Inaugural Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon in one of the world’s most mysterious, beautiful and inaccessible countries. On your journey through stunning rural countryside and 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.
Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and let’s have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine and some light sightseeing in Thimphu if possible.
National Memorial Chorten – Built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Thimphu Dzong – The largest Dzong, is also the seat of the office of the King of Bhutan.
Buddha Point – Located at Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, the 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, Vajra Throne Buddha makes it one of the largest statue of Buddha in the world.
Heritage Museum – Dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of artefacts used in rural households.
Witnesses the art of papermaking at Papermaking Factory, and witnesses the art of traditional weaving at Textile Museum.
Takin Enclosure & Sangayang – On the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin, a strange looking beast some say looks like a beestung moose. Five miles from Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands Semtokha Dzong the oldest fortress in the Kingdom.
Dochula Pass – The 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate the souls of the soldiers lost.
Chimmi Lhakhang – The divine madman also known, as Drukpa Kinley is a famous teacher with whom the phallic symbol is associated.
Punakha Dzong – Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.
Today is the day of the Bhutan International Marathon. The itinerary will kick off very early as you make your way to the starting point Gasa Dzongkhag. Both events finish at the beautiful Punakha Dzong in the town of Punakha in the country of Bhutan. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout. All the best!
Buses will leave Punakha Dzong at 6:30 am to head to the start line. Race starts at 7:30 am
Paro Dzong also known as Rinpung Dzong, this 15th century massive fortress/monastery, is also the administrative center of the dzonkhag.
Built as a watch tower the Ta Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
A morning drive, north of Paro valley brings us to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by the great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate.Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
An one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the Taktsang Monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliffs and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. After a day of hiking, perhaps its to explore the main street of Paro Town and check out if there’s anything you will like to pick up as a souvenir!
Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to Singapore. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments.