Many of us have emerged from lockdowns with a renewed sense of adventure, a desire to connect with nature—and a fondness for long walks.
On September 23 this year, Bhutan re-opened to international visitors for the first time since the the 'Land of the Thunder Dragon' shut its borders on March 23, 2020. Today, Bhutan marked another major milestone: the reopening of the Trans Bhutan Trail. For the first time in 60 years, the Bhutanese people walked in the footsteps of their ancestors on this historic trail that runs from east to west across the country.
Dating back to the 16th century, the Trans Bhutan Trail was originally part of the Silk Road, connecting fortresses—or dzong—and serving as a pilgrimage route for Buddhists travelling to sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet, including Druk Wangyal and the Punakha Dzong.
It was also used as a trade route, and was the only way to travel across the country until the national highway was built in the 1960s, causing the trail to fall into disuse.
Fun fact: Cars, and driving, were not introduced to Bhutan until 1962. Remaining mostly rural to this day, its capital city of Thimphu is the only capital city in the world without a single traffic light.