Get your running shoes on and ready! This October, Luang Prabang in Laos will be hosting one of the world's top destination marathons, and all in the name of charity.
This is the second half marathon hosted in Luang Prabang, with all donations going to fund the construction of a new children's hospital. Winding through the picturesque Luang Prabang – yes, you're running in a UNESCO Heritage Town! – while crossing paths with serene, saffron-clad monks creates a marathon experience like no other. As you make your way around the track, feast your eyes: Phousi Hill, the former Royal Palace and Wat Wisunalat are just a few of the attractions of which you'll catch a glimpse.
2014's race – held on October 12 – will be titled Lai Heua Fai after the gorgeous lantern festival held at the end of Buddhist Lent. As corporate sponsors are donating to cover the costs of the race, all donations contributed by participants will go to Friends Without A Border, who will construct the Lao Friends Hospital for Children. By running, you can ensure that all children in Laos will receive high-quality health care. International participants need to donate a minimum of US$200, but it's a completely worthy cause, right?
Villa Maly, a gorgeous boutique hotel sponsoring the event, is welcoming runners with a special deal over October 11 and 12. Villa Maly's Runners' Package features two nights in the hotel's superior room with breakfast, pre- and post-race massages, round-trip airport pickups and transport to and from the race's starting line. Rates start at US$300 per single room, and US$438 for doubles.
No matter which part of the world you call home, you're officially invited to don that Nike gear and run to your hearts' content. Choose from 7, 14 or 21km categories, lace those sneakers tightly, and get those donations sorted! Definitely put this on the agenda for your romantic honeymoon or holiday in Laos.
Discover more: Luang Prabang Half Marathon