BHUTAN: SHANGRI LA OF TRAIL RUNNING
3rd - 17th November 2018
Welcome to Bhutan – the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. Perched among the peaks of the mighty Himalaya, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan has been described as the last Shangri-La, shrouded in centuries of mystery. Bhutan offers a fascinating insight into a Buddhist culture where time has stood still and the chance to experience Himalayan landscapes of astounding, untouched beauty. It's also a mind-blowing place to run. It happens that there is a trail perfect for a running adventure like no other, one based on the first half of the renowned Snowman Trek, one of the hardest in the world. While there are other running adventures to be had in Bhutan, this is the only trip that takes you deep and high into the Himalayas!
DAYS TOTAL (IN BHUTAN): 15
DAYS/NIGHTS ON TRAIL: 8/8
DAYS/NIGHTS ENJOYING SHANGRI LA: 7/6
THE TRAIL: JOMOLHARI-LASA-GAYA TREK
TYPE: END TO END EXPEDITION
AVERAGE DAILY DISTANCE: 15-30KM
HIGHEST POINT: 5005 METRES (SINCHE LA)
AVERAGE RUN ELEVATION: >4000M
ACCOMMODATION ON TRAIL: CAMPS
ACCOMMODATION OFF TRAIL: 2017 IS AN EXPLORER TOUR= THREE-STAR SIMILAR TO TIGERS NEST LODGE (CLICKHERE).
SUPPORT: 2-3 X RUN GUIDES, 2 X LOCAL GUIDES, CAMP/COOK CREW, MULES
RUN GROUP NUMBERS: LIMITED TO 12 RUNNERS PLUS GUIDES.
Tour de Trails' (TdT) Bhutan Trail Run Tour, in partnership with Blue Poppy Tours, offers a run adventure as remote as you can imagine on this planet. This is the high Himalaya. It is in fact the first half of the renowned Snowman Trek, billed by Lonely Planet as the 'one of the most difficult treks in the world'.
Unlike most rough and ready expeditions, we're softening the edges. The running will remain tough given the steep terrain, the altitude, and the lack of facilities - on trail it will be as any other trail run, a true experience of Bhutan's raw and pristine wilderness. But each afternoon you'll run into a pre-set camp, sup some tea, have dinner served up - we'll even sneak up a bottle of wine. At each end of the trail, our Explorer guests willenjoy relative comfort of Bhutan's accommodation the likes of renowned Tigers Nest Resort.
Bhutan is considered a once in a lifetime destination, and thus we'll make the most of your visit to this magical place.
Making thistour even more special is that you will share the trail with your host, Anna Frost (pictured right running beneath Jomolhari near the highest pass), one of the world's most accomplished (and it has to be said, down to earth) ultra trail runners. You'll spend 8 days on rugged trails with Anna gleaning all you can from her elite trail running experiences (which garnered her back-to-back Hardrock 100 titles), and learning endless amounts about training, technique, nutrition and mental approaches to endurance running. Learning from one of the world's best trail runners: priceless.
The JomolhariLaya-Gasa Trek itself, which forms our route, is considered one of the most scenic in Bhutan, offering amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes in the Himalaya. It is more often taken by the few lucky ones to have experienced itas a 14+ day walking journey that begins at Drukgyel in Paro and takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows, high mountain passes and dense sub-tropical jungles before finishing in Damji in Tashithang.
The first part of the route follows the same route as the 'Jomolhari Trek I' through Jigme Singye National Park and offers awe-inspiring views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake (6794m) and Tsherimgang. The path then diverges and you will depart Lingshi for the camp site at Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful waterfall of crystal clear water. Along the trail you’ll be able to spot indigenous animals such as blue sheep and Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. You’ll travel through remote mountain villages inhabited by Layaps (people of Laya), a distinct segment of the Bhutanese society with unique culture, traditions and appearance. The finale of the route also offers a day of relaxation at the famous Gasa hot springs that is sure to rejuvenate you. Of course, you have plenty of pampering treatments still to come as reward for your big run, at your luxury accommodation in Punakha.
You can see more about the traditional walk itinerary here. Our run itinerary (below) will compact several of these days into one on numerous occasions. Read on below for our unique experience, one you are never likely to forget.
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