Bangladeshi hiker set to begin 12-year round-the-world walk on Friday

Saiful Islam Shanto round-the-world hiker
Round-the-world hiker Saiful Islam Shanto (Image credit: Saiful Islam Shanto)

To paraphrase The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, you may think it’s a long way down the Pacific Crest Trail to Mexico, but that’s just peanuts compared to what Bangladeshi hiker Saiful Islam Shanto has planned. At 10.30am local time this Friday, March 22, starting from in front of the National Parliament Building (Jatiya Sangsad Bhavan) in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, Shanto will go on a world tour on foot.

Yes, he’s planning on visiting all 93 of the member countries of the United Nations (it’s unclear if he’ll be visiting the two recognized nations of Vatican City and Palestine too) and he’s estimating it will take him around 12 years to complete the entire journey.

Saiful Islam Shanto revealed details of his epic global challenge in a press conference at Economic Reporters Forum Auditorium in Paltan, Dhaka on March 20. 

National Parliament House (Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban), Dhaka, Bangladesh

National Parliament House (Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban), Dhaka, Bangladesh will be the starting point of Saiful Islam Shanto’s global hike (Image credit: Getty Images / Ayse Topbas)

“I will not return home unless there is an urgent need,” said Shanto. “I plan to start walking from Dhaka and cross the Jessore-Benapole border to reach Kolkata. Then I will reach Delhi through India, Jharkhand, Patena, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. From there the plan is to go to Uzbekistan, then successively Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and so on

“After traveling to the Asian continent, I have plans to travel to Africa and Europe. After traveling to North America, South America and Australia continent, there is a plan to end the world tour by going to Antarctica.”

The challenge will also raise awareness of environmental issues; Shanto's chosen motto for his global trek is “save trees, minimize global warming”.

Also present was Ashrafuzzaman Ujjal, president of the Bangladesh Travel Writers Association, which is acting as the logistics partner for Shanta’s world tour.

“Walking is always a pleasure,” said Ashrafuzzaman Ujjal. “Adventure travel is relatively rare in our country. Therefore, Bangladesh Travel Writers Association wants to encourage and inspire any adventure travel in the country. We also want more people to be interested in adventure travel and write about their travel experiences. Everyone will know and get inspired to travel.”

In 2022 Shanto traveled to 64 districts of Bangladesh in a journey of over 3,000km in 75 days. In the same year, he also traveled 1,500km from Bangladesh to India (Dhaka, Sandakphu, Darjeeling) in 64 days.