Ancient Bhutan trail reopens to tourists for first time in 60 years –

Ancient Bhutan trail reopens to tourists for first time in 60 years –

Known for its scenic beauty, the Trans-Bhutan Trail opens its doors to tourists for the first time in 60 years.

Published Friday 2022.01.28 07:59 JST

(CNN) Bhutan, a small Himalayan country, is one of the most mysterious countries in the world, and visiting the “land of the brontosaurus” can be a challenge. But this year, after 60 years, the breathtaking Trans-Bhutan route will once again open its doors to tourists, and it seems like a big motivator to finally tick “things to do before you die” off your list.

According to the Bhutan Canada Foundation, the main funder of the restoration project, the approximately 400km route covers 9 provinces (dzongkhaks), 28 districts (geoks), 2 towns, 1 national park and 400 links to historical and cultural sites. sights.

Travelers walking or mountain biking across the entire crosswalk, cross 18 bridges and climb 10,000 steps.

“It’s about reviving ancient cultural symbols and providing sustainable net-zero carbon experiences for pilgrims and travelers, both in architecture and in business,” said foundation chairman Sam Bryce. Projects rooted in local communities become

“The Trans-Bhutan Highway will also reflect the country’s Gross National Happiness philosophy and allow Bhutanese children to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors,” he said.

The western end of the pass is Hazhen, which is close to the border of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, and the eastern end is Zhashigang, which is close to the border of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

It is said that hikers can walk the entire route in about a month if they wish.

According to foundation representatives, aspiring walkers can complete the entire route in about a month, while most travelers prefer 3, 4 or 7-day excursions.

Led by King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, 41, the restoration of the crossing, once used as a Buddhist pilgrimage route, fell into disrepair when construction of the road began in the 1960s. .

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bhutan’s “high-value, low-cost” tourism strategy kept average annual visitor numbers to just a few thousand. As part of its goal of avoiding “overtourism,” the government has also set aside a daily fee of $250, including transportation, accommodation, meals and tour guide fees, to be made mandatory. This fee is a high bar for many people who want to visit.

One potential obstacle to planning a trip to Bhutan is that the country is currently closed to tourists. But with rumors swirling that the country is expected to fully or partially reopen in the spring of 2022, the timing of the incident on the Trans-Bhutan Highway could herald good news.

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