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Mountain Biking in Bhutan - Thrill in the lap of Nature

Death is certain and inevitable but what matters is how you choose to live your life which makes you stand apart in the crowd. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, our souls longing for excitement and heart lusting for adventure. And if you want to experience adventure and fun at its best, then what is better than mountain cycling? Speeding up your bike en route to the top of the hill and playing with wind and speed while enjoying the beautiful sights from there is one of the best experiences that a man can fathom in his lifetime. 

And what's a better way to get your adrenaline racing than mountain cycling in Bhutan? With its vivid landscape and mountainous roads, Bhutan is rapidly becoming one of the favourite places to try one's hand in mountain cycling. Cycling all the way up to the top gives you an insight of the place like nothing else. Watching flora alongside the tracks, encounters with different species of animals and birds, meeting people from different towns and places, trying out delicious and exotic local food off the beaten path, often having to catch your breath because you are too tired, are all experiences that are way more exciting than words can convey. And getting to actually live it is like a dream come true. Pedalling with your helmet on and having sips of water in between, eventually reaching your destination is so satisfying to the body that you actually feel like you have accomplished all that you could have ever asked for.

Bhutan Landscape, Cycling in Bhutan
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Bhutan is a divine and peaceful country. Most parts of the country are still untouched by development and its terrains are considered one of the best if you want to try mountain biking. Located approximately 2300 metres above sea level, one needs heart and strength to take up this task. A relatively new activity in Bhutan, many firms and start-ups in Bhutan are now aiming at providing this experience to their customers. There is no dearth of options for you to choose from, whether you're an amateur or a professional. The duration of the sport ranges from 3 days to 18 days, depending on what you opt for.

Route Followed

For mountain cyclists in Bhutan, the journey usually begins and ends at Paro. There are many routes that offer exciting thrill and fun but the most preferred is the one which passes through Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey. After leaving from Paro, the route passing through Tamchog Lhakhang is taken. The first major town is Thimphu where one can shop, pray to Lord Buddha at Kuensel Phodrang and enjoy the sight of Tashichho Dzong. The journey then ascends to Punakha and Wangdue from where the vicious Himalayan ranges can be seen. Then the last stop is Gangtey which holds the honour of being home to the exquisite Black-Necked Crane, after which the return journey starts and ultimately ends at Paro.

Punakha Valley, Cycling in Bhutan
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For Amateurs

So if you are an amateur and want to do mountain cycling to gain experience, then it is best if you opt for the 8-days package. The journey begins from Paro and takes you through Thimphu, Wangdue Phodrang until Gangtey Gompa where you can view Gangtey Gompa Monastery and Phobjikha valley, before the return journey starts and finally ends at Paro. Organisations such as Bhutan Mountain Bike and Wind Horse Tours provide this service to everyone looking for an exhilarating adventure of mountain cycling in Bhutan. The ride can be quite demanding, with almost 5-6 hours a day spent pedalling your way across the gorgeous landscape of mountainous Bhutan. However, it is quite an enjoyable experience as most parts of the route are gentle and moderate. Traffic is usually light, so that does not pose a problem while you are driving. You will be able to discover all the smaller and more remote areas while you ride your bike across this beautiful little hillock.

A van will accompany through your journey, driving behind you in case you get extremely tired and want to rest a bit. All the protective equipment is provided along with the bonus of a thriving experience like never before.

Phobjikha Valley, Cycling in Bhutan
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For Professionals And Risk-Takers

If you're really passionate about adventure sports and seek challenges, then mountain cycling in Bhutan is a must-do activity. It is a long stretch journey and takes about 14-18 days. The steep and rocky roads are not so easy to tackle and this programme is only advised to those who are professionals in this field. The height can go as high as 4000 metres above sea level. The personal security apparels are provided and a van always follows you in case you want to rest for some time and wish to cover some stretch by van. Beginning from Paro, the journey ascends to the Dochula pass, after which you will reach Gangtey Gompa via Wangdiphodrang. From here, you will get to travel to the exciting Norbuling on to Trongsa, Dumkhar, Chumi and to Bumthang, continuing on to Ura, Kuru Zam, Mongar, and finally culminating at Trashigang in Eastern Bhutan. After this point, the rest of the areas are covered by jeep drive until you finally reach Paro. Nothing will feel more rewarding than eating dinner after the tiresome journey and finally going to bed. During the journey, you will come across the traditions and customs of many places in Bhutan, exploring this quaint little nation in a unique way that is not available to most travellers.

View From Dochula Pass, Cycling in Bhutan
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Companies That Provide Mountain Biking Services

Since mountain cycling in Bhutan is a newfound activity, there are not many companies that work to provide the services. Bhutan Mountain Bike, Explore Himalayas and Wind Horse Tours are three companies that cater to the needs of mountain bikers.

Tips For Mountain Cycling in Bhutan

1. Although the bikes that are provided to you are well-maintained and in a durable condition, it is still advised that you check the brakes and wheels by yourself and ensure that everything is okay.
2. Make sure to stop at least four to five times during the journey. Take your time to enjoy the weather, the environment around you and photograph the scenery.
3. If you are on medications, then make sure to carry them with you and consult your doctor before you attempt mountain cycling. It is a risky road to take and you need to be perfectly fit to be able to do it.
4. If you have any doubts or concerns, feel free to tell it to your instructor who is leading you. The guides and instructors are helpful and friendly and you would not face any problem in communication as they speak fluent English.

Mountain Cycling in Bhutan - A fun sport
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So, if you are hungry for adventure and yearn to do something different, then this is the way to go. Mountain cycling in Bhutan not only rejuvenates your body but also feeds your soul.

This post was published by Tina Garg