Leg 16.06 – “Breathtaking. I literally can’t breathe.”
Teams are about halfway through the Race as they open the clue revealing their next destination… Bhutan!
All teams will be on the same Air China and Drukair flights, via Delhi, arriving in Paro, Bhutan at 9:25am.
Upon arrival in Bhutan, teams will choose a waiting vehicle and driver who they will keep the entire Leg. They will first direct their driver to take them to Changlimithang Stadium in Paro.
Here, teams will find the Double U-Turn board! Sponsored by Samsung and Smart.
After checking in at the U-Turn, teams will open the clue revealing the Detour: Make It or Nail It.
In Make It, each team member must recreate a traditional bamboo archery kit. Once a local pro can use their kit to hit a target, the teams will receive the next clue.
In Nail It, teams must play khuru, a traditional Bhutanese sport involving darts. Each team member must hit the target five times to receive the next clue.
After the Detour, teams must make their way to Tachogang Lhakhang Bridge, also known as the Iron Bridge, and search the area for their next clue.
Here, teams must make their way on foot to a nearby farm. They will plough a section of land to prepare for planting by using two oxen. They must then use this traditional basket to transport two baskets full of maize seeds to their newly tilled plot to receive the next clue.
That clue points teams to the National Institute of Zorig Chusum in Thimphu. And here, they will find the Road Block: Who is feeling artistic?
For this Road Block, teams must choose an image of Buddha and then search among hundreds of pieces, including drawings, paintings, wood carvings, embroidery and statues for two that match the original image. Once they have found the two art pieces, a student will hand them their next clue as well as a rolled-up textile which they must keep until further notice.
Teams will now make their way to Clock Tower Square for their next clue.
That clue points teams to Tashiccho Dzong.
Here, teams must learn and perform two different traditional dances usually performed at tshechu, religious Bhutanese festivals held annually in each dzongkhag. Once their dance has been approved, they will unfurl the textile they received after the Road Block. Similar to a religious thongdrel, a large embroidered religious image, the textile has their next clue: An image of Taktsang Monastery.
Teams must now make their way to Taktsang Monastery where they will hike up to the Pit Stop.
Along that hike, teams must pass by several checkpoints. At each, they must collect the necessary pieces to assemble a handheld prayer wheel. They must correctly assemble the prayer wheel to be able to check in at the Pit Stop.
This is also the Trigger Point for this Leg of the Race. If any team misses a checkpoint or fails to collect a piece, the U-Turn or Yield will be activated on the next Leg.
The first team to check in at the Pit Stop with a correctly assembled prayer wheel will win P200,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check in here… WILL NOT be eliminated. This is a Non-Elimination Leg and that last place team must now choose a Penalty Envelope:
#NewCountryAlert! Bhutan has definitely been on the TARPHDME shortlist for a while and we finally have a spot for it on the Race.
I think there’s enough to do on this Leg already to fill two full Legs in Bhutan. And that’s before an actual scouting trip in person. So I do think a visit to Bhutan deserves two Legs. But for us here, we have one VERY full Leg.
For this Leg, I think the tasks and journey throughout allows for maximum exposure to this beautiful location. A lot will be featured, from culture to the landscape. So we will definitely put our 4K UHD drones to good use.
We start off with the Detour which I think is very good. It’s not a typical archery task as teams will instead have to assemble the kit. On the flip side, if teams do want to hit a target, playing khuru, a traditional, yet familiar Bhutanese sport can fulfill that desire. So it’s a well-balanced Detour. And a good spot for a U-Turn.
Next up was a last minute addition to this Leg. Just wanting to include a Route Marker at the Iron Bridge, I also watched a video of the farming in the area. I have no idea if there are farms near the Iron Bridge, but it’s a good, straightforward task nonetheless.
The Road Block is meant to feature Bhutan’s art and talented young artists as well as feature Bhutan’s faith and culture. This connects to the dances in the next task to highlight the tshechu. Unfurling the huge thongdrels would be an amazing experience, but I’m not sure if that’s entirely appropriate especially if not during an actual festival. Maybe someone with more knowledge can guide our decision for that task. =D
Finally, a visit to Bhutan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Taktsang Monastery. After such a long Leg, I think it’s only fitting that it is a Non-Elimination. The hike is necessary to get up to the stunning location of course. But to make it worthwhile, the extra task of having to put together a prayer wheel could add some drama to the finish.
Not to mention the possible exhaustion teams could experience from such a full Leg.
Overall, this is a great, full Leg in a stunning location.