When and Where:
Feb 28-March 6, 2018
Kingdom of Bhutan
7 days / 6 nights
Pricing for 2018 Bhutan International Marathon Adventure:
*Note: This trip originates and ends in Bangkok, Thailand.
|2018 Early Bird||after June 1, 2018||after Nov 1, 2018|
Kingdom of Bhutan Exclusive Cultural Immersion Adventure at the Bhutan International Marathon!
The Sister Marathon Initiative’s Exclusive Marathon and Cultural Immersion Adventure in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is travel at its most iconic. Amidst the wonders of high mountains and deep valleys where compassion and wisdom are the benchmarks against which all things are measured, you will experience the ancient and harmonious Buddhist traditions resonating in all living things, where the King rules by “Gross National Happiness."
On our authentic Bhutan journey guests encounter the mystic Himalayas while the kindness of the Bhutanese people will unfold before our very eyes. Our seasoned leaders, guides and coaches are second to none in interpreting the environmental and cultural marvels that define this meticulously designed itinerary. In the renowned locales of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, will we stay in intimate hotels offering a standard of hospitality unrivaled in the country.
The 6 night 7 day retreat features a diverse group of Bhutanese officials and spiritual leaders, and international runners, guest speakers and coaches who intend to bring fresh, new dialogues into each others lives.
Each day's rich slate of activities consist of scenic group runs, cooking classes, spa and meditation retreats and cultural encounters with local people and officials. As either a spectator, volunteer or runner, this once-in-a-lifetime adventure culminates with your participation in the Bhutan International Marathon or Half Marathon. To travel with the Sister Marathon Peace Initiative is to experience the mystical Kingdom of Bhutan as never before: where nature and cultural are center-stage and we are small, awed spectators, moved by wonder.
Day 1: Early morning departure from Bangkok, Thailand and Arrive in Paro, Bhutan
A noon luncheon will be hosted by the Bhutan International Marathon Committee, followed by introductions, welcome addresses and the program overview.
In the afternoon, we have the opportunity to enjoy small group activities such as Dzong and national museum tours. Private excursions with their own personal guides, or relaxing massage and physical therapy sessions, both including wondrous views and comfortable amenities, are also available for those who want them.
ADDITIONAL AFTERNOON ACTIVITIES IN PARO INCLUDE:
- A visit to the Kyichu Lhakhang. Built in the 7th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The temple is a reservoir of peace, and here you will find tranquility like never before. Next to the temple is the house that is now turned into a museum dedicated to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. One can come across photographs and other artifacts belonging to the Rinpoche.
- A visit to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong, a fortress built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetans in 1644. Drukgyel means “the fortress of the victorious Drukpas”. The Dzong is an awe-inspiring sight with Mount Jumolhari (Alt 24,000 feet) appearing as a backdrop.
- Hot stone baths
A group dinner begins at 7:00 pm followed by select lectures.
Day 2: Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike and Running Adventure
Clinging to the cliff walls 3120 meters above sea level, the Tiger’s Nest Buddhist temple complex is a wonder to behold. History unfolds as we hike and run to the summit, learning the stories of this holy and magical place high up on the mountain slopes along the way. The area around the monastery offers stunning views of majestic mountains and emerald green valleys. In addition, guests will have an impressive opportunity to hang prayer flags in the immediate vicinity of the monastery. Prayer flags symbolize happiness, long life, prosperity, luck and offer karmic merit to all sentient beings.
After our day of activities, we return back to the resort for a sumptuous meal of traditional Bhutanese foods including both vegetarian, vegan and non-vegetarian fare. The evening culminates with coaching lectures and small group activities including spa and hot stone baths before bedtime.
Day 3: Punakha: Race Day Preparation at Danchen Resort
After breakfast we transfer the two-hour drive through stunning valleys to Punakha.
In Punakha we will be staying in small hotels and tented camps. Guests will have the opportunity here for “home stays”, a meaningful cultural interaction which has the power to transform our perspectives while opening our eyes and hearts to the global community.
10:00 AM Packet Pick Up (ending at 2:00PM)
2:00 PM Mandatory Pre-Race Briefing
3:00 PM Personal R&R Time
5:00 PM Private 1-1 & Small Group Coaching Sessions
7:00 PM Group Dinner & Motivational Talk
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES IN PUNAKHA INCLUDE:
- A visit to the Punakha Dzong. Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the fortress was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century. And in 1907, the first King Gongsr Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned here. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The Dzong allows visitors to enrich their trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in Bhutanese woodwork. Do not miss the massive Kuenray, the coronation hall of all Bhutanese kings, the Dzongchung at the entrance to the dzong, and the cantilever bridge over the Mo Chu that has been recently renovated.
- Take a hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten. This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in the world. The best of the spiritual artworks are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country. This is a great temple to study the symbolic meanings of the frescoes and sculptures.
- A visit to Talo Monastery. The Talo Monastery is dedicated to the most important and powerful deity in Bhutan.
Day 4: Saturday, March 4… Race Day! Full and Half Marathon.
There is no better location than the marathon route to contemplate the breathtaking beauty and at the same time the complexity and ultimate fragility of the unique and rarely visited ecosystem of Bhutan!
- 5:30 AM Bus Depart Damchen Resort Parking Lot
- 8:00 AM Race Start
- 1:30 PM Pho Chu Suspension Bridge Cut Off
- 3:00 PM Race Finish Cutoff
- 5:00 PM Awards Celebration - Punakha Dzong
Day 5 & 6: Thimphu
As the sun rises over the mountain, awaken the morning after the race to the crisp Himalyan air, rejoicing in our triumphs of the previous day’s race! After a casual breakfast, guests can leisurely travel to the capital city of Thimphu where we will spend our last two days in the country. Refreshingly cleanse along the banks of the serene Thimphu River beneath the Himalayan sky enjoying spas, hot baths and meditation. Or simply read and relax at your resort, absorbing the ever-shifting vistas in front of the river
The range of cultural activities available in Thimphu is extensive and guests will have amazing possibilities for cultural and natural photography.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES IN THIMPHU INCLUDE:
- A visit to the Changangkha Lhakhang for a rabney (blessing ceremony) for prayers flags. Built in the 13th century by Lam Phajom Drugom Zhigpo, Changangkha Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Thimphu. The temple is considered to be the spiritual home of all children born in the Chang valley.
- A visit to the Motithang Takin Sanctuary where you can see the national animal of Bhutan. The Takin is a very unique animal that looks like the mix between a goat and an antelope.
- A visit to the magnificent Tashichhodzong. Tashichhodzong means "the fortress of the glorious religion." It is a majestic fortress in all its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan’s government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of His Majesty the King and the ministries of home affairs and finance. The fortress was initially erected in 1641 and later rebuilt in the 1960s by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
- Immerse yourself in cultural shows with mask dances.
- Hike to Tango monastery and then to Cheri monastery. Join the monks for lunch followed by a) community trail cleaning project or b) meditation classes
- Circumvent the National Memorial Chorten along with the locals. The locals circumvent the Chorten daily as it is believed to bring blessings not only to yourself but to all sentient beings. The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 in memory of the late Third Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan.
Day 7: Paro / Depart
Following a last early morning breakfast, we transfer the one-hour drive from Thimphu to the Paro International Airport where we depart for our onward flight back to Bangkok, Thailand.
Don’t miss this truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for intimate and exhilarating sense of adventure in the Kingdom of Bhutan!
Included in the trip:
- Round trip economy flight ticket from Bangkok, Thailand to Paro, Bhutan on Bhutan Airlines.
- All Accommodations and meals in 3 star hotels
- All government visas
- All guides, vehicles and drivers
- Standard non-alcoholic beverages.
- All internal transfers
- All cultural activities
- All running retreat activities
- Airfare from your hometown to the departure city of Bangkok, Thailand.
- Passport fees and visa photos as required
- Bhutan International Marathon or Half Marathon registration fees ($150 for the Full; $110 for the Half).
- Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified
- Room service and valet/laundry service.
- Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
- Any overnight stays or costs in Bangkok, Thailand prior to or after the package trip to Bhutan.
- Phone calls and Internet.
- Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
- Phone calls and Internet where available.
Friends and Family are Welcome to Join
We welcome all friends and family to join us in the Kingdom of Bhutan! There is no capacity limit for the friends and family packages.
*Friends and family will stay at the same hotels as retreat participants in Paro and Thimphu, and will be able to dine together for all meals as well as go with their private guides together on cultural excursions and sightseeing activities. But due to the limited availability of hotel rooms and luxury tented camps in and around the city of Punakha, there will be no guarantees made that friends and family will be able to stay together the night before the race.
|2018 Pricing||after Nov 1, 2018|
Deposits & Payment
Feb 26-March 6, 2018 Program:
Upon Reservation Confirmation: a $500 deposit is required. This deposit is refundable for 14 days. After 14 days the deposit is non-refundable but is transferable to any future Sister Marathons destination adventure.
By August 31, 2018: 50% trip payment required
By October 31: Remainder of trip payment is required.
NO REFUNDS AFTER December 1, 2018
Q: Why are there no refunds after December 1, 2018?
A: We are within 90 days of departure and we must purchase non-refundable plane tickets, government visas and pay Bhutan government tariffs. If you cancel you will be allowed to transfer your payment toward the 2019 Bhutan International Marathon. Tashi Delek!
Travel and Trip Planning Services
We're here to HELP!
Once your deposit has been made, a dedicated Sister Marathons travel planner will contact you to organize the details of your adventure package.
We can customize trip extensions for clients seeking a longer stay in Bhutan, or options to explore other countries such as Japan or Thailand after completing the Sister Marathon group adventure. With Sister Marathons, all you need to worry about is training, packing your suitcase and jumping on the flight – leave the rest of the planning to us!
We look forward to helping you plan this transformative adventure of a lifetime.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have:
Meet our Bhutan Travel Partner
We are proud to have Bhutan Philanthropy Ventures and their travel division Bhutan Impact Travels as our partner!
Bhutan Philanthropy Ventures Private Limited (BPV) is a social enterprise founded by His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck. It is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize social impact. Our vision is to change the way commercial business and civil societies operate and create positive impact.
BPV believes that business enterprises should create greater value (philanthropic impact) beyond mere financial returns to shareholders. Our mission is to harness the power of impact-oriented business in sustaining philanthropic impact of the Tarayana Foundation.