This has been an amazing trip! Bhutan is a truly fascinating country …and we had some fantastic motorcycle riding – sometimes a bit hairy! The accommodation was far better than I had anticipated, and everyone we met was very friendly. Much of the success of the trip is due to our excellent guide, Alam. He was always cheerful, always helpful and he had a very strong feeling of responsibility for the group. His knowledge of the country and its culture, and him speaking the language helped a lot. We learned a lot about India from him. Also our Bhutanese guide, Bhim, was a cheerful and positive chap, who freely gave from his vast knowledge about Bhutan. So this trip has been one of my best journeys – so far… I just might come back for more!
Ulf Leander, Sweden, 2010
It seems a lifetime ago that I was treated like a Lord by your team. I have nothing but praise. Perhaps the roads could have been a little rougher but then I never fell off! All in all a trip to remember. The most money I have ever spent on a holiday but with what we got it was a bargain. God willing I will be back.
John Stone, UK, 2008
Discover the wonders of Bhutan on this Thunder Dragon Adventure, ride on cliff top passes shadowed by the magnificent Himalayan peaks, while in awe of the beauty of this un-spoilt country. Searching for wildlife and visiting fascinating monasteries are just a couple of the reasons why this tour is the one for you.
Take in the beauty of un-spoilt forests, valleys and mountains • Visit the Takstang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery & the ruins of Drukyel Dzong an UNESCO World Heritage Site • Enjoy magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks • Search for wildlife including rare Himalayan species • Ride Nikka Shu Road, carved out of the side of a cliff overlooking the Mangde Chu River
Day 1 Delhi
On arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to your hotel. Relax and refresh or choose to enjoy an afternoon guided tour of Delhi. Tonight, offers a welcome dinner and your first chance to sample some local cuisine.
Day 2 Delhi – Siliguri
Rising early, catch the morning flight to Bagdogra, West Bengal, and then on to Siliguri. After lunch meet the tour crew waiting with the motorcycles and have a briefing to cover safety precautions, touring style, road conditions, and check personal equipment, with time to select your bike and become familiar with starting procedures, control layouts and bike handling. Tonight, is the welcome dinner.
Day 3 Siliguri – Darjeeling (70 km)
Escape the manic roads of the city and wind your way through West Bengali flatlands before starting to climb up and off the plains and into the cooler, wetter heights of the Himalaya foothills. The roads to Darjeeling are well paved and rife with bend after hairpin bend! The short 70km takes much longer than expected and the crowded, picturesque streets of Darjeeling are a welcoming sight. Darjeeling is known as the “queen of the hill stations,” famous as a trading post and hill station retreat of the British Raj, made all the more famous for the many tea plantations on its flanks, and most importantly the mighty views of the Himalaya and especially K2 to the northwest.
Day 4 Darjeeling – Phuntsholing (320 km)
Ride down from Darjeeling through tea plantations on an incredibly steep blacktop lane through villages balanced on sides of hills. Descend to the Teesta River again and across the plains of West Bengal. Resembling southeast Asia more than northern India, this area has herds of wild elephant and leopards. As a contrast to the vast mountain regions you have ridden through, it complements the varied landscape. Overnight on the border town of India and Bhutan.
Day 5 Phuntsholing – Paro (260 km)
After breakfast start early, allowing ample time to view the mountain scenery and distant waterfalls as you climb the first pass, Chapch-La. Descending to the beautiful Wangshu River Valley through dense forest, meet the confluence of the Paro River, where you cross the bridge and head up the secluded river valley road, past the only international airport in the country, to the iconic taktsong, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched high on the side of the cliff.
Day 6 Paro – Thimpu (60 km)
Today’s short ride to Thimpu gives you a terrific opportunity for a morning hike to the Tiger’s Nest. Paro is also home to the famous Drukgyal Dzong an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above the palace. Thimpu’s nightlife is not to be missed this evening!
Day 7 Thimphu – Wangdi (130 km)
After exploring the capital city and a tour of Jigme Dorji Wangchuk Memorial Chorten with a Bhutanese guide this morning, have lunch in one of the local Bhutanese restaurants before climbing out of Thimphu to the Dochu La pass at 3100m. There are prayer flags everywhere on the summit and views of the magnificent Himalaya panorama and the giant peaks of Lunana. The road then descends over 1700m in 26km as we pass first temperate forest, then semi-tropical with orange, banana and bamboo. Arrive at the busy town of Wangdi, perched on a spur at the confluence of the rivers, with a mighty Dzong fortress built on the rocks above town.
Day 8 Wangdi – Bumthang Valley (300 km)
Continue east across the length of Bhutan on the only road across the kingdom. The road flattens for 12km then begins the climb over Black Mountain and the next pass, Pele-La at 3300m, where you’ll see yaks grazing and views of the Chomolhari Range in Western Bhutan. Another 1500m descent takes you to Nikka Shu bridge through forest and dwarf bamboo. The road is carved out of the side of the cliff above the Mangde Chu River and there is forest for as far as the eye can see, with the famous Trongsa Dzong visible 12km away. Enjoy a quick visit to Trongsa Dzong, the largest in the country, before heading over the last smaller pass to Jakar, your destination in the beautiful Bumthang Valley.
Day 9 Bumthang – Mongar (310 km)
The longest day’s ride of the tour, and one of the most spectacular, as you “ride the high ridges” from Bumthang Valley to Mongar. Where most visitors to Bhutan rarely even make it as far as Bumthang Valley, you thump on past over the high passes to the very centre of the kingdom. Vast forests for as far as the eye can see in every direction, mixed with extraordinary views of the high Himalayan snow-capped peaks, reward you for your ride through Shangri-La.
Day 10 Mongar – Tashigang (80 km)
Enjoy the morning exploring Mongar before heading the relatively short distance to Tashigang through dense forest with howling Grey Langur monkeys to the jewel of eastern Bhutan, Tashigang. This is as far east as you will be able to travel in Bhutan at this time, after Tashigang the roads become less maintained and grown over, the people are tribal and all becomes wilder. Most traffic is by horse and on trails. The town has a new university where many students from all over Bhutan study.
Day 11 Tashigang – Sumdruk (190 km)
The day in Bhutan takes you back down through the many climate zones, reflected in the dramatic changes in flora and fauna, becoming again almost sub-tropical. The border town of Sumdruk is clean and ordered, busy as all border towns can be, but quiet. A contrast between Indian and Bhutanese cultures, the mix of this border is unique.
Day 12 Sumdruk – Guwahati (200 km)
After checking out of Bhutan and back into India, ride through densely populated villages on flat steamy plains with bamboo groves. You’ll notice the relatively busy traffic of India compared to the lack of any traffic in Bhutan as you head for the capital of Assam, Guwahati. The mighty Brahmaputra River runs through Guwahati – from the high plateau of Tibet it crashes down to Bangladesh and out into the sea at Calcutta. Enjoy a farewell dinner with the Burma team.
Day 13 Guwahati – Delhi
After breakfast fly back to Delhi arriving early afternoon, with the rest of the day free before your final farewell dinner.
Day 14 Delhi
After breakfast this morning your tour ends, transfer to airport for your onward travel arrangements.
c. 2100 km
- 13 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
- 11 days motorcycle hire, Royal Enfield 500 (left foot gear change) or 350 Bullet
- India domestic flights
- All dinners and selected lunches
- Soft/drinks and bottled water on tour
- Entrance fees
- Airport and local transfers,
- 4WD Support vehicle
- Bhutan tourism tax and visa
- English speaking tour guide and local support team.
- US$500 refundable security/damage deposit to pay locally in cash
- Visa (c.£65)
- Personal items and expenses
- Additional activities
- Riding gear
- Flights, stopovers and additional accommodation which can be arranged through H-C Travel
Taj Mahal Extension Tour:
2 days, incl. 1 night in 5* hotel in Agra, private car/driver/guide, entrance fees to Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, £295 per person, twin share.
Indian wildlife reserve tours can also be arranged