Bhutan

Guided, Self Guided, Off-Road adventures.

Bhutan

Take our incredible motorcycle tour into a different World: Bhutan, the kingdom in the sky, Druk yul, ‘the land of the Thunder Dragon”. Possibly the world’s most exclusive destination, right in the heart of the Himalaya. From West Bengal, we ride our Royal Enfield motorcycles over the border along valleys and climb passes through virgin jungle and forest. We ride past the ancient Dzong forts of the capital Thimphu and on into the heart of the Kingdom at Bhumthang.

Let us introduce you to the unique country of Bhutan, and what better way than on a motorcycle tour. This is a country where the rice is red and chillies aren’t just a seasoning but the entire dish. It’s also a deeply Buddhist land, where men wear a tunic to work, and where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product.

Bhutan also showcases an undisturbed traditional Tibetan culture, extraordinary textiles, extreme trekking routes and stunning flora and fauna. It is a country full of surprises for its visitors.

…. yet another fantastic tour from HC Travel!
This has been a life changing holiday – the perfect combination of adventure (lots of!), awesome scenery, brilliant company and a privileged glimpse into a refreshingly untainted country and culture.
The Royal Enfields never missed a beat or let us down even when the conditions became a ‘bit’ demanding! They really are the perfect bike for this trip and we can’t imagine any better way of seeing Bhutan.
We cannot praise the team enough. Alam was a joy, an amazing tour leader, passionate about his job, fantastic company and he took 100% good care of us – a great guy. Bhim, our lovely-natured, bike-loving Bhutanese guide, taught us so much about his wonderful country, culture and people, and he went out of his way to be helpful. We felt privileged to have spent time with Alam, Bhim and the excellent Team and to have had such an insight into their lives.
Mark and Kate Chittenden, UK, 2010

Just returned from Bhutan trip had an amazing time , for me the journey of a life time. If any one likes curry , mountains and motor bikes this is the trip to go on – even the beer is a banging stuff. Big thank you to all who made it possible and special thanks to Alam who ran the trip like clockwork.
Syd Turner, UK, 2012

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a destination known to few, distant from the western world both geographically and in culture. It has less visitors annually than the Grand Canyon National Park can have in under two hours! Bhutan sounds like the perfect place for an H-C Travel motorcycle tour!

Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. For the motorbike touring enthusiast, this tiny land offers the qualities we all seek when travelling by motorbike: a diversity of stunning scenery, an inviting population, political tranquility and exotic culture found within a small geographical package, quality riding that stimulates the senses at every mile, and the sense that this is a unique experience.

Bhutan’s cautious limitation of tourism and outside influence has paid off. The statistics are impressive: 72% of the country is forested, over 770 species of birds, over 165 species of mammals and an astonishing 5,500 species of plants. So few places on Earth offer such unspoiled beauty. The flora and fauna are remarkably pristine. The entire country is mountainous, shadowed by the towering snowcapped Himalayas – you’ll ride through lush green valleys sculpted over time by great rivers, never far from the imposing views of the world’s highest peaks.

The natural and well preserved beauty of Bhutan is no accident. Life is guided here by the deep spirituality of Buddhism, all things living are valued and revered, a harmony with nature and fellow man that will be evident as you encounter the natives throughout your journey.

The highlights are not marked by the usual ’tourist’ sights found on souvenir postcards. It is the natural beauty, ancient traditions, gracious people and the joy of sharing this extremely special experience with others that make Bhutan so special.

And your motorcycle experience is pretty good too! You will be riding into thin air as you cross a number of high passes offering magnificent views the eastern Himalayas. Take the Nikka Shu road carved out of the side of a cliff overlooking the Mangde Chu River.

And of course this is not just a motorcycle tour! There will be time to purchase colourful artisanal goods, hike the mountains, and engage the gracious locals, visit the 17th century Drukyel Dzong (Monastery fortress), one of many religious edifices to be encountered in your travels, or the famous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Hermitage on the face of a sheer 1,000 m cliff … an incredible photo-opportunity that will remain etched in your mind for years to come.

Why tour Bhutan?

  • A truly intriguing kingdom, little seen or understood by Westerners for centuries
  • Experience a uniquely pure Buddhist approach to living
  • Some joyous riding, often on narrow and twisting cliff-hanging mountain roads
  • Unique lifestyle and customs – the closest to time travel you are likely to experience

Why tour Bhutan with H-C Travel?

  • Small groups of 2-8 riders
  • Experienced tour guide and local crew, we ran the first ever authorised motorcycle tour to Bhutan in 1998
  • Approved by the Bhutan government, and licensed in the UK
  • Featuring Royal Enfield 500 cc

Your guide

Alam Hussein, who started working for us a mechanic when he was 16, has been guiding tours since 2005. He has been on over 100 tours in India and the Himalayas as rider, mechanic or guide. Alam is no mean rider either. He participated in the Himalayan Raid Rally in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and came second in his class in 2005. And when not working to make your tour the best possible riding experience, Alam runs a motorcycle repair business and custom bike building shop in Dehredun that is famous throughout India.

I believe that one would have to search high, low & far to find a better tour leader than Alam who was most ably supported by his driver and mechanic – both quiet, but most responsible guys, who ensured that the bikes were ready to roll each morning, and always in show-room condition!

Trevor Millett (ex-professional tour guide), UK, 2011

Alam’s team

Without his reliable local support team, the logistics of running our tour programme in Northern India, Bhutan and Tibet would be well-nigh impossible. Our chief mechanic is Biru, who has worked on our tours since 2000, and our support/luggage vehicle driver is Bopinder, who joined in 2002. They are usually supported by two assistant mechanics.

Visa requirements

Visas are required for UK and EU citizens to India and Bhutan (if you are not an EU citizen, please check with your local Indian Embassy or travel agent). You will be sent further details once you have paid for your tour in full (usually visas can only be issued less than three months before the required dates). An Indian visa costs about £65, with processing fees if you wish to use a visa processing agency, of about £40. We will arrange your Bhutan visa, which is included in our price, after your arrival in India.

Websites

For UK government information and advice www.fco.gov.uk
For Indian visa services www.rossconsular.com
For Indian visas http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk.
Indian Tourist Board www.tourisminindia.com/
Bhutan Tourism http://www.kingdomofbhutan.com/

Thunder Dragon Adventure

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.

Highlights

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

Itinerary

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.

Total distance

c. 2100 km

**** ADD TABLE ****

Price includes:

  • 13 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
  • 11 days motorcycle hire, Royal Enfield 500 (left foot gear change) or 350 Bullet
  • India domestic flights
  • Fuel
  • 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.

Price excludes:

  • US$500 refundable security/damage deposit to pay locally in cash
  • Visa (c.£65)
  • Personal items and expenses
  • Additional activities
  • Riding gear
  • Insurance
  • 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

Back to top
Ask, and you shall receive!

Questions & Bookings

Motorcycle holidays can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and here at H-C Travel we’re happy to make whatever arrangements you want. We’re here to make organising your holiday as simple as possible.

Contact Us

Ask a Question?

Please call us on 01256 770775 or email us using the form below:

I would like to receive news of H-C Travel/Orange & Black’s tours, events and offers by email newsletter using the contact information provided here.I am happy to miss out on news of H-C Travel/Orange & Black’s tours, events and offers by email newsletter.


We endeavour to answer all emails within 24 hrs, except on Sundays, so if you haven’t received a reply from us it has probably got lost. Please call us if you haven’t received a reply, and please ALWAYS include your phone number when you email us.