Asian cities are rolling out the red carpet for runners around the world, offering better marked trails, knee-friendly surfaces and even showering facilities. City officials realise that attracting running tourists can provide valuable foreign currency, as well as spread their unique city culture and rich history. Exotic Asian cities running is taking off with numerous races during the calendar year, and there are many reasons beside the races that will make you consider visiting these cities.
Now here are the top 10 handpicked exotic Asian cities for running along trails, marathons and extreme courses.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Would you like to run around the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia? Built in 1125, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. At different times, Hindus and Buddhists have claimed this marvelous temple as their own. The Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in Siem Reap, Cambodia allows you to learn some history during your run. Bring some bug repellent, these are deep jungles.
There are several running events held in this city, such as the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon, where you can truly witness its beauty and state of preservation.
The people of Thailand are well-known for their warm, welcoming culture. “Sawatdee” means welcome in the local language. It is expected for the people to smile and be very good hosts. Many Thais will open their homes for local tours of their exciting nation if you sign up with one of their services. Be sure to follow local customs. When you greet someone, a slight bow of the head is customary.
Bangkok, Thailand is a modern city with rich Buddhist culture. You can see many beautiful Buddhist statues around the city. Bangkok also has some of the most colorful running event names around: Bangkok 100 Years Nurse College Mini Marathon and Bangkok Colour Miles for Smiles. View the Temple of the Emerald Buddha while running the Bangkok Marathon. Runners can choose from various distances for the marathon.
East Java, Indonesia
Did you know that there are 13,466 islands comprising the nation of Indonesia? Indonesia was created by extensive volcanoes on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. This has lead to the creation of incredible scenery along with great inclines for the runner wanting a great workout.
East Java, Indonesia offers an interesting Asian cities marathon destination at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Runners will jog on road or dirt surfaces in the Bromo Marathon for various distances. More than 900 runners from more than 30 countries have participated in the past. Support another cause with your fitness as proceeds are given to the poor.
The Great Wall of China is one of the few man-made landmarks that can be seen from space. Beijing is home to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and many great cultural sites. Red is a sign of good fortune in Chinese culture.
Huangyaguan, Beijing is just one of the towns along the Great Wall of China, which was built to keep out the northern Mongol tribes. Since 1999, the Chinese have been welcoming runners from more than 60 nations to their Great Wall Marathon (also called the 5,164 steps run). Take great pictures as you run up and down the steps and tell your friends, “Meet me at the Great Wall!”
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is an ultra-modern city with many great cities trail options. Did you know that there are 23 national parks and Mongkok has the world’s highest population density at 130,000 people per square kilometre? The most popular courses for Hong Kong runners are the Hong Kong Trail, 50km and MacLehose Trail, 100km. After your run, you could take the 25-minute bi-cable aerial ride on the Ngong Ping 360 to see the Giant Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Wisdom Path.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, South Korea is the “Land of the Morning Calm” with 18 million hard-working residents. Experts advise runners to avoid the downtown area during the day. “Smiles” are one of the most popular productions of this teeming environment. You might want to enjoy Tai-Chi exercises before your run. The South Korean flag, celebrating the Yin and Yang, allows runners to re-balance their lives in finding true harmony. There are many great races to choose from in Seoul, including the 21st Korea-Japan Friendship Marathon, Yeosu Expo Ultra Marathon and I Love Knou Half Marathon. The World Cup Stadium is a popular starting point for many of these classic running events.
Luang Prabang, Laos
The saffron-colored robes of the Buddhist monks truly stand out. Every day at sunrise, monks walk in a procession through the streets of the city accepting alms offered by locals or even tourists. If you want to support a good cause and run near incredible Laotian landmarks, then the Luang Prabang Half Marathon may be for you. The Haw Kham Poyal Palace Museum and the Wat Xieng Thong temple are a must to visit after your race. Your entry fee goes to help poor children. Laos primarily consists of tropical jungles and has plenty of hills, so make sure you drink lots of water.
India is a rich country with great history. Mumbai (formerly Bombay) has more than 12 million residents in its busy urban centre. You will find plenty of transportation options including the human rickshaw and a modern monorail. Indian businesses, like Tata Motors, are purchasing British vehicle making companies like Land Rover as this rising nation continues to develop.
Mumbai offers a number of runs at different distances: Lavasa Hill Run, Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon and IL&FS Fun Run. The Autism Cause-a-Thon is a 7km event that allows you to support a good cause. Just remember that when you carbo load here, your diet might be primarily vegetarian, since the Hindus hold the cow to be sacred.
Cherry blossoms smell sweet and look beautiful in Tokyo, Japan. There are plenty of popular running trails in the city, including Akasaka Palace (home of the former Crown Prince of Japan), Komazawa Park (which has well-painted lanes for running traffic) and Meguro River (featuring cherry blossoms and good shopping). The Sendai Half Marathon is a popular event for foreigners who can get good times on the relatively flat course, and the iconic Tokyo Marathon is one of the top marathons in the world.
Xiwuqi, Inner Mongolia
Did you know that Genghis Khan means “Universal King”? It is an honorary title, not a name. Learn more about the Mongolians during the two-day Genghis Khan Festival and Genghis Khan Grassland Extreme Marathon. You will be running over open grasslands near the ancient imperial capital of Karakorum during 42.5km, 21.5km or 11.5km running races.
Great Asian Cities Running
So many exotic Asian cities running events and trails exist that listing 10 cities is insufficient to describe them all. Many of these races are great social events for fitness and charitable causes. Enjoy your time while you explore an exotic Asian cities trail. Indulge in their rich culture and stay awhile more to discover and feel their uniqueness. You might make new friends, see beautiful scenery and have a wonderful experience.