Bhutan’s old trail to reopen after 60 years closed

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THE Bhutan It is one of the most mysterious countries in the world. Visiting “Land of the Thundering Dragon” can be a challenge, but in 2022 there is a new incentive to finally make an “X” on the list of things to do before you die, as the Trans Bhutan Trail will reopen to travelers for the first time in 60 years.

According to the Bhutan Canada Foundation – the main donor body for the restoration project – the 400-kilometer route connects nine dzongkhags (districts), 28 gewogs (local governments), two municipalities, a national park and 400 historic and cultural sites. .

Travelers following the entire route will cross 18 main bridges and climb 10,000 steps. It is possible to travel the trail on foot or by mountain bike.

“The restoration is a community project, both in construction and in operation, that will restore an ancient cultural icon and provide a sustainable, zero-carbon experience for pilgrims and travelers alike,” says Sam Blyth, President of the Bhutan Canada Foundation. , in a statement.

He added: “The Trans Bhutan Trail also reflects the country’s philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNI) and will allow Bhutan’s children to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors.”

The westernmost point of the trail is the town of Haa, which is close to the Tibetan border. The easternmost point is Trashigang, near the border of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

According to a foundation representative, an ambitious hiker could cover the entire trail in about a month, but most tourists are likely to enjoy shorter trail paths on three, four, or seven-day excursions.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the 41-year-old monarch of Bhutan, was a major force behind restoring the trail, which was formerly a Buddhist pilgrimage route before falling into decay after the country began building roads in the 1960s. .

He will reopen the trail at a ceremony in Trongsa, a holy city in central Bhutan, in March.

Due to its “high value, low impact” tourism strategy, Bhutan averaged just a few thousand visitors in a typical year before the pandemic.

As part of its aim to avoid over-tourism, the country charges a mandatory fee of US$250 (about R$1,350) per day, which includes ground transportation, accommodation, food and guide service. The cost makes visiting the country somewhat prohibitive for many tourists.

Applying this philosophy to the Trans Bhutan Trail, hikers will have to apply for a permit starting in April.

However, there is a potential hurdle in planning the trip, as the Himalayan country is currently closed to tourism.

There are several rumors about a complete or partial opening of the kingdom in spring 2022 (autumn in Brazil), which would make the Trans Bhutan Trail calendar an even more auspicious event.

This content was originally created in English.

original version

Reference: CNN Brasil

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