TOUR OF THE DRAGON

INCLUSIVE
  • Arrival/Departure transfer and all the sightseeing with English speaking guide
  • All accommodation in 3* hotel ( 4*/5* hotel/resorts available require an additional premium )
  • Standard room on twin sharing basis
  • All meals and Tea/coffee
  • Car amenities ( water, wet tissue, hand sanitizer )
  • Camping equipment and haulage trekking tour
  • Monumental fee
  • Visa process and arrangements
  • Royalty to the government and other taxes

 

EXCLUSIVE
  • Airfares
  • USD 40/- visa fee for single entry
  • Travel insurance
  • Bar and laundry bills
  • Luxury camping and trekking
  • Specialized guide ( Foreign language apart from English, bird watching, flora/fauna guide available at an additional cost )
  • Personal gratitude to guide/driver and hotel staff.
AIR FARE

DEL/PBH/DEL

KTM/PBH/KTM

BKK/PBH/BKK

SIN/PBH/SIN

Please Note : All prices are based on the current rate, it is subject to change anytime.

                                                                                                                      TOUR of THE DRAGON
TOUR OF THE DRAGON IS NOT A ROAD BIKE RACE OR A CLASSIC MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE, NOR IT IS 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 THE ROADS THAT IS EXTREMELY CHALLENGING. TOUR OF THE DRAGON STARTS IN TRAVELS 255KM OVER 4 MOUNTAIN PASSES. IT IS THE TOUGHEST ONE DAY MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE IN THE WORLD.
Day 1: Fly to Bhutan

Paro Arrival : The flight to Bhutan on either Druk Air or Bhutan Airline is one of most spectacular in the world offering wonderful views of the Himalaya Mountain Range and on a clear day even of Everest. As the plane approaches Paro, you are welcomed by the picturesque Paro valley, cut across by do you mean ‘glorious slivers of clouds’ or ‘the glorious silver clouds’, little houses dotting the hillsides and the meandering Pa Chu River. After arriving at Paro Airport, your Bhutan Visa will be stamped on your passport. Our Red Stag Adventure representative will receive you at the exit point with your name on our Red Stag placard. Pa Chu River to be consistent Paro Ta Dzong : After arrival we will drive to the hotel and after checking in there will be time to freshen up and have tea and snacks. Our first visit will be to Paro Ta Dzong built on the promontory of the eastern spur of Paro Valley directly above Rinpung Dzong. It was built as a guardian watchtower for Rinpung Dzong to keep close watch on the movement of enemy forces both from external invasion and internal opposition. In 1960, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk decreed that the historic fortress be renovated to house the National Museum of Bhutan. The museum has a unique collection of artifacts and objects that narrate the heritage and traditions of Bhutan. Paro Dzong : This 17th century fort houses both the monastic body and the district government
offices, including the district court. Dzongs are perhaps the most visibly striking architectural features of the Kingdom. They are outstanding examples of grand design and construction. Kyichu Lhakhang: Later you will visit the 7th century Kyichu Lkakhan, one of the 108 temples built
in the Himalayas in a single night by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. The building of the temple marks the introduction of Buddhisim in Bhutan.

Overnight at Hotel

 

Day 2: Taktsang excursion
Altitude : 3150m/10,335ft

After breakfast today, we will drive to the base of the Taktsang & prepare for the hike to the Taktsang monastery (tiger’s nest). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 900m above the valley. Where the only sound are the murmurs of wind and water and the cracking of the prayer wheels. The legend of Taktsang dates back to 747AD when Guru Padmsambhawa is arrived at this site and manifested riding on the back of a tigress  to subdue the evil spirits in the region. The Guru then meditated in the cave that is site of the Pelphug Lhakhang today. The whole pilgrimage is estimate to be a 4 hour round trip excursion. In the evening stroll around the Paro town and visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a family and learn Bhutanese way of lifestyle.

 

Day 3: Paro to Thimphu

Distance: 58 km

Driving time : 1 hour

Altitude : 2200m/7200ft

Thimphu: After breakfast, we will drive to Thimphu where you will first check into your hotel to
freshen up. Our first visit will be to the National Memorial Chorten. National Memorial Chorten : one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu. For many people it is the focus of their daily worship as they circumambulate the chorten and spin the giant prayer wheels. It was built in memory  of the Third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk by his mother, Queen to the Second King, On 4 June 2017  the Third Royal Bhutan flower exhibition was held here. Her Majesty the Queen inaugurated the exhibition in the presence of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, other members of Royal family, the Prime Minister and senior government officials were also present at the exhibition. Royal Textile Academy & Museum: Once we return to Thimphu Town, we will visit the Royal Textile Academy & Museum. This institute is dedicated to preserving and promoting Bhutanese Textile Art in particular and the thirteen traditional Arts in general under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuk. Depending on time, we will stroll around the indigenous
Bhutanese craft bazaar.. Tashicho Dzong: In the evening, we will visit Tashicho Dzong which was expanded and named the ‘fortress of the glorious religion ‘ by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the temporal ruler in Bhutan in the 17th century. After suffering fires and an earthquake, the entire dzong was rebuilt by our Third King in 1962 in the traditional fashion without nails or architectural plans. In 1955, the capital was moved from Punakha to Thimphu and the dzong has served since as the seat of the Bhutan government and the Summer Residence of the Central Monk Body. The dzong also contains the offices of the King and the Throne Room and was the site of the formal coronation of our Fifth King in
2008.

Day 4:Thimphu to Punakha

Distance:78 km approx.

Drive time: 2 hour 30 minutes approx.

Altitude:1242m/4074ft

After breakfast we will drive to Punakha, the ancient capital of the country. Starting at 2300m at Thimphu, we will acclimatize by climbing at an average gradient of 5-7% to Dochu La Pass at 3000m and then descending to Punakha at 1300m. Dochu La Pass: On clear winter days especially, Dochu La offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the majestic mountains of the Himalaya set against crisp blue sky. It will be a sight straight out of a Van Gogh painting, Again I do not get this reference and would leave it out. A spiritual destination,
Dochu La Pass is the site of the 108 Chorten also known as the Druk Wangyal Chorten. The construction of these 108 chorten was commissioned by the Queen Mother, Her Majesty Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk to honor the Fourth Druk Gyelpo and the suppression of a terrorist uprising. Punakha Valley: The road from the pass winds down to the warm and fertile Punakha Valley. After checking into our hotel and a brief rest, we will visit Chimmi Lhakhang. This temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley known as the “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism by singing shocking songs with sexual overtones and outrageous behaviour. In the evening, we will visit Punakha Dzong. It is the second oldest dzong in Bhutan and associated with momentous occasions in Bhutan history. Set at a strategic meeting place of two rivers, it was built in 1637 by the Shabdrung who initiated the dual spiritual and secular system of government conjointly housed within the walls of the Dzong. Inside the dzong is the Machen containing the embalmed body and relics o the Shabdrung to which all the monarchs of the Wangchuk dynasty pay homage and from which they receive the Dar Na-Nga. Should you say what this is Punakha served as the capital of the country till 1955 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. The dzong remains the Winter Capital for the Chief Abbot and the Central Monastic Body and It is the venue for important national and royal events. On 6th November 2008, the blessing of the coronation ceremony of the Fifth King His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk was held at the Dzong.

 

Day 5: Punakha to Phobjikha
Driving time : 3 hours
Altitude : 2960m/16000ft

After breakfast we will drive to the bowl-shaped glacial valley of Phobjikha (It is situated at an altitude of 2900 meters) The Phobjikha valley is a quiet and remote place, it is the winter home of the rare and graceful black necked cranes which migrated there annually from the Tibetan plateaus in late October upon arriving, the crane are said to circle the well known important 17th century Gangtey monastery. The picturesque Phobjikha valley has a rich biodiversity of fauna as it is part of the Jigme Singye Wangchuk national park. en-route Wangdue Phodrang, we can see Wangdue Phodrang Dzong raising from the ashes. On 24th June 2012, the Dzong has been completely raised to the ground by a fire. The Dzong is being renovated. Lunch at Nobding and after lunch continue the journey. Upon reaching the Phobjikha valley visit Gangtey monastery establish in 1613 by the first Peling
Gyalsey(Gangtey Trulku) the abbot. It is one of the largest private institutions of Nyimgma tradition of the Tibetan Buddhism. From 2002 – 2008 the monastery has been completely restored under the present Gangtey Trulku the abbot. Then drive to the hotel and check into your hotel, freshen up and drive to the crane information center, this is the place where you get all the interesting facts about the valley and its winter resident bird Black necked crane. The short documentary film of crane is must see. In the evening we will take a short hike(about an hour) through Gangtey nature trail.

 

Day 6: Phobjikha to Bumthang
Driving time : 5 hours
Altitude : 2800m/9185ft

After breakfast drive to Bumthang en-route Trongsa. The drive from Phobjikha to Trongsa is very exciting with the crossing of Pelela pass at 3351 meters and then entering the beautiful Mangde valley. On the way to Trongsa from Pelela, you will come across Rukhubji village which has the shape of a giant snake. After crossing Rukhubji village you will come across Chendebji Chorten situated on a river confluence. At Trongsa you will have lunch and after lunch visit Trongsa Dzong, It was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan and the vanguard of the warriors in 19th century. All the Kings of Bhutan first invest as the Trongsa Penlop before ascending the Raven Crown throne. the massive Trongsa
Dzong is the largest fortress in Bhutan which stands on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangdi Chuu river. The Dzong is the massive structure with many levels, which slope The intricacy of its maze of buildings on successive levels is clearly visible from the town. Beyond any doubt its size, design and position make it the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. It is one of the most aesthetic and magnificent works of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Trongsa Dzong is an important administrative building, providing the headquarters of the Government of Trongsa District. Trongsa provides a strategic central location to control Bhutan and for centuries it was the seat of the Wangchuck dynasty
of penlops (governors) who effectively ruled over much of eastern and central Bhutan, and from 1907 have been Kings of Bhutan. On the way visit Ta Dzong, this watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the 1st Governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon. Climb up the path to visit Ta Dzong which now houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling. A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. Today the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum of the nation. The Ta Dzong has now been converted into a state-of-the Art Museum (National Museum) with technical and financial support provided by Austria. After visit embark to
Bumthang. Bumthang is regarded as spiritual heartland where myth and legacies of great Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche spread through the valley. Approaching and entering the valley can be as though entering the inner sanctum of a sacred temple with many sacred Buddhist sites spread across the valley, the whole place is blessed.

 

Day 7: Bumthang
Altitude : 2800m/9185ft

After breakfast, all Tour of the Dragon participants will gather at the Chamkhar Bus Station for a 9:45 am start of a short bicycle excursion to Jambey Lhakhang and Kurje Lhakhang and then a short ride to Mebar Tsho and back. 1:00 PM lunch at hotel and rest. At 3:00 PM, there will be a briefing for ???? course or race participants and an audience with HRH Prince Jigyal Ugyen Wangchuk. I left out in the evening as 3:00 pm is afternoon. Is the meeting with his highness guaranteed or was this a one off from another tour?

 

Day 8: Bumthang

After breakfast drive to Mountain resort for registration validation at 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

2:00-5:00 PM

Race-bag drop

Overnight at hotel

 

Day 9:Tour of the Dragon

1:00 AM

Report to start area, biking inspection and light breakfast for participants

2:00 AM

START(Flag off by Dasho Dzongdag)

Course information

Tour of the Dragon starts in Bumthang, central Bhutan (2610 m, 8560 ft), and takes you to Thimphu across 4 mountain passes.

The riders follow the Bumthang river for a couple of kilometers and then climb 6 km through blue pine forest to Kiki La at 2870 m (9420 ft). From there it is down to Nangar. Through more blue pine forest and agricultural land you follow a gentle road through Chumey and up to Gaytsha (2950 m, 9680 ft). The road then climbs 7 km up through blue pine forest to Bong Bridge, and then gets a little steeper for about 5 km through mixed conifer and rhododendron forests and pastures until you reach Yotong La at 3430 m (11250 ft). From Yotong La it is a 29 kms downhill ride to Trongsa. The pass is dominated by fir and rhododendron forest, open pastures and rock outcrops. As you go down to Dorji Gonpa, which is almost halfway, firs give way to spruce and hemlock and mixed broadleaved forest dominated by birch and oaks and rhododendrons. Below Dorji Gonpa, the road passes though broadleaved forest and agricultural fields. There are some excellent viewpoints to see in Trongsa, including the dzong (fortress) and the extensive forests and agricultural fields beyond. Just before reaching Trongsa (2150 m, 7050 ft) you pass right below the Ta Dzong (a watchtower to guard the dzong from enemies).

From Trongsa the road descents gently for 7 km to the Bjee Zam bridge at 1900 m (6230 ft) and then climbs 6 km through broadleaved forest to a viewpoint from where the Trongsa Dzong seems just a stone’s throw away. The road continues climbing for another 10 km along cliffs and through broadleaved forests and agricultural settlements. At Tshangkha it passes the headquarters of the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. After reaching Tashiling, a few km further, most of the climbing is done. For the last 20 km you will only climb some 150 m (500 ft), but there are some ups and downs. As you near Chendebji, hemlock replaces broadleaved species on some of the ridges and in the valley. You pass Chendebji Chorten and a little later will reach Chendebji village (2430 m, 7970 ft).

The road climbs through mixed conifer forest past Nikachu bridge at Chazam and Rukubji to the small settlement of Longte. By this time most of the trees have been replaced by pastures and agricultural fields. Through these pastures dominated by dwarf bamboo you reach Pele La (3430 m, 11250 ft). You then continue your long descent through fir, birch, rhododendron forest and many small waterfalls to Wangdue Phodrang. After passing the village of Nobding, there is a single restaurant a further 12 km down and then a few shops at Teki Zampa another 15 km further. Just past here a new Japanese bridge spans the Dang Chhu. At Chuzomsa, there is a side road to an abandoned slate mine. After a long, almost flat stretch you reach Wangdue Phodrang.

From Wangdue Phodrang, you continue to Metshina (1410 m, 4625 ft). From Metshina, the distance to Dochula at 3150 m (10,330 ft) is 38.3 km and the race is all uphill, with average gradient of 5%  and a few short sections of up to 10%. You will pass Thinleygang (11 km), Lumitsawa (15km), Lampiri (28km), and a memorial chorten for traffic accident victims (32km). Thinleygang is the only place recognizable as a village, having a couple of shops and a BHU (Basic Health Unit). Racing 1700 m (5575 ft) uphill is as breath taking as the views.

After Dochula, it’s all downhill to Thimphu at 2330 m (7640 ft), with a small climb only at the end to the Changlingmethang Parking.

 

Day 10: Thimphu

full rest

 

Day 11`: Departure

drive to Paro international airport for departure

 

 

special request?