Get ready for the upcoming record-breaking longest East meets West trekking trail in Bhutan
With the revival and restoration of the historic east-west trails, long-distance trekking is going to be a new tourism product in the pipeline.
Trekking Trails in Bhutan
Bhutan has some of the most grueling yet most breathtaking trekking trails in the world. These trekking trails will take you through gorgeous natural landscapes of blue pine forests, high ridges, and pristine lakes. It also offers trekkers the opportunity to visit some ancient temples, fortresses, and villages.
Snowman Trek I and II in Bhutan are one of the most challenging and gruelling trekking routes in the world.
Trekking trails at the higher elevations are usually adorned with a multitude of pristine crystal clear lakes. Enroute Jomolhari trek, trekkers will be treated to one of the most stunning glacier lakes.
The ten most popular trekking trails in Bhutan are mostly concentrated in the Western and Northern regions. Some of the popular trails in Bhutan include Druk Path Trek, Jomolhari Trek, Laya- Gasa Trek, Dagala Trek, Nuptsonapata Trek, and several others.
Some of these trekking trails roots back to the ancestral trail. The most beautiful Dagala Trek connects people of the west (Thimphu ) to the Dagana District. In the past, forefathers used the trail to trade iron ores. Dagala Trek connects people from Paro and Haa. Traditionally, peasants from Haa took the trail to commute to Paro during paddy plantation. Thus, the trail is also known as the Rice Trail.
If long treks are your thing, get excited as Bhutan is currently developing the longest trek in the country, known as Trans Bhutan Trail. It is currently in the third phase of development.
The Revival of Ancestral Trail
Trans Bhutan Trail (TBT) started with a vision to restore the centuries-old historic East-West path that runs across Central Bhutan, “connecting Bhutan from Yesterday to Today". Not only will the trail provide connectivity for the local communities, it will also be an educational opportunities for youths. The team also aims to create an accessible, unique cultural and nature-based tourism experience while the detailed mapping is still to be completed. The TBT project will rejuvenate 430km of trail from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east.
For hundreds of years, these trails served as an important link between the two regions of the country. However, with the construction of the national highway in the 1960s, the use of the trails slowly discontinued. But with the revival and restoration of the historic east-west trails, long-distance trekking is going to be a new tourism product in the pipeline.
Trans Bhutan Trail is unique as it travels through communities and villages along the way. TBT team hopes that people who love long-distance trekking and those who aspires to hike all the long trails in the world would come to Bhutan and trek this trail. Until now Trans Bhutan Trail has also engaged a total of 32 ambassadors in 23 gewogs to provide services along the trail. The development of the trail will not only help in creating employment opportunities for the people involved in the tourism industry of Bhutan but it will also boost the economy of the local communities.
Many stakeholders are working in collaboration to build the trail. For instance, with support from the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), the restoration of the traditional bazam (wooden bridge) leading to the Trongsa Dzong is completed. The bazam is historically significant and a critical component of the TBT. It was last restored in the 1980s with support from the Austrian Government.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRANS BHUTAN TRAIL
- This trail dates back to the 16th and 17th century or even earlier.
- For the first time in 60 years, people will be able to walk the historic route along the Wangchhu from Thimphu to Dochula, completely off the National Highway.
- Bhutan Trans Trail will be the longest trekking trail that connects West to the East through Central Bhutan.
- Trekkers will get to delve into the local communities and experience authentic traditional Bhutanese lifestyle.
- In collaboration with National Land Commission, TBT completed mapping of full 430km trail including the recording of over 400 cultural and ecologically significant sites along the route.
- Amid the lockdown and COVID-19 Crisis, the team of TBT continues to work on the development of the trail.
- The project is funded by Bhutan Canada Foundation. The trail is expected to be restored and ready for use before the Gyalsung (national service) program begins in 2022.