Bhutan. Not the first place you think of when planning your next cycling adventure. While our (West European) thoughts quickly travel to the French or Italian Alps, Jack Thompson took it to the next level in late 2018: he and his father cycled right across Bhutan. And now, in May 2019, he’s travelling once more to the country that strives to be the happiest in the world. And you can join him!
Bhutan, an endless gravel adventure
Jack ‘Cycles Far’ Thompson is leaving for his next Bhutan adventure on 16 May. Last time he made the trip with his father, but this time he wants to go with a few more people. That’s why he will be a guide for two all-inclusive trips in the country. No easy feat in Bhutan.
Bhutan is a Buddhist country in the Eastern Himalayas. It’s located south of Tibet, east of Nepal and has a population of under 1,000,000 people. The country is split between west and east. The country’s urban centres are concentrated in the west, and this is where most of the young people from the farming villages in the east travel to. In short, the countryside is emptying.
This is not good for the local economies in the east. In order to prevent this population shift, the government is in the process of building a major road to connect the two regions. This runs through tracts of raw nature and the mountainous Himalayan landscape. Buddhism legislates against the killing of animals. This has two effects: most Bhutanese people are vegetarian; and animals are allowed to gather where ever they like. This includes horses, cows and the like — the country is a free range farm.
Every major road needs solid foundations. The west–east route is still being laid, meaning that, at the moment, there is one long gravel road right across the country, awaiting a layer of asphalt. And that offers some great possibilities for adventurous types! Jack ‘Cycles Far’ Thompson can lead the way for you.
On the road with Jack ‘Cycles Far’ Thompson
The two tours Jack is organising include everything you need for a trip like this. You’re obliged to employ a local guide while travelling the country. This alone costs $250 a day. But when you’re travelling with Jack ‘Cycles Far’ you don’t have to worry about any of this. Except for cycling and recovering! You’ll obviously do quite a bit of climbing, with the highest point of the route situated 3,989m above sea level. But the programme includes more than just cycling. This unique trip through a large part of Bhutan offers rider the opportunity to visit a number of key points of interest: the route includes several of the country’s major sights. And local meals and lodgings are all arranged and included.
A unique opportunity
This is clearly the chance of a lifetime. Jack will take a maximum of six participants on each of the two trips, in order to keep the tours personal. Each of the trips costs €2,400 for nine days. This doesn’t include the cost of your return flight, nor alcoholic beverages. Does this sound like something for you? There are still a couple of places available: sign up now!