Bhutan is known as the happiest place on Earth, and for good reason. It is seemingly untroubled by the woes plaguing consumerist societies, as the people consciously try to lead simple, uncomplicated lives dedicated to morality and goodness. Couple that attitude with lush mountains and pristine scenery and you get the impression of an enchanted, sacred land that you could never bear to spoil. But if you would like to interrupt your peace with flashes of an adrenaline rush, well, Bhutan can provide that too, in the form of adventure sports. Here are some adventure sports in Bhutan that you can indulge in.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting is picking up in Bhutan, with guaranteed satisfaction and great value for money in keeping with the Gross National Happiness policy. The Pho Cchu and Mo Cchu Rivers are popular options, with quite scenic views along the way. As you row down the river, you can see Punakha Zong, the imperial residence and the old capital, after which you will go on to Thimphu. The best place to start is at Khansum Valley.
First introduced to Bhutan by the ‘Vertical Bhutan Climbing Club’, rock climbing is slowly becoming a fairly popular activity in Bhutan. The best rock-climbing experience you’ll find is The Nose, close to Thimphu. 13 different routes have been bolted to the rock, with varying difficulty levels and interesting names, such as Easy Peasy, Walker’s Crack, Dead Man Walking, Friction Dance, Wedding Present and Viennese Waltz.
With monasteries tucked away into the craggy crevices of mountains and tiny path etched into valleys and ridges, Bhutan is a trekking paradise. One of the most popular treks in the Jomolhari Trek, where you can get stunning views of Jomolhari Peak, or the Druk Trek, where you pass through forests of vibrant rhododendron. Other great treks are the Snowman Trek, which is quite difficult (but also very rewarding) and requires a lot of experience, the Duer Hot Springs Trek in which you can see the Duer Hotsprings, which is a pristine and beautiful body of water, and the Dagala Thousand Lakes trek, where you experience the stunning beauty of several alpine lakes. Every trekking expedition is provided with their own staff, which consists of cook, guide, horses and horsemen to carry your equipment. Each trek is several days long. If you want to go on a single day trek, try out the Tiger Monastery trek. The best trekking season is from March to May and also September and October.
Mountain Biking in Bhutan is less about extreme sports and more about appreciating the backroads of rural Bhutan, farm roads and the general beauty of the rural areas. Mountain biking is relatively new but is picking up popularity. However, customised, serious mountain biking experiences are available. You will also be accompanied by a support vehicle, which will bring you back to your starting point and in which you can ride in when you get tired. Try it at Paro Valley and Phobjikha Valley.
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