Hiking

Cycling/ biking trails in Thimphu

Is it just me or has cycling become the new trend these days, especially with the pandemic situation going on globally? With the restriction on clubbing, parties and gatherings, I guess people have a lot less options for entertainment now. Nightlife has basically been cancelled all over Bhutan, except for the unauthorized ones; which explains the increased interest in outdoor activities like cycling, hiking and walking.

Whether you’ve always been a cyclist or just recently started, there are must-try routes in Thimphu designed especially for cyclists. I have to be honest though; I don’t know the first thing about cycling so I went for walks on these routes instead.

1.      Wangditse trail

Starting from Sangaygang, it’s a common cycling trail, with captivating views through the city’s forests; and extends till Wangditse, a famous temple and hiking spot in Thimphu. An easy trail and suitable for newbies as well. To know more about the place, check out our post on Chokhortse and Wangditse.

Approx. walking time: about half an hour each way.

2.      Kuenselphodrang to Debsi trail

Starting point of the trail

This is an approximately 3.5 km route starting from the outdoor gym in Kuenselphodrang and stretching till an archery ground in Debsi. You can see exquisite views of Thimphu city throughout the trail, providing ideal photo moments. There is a happiness garden dedicated to HRH the crown prince of Bhutan, where a team of 100 volunteers set a Guinness world record by planting 49,672 trees in one hour on 2nd June 2015.

Breathtaking view of Olakha town

The trail is mostly through the barren mountains, with minimal shade from the sun although it passes through the woods at times. If you’re going in the morning or afternoon, take a cap or an umbrella, for some shade from the scorching sun. For hikers and walkers, of course.

Debsi town, the end of the route

This route is perfect for amateur hikers, cyclists and for short walks. It is one of the easier off-road tracks in Thimphu taking about an hour each way by foot.

3.      Kuenselphodrang to Changangkha trail

This relatively longer, approximately 7 km trail starts from above Changangkha lhakhang and connects to the Kuenselphodrang nature park, just opposite to Buddhapoint. Majority of the route passes through tall pine trees providing ample shade with occasional glimpses of the Thimphu city below.

Thimphu city

Although you can start from either point, for an easier hike, start from Kuenselphodrang and walk towards Changangkha lhakhang; this route has less inclination. It takes about 2 hours, if you take a leisure stroll and an approximate half an hour extra if you take the tougher route.

The trail passes by rocky corners at some areas and has lots of wild ferns and mushrooms along the way, amidst the woods with scattered rhododendron trees. And with the increasing popularity of these trails, there are a lot of fellow travelers as well.

Whether you’re a cyclist, biker or just looking to go for walks, these short routes are a go-to choice. And I know that there are other common routes that are not mentioned here but I have yet to complete those routes. So let’s leave them for future posts. But in wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, don’t forget to adhere to the recommended precautionary measures. Stay safe, people!

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