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Bhutan: Run a marathon or just relax while touring Himalayan nation

BhutanTravelTourism and Leisure

Runners can lace up their shoes for an active tour of Bhutan that features practice runs in the countryside, pre-race briefings and post-race relaxation.

The Himalayan nation will host the marathon Feb. 23 with a course that passes through rain forests, rural villages and over a suspension bridge before ending at the onetime capital of Punakha Dzong. Como Hotels and Resorts offers a 10-day tour for those who want to explore different parts Bhutan on foot, whether or not they are marathon runners.

The Uma Adventure begins in Uma Paro, a 29-room rural resort with private villas in the lush Paro Valley. It is in a tranquil part of the forest not far from cultural sites such as the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest) perched on a steep cliff and other historic temples. The package includes guided walks to local markets and monasteries as well as training runs in the countryside.

On the third day, it's off to tour in the capital Thimphu and the Punakha Valley. Participants get a pre-race briefing on Day 4 and then run their best on Day 5. After the race, guests may relax at the seven-room Uma Punakha or choose walks and tours in pine forests and cultural sites in the area. Deadline to register for the marathon ($150) or half-marathon ($110) is Jan. 15; the cost is not included in the package and racers must register on their own.

When: The trip runs Feb. 19-28.

Price: $4,984 per person, double occupancy; $7,642 for solo travelers. It includes lodgings, ground transportation, sightseeing, training sessions, daily yoga and meals. International airfare and marathon fee are extra.

[For the Record, 10 a.m. PST Feb. 12: An earlier version of this post referred to the Bhutan marathon as the nation's first such race. Other marathons have been run in Bhutan, including one in 2002.]

Info: Como Hotels and Resorts, e-mail res.uma.paro@comohotels.com

mary.forgione@latimes.com
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