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ADVENTURE TOURISM IN BHUTAN

What can you expect from a country that is gifted with the sheer brilliance of Himalayas? That is right- some unnerving adventure opportunities! With great heights comes stunning chances to partake in extreme sports and to rush your adrenaline. On one end are the Buddhist monasteries, friendly locals and calm and peace of the valleys, and on the other end, there are spine thrilling activities for hardcore adventure junkies. The things to do in Bhutan are almost unending and will leave you coming back for more.

Best Adventure Activities in Bhutan

Rock climbing

Rock Climbing is an adventure sport that is quite popular in the Himalayan kingdom. It is not only a hobby but also a mainstream sport. Climbing ‘The Nose’, the only rock climbing spot near Thimphu, is on everyone’s to-do list in Bhutan. It offers thirteen exhilarating climbing routes for all levels. Rock climbing checks one’s strength, agility, endurance and balance and is a great physical and mental exercise. It has been bolted and made safe for everyone to engage in. If you get your kick from crawling up high cliffs upright, enrol today.

Where to do: The Nose, Thimphu

Best time/season: March to May and September to November

Approximate Price: INR 1500

Difficulty Level: Moderate to challenging

Whitewater rafting

Imagine yourself plonked on an inflated boat, traversing through the snow-capped Himalayan Mountain and the unscathed pristine nature. Nerve-wracking, isn’t it? Whitewater rafting in Bhutan is a sport that is full of thrills. The two rivers Pho Chu and MO Chu run 16 and 10 km respectively with about 12 to 15 rapids whose classes are between 2-4. You are securely equipped and guided throughout the entire trip by trained professionals. The route takes you through forestlands and dzongs, making it a sightseeing expedition along with extreme adventure sport. Do not forget to enjoy the encircling scenery as you raft in the river.

Where to do: Khansum Yulley

Best time/season: March to May and October to November

Approximate Price: Rent for one raft that can hold up to eight people and a local guide is INR 30,000

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Paraglide

See the alluring Bhutanese valleys, old temples and picturesque villages through a bird’s eye view when you opt for paragliding. One of the most newly introduced outdoor sports activities in Bhutan, paragliding is slowly getting acknowledged among tourists. What makes it truly thriving is the fact that Bhutan is replete with deep-running valleys that is also geographically isolated. Flying above the many lofty and steep highlands are the highlighting points of the sport. Amateur paragliders have an option to fly with an instructor. Look out for a registered and licensed pilot and keep the safety instructions in check.

Where to do: Ura valley, Bumthang valley, Phobjikha Valley, Haa Valley, Paro Valley

Best time/season: March to May and September to November

Approximate Price: Short flight is INR 7,000 per person (25 mins) and the long flight is INR 10,000 per person (50 mins)

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Crossing the suspension bridges

Bhutan boasts one of the oldest suspension bridges of the world in Punakha. Spanning over 160 metres in length, is it an important part of the architectural history of the kingdom. What makes the journey of crossing over the bridge stimulating is the fact that it lies in the confluence of the rivers Mo Chu and Po Chu. The river flows gushingly and sways the entire bridge, making the walk over it challenging. The bridge is draped with prayer flags all along and is the perfect spot for nature photography and bird watching.

Where to do: Punakha

Best time/season: March to May and September to December

Approximate Price: Free for all

Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

Hot springs

There may be many natural wonders in the world, but hot springs definitely top the list. Hot stone baths is an activity that makes your visit to this country worth every penny. In Bhutan, it is locally known as Tshachu. It is a place where groundwater is naturally heated by the energy that the earth creates. It also has a scientific benefit as the water contains dissolved minerals that can do wonders to the skin and body. They are of great medicinal value and can cure various diseases like ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, tuberculosis and indigestion.

Where to do: Gasa Tshachu, Duenmang Tshachu, Dhur Tshachu, Gelephu Tshachu, Chuboog Tshachu

Best time/season: Winter months October-February

Approximate Price: INR 1000 per person

Mountain biking

Explore Bhutan’s beautiful wilderness on a bike when you plan a trip to this amazing country. This is your only way to undertake adrenaline-fueled explorations of the land’s inaccessible routes. Mountain biking is a sport popular among both- the locals as well as visitors. The mountainous terrain provides for a fascinating route with challenges of surmounting a new pass at every few meters. The biking trip keeps you too high on adrenaline and takes you miles away from monotony. It takes you across history-laden grandiose to some spectacular natural landscapes. Only make sure you embark on this journey with someone who has full knowledge of the trails and tracks in Bhutan.

Where to do: Phobjikha Valley

Best time/season: March to May and September to November

Approx Price: The average price for mountain biking tour is INR 3000 per person

Difficulty Level: Moderate to extremely challenging

Kayaking

The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are fed by the glacial-melt and are great to explore on a kayak. It is a relatively recent introduction to the adventure sports in Bhutan and is fairly gaining momentum. The activity is open to all and suits both, beginners as well as seasoned adventurers. Not only does it allow you to float down the river but you also get to enjoy the serene view of forestlands and village settlements alongside the banks of the river. The kayaking guides are well trained and they ensure that they only use maintained professional equipment.

Where to do: Wang Chhu, Puna Tsang Chhu, Sunkosh

Best time/season: March to April and October to November.

Approximate Price: INR 2,500 per person

Difficulty Level: Easy to advance

Fishing

Ranging from vast rivers to crystal clear streams, the fishing spots in Bhutan and serene and many. The most common varieties of fishes found here are the golden mashers, the snow trout, the brown trout and the barbs. For those who are not interested in fishing, you can still enjoy the spots as they are set in beautiful and pristine surroundings. You need to acquire fishing permits before you indulge in the activity. The months from December through February are considered breeding season and you cannot go fishing then. Another thing to remember is that it is prohibited to use any natural bait to lure the fishes.

Where to do: Haa, Punakha, Thimpu, Bumthang, Manas

Best time/season: February to May

Approximate Price: Free and open to all

Difficulty Level: Easy to advance

Unique in both ways, Bhutan has both to offer to its travellers- nature and adventure. Be it any kind of traveller, this little kingdom is a rejuvenation spot for all in itself. So what is the wait for? Go ahead and indulge in these adventure activities in Bhutan.

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