Visiting the Land of the Thunder Dragon can be challenging, but there’s a new incentive to finally cross it off the bucket list in 2023, as its breathtaking Ancient Bhutan Trail will be reopening to travelers for the first time in 60 years.
“This is a community-based project in both its building and operation which will restore an ancient cultural icon and provide a sustainable, net carbon zero experience in the country for pilgrims and travelers,” Sam Blyth, chair of the Bhutan Canada Foundation, said in a statement.
He added: “The Trans Bhutan Trail also reflects the country’s philosophy of Gross National Happiness and will allow the children of Bhutan to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors.”
The Ancient Bhutan trail’s westernmost point is the town of Haa, which is near the border with Tibet. The easternmost point is Trashigang, near the border of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state. According to a representative for the Bhutan Canada Foundation, an ambitious walker could cover the whole trail in about a month, but most tourists will likely enjoy shorter segments of the trail on three-, four-, or seven-day excursions. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bhutan’s 41-year-old monarch, has been a driving force behind restoring the trail, which was formerly a Buddhist pilgrimage route before falling into disrepair once Bhutan began building roads in the 1960s. He will inaugurate the trail in a ceremony in Trongsa, a sacred city in central Bhutan, in March.