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The Royal Enfield (500cc) Tour

Day 1.Paro Valley.

On arrival at Paro airport you will be met by the guide from Bhutan Vajra Adventures 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 old ruined fortress of Drukgyel Dzong which 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 24,000ft 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. Continue on down to south Paro for dinner & cocktails in a very old traditional Bhutanese village house with the chance to experience a hot stone bath.

O/N Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 2.Haa Valley Excursion – approx 6 hours (ride time).

An exciting day trip to the remote Haa Valley on Bhutan’s highest navigable road via the Chele La (pass). This very picturesque region was only opened to tourists in 2001.

Around the valley are many scattered monasteries and 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

Day 3.Paro Valley to Punakha Valley – 4 hrs 30 mins.

This morning depart Paro for the Punakha Valley. En route pass the Semtokha Dzong built in 1629, the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, and which today it is a monastery. Continue ascending past small villages to Dochu La (pass) to view the 108 Stupas, commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian 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 depending on the time of the year the vista can vary from alpine snow (November – March) to a profusion of blossoms (March – May) splashed among the soft green of the wild herbs and forest trees.

On entering Punakha Valley this afternoon start with a visit to Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman),  and also referred to as ‘The Monastery of the Mad Monk’. The Lhakhang (temple) 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).

O/N Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 4.Punakha Valley to Trongsa – 4 hrs 30 mins.

Head southwards down the Punakha Valley to Wangdue Phodrang (known as Wangdi). Pass the dramatic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong (currently under restoration 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, lead straight through Trongsa and the Dzong itself. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Bhutan.

This afternoon, if time permits, ride a little south of Trongsa to the winter palace of the second King Jigme Wangchuck, passing Takse Goemba,  several huge waterfalls and the fertile rice terraces of the Mangde Chhu (river) valley, before returning to Trongsa.

O/N Trongsa – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 5.Trongsa to Choekhor Valley (Jakar town) – 2 hrs.

This morning visit the excellent Tower of Trongsa Museum which has recently opened and is currently the best in the Kingdom. 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. Time permitting briefly visit the Dzong itself before continuing 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.

On arrival in Choekhor Valley your options for visits are the Wangdicholing Palace and/or the 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 Jakar 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

Day 6.Excursion to Ura Valley – 4 hrs – or relax instead!

Choose today between an excursion ride to Ura Valley or a day at leisure in Choekhor Valley. If staying locally in Choekhor consider a visit to the Tamshing Monastery where about 95 Monks reside, most being under 15, from poorer families who cannot afford to send their children to state school. Also worthwhile is a visit to the Swiss Farm to taste sweet cheese, apple brandy and locally brewed wine and beer. Alternatively enjoy one of the hikes available in this region or find a nice quiet spot at the hotel to catch up on some reading.

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.  On the return ride, time permitting, make a short detour to Mebartsho (Burning Lake),  one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Kingdom.

O/N Bumthang Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

Day 7.Choekhor Valley to Phobjikha Valley – 4 hours.

This morning transfer back westwards to the Phobjikha Valley via a stop in Chhume Valley to view or buy very high quality Bhutanese textiles and weaving’s.

Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, and 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 boars, sambars, himalayan black bears, leopards and red foxes.

Until recently the Phobjikha valley’s only electricity came from solar or mini hydro plants however in 2011 underground cabled electricity gradually connected the valley to the national grid. Potatoes are this region’s primary cash crop and are mainly exported to India.

O/N Phobjikha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 8.Phobjikha Valley to Punakha Valley – 4hrs incl side trip.

At leisure this morning to explore the Phobjikha Valley before departing for Punakha. Visit the Black Crane nature information centre; the sacred Gangtey Monastery and hike the Gangtey Nature Trail.

On the afternoon ride to Punakha, time permitting, take a detour at Wangdue and travel south down the valley to hopefully view rare Golden Languars (monkeys) or perhaps visit the Lhuendrup Sangchhen Dorji Lhakhang, Nunnery & continue onto the Village of Talo.

O/N Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 9.At leisure in the Punakha Valley.

This morning visit the awesome Punakha Dzong, the second of Bhutan’s Dzongs, which previously served as the seat of the government. Punakha Dzong is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body) and holds the title as the winter capital because of its more temperate climate. This is Bhutan’s most spectacular Dzong and an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and a centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has adapted and evolved for modern day use.

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon or travel further up the valley & hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten. This Chorten hold 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.

Alternatively take an afternoon ride up to Laptshaka for a majestic view of the mountains.

O/N Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 10.Punakha Valley to Thimphu –  2 hours 45 mins.

A leisurely morning ride back over Dochu La to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu and take lunch at a local restaurant.

Enjoy the remainder of the day to explore Thimphu, both by bike and on foot. Your options this afternoon include a ride up the north of the valley, a visit to the Memorial Stupa, the National Textile museum, Zorig Chusum, the institute of the 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan where you get to interact with the students  or just enjoy wandering through Thimphu’s city streets. For the more energetic, take a hike (or travel by road) up to the BBS telecom tower via the Takin preserve or the Golden Buddha to enjoy a stunning view of the valley.

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

Day 11.Thimphu Valley to Paro Valley – 1 hour 15 mins.

After a leisurely breakfast this morning enjoy your ride back to the Paro Valley on Bhutan’s best section of road.

On arrival in Paro Valley hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) viewpoint, 1.5 to 2 hours round trip, and take lunch at the Viewpoint Cafe (Bhutanese Vegetarian). Alternatively, for those with at least moderate fitness and the inclination, continue all the way to the Monastery itself….a 5 hour round trip. The monastery clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at 3000 ft above the valley floor and the hike is a great way to end your Bhutan experience.

Return your motorcycle this afternoon and tonight enjoy your farewell dinner.

O/N Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

Day 12.Early morning departure to Paro airport for your onward flight.

 

Your Tour Package Inclusions:

Professional guides and services of back-up vehicles.
Royal Enfield 500 cc Motorcycle Hire.
Services of trained mechanics.
Comprehensive insurance on motorcycle.
Spare parts for normal wear & tear.
Hotel accommodation with private facilities.
All Meals.
Entrance Fees & Sightseeing.
Bhutan Government royalties, local taxes and visa fees.
Airport Transfers.
Complimentary cocktail party.

Motorcycle fuel additional pls budget US$12.00 p/day.

Tour Exclusions:

Drukair or Bhutan Airlines flight costs to/from Paro.
Items of a personal nature, phone calls, laundry, drinks etc
Tipping – pls refer to our general information sheet.
Travel Insurance – is mandatory to enter Bhutan
Ensure insurance coverage is to ride a motorcycle 500cc.

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