Having been one of the world’s most successful countries in facing down Covid, the kingdom of Bhutan has once again opened its doors to visitors. Long considered one of the most environmentally progressive destinations on the planet, Bhutan has used its extended period of isolation to radically overhaul its tourism policy including a well-publicised rise in the daily visitor fee to $200. Although this has significantly increased the cost of holidays to the unique Himalayan kingdom, the fee will go directly towards long-term, sustainable improvements in tourist infrastructure, education and the environment. In turn, this will enhance the visitor experience and help preserve Bhutan’s special culture and natural beauty whilst also contributing to the Gross National Happiness of its people.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the opening of the Trans Bhutan Trail, the world’s newest long-distance walking path. The trail traces a centuries-old network of paths that were once the only route linking the villages, fortresses and sacred sites of the Thunder Dragon Kingdom. Having fallen into disuse, the Bhutan Canada Foundation – with the royal seal of approval of the King of Bhutan – embarked on a major project of restoration. Working together with the local Bhutanese people it has taken four years to rebuild bridges, footpaths and thousands of steps. The result is a 250 miles long walking trail that re-connects communities and crosses one of the most culturally fascinating, scenically beautiful and environmentally conscious countries in the world.

To tackle the whole trail would be a major undertaking for even the most ardent trekker, but for those who want to experience a small part of it, and explore some of Bhutan’s showpiece cultural sights, Mountain Kingdoms has created an exciting new two-week, small group trekking holiday focusing on the western highlights of the trail. They’ve carefully selected sections that avoid the steepest, most challenging climbs yet still offer good walking through bucolic landscapes that reveal traditional rural life. Accommodation is in comfy hotels plus two nights full service camping on the trail. The holiday concludes in style with a stirring climb to reach the Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Bhutan’s most celebrated sight.

Trans Bhutan Trail – Western Highlights – NEW

Prices from:  £5,580 flight inclusive or £4,245 land only (joining in Kathmandu)

Duration: 14 days London to London

Group departures:  1st April and 2nd October 2023

Price includes: Bhutanese guide; flights between Kathmandu and Paro; airport transfers; all road transport by private vehicle; 2 nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on a twin share, bed and breakfast basis; 7 nights hotel accommodation in Bhutan on a twin share, full board basis; 2 nights full service camping with porterage; all sightseeing in Bhutan.

The experts at Mountain Kingdoms, an independent specialist British tour operator, have been organising walking and trekking holidays across the world for over 35 years. Visit http://www.mountainkingdoms.com for details of over 130 small group adventures and tailor made holidays which all offer value for money with an emphasis on quality.

Mountain Kingdoms holidays are ATOL 2973 / ABTOT 5238 protecte