Best Watersports in Bhutan
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About Watersports in Bhutan
Bhutan is a country known to most people for its spiritual institutions. Monasteries and dzongs dominate the landscape of the Dragon Kingdom. On the other hand, colorful festivals like Tshechu make up the cultural collage of the country. When it comes to adventure, people think of trekking cycling first because of the beautiful mountain terrains and their picturesque scenic beauty. But there is another thing that the country has to offer which often gets eclipsed by all the rest. And that is water adventure. Water Sports in Bhutan is a lovely and exciting activity to do. Many people give it a miss because of time-crunch on the itinerary. But it is an experience worth savoring for a lifetime.
There are mostly two types of water sports that are practiced in Bhutan – river rafting and kayaking. The country has quite a few rivers which come down straight from the glaciers up above in the mountains. These rivers are slow in some places along their course through Bhutan, and in some places, they flow really fast over a rapid, that provides the necessary force for an exciting rafting ride.
1. Water Rafting
Rafting in Bhutan is done mostly in these four rivers – Paro Chhu, Mo Chhu, Mangde Chhu and Pho Chhu. Punakha River is also a much-preferred place for river rafting in Bhutan. The amount of fun you will have depends on the place you choose for the activity. Although the agencies know for sure which location will be perfect for white water rafting in Bhutan, they can go wrong too. After all, who can predict the nature? Places where the river force is slow, rafting can get boring for those who were seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure. But on the other hand, the slow ride is safer and allows you to take a glimpse around the valley and enjoy the nature from up close. The view of the majestic mountains from almost the water level will be a completely new thing to experience.
Fast rafting will take you through rough patches of the river and sudden outcropping boulders, into wildly undulating water surfaces. White, icy cool water splashes all around leaving the occupants of the raft completely drenched. Maneuvering through such rough waters is the main challenge for the veteran rafters. Punakha River rafting offers one of the best opportunities to flaunt one’s rafting skills in a natural scene. Rafting might not be what Bhutan is best known for, but it is surely a thing to include in the itinerary. The months of September, October and till the middle of November is the best rafting season in Bhutan. The recently concluded monsoon fills the rivers to the brim, and the streams gush with all their might, setting the perfect scene for rafting activities.
The main difference between water rafting and kayaking is in shape and the number of people it can fit. Rafting is done in the inflated boats and can fit 5-6 people at the same time. Families usually prefer to go rafting together. Kayaking, on the other hand, is canoe-shaped boats that can fit a single person or a couple in the seating cavity. Kayaking in Bhutan is the dream water sport for the adventurers at heart. Unlike rafting, there isn’t much option for a slow ride. All the rivers where kayaking is done are fast and flows with force.
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FAQ's of Bhutan
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Spring and autumn seasons are best for visiting Bhutan. Try to make the trip between March-May or September-November.
Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Bagdogra airports have direct flights to Paro in Bhutan.
Indians do not need a visa to enter Bhutan. Traveling in Phuentsholing area is open for any Indian upon producing authentic ID card. However, to travel the rest of the country, permission is needed which can be retrieved by any agency for the same.
The main currency of Bhutan is Ngultrum. But Indian currency is accepted all over Bhutan except the new 500 and 2000 notes.
There are buses from Kolkata to Thimphu and from Siliguri bus station, NJP station or Bagdogra station to Phuentsholing border.
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