

A Bhutanese monastery in the Wangdue Valley

Listen for the sound of morning prayers coming from the monastery before bicycling up to a small pass this morning. From there you'll have a breezy downhill ride to the Wangdue Valley, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) on off-road trails. Spend the night in a hotel in the town of Wangdue Phodrang.

Day 14: Return to Paro

The national museum in Paro

Paro is about 68 miles (110 kilometers) away from Wangdue. If you want to tackle one last bike ride, feel free to cycle part of the way, or kick back and enjoy being driven through the countryside. From Paro, you'll catch a flight out. Make your way to the airport for your trip home. Safe travels!

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Bhutan? Check out these other 14-day Bhutan itineraries, with trekking adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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