Adventure Tourism in Bhutan: A Journey into the Last Shangri-La

Bhutan, the last great Himalayan kingdom, is a place of mystery, magic, and adventure. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, Bhutan is a haven for adventure enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities that cater to thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. This blog post will take you on a journey through the adventure tourism landscape of Bhutan, exploring its various offerings from kayaking and rafting to trekking and more.

The Adventure Landscape of Bhutan

Bhutan is no ordinary place. It's a sanctuary where earthly pleasures meet awe-inspiring landscapes. More than 70% forested, and the first carbon-negative country in the world, Bhutan is a testament to the balance between modern development and environmental conservation. This commitment to nature makes it a perfect playground for adventure activities.

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!

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.

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.


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.


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 trip in Bhutan!


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 Bhutan adventure activities amongst tourists visiting this country 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.

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.


This is a very common thing to do in Bhutan and 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.

Mountain Biking

The various paved and moderately paved mountain roads are perfect for cycling in Bhutan. Set against the picturesque valleys and 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.

Adventure Tourism: A Sustainable Approach

Bhutan's approach to tourism is deeply rooted in its commitment to sustainability. The country's philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which prioritizes the well-being of its people and environment over economic growth alone, is reflected in its approach to tourism. The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) paid by tourists contributes to the preservation and protection of Bhutan's natural and cultural heritage.


Adventure tourism in Bhutan offers a unique blend of thrilling activities, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural experiences. Whether you're navigating the rapids of the Punakha River, trekking through the country's stunning terrain, or exploring its diverse wildlife, adventure in Bhutan is a journey into the heart of the last Shangri-La.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *