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

Email

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

Bhutan banned mountaineering out of respect for the local...

While there are many stunning peaks in Bhutan, mountaineering is prohibited in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2021 11:51

My first Jomolhari Base Camp Trek experience, a journey within...

Find out what to expect on a 5-day Jomolhari Base Camp Trek itinerary

Nov 26, 2021 15:01

Travel to Bhutan: experience the beauty of Punakha

Punakha district is easily one of the tourists' favourite valleys.

Sep 07, 2021 15:44

How should I dress in Bhutan?

About to head to Bhutan for the adventure of your lifetime but don’t know what to pack? Fret not. Here’s a guide of...

Sep 06, 2021 11:49

Travel to Bhutan: experience the charm of Paro district

Paro district receives the highest volume of travellers annually. It's also easily one of tourists favourite places in...

Jul 14, 2021 11:20

Latest

News

Restoration of Drukgyel Dzong is expected to be completed by June 2022

Drukgyel Dzong is one of the most popular landmarks in Paro.

Nov 18, 2021 13:35

Selling and buying of tobacco products are no longer illegal in Bhutan

Bhutan introduced a new law on tobacco. This new act permits the sales, distribution, buying, possession, and transportation of tobacco or...

Nov 09, 2021 11:23

Features

The endangered majestic black-necked cranes are highly honoured in Bhutan

The Bhutanese believe that the cranes were sent from the heavens as avatars of their ancestors.

Nov 25, 2021 12:35

There is a yeti preserve in Bhutan that is bigger than the size of Singapore

Wondering whether there are yetis in Bhutan? There is even a corpse!

Oct 21, 2021 11:22

Business

Yathra weaving, the uniquely Bumthang culture

Unlike other places in Bhutan, the people of Bumthang don’t do agricultural work. Instead, they weave yathra products. Traditionally, every...

Sep 13, 2021 17:06

What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37

Sports

Bhutan's national women cricket team won ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier 2021 opening match

The United Arab Emirates is currently hosting the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The two ICC Academy grounds in Dubai Sports City...

Nov 23, 2021 11:13

Paro FC reclaimed its champion title for BoB Bhutan Premier League 2021

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) Bhutan Premier League 2021, previously known as Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top football tournament in Bhutan...

Oct 02, 2021 19:57

Travel

Bhutan banned mountaineering out of respect for the local spiritual beliefs

While there are many stunning peaks in Bhutan, mountaineering is prohibited in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2021 11:51

My first Jomolhari Base Camp Trek experience, a journey within and beyond

Find out what to expect on a 5-day Jomolhari Base Camp Trek itinerary

Nov 26, 2021 15:01

Lifestyle

Tshoglhams, the 'colour-coded' traditional boots of Bhutan

The colour of the traditional boots indicates the status of the wearer.

Nov 22, 2021 15:29

What is your birth mewa (birth marks)?

Mewa indicates a karmic relation from life to life.

Nov 16, 2021 14:42

COVID-19

Bhutan was the first South Asian country to vaccinate children against Covid-19

Bhutanese children aged 12 to 19 years old were vaccinated. Immunising the kids was necessary to achieve herd immunity.

Dec 03, 2021 11:20

Bhutan is leading in the vaccination race

“Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated families." - Dr Will...

Jul 28, 2021 12:01

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!