Bhutan International Marathon
7Days | 6Nights
4 - 10 March
7 March, 2020
Why this Run?
The Bhutan International Marathon is an annual social event held in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Organized by the Bhutan Olympic Committee, the 26.2 and 13.1 miles marathon journeys through the gripping rural villages and countrysides of Punakha Valley, and closes at the historic Punakha Dzong (fortress).
The run offers an opportunity for you to venture through intriguing terrain and experience cultural wonders of a country designated as the last paradise on earth. The run aims to encourage and promote the sport for all ensuring rich cultural exchange and rendering a unique experience of a mainstream marathon in a foreign land. All proceeds from this event will go to support Bhutan’s Youth and Olympic Sports programs.
Full Marathon 26.2 miles
The run starts near the Punakha Dzong. The runners will descend into some shallow terrain after which the track is mostly flat proceeding Punakha. The route follows the Mo Chhu (river) and then leaves the rainforest opening up to stunning views of the Khamsum Yulley Temple, chortens (stupas), monasteries, paddy fields and villages. The runners while making a gradual descent would lose more than 1000 ft. Five miles before reaching the Punakha Dzong, the track will turn left onto a dirt road away from the main road. You will run through a cremation site, climb over a cattle barrier and up a small hill, which will then lead to a 300ft suspension bridge over the Pho Chhu (river).
After the bridge, the runners will descend a short steep hill and then continue south following the Puna Tsang Chhu (river). Before the track starts on the paved street you will find an aid station. After crossing the Puna Tsang Chhu (river) on a vehicle bridge you will head back toward Punakha Dzong through the Khuruthang town where you will finish your marathon.
Half Marathon 13.1 miles
The run will kick off at 8.00am. The start line is approximately 4311 ft above sea level. The track follows the Mo Chhu (river) through Punakha valley with beautiful views of the Khamsum Yulley Temple, paddy fields, villages and stupas. More or less 5 miles before reaching the Punakha Dzong, the track will turn left and continue on a dirt road away from the main road. You will run through a cremation site of a small village. 7 more miles after the cremation site the runners will arrive at the finish line. The track will climb over a cattle barrier and up a small hill, which will then lead to a 300ft suspension bridge over the Pho Chhu (river).
After descending a short steep hill after the bridge the runners will continue south following the Puna Tsang Chhu (river) south. Before the track starts on the paved street you will find an aid station. After crossing the Puna Tsang Chhu (river) on a vehicle bridge you will head back toward Punakha Dzong through the Khuruthang town. You will finish the marathon at the beautiful Punakha Dzong.
Day 1 – March 4, Wednesday: Arrive Paro
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide. If time permits you will visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will walk downhill till the road point crossing the traditional wooden bridge. Check into hotel on arrival. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 2 – March 5, Thursday: Paro – Punakha
After breakfast this morning, enjoy a scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at the Dochu La pass (10,170 feet), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass we drive downhill through forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive in Punakha after traveling through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple, dedicated to Devine Madman, a man who was known for earthly sense of humour. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 3 – March 6, Friday: Punakha
In the morning you will visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Exploring the rich culture, heritage and architecture of the Dzong will take you about two hours. After lunch, you will attend a briefing by the marathon organizers to get oriented to the route, rules and regulations. Complete registration formalities. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 4 – March 7, Saturday: Punakha Marathon
After breakfast you will be transported to the starting line of the Bhutan International Marathon.
Afternoon drive to Thimphu. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 5 – March 8, Sunday: Thimphu – Paro
Morning, you will visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Folk Heritage Museum and the world’s tallest Buddha statue at Kuenselphodrang made of bronze measuring 169 ft. Afternoon you will have free time to relax in the hotel or to stroll around Thimphu City on your own. You can spend time visiting handicraft stores for souvenir shopping. Evening, travel to Paro and spend the night in Paro.
Day 6 – March 9, Monday: Hike to Tiger’s Nest
Today you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to Paro. Evening you will visit a farmhouse for a nice traditional Bhutanese meal. You can also enjoy the traditional hot stone bath. This is a fantastic conclusion to your stay in Bhutan! Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 7 – March 10, Tuesday: Depart Paro
After breakfast, you will drive to airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.
For costing, contact us at:
Adventure Wing, Bhutan Travelers
Phone: +975 17481855 / +975 77845366
Cash Prize Full Marathon Winners
- 1st Male & Female Nu.40,000 (Each)
- 2nd Male & Female Nu. 30,000 (Each)
- 3rd Male & Female Nu.20,000 (Each)
- 4th Male & Female Nu.10,000 (Each)
- 5th Male & Female Nu. 5000 (Each)
Cash Prize Half Marathon Winners
- 1st Male & Female Nu.20,000 (Each)
- 2nd Male & Female Nu.15,000 (Each)
- 3rd Male & Female Nu.10,000 (Each)
- 4th Male & Female Nu.5000 (Each)
- 5th Male & Female Nu.3000 (Each)
- Top 3 Masters Men & Women for Full Marathon (50 and above)
- Top 3 Masters Men & Women for Half Marathon (50 and above)
- Medals for all finishers at the finish line
- T-shirt for all Participants
- Raffle prize drawing at the Awards Ceremony.
International & SAARC Participants
Full Marathon : USD $ 175 per person
Half Marathon: USD $ 125 per person
ii. Email address (required):
iii. Date of birth:
iv. Age on Race Day:
v. Sex (Male/Female):
vi. ID card No/Passport No.:
ix. Emergency contact (name and #):
x. Passport copy (International participants)
xi. Work permit copy (Ex-pats)
For further information, contact us at:
Adventure Wing, Bhutan Travelers
Phone: +975 17481855 / +975 77845366