- Ellen Kett
Santa Cruz, California, USA Jan 1970
Mountain Biking and other active outdoor adventures Dear Ugan and Jambay, We just wanted to take a minute to thank you and your team (the two Sonam's) for
Explore the outback region of country on horse back and horse trek.
Biking in places of interests and through isolated villages of Gogona and Khotokha
Crossing a few mountain passes on bike.
(Optional) – White water Rafting in Punakha.
Moderate Day hike to visit temples, nature, birding.
Prominent attractions and sights visit in places of interest.
Striking chord with greater interaction with local people, monk, high priest (possibly).
Gain insights into unique and well preserve tradition and culture.
Multi Activity Trip of Bhutan: Horse-back, Mountain Bike, Hike & Glamping
From the outset, a sense of adventure fills, the moment your flight touches the tarmac in Paro airport. In a way, it sets tone for enchanting adventures to follow. This itinerary is specially curated for those who like to chase or live the spirit of adventure. What sets it apart is that most of the adventures takes place in outback regions of Bhutan, drawing a typical off the beaten path experience. It blends all the active adventure such as Horse riding/ horse-trek, Mountain Biking, Off-road biking, Hiking to quaint and far-flung villages, at times testing your physical prowess. Option for White water Rafting/Kayaking is also available.
This adventure takes you first to the central part of Bhutan, where we spend time in remote Tang valley. From there, begin two day trek on the horseback to Jakar. Changing our mount from Horse to Bike, we will bike and hike or combine both to visit beautiful Bumthang valley’s attractions and sights. Explore quaint Phobjika valley on bike, take up challenging ride through remote villages of Gogona and Khotokha . Ride or Raft in warmer Punakha valley, followed by visit to capital Thimphu, finally back to Paro, hiking and touring to cover the main cultural highlights, and finishing up with hike to to iconic Takstang monastery.
So to a large extent, we also do not miss out on what is popular with other visitors, yet making a point not to overdo it. Through these combination in Bhutan Multi Activity Adventure, we hope to keep you active and healthy, show you all aspects of Bhutan’s Culture, Nature, food and provide greater opportunity for interaction with monks, and mediators, farmers and children, and regular people in villages and urban area and find happiness
Day 1: Arrival in Paro
Arrive in Paro and transfer to hotel. As per available time , we will plan the activities for today. It may be visit to Rinpung Dzong and Ta Dzong – your first exposure to Bhutan’s impressive architecture. Also visit local village and farm house that are at close proximity to town and your hotel – this may provide a good insights into unique and thriving culture and tradition. Later, check the mountain bike for tomorrow’s ride. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2: Paro Valley Tour
Paro is one of most beautiful and historical valley in Bhutan. Most of the day, we will spend on our mountain bikes riding through the valley. By riding bikes, we’ll cover visit to some of Paro’s prominent attractions such as Kichu and Dumtshe Lhakhang (Temples), and ride onto the beautiful valley and also visit quaint agrarian village that are away from town, strike chord with friendly locales for greater interaction. Overnight in hotel.
Day 3: Fly to Bumthang & drive short distance to Tang Valley
Transfer to airport in time for your short but scenic flight to Bumthang. Upon arrival, drive for about 1-2hr across beautiful forest and several small roadside agrarian villages to Tang valley. En-route we stop at Membartsho, a large nunnery and Rimochen temple. Later we’ll visit nearby villages by short walks. Overnight in simple family run Guest house (2800m).
Day 4: Tang valley Exploration and getting acquainted with Horse riding
The horses from Wind Horse Ranch nearby arrive at your Guest House. Ride slowly, up the valley and then climb up to Orgyencholing Manor and Museum. After visiting the musuem, continue riding to upper villages in Tang, where we stop to chit/chat with locales and visit their homes. Continuing our ride, we disembark at Wind Horse Ranch and drive back to Guest Houses, where you can enjoy Traditional Hot Stone Bath. Overnight in Tang.
Day 5: Ride Horses to Kunzangdra and Camp (5-6 hours)
Today is complete horse trek day. From our Guest House (2750) till Kizom (a small road side village), the horse ride is on level gradient. Then the trail gets narrow, follows the side of the hills, ascending all the way through fields and pine forests. In some places, you may even have to dismount from horse. Along the way, you will also have an option to hike up to Kungzangdra temple and meditation site located on the cliff above, which takes about an hour. Continuing the ride further on we camp above the village of Bapzur (approx 2900m). Overnight in tent camp (Lungta Comfort camp)
Day 6: Ride Horse to Padselling Monastery and bike to Jakar.
The horse ride from from our campsite to Padselling is through pine trees, fields of buckwheat and also passes beautiful meadows. Initially its a level gradient, followed by light descent in some place and through meadows, providing opportunity to exercise trot and canter. After crossing stream, its a uphill to reach Padselling monastery (3550m) located nearly at the top of a ridge with great views of Bumthang. Explore monastery, interact with the monks and spend some moments of mindfulness. From here we will change our mount to mountain Biking. Following the farm road, bike downhill all the way with beautiful vista of Jakar valley below. Overall including horse trek and Bike ride, it takes 6 – 7 hours. Overnight hotel in Jakar.
Day 7: Jakar, Bumthang
Bumthang is aptly considered as spiritual heartland of country as it is dotted with many significant religious edifices and monuments. If you wish to make it time effective and to cover as many attractions, we can interminably use support vehicles to carry bike and ride in some place only to visit monuments. Also this way we can include some beautiful short hike and farm house visit in the vicinity. Some of the major attractions are Kurjey, Tamshing, Jambay Lhakang, Jakar Dzong, Wandgicholing palace, Swiss farm, Cheese factory, Weaving centre, Karchu monastery where you may be able to watch monk during their evening debate and prayers. Overnight in hotel in Jakar.
Day 8: Tharpaling & Chumey Valley
From Jakar drive to Chumey valley and take a side road to a ridge top monastery complex of Tharpaling located at 3650m. Visit the monastery and begin a thrilling ride along the single path, following ridgeline, through forests, meadows for about 2hrs brings you to main road. (If you are not ready for this adventure, you can always use the road we came up for ride back). From the main road, Chumey is only half hr ride. Rest of the day, ride in the valley, explore the village, see the Yathra weaves, and ride on the road to Nimalung monastery, which hardly sees any vehicle traffic. Overnight in Chumey Nature Resort (2950m).
Day 9:Drive to Trongsa & to Gangtey, Phobjikha
Our drive to Gangtey is around 165km crossing two mountain passes. Due to road widening work, the drive is slow, bumpy and could take about 6hrs. Occasionally it may be faster and more comfortable to ride our bikes in between. From Chumey, cross Yutongla pass into Trongsa, where we can visit impressive Trongsa Dzong. From Trongsa, the road cuts along the side of the mountains with great views passing many villages. We may occasionally make a stop to visit, stretch our legs. After crossing Pele la pass, we cross over to wide and spectacular Gangtey, Phobjikha valley. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10: Phobjikha Valley Ride
Phobjikha is a beautiful glacial valley at about 3000m. It is a designated conservation zone within Jigme Singye National Park. We spend the full day in the valley, riding our bikes to explore many small quaint villages located on the slopes of hillsides. Sometimes you have to dismount and walk or carry bikes. Visit the ancient Gangtey Monastery located on the hillock, then return to the valley by riding the bike along the Nature trail that cuts across the valley into Black Neck Crane Info Centre. You may also be able to visit local school. (If your travel period falls between late October till early March, then you can also watch large flocks of endangered Black Necked Crane, highly revered birds that migrate from central Asia ).
Day 11: Bike to Khotokha valley
With advent of feeder road, it marked the access to this region on bike. This morning the ride is challenging as you pedal from the valley at 3000m for 8km uphill to Tsele La (3430m). We take time and tackle the first ascent. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to Gogona valley (3200m) with few settlements just below our trail. The village is spread out over few meadows and most people here are still making a living through farming activities. From the end of Gogona, the 2nd part of ascent is slightly shorter (4-5km) and less difficult to Shobe La pass (3475m). After the pass there is a long and beautiful descent through magical forest. You will pass through rhododendron forest with lots of moss hanging from the tree branches. At lower down you will pass through pine forest with fern undergrowth. Some sections of the trail include bridges made from wood logs, and some are muddy, with streams and some area used wood logs. Finally enter Khothokha valley with the village (2650m) Just outside the village there is a newly built monastic school with over 100 monks. We may use their Guest House or Lungta Comfort camp. (Approx 40 km/6-7hrs biking)
Day 12: Bike to Wangdue/Punakha
After Khotokha village, a gradual (pretty easy compared to yesterday) climb for about 6.5kms brings you to ridge top Tashila (2820m). Then it is downhill with endless switchbacks that bring you down to warmer elevation, down to the main east-west highway at 1500m. In some places, the road can be pretty muddy and slippery but it is thrill to ride downhill. From Khotokha to this road point is about 25kms and takes about 5 hrs. From here you may ride on the main road or take another farm road to Wangdue and Punakha depending on how you feel and weather conditions. Overnight in hotel.
Day 13: In Punakha valley
First we will cover visit to Punkaha Dzong – arguably most beautiful Dzong in the country at the confluence of Mo and Po chhu river. After that you can choose to go on a Rafting or Kayaking (extra cost that you can pay directly). Then there are several options to ride your bikes a) Ride in the valley and visit some of the monuments b) or drive to Limukha or Nobgang village and using farm road ride down through the villages. Once you are Punakha, you will able to choose these options based on how easy or difficult you want it to be. Overnight hotel (option to stay in traditional Farm House is available).
Day 14: Punakha to Thimphu with hike and bike along the way.
To save time and cover more grounds, drive upto Dochula Pass (3150m). Savour spectacular panorama of peaks over some tea and snacks. From Dochula, begin 2hr hike Lungchuzekha temple on a higher ridge. Wind Horse maintains this section of the trail (maintain and collect trash). Spend some time with the caretaker, meditate and instead of returning back to Dochula, we walk downhill for another 1.5hr to Trashigang, a hilltop settlement of meditation houses and monastery. Your vehicle will meet you here and it is much more interesting to ride your bike downhill to the main road instead of bumpy 45 min ride. If you want it challenging, you can also go follow the walking path. Towards the late afternoon we arrive in Thimphu with some time to visit great Tashicho Dzong and stroll around.
Day 15: Tour of Capital Thimphu.
Being the capital it has many traditional and contemporary attractions and sights that can keep us on our toes for entire day. First, we will drive to Buddha point, arguably one of tallest Buddha in sitting posture. After visiting, we will mount the bike for ride just below the point. Its a beautiful trail is adopted and dedicated to fourth king. Ride for about one hour till Changangkha Lhakang on the path cuts across the hill with view of Thimphu. Visit Changangkha and then either drive or ride your bikes to visit prominent attractions such as Textile museum, Indigenous hospital, Tashichho Dzong, National Library etc. Toward evening we will visit Centennial Farmers market and if time permits also watch archery match in action in Chanlimithang ground. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 16: Drive to Paro and hike to Takstang
Drive for 1 and half hours to reach Tiger’s nest trail head. This epic active adventure trip draws its curtain with hike to iconic Taksang – quintessence of Bhutan travel. It takes around 1 hr to reach 1st view point and another 1 hours or so for the final ascent to Taksang monastery. Whilst returning to hotel, stop to try a hand or two at national game of Bhutan – archery. Free evening to rest, relax and be ready for farewell dinner. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 17: Departure.
Departure transfer to the airport.
Group SizeAny number of members
Meals All meals including tea.
Trip AccommodationUse best tourists standard hotels wherever possible (a mix of 3-4 star). Two nights in deluxe camps and two nights in village Guest house.
Trip SeasonsSpring (March - May) and Autumn (Late Sept -Nov) are best time. But winter months are also nearly as good, if not better because there are fewer tourists. Winter is quieter,skies are clear with good visibility, low precipitation with pleasant days for activities but colder nights.
Best MonthsMarch, April, October, November
Good MonthsJanuary, February, May, September, December
Lean MonthsJune, July, August
Prices & Dates
Cost is based on travel date and number of participants. Please contact us for the cost.
- Accommodations in listed or similar hotels (pleasant hotels 3-4 star type)
- All meals,including evening tea/coffee etc through-out the tour in Bhutan.
- All land transfers, sightseeing with entrance fees.
- Experienced English Speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
- Bottled water in the vehicle and other comp. services.
1.Flights into and out of Bhutan
2. Optional Travel/Medical Insurance
3. Personal expenses such as bars, beverages in the hotel, telephone, laundry, trips, and others.
4. Any items that are not listed in included.
We use best tourist standard hotels,whenever possible, we automatically avail relative upgrade like Hotel Druk in Thimphu and Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro which are 4 star deluxe. Largely, accommodation comprises of 4 star deluxe hotels with a typical Bhutanese flavour, tourist standard hotel, simple guest house, Deluxe Camping – Safari style tent and bed with western style toilet. If you wish we can also arrange Farm House stay with local family.
Hotels in Paro
Hotels in Punakha
Hotels in Phobjikha
Hotels in Jakar
Hotels in Chumey
Hotels in Bumthang
A good sense of humour is the currency that prevail everywhere regardless of the time or circumstances. An asset that that has potential to make even the ordinary trip into extraordinary. Sonam Loday has this traits in abundance. This is intrinsic and come as naturally as bees to the flower. He wears it in his sleeve in every tours that he conducts and this is one aspects that steal the limelight when we receive the feedbacks from the guests.
He finished his higher secondary school in 2005. Subsequently, he was at loose end trying to find meaning to his life and career, a chance meeting with a group of tourists resurrected his passion for the trade. He did his cultural guide course in 2005 and trekking in 2007. He burn the midnight oils to complete his senior guide course in 2008. He joined Wind Horse Tours in 2009 and has led countless tours with flair and his brand of humour.
Along with great sense of humour, he is well versed on both aspects cultural as well as trek. The Horse riding course refuelled his passion for horses to a new height in 2010. He is the coordinator and manager of Wind Horse Ranch and Riding Club – a low carbon footprint product.
When it comes to giving air to his interests and passion, he has varied propensities, it ranges from being cultural and trek guide to horse manager to his new found passion – mountain biking, his new best friend. On weekend, perhaps he will be one among the many guys to come across in Thimphu biking zone. And also among the few to volunteer first for audacious Haa to Phuentsholing Trip.
Yonten Phuntsho may give way to being shy guy bordering with man of a few words. But he is man who loves to be in thick of action . He leads from the front whilst on the tour. Behind his facade lies the guide whose knowledge and passion runs deep for the love of his works. His aptly quote Barbara Kingsolver “I do my best work if I think about what it is I have to offer”.
From the outset, he knew what he wants to do in his life. Right after finishing his Class 12, he enrolled for guide course for culture initially then extended few more month to complete course on Trekking as well in 2008. After doing free lancing for a while, he joined Wind Horse Tours in 2010.
For most Bhutanese, appeals that mountainous terrains throw in for an out door adventures are native. In the case of Yonten, it was no exception. He easily gave in to the temptation of Mountain biking with its advent. He explored and lead tours in his bike but his allegiance is more inclined to off road biking trips that leads to quaint villages. To explore the unknown and love for nature, these attributes that he cultivated while trekking the alpine highlands and wilderness in remote corner of country was what prompt him to readily agree to embark on audacious Haa to Phuentsholing on mountain bike, overcoming challenges of carrying bike in tough terrains, untamed vegetations and unexplored areas.
Sonam Palden is smitten by games most notably national sports of Bhutan- Archery.While growing up in beautiful Ura valley in Bumthang, unlike other kid, he played with traditional traditional bows and arrows. He completed his class 12 from Punakha in 2003. Subsequently he pursued his passion for five years that took him to national limelight. But he missed by whisker to qualify for international.
Slightly disheartened, he refocussed with same intensity and passion to make a mark as a travel guide. In 2008, brandishing his guide license and dream in his eyes he joined Wind Horse , the rest as they is history…
One of the guest said, ” If not a travel guide, Sonam could be Buddhist scholar and his command over english concedes to be an Oxford educated”.
There is hardly any prize for guessing for what he does during his free time, 145 m (476 ft) between 2 wooden targets in archery ground still rules his passion with frenzy.
Love for sport is inherent in him, when Wind Horse started specialised tour like mountain Biking, he jumped into bandwagon happily, although he was doing mountain biking before but in bits and pieces, an opportunity was served on platter, it largely assisted him to hone his skill as well to live to his sporting adrenaline rushes. Whenever free he does a recce of region lying in Thimphu and leads the tour across country. The most audacious biking trip till date along with Sonam Loday, Sonam Palden was from Haa to Phuentsholing via narrow trail, through untamed vegetation and uncharted territory.
Kezang is a graduate from Gedu Business School college in Bhutan, but he was always interested in the Buddhist Philosophy, which made him alter his ambition to being a tour Guide.
He is super polite and Buddhist to the core, because his parents and their parents were all affliliated to a monastery as a Lama etc. He comes from Dramtse region, between Mongaer and Trashigang.