The ultimate bucket-list adventure for those who love hiking is finally set to welcome visitors for the first time in 60 years. The Trans Bhutan Trail is a 250-mile historic pilgrimage trail running the length of the Buddhist country of Bhutan, a nation on the edge of the Himalayas famed for its breathtaking mountain vistas and fascinating monasteries and temples rich with history.
Following years of extensive restoration, the Trans Bhutan Trail is set to re-open in March 2022, allowing travelers and pilgrims to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. Visitors can elect to either walk or bike the trail and take advantage of an incredible opportunity to explore and connect with the remotest parts of Bhutan, deep in the Eastern Himalayas. It also presents a rich experience for birdwatchers and botanists, photographers, rafters and runners, as well as for those looking for a spiritual, wellness, or religious experience. The trail crosses through nine dzongkhags (districts), 28 gewogs (local governments), two municipalities and one national park. It meanders through pristine virgin forest, offering distant vistas of soaring Himalayan peaks on its way and many sections of the trail will allow visitors access to parts of Bhutan seldom visited by foreigners.
The Trail’s origins go back at least 500 years when it connected fortresses called Dzongs and served as the pilgrimage route for Buddhists in the east traveling to sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet. The Trail also played a major role in uniting numerous Himalayan kingdoms which ultimately led to the birth of Bhutan as a nation in 1907. However, once the construction of roads began across Bhutan in the 1960s, the Trail’s stairways and footpaths gradually fell into disrepair.
Opening ceremonies for the Trail will be hosted by The King in the ancient and sacred city of Trongsa, central Bhutan in March 2022. From April 2022, a limited number of permits will be issued to international travelers to hike the Trail, in whole or in part.