As a premier destination for nature-based activities, the majestic Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has more to offer when it comes to water sports. Adventure sports like kayaking and rafting are fast catching up among tourists. The clean and wide rivers compliment the sport further, making it the more enjoyable and adventurous.
Every year, there has been a significant increase in arrivals for adventure sports like rafting, kayaking, motorcycling, biking and fishing activities. Such nature and adventure based experiences are highly promoted as the country’s river system and terrain makes it more favourable.
With safety assured, you can choose your adventure from the six rivers and its tributaries fed by the eastern Himalayas ranging from easy, moderate to challenging. Easy rafting for beginners and hair-raising runs for veterans, choices are aplenty.
The rivers of Bhutan were first graded for water sports in 1997 by the experienced rafters and kayakers Gerry Mofatt and Peter Knowles. They were invited by the government to survey potential routes. The duo trained the first batch of Bhutanese river guides besides exploring routes and conducting surveys. Since then rivers including the Punatsangchhu, Manas and Amochhu were scouted as well.
All operators are mandated to use well-maintained professional equipment and a reasonable guide-client ratio, among others. Wangchhu river in Capital Thimphu is favorable for kayaking and rafting. The river runs through deep forests and the main town where you can witness a blend of tradition and modernity.
Further towards the west in Bhutan’s old capital, Punakha is the Punatshangchhu river amid the rugged terrain. As you raft in the Punatshangchhu river, you will be enamored by the breathtaking landscape. Don’t miss the Punakha dzong that stands majestically in between the phochhu and mochhu tributaries. The dzong (fortress) is one of the most beautiful dzongs in the country. The other tributaries include different sections along mochhu and in Kabjisa.
Less than 10 kms downstream in Wangduephodrang is Dangchhu river in turquoise that is as appealing as the other rivers. In Central Bhutan, cutting furiously at the base of steep mountains, is the Mangdechhu and in the eastern district of Mongar lies the popular Kurichhu river. In the far east, Dangmichhu river in Trashigang is ideal for water sports.
With a variety of the rivers’ courses of high currents and depth to choose from, rafting and kayaking in these rivers and tributaries is worthwhile. Rafting and kayaking is often accompanied by walks and trekking along the picturesque riverbanks. Bhutanese rafting and kayaking guides are well trained and will do everything to ensure that you enjoy the adventures minus the risks.
Come join the wilderness and enjoy the glacial rivers of Bhutan!