The Dragon Challenge - China and Bhutan

Marathon Half Marathon
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Itinerary

Wednesday, May 15 - Arrive in Beijing and transfer to the Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center. This evening enjoy a welcome cocktail reception.

Thursday, May 16 - Following breakfast, we will travel to the Great Wall for a mandatory inspection of the on-Wall route. Both runners and spectators will visit the Great Wall and receive race details. All runners must walk the 3.5 km of the wall, which is part of the Great Wall Marathon course.  It is very important to familiarize yourself with that specific section in order to take proper precautions and incorporate it into your race strategy. Non-runners are also welcome to participate in this walk (good physical condition is required for this strenuous walk). (breakfast and lunch included)

Friday, May 17​ - This morning you will enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of Hutong, the old city of Beijing. You will travel the ancient alleyways via three-wheeled bicycle rickshaws. We then travel to the Summer Palace for a tour of the man-made lake followed by lunch. We will return to the hotel early enough to allow you rest time before race day.  Tonight we will gather at the hotel for a pre-race pasta dinner. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Saturday, May 18 - RACE DAY.  It will be an early morning departure for the Great Wall Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 8.5K fun run.  A boxed breakfast will be provided upon departure and a lunch from Subway is available after the race.  You will also have the opportunity to get at a massage! Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own. (breakfast and lunch included)

Sunday, May 19 - After breakfast we start the day by coach bus to Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world. We will walk through the square from the south to the north, passing Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum.  Next is the Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City, one of China's architectural masterpieces.  This was forbidden to the common people until the early 1900's. Lunch will follow before returning to the hotel to get ready for the Gala Dinner. (breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)

Monday, May 20​ - After a late breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our early afternoon flight to Bangkok. Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to the Novotel Bangkok Airport hotel. We recommend booking your International flights for morning or afternoon arrivals into Bangkok if possible, our flights to Bhutan the following morning typically have very early departures. (breakfast and lunch included)

Tuesday, May 21​ - We will have an early morning flight to Paro, Bhutan. Drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (approx 2 1/2 hours). Afternoon sightseeing in Punakha; visit the Devine Mad Monks Temple (Temple of Fertility) and the remarkable Punakha Dzong, past home to the King of Bhutan. Overnight Punakha. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Wednesday, May 22 - Today we start our acclimatization activity with a hike Soela Gompa via Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten. The recommended hike is approximately 20km with a high degree of difficulty (elevation gain and altitude) and will take approximately eight (8) hours. This will definitely provide you with a beautiful Himalayan trekking experience and bragging rights. An option to return after visiting the Chorten for a shorter hike can be arranged. Overnight in Punakha. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Thursday, May 23 - Drive to the Capital City Thimphu (2 1/2 hours). Tour Buddha Point and the giant seated Buddha, the Takin Reserve (National animal), Thimphu Dzong and craft workshops. After lunch drive on to Paro (1 hour) visiting the National Museum with the chance to hike part of the marathon route before visiting Paro Dzong. Overnight Paro. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) 

Friday, May 24 - Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) six (6)  hours. On the way back visit  Kichu Lhakhang Monastery. Overnight Paro. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) 

Saturday, May 25 - Free time for shopping in Paro. Race day briefing. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) 

Sunday, May 26 - Thunder Dragon Marathon and Half-Marathon RACE DAY! Early breakfast before the 9:00 am start of both races. Celebration dinner and Cultural show at Olanthang Hotel. Overnight Paro. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) 

Monday, May 27​ - After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Bangkok. Arrive in Bangkok and transfer (walk or hotel shuttle) to the Novotel Bangkok Airport hotel. This evening we will enjoy a final dinner together. (breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Tuesday, May 28​ - Depart for home or continue your tour of Asia with your Marathon Tours friends to Hong Kong. (breakfast included)