Thunder Dragon Motorcycle Group Tour - 10 Nts, 14-24 May 2023
Ride a Royal Enfield Himalayan through magnificent Bhutan! Our very favourite way to experience Bhutan is by Royal Enfield motorcycle. The experience is awesome. And finally the road conditions are now vastly improved. The reward is stunning scenery and the friendliest people you’ll find. The bikes are well suited for pillion passengers too.
This tour combines the very best the Kingdom of Bhutan has to offer in the west & central regions.
Tour Itinerary Overview.
- 2 nights Paro with sightseeing, riding, hiking
- 1 night Punakha valley with monastery & Dzong visits.
- 1 night Trongsa, for museum & Dzong visit.
- 2 nights Bumthang Valley, exploring, hiking, riding.
- 1 night Phobjikha valley for hiking and exploring.
- 1 night Punakha valley, exploring & sightseeing
- 1 night Thimphu valley for shopping & sightseeing.
- 1 nights Paro valley with Taktsang Monastery hike. shopping & sightseeing.
Thunder Dragon Motorcycle Tour Costs & Inclusions:
TOUR DATES: 14-24 May 2023 (10 nts)
All-inclusive Bhutan Land Tour Cost – Rider
@ US$3882.00 per person twin/double share.
All-inclusive Bhutan Land Tour Cost – Pillion
@ US$3487.00 per person
Single Room Supplement
@ US$500.00 per person
- Please note tour costs are quoted in US dollars.
- Costs based on minimum 3 riders
- Airfares to/from Bhutan are additional
Your Tour Inclusions:
- Professional motorcycle guide.
- Royal Enfield Himalayan 411 cc motorcycle hire
- Services of trained mechanic & back-up vehicle.
- Comprehensive insurance on motorcycle.
- Spare parts for normal wear & tear.
- Bhutanese 3* hotel accom with private bathrooms for 10 nts.
- All meals & bottled water daily.
- All entrance fees, hiking & sightseeing.
- Sustainable development fee (SDF) & local taxes.
- Bhutan visa fees & processing.
- Airport transfers.
- Provision of our SHERPA app weblink for your COVID-19 requirements.
- Our comprehensive Bhutan Visitor Information planning guide.
- Professionally operated by BTCL Bhutan.
Your Tour Exclusions:
- International air flight costs to/from Paro
- Bike fuel @ approx US$15.00 per day
- Bike insurance bond/excess of US$500.00
- Items of a personal nature, phone, laundry, drinks etc
- Tipping – pls refer to our general information sheet
- Comprehensive Travel Insurance – mandatory to enter Bhutan.
- Ensure insurance covers riding a motorcycle of 500cc.
Available on Request
- Single Room Supplements
- Ex-Australia Flight Arrangements
- Bangkok Stopovers & Additional Asian Arrangements.
COVID-19 Updates & Procedures:
Our Sherpa travel app will keep you updated with COVID-19 requirements pre, during & post travel. These include PCR, RAT & any other tests and where to get them, vaccination certificates & other documentation plus any tracing apps required at your destination and stopovers. Once your tour booking is confirmed and your air travel process commences, we will provide you with your personal Sherpa app web links to assist you manage the COVID-19 procedures that will be relevant at the time of travel.
- Deposit date until 35 days prior arrival in Bhutan – Land tour deposit is refundable less B&B service fees.
- 35 days or less prior to arrival in Bhutan – No land tour refund permitted.
Please note: – These conditions cover land travel arrangements only, not airfares, which are subject to their own cancellation conditions.
Sunday 14 May 2023
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 recently reconstructed fortress of Drukgyel Dzong, which had 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.
O/N Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Monday 15 May:
Haa Valley Excursion – 6 hrs ride time
An exciting day trip to the remote Haa Valley. Furthermore this is on Bhutan’s highest motorable 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
Tuesday 16 May:
This morning depart Paro for the Punakha Valley. En-route pass the Semtokha Dzong built in 1629. This is the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, and which today is a monastery. Continue ascending past small villages to Dochu La (pass – 3116m) to view the 108 Stupas. These were commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during conflict in late 2002. This was when Bhutan evicted Indian separatist 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. This is 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 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
Wednesday 17 May:
Punakha Valley to Trongsa – 4 hrs 30 mins
Head southwards down the Punakha Valley passing the dramatic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong (recently restored 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 stonemasonery skills in construction of Dzongs and Lhakhangs.
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, led straight through Trongsa and the Dzong itself. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Bhutan. This afternoon visit the excellent Tower of Trongsa Museum, built into the ancient watchtower overlooking the Dzong. It provides a wealth of information on Bhutan’s colourful past and affords spectacular views over the Dzong and valley.
O/N Trongsa – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Thursday 18 May:
Trongsa to Choekhor 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 Choekhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. Riding through Bumthang notice the large fields of buckwheat that cover the valleys…..buckwheat noodles and pancakes are a Bumthang specialty.
On arrival in Choekhor Valley visit the Wangdicholing Palace (exterior) and one of either Jambay & Kurjey Lhakhangs, which are the oldest monasteries in the kingdom. All the Kings of Bhutan are cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang. Later take a stroll through Chamkhar 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 Choekhor Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Friday 19 May:
Excursion to Ura Valley – 4 hrs – or relax instead!
Choose today between an excursion ride to Ura Valley. Alternatively have a day at leisure in Choekhor Valley. If staying locally in Choekhor consider a visit to the nearby Jakar Dzong and the Tamshing Monastery. Here about 95 Monks reside, most being under 15, from poorer families who cannot afford to send their children to state school.
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.
O/N Choekhor Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.
Saturday 20 May:
Choekhor Valley to Phobjikha Valley – 3+ hrs.
This morning ride back westwards to the remote Phobjikha Valley. En-route stop in Chhume 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 …. but very potent so beware.
Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. It is 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 muntjaks (barking deer), wild boar, sambar, Himalayan black bear, leopard and red foxes.
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
Sunday 21 May:
Phobjikha Valley to Punakha Valley – 2+ 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 Namgyel 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 Namgyel Wangchuck.
O/N Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Monday 22 May:
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. Furthermore it is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body). Punakha holds the title of the winter capital because of its more temperate climate. This is Bhutan’s most spectacular Dzong. It is an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and a centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has evolved for modern day use.
Late morning ride back over Dochu La to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu. Stop en-route at the awesome Buddha Dordenma to enjoy a stunning view of the city & valley. From here you can take an optional 3 km hike through the adjacent national park.
Enjoy the remainder of the day to explore Thimphu. This includes a ride up north of the city to view the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong, houses of parliament & Supreme Court building. 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 before saying farewell to your motorcycles late this afternoon.
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
Tuesday 23 May:
Thimphu Valley to Paro Valley – 1 hr 30 mins.
After an early breakfast this morning transfer by road back to the Paro Valley.
On arrival take a pilgrimage hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) which clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at 800 m 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. Better still, for those with at least moderate fitness 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.
Time permitting take a wander through Paro town for some jewellery & handicraft shopping, and tonight enjoy your farewell dinner.
O/N Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel
Wednesday 24 May:
Early morning departure to Paro airport for your onward flight.