One of the fun things you can do in Bhutan is whitewater rafting


Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular outdoor activities for travellers to Bhutan as it's a family-friendly activity suitable for all ages.

Bhutan has almost everything that wilderness enthusiasts would look for - snowcapped mountains, virgin forests, hair-raising gorges, stunning meadows, valleys, streams, and crystal clear rivers. Bhutan has diverse flora and fauna, and a natural landscape that has changed little for millions of years.

There are many activities in Bhutan for adventure seekers. Such as trekking through the extremely challenging terrains of the eastern Himalayas, a place where few people has set foot before. Aside from trekking, the Kingdom provides other adventurous activities including mountain biking, fly fishing and water sports like kayaking and whitewater rafting. 

There are plenty of rivers in Bhutan from those with slow, gentle flows in some places to powerful ragging torrents in others. The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are one of the Kingdom's most precious natural resources. Fed by glacier melt of the Eastern Himalayas, six major rivers (Wangchhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu, and Dangme Chhu and their tributaries) have been scouted for kayaking and rafting. 

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular outdoor activities for travellers to Bhutan as it's a family-friendly activity suitable for all ages. 

The pristine natural setting and the sheer variety of the rivers' courses provides a unique opportunity to explore Bhutan’s beautiful wilderness. Adventurous travellers will not be disappointed by the rugged, untamed waterways of Bhutan. 

Although Bhutan opened its door to tourism in 1974, water adventure was only introduced in the mid-90s. The rivers of Bhutan were first surveyed for potential routes for water sports in 1997 by two experienced rafters and kayakers, Gerry Moffatt and Peter Knowles at the invitation of the Royal Government and Tourism Council of Bhutan. It was also one of the first kayak expeditions in Bhutan that consists of international kayakers. During the month-long expedition, Gerry and the team mapped the major river systems and kayaked down the unexplored and crystal-clear rivers of Bhutan. Gerry is a white water consultant in Bhutan and trains the local tour guides on kayaking and rafting skills. 

Initially, water sports started off as one of the activities for tourists in Bhutan but it's now gaining popularity amongst the locals. Along the riverbanks, locals can be seen on boats with their friends and families.

One of the most popular rafting spots is in the Punakha district along Mo Chhu (Female River) and Pho Chhu (Male River). Mo Chhu river is 10 km long with 10 rapids and relatively milder than Po Chhu river. 

Pho Chhu river is one of the most popular spots for rafting in Bhutan. The rafting along the Phho Chu river is approximately 16 kilometres with around 15 rapids. No prior experience is required for rafting. It's a fun and safe activity that can be enjoyed by all regardless of age. The rafting takes about 1.5 hours to complete. Life jackets, helmets, waterproof bags and rubber slippers will be provided. The rafting guides are highly trained and experienced in rafting and kayaking.

Rafting will meander along the upper Pho Chhu with a series of Class IV rapids immediately below the village of Wangthangkha. Further downstream, experienced rafters will enjoy the Class III rapids as the fast-flowing river eases and slows.

Since 2018, companies are not allowed to raft in front of the magnificent Punakha dzong.

Apart from Punakha, another popular place where people can do rafting is in Panbang on Drangme Chhu. A group of young Bhutanese formed a group called The River Guides to operating the rafting. It is Bhutan's first community-based rafting company and the guides have also undergone nature and eco-guide training under experts from the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE). They are also well versed in the rich cultural heritage of the lower Kheng area which falls under Zhemgang district.

Bhutan is currently also in the midst of expanding it's rafting services along the Jigme Chhu under the 'Destination Chhukha' project. Chhukha district will be a new tourist destination in Bhutan while development projects and plans are ongoing during this time of pandemic where borders are still closed for international tourists. 

The best time for rafting in Bhutan is from March to April and November to December though rafting in Bhutan can still be enjoyed throughout the year. If you are a tourist and want to have a rafting experience in Bhutan, you will need to inform your tour operator that you will like to add on a rafting adventure to your travel itinerary. 

It's a recommended activity for those who want to experience Bhutan in a fun, memorable and relaxing manner. 

Related Posts

Destination Chhukha - New upcoming tourist destination in Bhutan...

Tourists can look forward to new tourist attractions, trekking routes and local produce from Chhukha district.

Mar 09, 2021 12:20

Alii Palau Airlines Inaugural Flight From Singapore to Palau via...

On November 23, 2023, Alii Palau Airlines made history with its inaugural flight to Palau.

Dec 04, 2023 10:32

Singapore to Palau: Alii Palau Airlines Launches Historic Route...

You can now visit the Palau Paradise directly from Singapore!

Oct 27, 2023 16:17

Bhutan's aviation pioneer: The story of Jamair and the early days...

In 1952, Bhutan initially proposed the establishment of a fully equipped aerodrome in Punakha and the acquisition of a...

Sep 13, 2023 11:15

A tale of two airports in Bhutan

As the slow pace towards a pre-pandemic world begins, two of the country’s domestic airports are going through their own...

Nov 03, 2022 16:30

What you need to know about birdwatching in Bhutan

The best seasons and locations for birdwatching in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Sep 25, 2022 16:57



Bhutan Receives Annual Special Travel Destinations Award

This is Bhutan's second tourism award in China, reaffirming its status as an extraordinary travel destination.

Feb 02, 2024 11:12

Bhutan Waives SDF for MICE Events

Bhutan seeks to establish itself as a prime destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) events in the region.

Jan 24, 2024 14:34


Rifles and Rituals: Satire and Societal Shifts in Bhutan as Portrayed in 'The Monk and The Gun

Pawo Choyning Dorji, whose film "The Monk and the Gun" offers insight into the Himalayan nation's modernization process.

Feb 20, 2024 11:04

All You Need to Know About Gelephu Mindfulness City

The kingdom of Bhutan is planning to develop a "mindfulness city" covering about 2.5% of its land, which is larger than the size of...

Feb 08, 2024 10:42


Brand Bhutan: Karma Yangchen

Karma Yangchen, a distinguished artisan from Bhutan exemplifies a profound commitment to the art of handwoven textiles.

Dec 14, 2023 10:22

Brand Bhutan: Bhutan Herbal Tea

Bhutan Herbal Tea is the brainchild of two Bhutanese individuals who first crossed paths in New York during a Bhutanese New Year gathering...

Nov 25, 2023 13:56


Bhutan Cricket's New Milestone: The Inaugural Indoor Cricket Academy

The Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) inaugurated its inaugural indoor cricket academy on 20th December, with the objective of ensuring...

Dec 21, 2023 14:57

Paro FC Clinches Third Consecutive Victory in BOB Bhutan Premier League

Paro FC has once again claimed the BOB Bhutan Premier League championship, marking their third consecutive title victory during the season's...

Dec 12, 2023 10:26


Alii Palau Airlines Inaugural Flight From Singapore to Palau via Drukair

On November 23, 2023, Alii Palau Airlines made history with its inaugural flight to Palau.

Dec 04, 2023 10:32

Singapore to Palau: Alii Palau Airlines Launches Historic Route With Drukair

You can now visit the Palau Paradise directly from Singapore!

Oct 27, 2023 16:17


Chunipa Losar: Bhutan's Timeless Celebration of Traditions and Offerings

Chunipa Losar is a day of offerings, a moment when communities come together to express gratitude, seek blessings, and strengthen bonds.

Jan 12, 2024 12:31

Bhutan's Time-Honored Tradition: Exploring the Nyilo Season and the Lolay Ritual

Approximately 750 children recently took part in the traditional practice known as "lolay" in Bhutan, marking the beginning of the Nyilo...

Jan 04, 2024 14:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!