Discovering the Meaning of Adventure in Bhutan by mountain bike
We’ve spent a lot of time in the Himalayas of Nepal but our inquisitiveness got the better of us once more and we headed off to explore neighbouring Kingdom of Bhutan by mountain bike.
A trail kingdom in Bhutan, by Euan Wilson
Once a year I link up with adventure photographer Dan Milner to plot a slightly wilder and more exploratory expedition to a lesser-travelled corner of the globe.
2018 saw us journeying through the vast plains and mountains of Kyrgyzstan, pedalling and hike-a-biking to the Lenin Glacier with riders Rene Wildhaber and Tom Oehler. Despite (or because of!) the fact that this was the hardest thing I’d ever done, we were already sowing the seeds for the next adventure as we sat in the airport in Bishkek, waiting for our flight home.
And so the plan for journeying and exploring the landlocked Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan by mountain bike was born…
Joining Dan and me were Yeti Ambassador Sam Seward and H+I’s videographer Douglas Tucker, we then linked up with a great crew on the ground who welcomed us with open arms and shared their incredible nation with us. We quickly became friends.
None of us really knew what to expect from exploring Bhutan by bike. I’d seen glimpses and heard a few whispers of trail paradise but it was only once we hit Bhutanese dirt and the wheels began to spin that the true extent of the trail network became clear.
Finding adventure in Bhutan
As we departed Kathmandu on our way into the Kingdom of Bhutan, our pilot let us know that soon after take off if we looked out the left side of the plane we would see mount Everest. I have only ever seen Everest at a great distance when flying into Kathmandu, and to see it so close up on the way to Bhutan made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. And if that wasn’t enough, the landing into Paro, Bhutan’s major airport, is a roller coaster ride of a flight you will never forget!
By the time we landed we were full of adrenaline and talking feverishly about the mountain and trails that we saw from the plane. But then, we thought, what if they’re not ridable? We needn’t have worried…
Exploring Bhutan by mountain bike was a very good idea indeed and exactly what an adventure should be: punishing climbs, heart thumping altitude, fascinating culture, great crew, clear, starry skies, and a few beers.