Bhutan International Marathon Tour

8 days/ 7 nights Package Price USD 1800 (Full Marathon)

Fixed Departure Dates: 3rd March – 10th March, 2020

ITINERARY OVERVIEW

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
DAY 02: THIMPHU
DAY 03: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
DAY 04: PUNAKHA
DAY 05: PUNAKHA – GASA – PUNAKHA (Marathon)
DAY 06: PUNAKHA – PARO
DAY 07: PARO
DAY 08: DEPART PARO

ABOUT THE MARATHON

The Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon is an annual event organized by the Bhutan Olympic Committee. The run begins at the foothills of Gasa and follows the river and ends at Punakha Dzong.  Through the run, there is a gradual loss of elevation of about 1000 feet.  The participants of this event are diverse with many local, regional and international visitors. It ends with a festive get together of all the participants and organizers.

Highlights of this Tour

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BHUTAN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON TOUR

This feature Bhutan ‘International Marathon Tour’ offers a fascinating adventure for marathon enthusiasts. Bhutan offers a great diversity of landscapes to run through, including wide valleys, forests and challenging mountains. This tour also visits significant historical and sacred sites throughout the western valleys of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.

  • Run through mixed forests, pasturelands and valleys dotted with villages rich in culture.
  • Participate in either a full marathon or half marathon, covering distances of 26.2 miles (42 kms) or 13.1 miles (21 kms) respectively.
  • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
  • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
  • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

To view more information about some of the townships that are featured in this tour, please visit the Township Highlights page.

Detailed Itinerary

BHUTAN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON TOUR DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
DAY 02: THIMPHU
DAY 03: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
DAY 04: PUNAKHA
DAY 05: PUNAKHA – GASA – PUNAKHA (Marathon)
DAY 06: PUNAKHA – PARO
DAY 07: PARO
DAY 08: DEPART PARO

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our Bhutan Travel Bureau representative will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities.

After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

DAY 02: THIMPHU
Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery.

Other sites to visit include: the School for Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. If there is time, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, cheese and a variety of greens. (This market is open only from Friday-Sunday). Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

DAY 03: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour. About 11kms from Dochula, the Lamperi Park. Apart from the rhododendrons in the botanical park the other varieties of plants in the park consists of 115 species of ferns.

After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

DAY 04: PUNAKHA
In the morning, you will participate in a pre-race briefing.Afterwards, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned. The remainder of your day is at leisure. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

DAY 05: PUNAKHA – GASA – PUNAKHA (Marathon Day)
Today is the day of Bhutan International Marathon. The route is mostly rural and approximately 50% on hard pack dirt and 50% on pavement. You will have to start day early to drive to the star point.

The Marathon will be 26.2 miles (42 kms) or 13.1 miles (21 kms) journey through stunning rural countryside and amongst remote villages, before finishing at the historic Punakha Dzong, you’ll discover the geographical and cultural wonders of a country naturally designed to be a tantalizing destination for adventure and spiritual seekers.

After the marathon, you can attend the award celebrations with traditional entertainment and later relax with some spa or massage at the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

DAY 06: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO
In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.
Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before exploring the Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers.

Drive back to Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro

DAY 07: PARO
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.

In the afternoon drive to the almost fully reconstructed Drukgyel Dzong.  The original monument (destroyed by fire in 1951)  was built by Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644.  In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit other sights in Paro valley. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

DAY 08: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
Tashi Delek!

Special Terms & Conditions

Special Terms & Conditions

You can register for our fixed departure tours individually, as a couple or together with friends.  There will be no surcharges for the solo traveler.  Our standard deadline for registration is one month before the tour start date for low season and three months prior to tour start date for high season.  Please NOTE that the tours dates are set and not changeable in order to ensure the concessions of group travel for our clients.

Our groups size will be anywhere from 3- 16 people and will be put together by language preference.  All groups are provided with an English speaking guides, however we will try our best to accommodate translators subject to availability.

Please read in detail what is included and excluded from the tour package along with our cancellation policy for fixed departure on our website.  It will also be shared with you during the registration and confirmation process.

For those who wish for a tailor designed tour, oor consultants are experts in creating the most unique Bhutan tour just for you.

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BHUTAN TOUR DATES:

The Fixed Departure tours were especially designed keeping in mind cost saving for our clients without compromising on the quality of the experience. Our tour is perfect for the client who is adventurous, friendly and willing to share their adventure with other travelers.   The itinerary dates and times are set to facilitate the timely completion of the tours for all our clients that select the set departure tour packages.

Please NOTE that the tours dates are fixed and not changeable in order to ensure the concessions of group travel for our clients.   We set minimum of three clients and maximum of 16 in a group.

To know more visit: Bhutan International Marathon

WHAT’S INCLUDED

*Private guided tour

*Visas for Bhutan Guaranteed

*Airport transfers

*Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels

*Accommodation at 3-star hotel

*A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide

*An experienced driver and Vehicle

*Monument Entry fees & road permits

*Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges

*Mineral bottled water

WHAT’S EXCLUDED

*Flight into Bhutan via Drukair (can be arranged with us)

*Travel Insurance

*Extra baggage charges

*Telephone calls

*Personal expenses

*Soft Drinks and alcoholic Beverages

*Accommodation and meals in luxury hotels

*Tips for the guide and driver