Tucked in the midst of the huge mountains of the Himalayas, Bhutan is a uniquely beautiful country. Owing to tremendous isolation, the culture and heritage of Bhutan have evolved separately and there is a lot to explore and learn about this place. At the same time, Bhutan has remained a paradise for travelers over time. The mountains, high altitude lakes and the flora and fauna offer a unique perspective along with many adventure sports in Bhutan. Nature lovers can really rejoice for the fact that there are enough cliffs and rapids to satisfy their urges for adventure sports.
The Best Adventure Activities In Bhutan
Here is a list of the most thrilling adventure sports in Bhutan that you can engage in with your friends during your getaway in this wonderful country:
1. Whitewater rafting
The Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers are quite popular spots for river rafting in Bhutan. The Mo Chhu river has quite a few rapids of classes I and II before it meets the Pho Chhu combined with the beautiful setting of the Bhutanese mountains. The best part about the rafting trail is going through the rapids around the Punakha Dzong, the old capital and royal residence before the move to Thimpu. Shortly later, you will come upon the confluence of Mo and Pho Chhu. One of the most popular adventure sports in Bhutan!
Where to try: Khansum Yulley
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2. Rock climbing
Rock Climbing is an adventure sport that has been gaining much popularity in Bhutan, and several places have popped up as interesting experiments in the sport. The activity was made popular in the Himalayan kingdom by the Vertical Bhutan Climbing Club following 1998, and enthusiasts can head to The Nose, a natural climbing rock that is located right outside of Thimpu. Here you will find a total of 13 different routes that have been bolted and made safe and are of varying degrees of difficulty (from 4B to 7B) and can be of length anywhere from 12 to 27 meters.
Where to try: The Nose, Thimpu
3. Crossing the suspension bridges of Bhutan
While this may not be conventional, it will get your adrenaline pumping and is definitely a very Bhutan thing to do. The suspension bridge in Punakha that connects the historic Punakha Dzong to all the nearby villages was made by hand several hundred years ago and is considered the longest suspension bridge of the type in Bhutan, yet it hardly makes a sound when you cross it. Crossing these structures is something that you should try and is among the most unexpected adventure sports in Bhutan.
Where to try: Punakha
If you are a solo traveler, chances are that you will love kayaking through the various rivers of Bhutan. At various points throughout the nation, the river flow is just right for you to go out alone on your kayak for one of the most scenic adventure activities in Bhutan. The rivers Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu as well as Dangme Chhu provide various opportunities for kayakers to explore and immerse themselves in the wilderness of Bhutan before they eventually become a part of the Brahmaputra in India.
Where to try: Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu
This is a sport for the patient. However, fishing offers spectacular opportunities to catch the various kinds of trout and tuna that are found commonly in the waters of these rivers and is one of the most fun things to do in Bhutan. Fly fishing is a popular sport that you can learn from local tour guides after obtaining a permit for fishing that costs around INR 700 a day. However, once there, the high altitude lakes and rivers are fertile ground to find some of the most amazing fish, changing the definition of adventure sports in Bhutan!
Where to try: Haa, Thimpu, Punakha, Bumthang, Manas
The mountainous reaches of the Bhutanese Himalayas are quite inviting, and quite a lot of people go trekking in Bhutan through the various trails that run through the mountains. The Jomolhari trek is one of the most popular amongst tourists visiting Bhutan and offers stunning views of the Jomolhari peak, as well as a, peek into the amazing flora and fauna of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The Druk Path Trek is another great expedition that goes through the rhododendron forests that surround the mountain of Gangkar Puensum.
Where to try: Begin in Paro
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7. Hot springs
One attraction of mountainous states is that there are bound to be hot springs, and Bhutan is really no exception in this case. In fact, the various hot springs in Punakha and Bumthang are hot tourist attractions not only for the relaxing experience they offer, but also for their medicinal properties. The Duer Hot Springs Trek is one of the most popular ones in this category, and trekkers are rewarded with these pristine hot springs after a grueling four-day grind.
Where to try: Paro
This is a very unusual thing to do in Bhutan but it is definitely something that you should try if you find yourself in Bhutan. When the country joined the United Nations, archery was chosen to be the national sport. In ancient times, archery was practiced in dzongkhag and gewogs but the country holds modern competitions everywhere now. The most unique thing is that the sport is not limited to athletes as you can find locals participating in all kinds of archery competitions during local festivals and fairs.
Where to try: Villages near Paro and Thimpu
9. Mountain biking
The various paved and moderately paved mountain roads are perfect for cycling in Bhutan. Set against the picturesque valleys and the mountains, these trails are best covered on bikes that you can hire from the various towns and even villages in Bhutan. Much of these trails have only gradual climbs but steep and exciting descents so while beginner to moderate bikers are welcome, there is also scope for experts to have some fun.
Where to try: Paro valley, Phobjikha Valley
Extreme sports are a regular feature of all mountainous areas, and Bhutan is no different. In Kamshet, you can go paragliding through the low hills and forests. Paragliding in Bhutan is especially great because of the height of the plateau, especially in the scenic Ura Valley. Quite a few people who opt for paragliding also enquire about bungee jumping. However, bungee jumping in Bhutan is not allowed because of specific safety concerns.
Where to try: Kamshet, Ura Valley
These adventure sports in Bhutan are a welcome addition to the heritage and nature tours which are the more conventional ways to view the place. They offer more texture and if you are an outgoing person, they will make your Bhutan tour one you’ll never forget.