Are you looking for a destination marathon (or half marathon) that is different from anything you’ve ever done before? Join us for the 7th running of the Bhutan International Marathon! Bhutan is a special place. Less well-known, and far less visited than neighboring Nepal, Bhutan is a land of pristine Himalayan peaks, welcoming people, a carbon-positive footprint, and a unique sect of Buddhism. To visit this magical kingdom, travelers must obtain a visa from the Bhutanese government, which welcomes discerning visitors to tread lightly, protecting the environment and respecting their unique culture.
When you travel with Next Run on this trip, we arrange your travel documents and an itinerary showcasing some of Bhutan’s most iconic sights. This trip centers on the 7th annual Bhutan International Marathon. You will run an unforgettable race, explore monasteries and dzongs, see the traditional crafts of Bhutan, and hike to the Tiger’s Nest. After seven days, you may choose to continue for seven more days of fully supported Himalayan trekking high up into the mountains. This is the itinerary that got us hooked on travel in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
We first ran the Bhutan International Marathon in 2017. It was a small, beautiful race with amazing people and stunning views.
On a clear day flying in on Druk Air, the National Airline of Bhutan, you will be treated to a spectacular view of the great Himalayan peaks and your first glimpse of Bhutan. As you descend into Paro Valley at 7,400 feet, you arrive in a world apart. Crystal clear Himalayan air, the scent of pines, beautifully crafted traditional buildings, and the greetings of the Bhutanese people in their distinctive centuries-old woven robes signal that your journey, rare in time, place and spirit, has begun.
The trip is a mix of cultural tour, running, hiking, and an optional trek. Your visit to Bhutan begins with a visit to Thimpu and Punakha before we join the festivities for the race. You can choose to run the full marathon, half marathon, or simply spectate. Runners will board buses to the starting line up the valley. The finish line ends at the stunning Punakha dzong. 100% of the profits made through this event will support Bhutan’s Youth and Olympic sports programs.
The BOC advocates sports for health and wellness for all, and as a means of sustaining personal happiness. Competitive sports can be an extension of health, wellness and growth of happiness, for those who wish to compete. The Royal Family including His Royal Highness, Prince Jigyel Ugyel Wangchuck, the President of the BOC, are all fit sports advocates and in full support of the Bhutan International Marathon.
After the race, we will drive back toward Paro where we first landed in Bhutan. The next day begins early. You will hike 3+ hour to the Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, the most famous monastery in Bhutan. After a full day, the group splits. Those that are trekking will check out of the hotel and drive to the first camp at an elevation of 9,480 feet. All others will overnight in Paro and fly out the next day.
The seven day trek climbs up through rhododendron and juniper forests before crossing above the tree line. There will be views of expansive valleys, beautiful lakes, and tall mountains. Much of the trip will be above 13,000 feet with one pass over 16,000 feet. Horses will carry our gear and an experienced team of cooks will provide all meals. In total, we’ll hike just under 81 kilometers, climb 8500 feet, and descend 9500 feet. When we come down out of the mountains, we will stay one last night in Paro before flying back to Bangkok.
Exertion Level (2, 3+)
There are two portions of this trip. The first half, in addition to the races, includes a hike to the Tiger’s Nest. This is a well-traveled trail and the total distance is less than 6 miles round trip. The optional second half of the trip is a moderately strenuous multi-day hiking trip at altitude. The trail conditions will vary and weather may be unpredictable.
3* Hotel, 6 nights. Optional trek adds 6 nights tent camping and one night in 3* hotel
This trip is an all-inclusive package that includes all in-country transportation, guides, drivers, guide gratuities, hotels, meals, camping fees, visas, race entries, and festival fees. The listed price also includes the flight from Bangkok to Paro. The price does not include alcohol, trip or evacuation insurance, or any souvenir purchases.