Kayaking and Rafting

The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are one of the kingdoms best kept open secrets. Fed by the glacial-melt of the Eastern Himalayas, six major rivers (Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu and Dangme Chhu and their tributaries), have been scouted for kayaking and rafting.

They cut through high valleys and low plains to meet up with the Brahmaputra River in India. The pristine natural setting and the sheer variety of the river courses provides a unique opportunity to explore Bhutan beautiful wilderness. Adventurous travelers will not be disappointed by the rugged, untamed waterways of Bhutan. The rivers are plentiful with strong currents varying between slow, gentle flows in some places and powerful raging torrents can be found throughout the country. Although, adventure sports and tourism are relatively recent introductions in Bhutan, they are drastically gaining popularity.

Kayaking and rafting in Bhutan provide exhilarating opportunities to experience the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage from a unique perspective. Whether navigating gentle rivers in Punakha or tackling challenging rapids in remote valleys, adventurers can enjoy unforgettable moments amidst Bhutan’s pristine landscapes and rich cultural tapestry. Safety, environmental responsibility, and cultural sensitivity are integral to these activities, ensuring a rewarding and respectful experience for visitors exploring Bhutan’s rivers.

Here’s an overview of these adventure activities in Bhutan:

1. Rivers and Rapids

  • Scenic Rivers: Bhutan boasts several rivers suitable for kayaking and rafting, including the Paro Chhu, Mo Chhu, Pho Chhu, Mangde Chhu currently with many other unexplored rivers.
  • Rapids: Rivers vary from gentle flows to challenging rapids, providing options for both beginners and experienced paddlers.

2. Popular Rafting and Kayaking Destinations

  • Punakha Valley: The Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu rivers in Punakha offer exciting rafting experiences amidst breathtaking scenery and cultural landmarks like Punakha Dzong.
  • Paro Valley: The Paro Chhu River near Paro town provides opportunities for kayaking and rafting combined with views of Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery.

3. Season for Rafting and Kayaking

  • Best Time: The ideal time for rafting and kayaking in Bhutan is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when weather conditions are favorable and river levels are suitable.
  • Winter: While colder, some rivers are navigable during winter months as well, offering quieter waters and unique views of snow-capped mountains.

4. Types of Rafting and Kayaking Trips

  • Day Trips: Shorter excursions suitable for beginners and families, typically covering sections with mild to moderate rapids.
  • Multi-Day Expeditions: Longer trips for enthusiasts seeking more challenging rapids and extended exploration of Bhutan’s rivers and landscapes.

5. Safety and Guides

Equipment: Quality rafting and kayaking gear, including life jackets, helmets, and paddles, are provided.

Experienced river Guides: Experienced River guides who are trained in river safety, first aid, and paddling techniques will accompany.


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