A fascinating country with a very unique and intact culture. Lots of untouched forest. An oasis of silence in southern Asia.

A many cyclists dream, that unfortunately comes true only to very few...


There is no restriction of how many tourists can visit Bhutan. All tourists have to book their trip through a tour operator. The price is a fix 250$/day, single travelers pay an additional 40$ (2014). This price covers everything (visa, accommodation, food, transport, guide). What you want to do you can plan with your tour operator. So it is also possible to go cycling (but very expensive).

I was very lucky to get a visa that allowed me to travel on my own, without booking a tour. The chances of getting such a visa are very little. Personal contacts in Bhutan can normally not help organizing something like that. Your chances are probably best when going through the official channels (ministry). Thanks to personal contacts to the ambassador I was finally invited by the ministry of internal affairs. 

The visa is not issued as in most other countries at an embassy (Bhutan hardly has any embassies). You will receive a letter with which you will get the visa stamped into your passport at the border in Phuntsholing for 40$.


Your visa allows you to travel from the border to Thimpu and to Paro and Ha. If you want to go further east you will need a special permit. If you are traveling with a tour operator, they will organize that. Otherwise you need a letter from the inviting organization where your route is described. With such a document you easily get the permit at the immigration office in Thimpu (at the northern end of town, easy to find) within a few minutes at no cost. 


Overland entry is only possible in Phuntsholing! You can exit in Phuntsholing or in the east in Samdruk Jongkar, but only if you have the above mentioned permit.


There is not a huge choice of roads. It is mostly one mayor road from the west to the east with a few turn offs. The quality of the road is mostly very good, climbs are usually not too steep (but long). In 2014 many roads were under construction. There is very little traffic, around Thimpu it is busiest of course. Drivers drive very considerate and don't honk (except for indian truck drivers). Cycling from west to east you have to cross 6 big passes, mostly over 3000m high. In between the road drops to deep valleys. All together you have to climb 18.000 vertical meters in 1000km. Cyclists have to wear a helmet in Bhutan. 


The local currency is the Ngu, which is equivalent to the Indian Rupie. Often you can also pay in Indian Rupie. Banks change both currencies 1:1. In all bigger places there is an ATM that accepts international cars (Maestro/Visa). 


If you are traveling with a tour operator, everything is covered. Otherwise the price level is about the same as in India, meaning it is very cheap.


Most western tourists stay in resort Hotels that are often outside of towns and are more expensive. In most towns there are also guesthouses catering for Bhutanese and Indien travelers. Here you can get a room from 5$.

Camping is never a problem. But it is often not easy to find a flat spot in the long climbs. Towards the east, the distances (and climbs) are getting bigger and you almost need to camp. 

GPS Track