Tour of The Dragon (Tour of the Dragon is an annual event held every first weekend of September)
Tour of the Dragon is not a road bike race or a classic mountain bike race, nor is it a gravel grinder, because it doesn’t fit into any of the categories defined by the International Cycling Union. Since the distance of the race is 200+ km, we would categorize it as an ultra-marathon mountain bike race on roads that happen to be extremely challenging. Tour of the Dragon starts in Bumthang and travels 268 km over 4 mountain passes before finishing in Thimphu. It’s one of the toughest one-day mountain bike races in the world.
|Start Point||Elevation||End Point||Elevation||Highest Point||Distance|
|Jakar town||2610 m||Gaytsha||2950 m||Kiki La – 2870 m||27 km|
|Gaytsha||2950 m||Trongsa||2150 m||Yotong La – 3434 m||41 km|
|Trongsa||2150 m||Chendebji||2430 m||Near Chendebji – 2440 m||43 km|
|Chendebji||2430 m||Wangdue Phodrang||1200 m||Pele La – 3430 m||87 km|
|Wangdue Phodrang||1200 m||Thimphu||2330 m||Dochula – 3150 m||70 km|
Total distance: 268 km
Kuzuzangpola – Welcome to Bhutan!
Day 01 Arrive Paro. The flight into Bhutan takes you the great Himalayas, offering you the most scintillating scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the silvery Pa-chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley with lush green paddy fields, pristine forest, incredulous fortress-like monasteries known as Dzongs and majestically flowing rivers. On arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be received by Away Smile Travels representatives and escort you to Thimphu. The drive from Paro to Thimphu takes about one hour.
Thimphu situated at an altitude of 2200 M. The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 130,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion and government in the country. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary to immerse themselves in the contemporary Bhutanese lifestyle.
Check in your hotel and Visit Tashichhodzong: Tashichhodzong means ‘the fortress of the glorious religion.’ It is a majestic fortress in all its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan’s government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of His Majesty the King. The fortress was initially erected in 1641 and later rebuilt in the 1960s by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu
Day 02 Thimphu-Bumthang (Drive 9 hours)
After breakfast depart to Bumthang. Bumthang region span from 2,600-4,500 m is the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. Tales of Guru Padmasambhava and the tertons (“religious treasure-discoverers”) still linger in this sacred region. Bumthang Dzongkhag consists of four main valleys, Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four and is widely considered as ‘Bumthang Valley’. The valleys are broad and gentle carved by the ancient glaciers. The wide and scenic valleys draws a large number of tourists each year. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day 03 Bumthang Sightseeing/ Free time to Accmalitize.
After breakfast visit Jambay Lhakhang. This monastery was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of 108 monasteries he built to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region. Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century.
Visit Kurjey Lhakhang. Located further along the valley, Kurje Lhakhang is comprised of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. The middle temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of the Guru’s body, and is therefore considered to be the holiest. The temple on the left was built in the 1990s by Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck, Royal Grandmother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108-chorten wall.
Visit Kenchok Sum Lhakhang. Kenchok Sum Lhakhang dates back to the 8th century. The inscription on the large bell testifies to it being cast for the Tibetan Royal Family. You will find statues of the past, present and future Buddhas. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day 04 Bumthang.
After breakfast arrive to gathering venue.
9:00 AM Gather at Chamkhar bus parking
9:45 AM – 12:30 PM Make a short excursion to Jambey Lhakhang and Kurje Lhakhang, followed by a short ride to Mebar Tsho and back.
1:00 PM Lunch at respective hotel
3:00-5:00 PM Riders briefing and an audience with HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck [the exact time will be announced]. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day 05 Bumthang.
After breakfast arrive at registration venue. 9:00 AM-1:00 PM Registration validation and race packet pick up in Bumthang Venue: To be confirmed
2:00-5:00 PM Race-bag drop. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day 06 Bumthang (RACE DAY)-Thimphu
12:00 AM Wake-up call
1:00 AM Report to start area, biking inspection and light breakfast for participants
2:00 AM RACE START (Flag off by Dasho Dzongdag)
3:00 AM Every rider is expected to cross Kiki La
7:30 AM Riders should cross Tshangkha by this time
9:00 AM Reach Chendepji
11:00 AM Reach Pele La
1:30 PM Riders should cross Wangdue check post
6:00 PM Final cut-off time at Dochula Pass. If you make it to Dochula by 6:00 PM you are allowed to continue to the finish line.
7:00 PM Awards ceremony in the evening. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Note: If you cannot finish the event, you will be picked up by the sweep vehicle and transported to Thimphu.
Note: Please contact us for details or log into www.tourofthedragon.com
Day 07 Thimphu-Paro (Drive 1 hour) Paro Sightseeing (Hike to Taktsang Monastery)
After breakfast, drive to Rumthngaka village and hike to Taktsang. The main highlight of the trip is the hike to one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites, the Taktsang Goemba, commonly referred to as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 m above the valley, Taktsang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular around 5 hours round trip walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang built in the 7th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. This is one of the oldest and most holy temple in Bhutan. Overnight Hotel in Paro
Day 08 Departure: After breakfast drive to the Paro International Airport, where our representatives will bid you goodbye!
Thank you (Kardrienchhey) for visiting Bhutan with Away Smile Travels “Smiles for Miles “