Tour of the Dragon is an ultra-marathon mountain bike race that only takes place in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The 268 km race is known to be one of the most difficult one-day mountain bike races in the world. Starting off in Bumthang, traveling over 4 mountain passes (Kiki La 2870m, Yotong La 3434m, Pele La 3430m, Dochu La 3150m) and closing in Thimphu town square, it is an extremely challenging and exhilarating bike race.
Recently, biking has witnessed a growth in popularity in Bhutan. Accommodated with fresh air, limited traffic and scenic highways such biking adventures provides an extraordinary experience for all. Tour of the Dragon offers an amazing opportunity to tour through this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom.
As your flight nears Bhutan, you can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, you will be greeted by a representative from Bhutan Travelers. After lunch, you will visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will walk downhill till the road point crossing the wooden bridge. Your vehicle will be waiting here to transfer you to Thimphu. If time permits, you can have a free time in town. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
You will enjoy a scenic ride from Wangdue where you will make a stop at Dochula Pass 3150m. On a clear weather, you can get a spectacular view of long chain of Himalayan mountains on the north. From the pass, you will drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron and pines passing through villages of Thinleygang and Toebesa. Enroute you will stop at Metshina Village and hike for 20 minutes through rice paddies up to Chimi Lhakhang Temple. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi of 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley, or the “Divine Madman”, whose teaching was based on non-conventional spiritual system . After lunch, you will visit Punakha Dzong, the former capital of Bhutan, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight at a hotel in Wangdue.
Today, after an early breakfast, you will embark on a long fascinating journey to Bumthang with intermittent stops on the way including lunch on the way. One of the most intriguing sights on the way includes – 8th century Chendebji Chorten and majestic Trongsa Dzong. Continue driving visiting famous yaks wool weaving center at Zungney. On arrival in Bumthang, check into hotel and overnight in Bumthang.
Today’s sightseeing in Bumthang includes Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche, a great 8th century spiritual master left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. From there, you will bike to Mebar Tsho and back to Bumthang for lunch. After lunch, you will attend riders’ briefing and have an audience with a Bhutanese prince who is also the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
Today you will complete registration formalities and pick up race packets distributed in Bumthang.
The race will start in Jakar Town, Bumthang. Every biker is expected to cross Kiki La pass, Chendebji, Pele La pass, the Wangdue check post and finally Dochu La pass to get to the finish line in Thimphu town square. A little after, the Awards Ceremony will commence at the Clock Tower Square.
Morning, you will visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Folk Heritage Museum and the world’s tallest Buddha statue at Kuenselphodrang made of bronze measuring 169 ft. Afternoon you will have free time to relax in the hotel or to stroll around Thimphu City on your own. You can spend time visiting handicraft stores for souvenir shopping. Evening, travel to Paro and spend the night in Paro.
After breakfast, you will start your hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, hike down to the valley floor and return to Paro. This is a fantastic conclusion to your stay in Bhutan! Overnight hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, you will drive to the airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.
1. Jakar town – Gaytsha via Kiki La pass (2870m): Tour of the Dragon kicks off in Jakar town, Bumthang at 2610m. The bikers follow the Bumthang Chhu (river) and climb through blue pine forest to the Kiki La mountain pass (2870m). They will then ride down to Nangar towards Chumey and continue up to Gaytsha (2950m).
2. Gaytsha – Trongsa via Yotong La pass (3434m): The track climbs up through blue pine forest to Bong Bridge carrying on through conifer and rhododendron forests. At 3434m the riders reach Yotong La pass, after which they will carry on downhill to Trongsa for 29 km. Arriving at Dorji Gonpa you will find broadleaved forests dominated by oak, birch and rhododendron trees. As you bike through Trongsa, excellent viewpoints like the Trongsa Dzong (Fortress), and the Ta Dzong (a watchtower to guard the dzong from enemies) will mark your journey as you head towards Trongsa (2150m).
3. Trongsa – Chendebji : From Trongsa the road descends to Bjee Zam (bridge 1900m) and then climbs to a viewpoint where you will get a clear view of the Trongsa Dzong. The bikers will continue through broadleaved forests and agricultural settlements and at Tshangkha you will pass the headquarters of the Jigme Single Wangchuck National Park. After Tashiling you will be mostly done with the climbing. As the riders continue on, hemlock will replace the broadleaved vegetation and will arrive in Chendebji (2430 m).
4. Chendebji – Wangdue Phodrang via Pele La pass (3430m): The road carries on towards the settlement of Longte through Nikachu bridge at Chazam and Rukubji. Most of the conifer forest is replaced by pastures and fields dominated by dwarf bamboo as you arrive at Pele La pass (3430m). The bikers will pass Nobding village and discover a restaurant and a few shops at Teki Zampa some 15 km down. On the way to Wangdue Phodrang there is fir, birch, rhododendron forests and some small waterfalls. You will also discover a side road to an abandoned slate mine at Chuzomsa. After a long flat stretch you will arrive at Wangdue Phodrang.
5. Wangdue Phodrang- Thimphu via Dochu La pass (3150m): All bikers will then head to Metshina (1410 m) and continue uphill from Metshina to Dochu La pass (3150m). You will pass Thinleygang village with a few shops and a Basic Health Unit, Lumitsawa, Lampiri and a memorial chorten in memory of victims of traffic accidents. After Dochu La you will ride downhill to Thimphu (2330m) to the end line at the Thimphu town square.
SAARC Registration Fee : USD 165/-
International Registration Fee: USD 250/-
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