Bhutan’s pilgrimage trail opens September

SINGAPORE, 4 August 2022: Bhutan’s ancient pilgrimage trail, re-opening for the first time in 60 years this September, has been named in TIME’s annual list of 50 extraordinary travel destinations. 

Trans Bhutan Trail (TBT) founder Sam Blyth, who heads the not-for-profit sustainable tourism enterprise behind the launch of the trail, said: “We are truly honoured to receive this recognition and so proud that the Trans Bhutan Trail will be highlighted on the world’s stage.

In September, the trail will officially launch, welcoming Bhutanese and international travellers to walk or cycle part of the trail or take on the incredible challenge of an end-to-end hike.”

On Wednesday, 28 September 2022, the restored historic 250-mile pilgrimage trail traversing Bhutan will be officially re-opened for the first time in six decades in a formal ceremony hosted by His Majesty The Fifth King. The Trail launch will take place within days of Bhutan’s borders fully re-opening to travellers on 23 September.

Eighteen major bridges, more than 10,000 steps and 250 miles of trail have been built or restored over the last three years, involving thousands of Bhutanese workers and villagers in a unique private/public partnership between the Royal Government of Bhutan, the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Bhutan Canada Foundation (BCF), which has worked for many years to further the development of Bhutan and its people through programmes that support the country’s educational ambitions.

BCF was founded by Sam Blyth, an educator, global business executive, innovator and philanthropist, and the visionary behind the Trail restoration project. He has always held a deep admiration for Bhutan and a wholehearted belief in its commitment to prioritising quality of life through the four pillars of the country’s guiding Gross National Happiness philosophy. It was this belief which drove the initiative to create TBT, transbhutantrail.org.

“The Royal Government of Bhutan, Tourism Council of Bhutan, and Bhutan Canada Foundation combined forces to oversee the restoration of hundreds of miles of pathways. Intrepid travellers can hike, bike, and camp through the meadows and dense forests of nine dzongkhags (districts), 28 gewogs (local governments), two municipalities, and parts of Phrumsengla National Park, and more than 400 historic sites. The route is peppered with museums and ancient fortresses, like Jakar Dzong and the Fortress of the White Bird, perched on a ridge above the historic Bumthang Valley.”

All aspects of guided walking and biking on the trail can be arranged directly via TBT (transbhutantrail.org) on a not-for-profit basis, with all proceeds flowing back into creating a sustainable future for The Trail and the communities along it.

With its sustainability fund to ensure that the trail will be properly maintained for generations to come, visitors booking a journey directly with TBT will play a vital role in the trail’s future.

Along with attracting hikers and bikers, the trail presents a rich experience for birdwatchers and botanists, photographers, rafters and runners, and those seeking a spiritual, wellness, or religious journey. See the new itineraries here.

About the Trans Bhutan Trail

For thousands of years, the trail was used by pilgrims, armies and traders. The trail spans 250 miles from the east to the west of Bhutan. Until the 1960s, it was the only way to travel. It will re-open to visitors in 2022 for the first time in over 60 years. The trail will maintain the principles across the Bhutanese tourism industry, ensuring all tours are run sustainably. The trail is also a member of the World Trails Network Sustainability Committee. The Trans Bhutan Trail is committed to enhancing the route out of respect for Bhutan’s ancestors and as a gift to future generations. Its Trail Code can be found here.

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