Bhutan is a fascinating and largely pristine environment to enjoy exploration of its Himalayan wilderness areas.

Unfortunately for climbers, mountains are regarded as sacred in Bhutan and technical climbing is forbidden, though some of its high altitude treks will at least allow you to view the finest of Kingdom’s mountains from a lofty vantage. Nor, at present, are there any zip-lines to enjoy.

However, because of Bhutan’s legendary Himalayan terrain, it is no surprise that some of the rivers tumbling from the peaks toward their ultimate destiny as part of the mighty Brahmaputra River, offer superlative kayaking and rafting. The rivers are at their best between March - April and again between November – December.

The Paro Chhu River in the Paro Valley of Western Bhutan features a 10 kilometre stretch, between Bondey and Isuna Bridge, of grade III-IV rapids and provides a three-hour sojourn through its steep drops, and is best suited to kayaking.

Another Kayak route, below Isuna Bridge, stretches seven kilometres to Chhuzom, largely comprised of Grades II-III but with a single grade V thrown in. At Chhuzom, the flow of the Wang Chhu River takes over, providing a very serious four kilometre stretch of grade IV and one class V, to Dobji Dzong, definitely not for novices, but beyond Dobji Dzong, a further four kilometres of grade III rapids prevail.

Also in Western Bhutan, in the Punakha Valley, on the upper Pho Chhu River, seven kilometres of the river between Wangthangkha and Samdingkha provide around two hours of grade III-IV rafting or kayaking. A further seven kilometres of grade III and a single grade IV continues on to Punhakha Dzong.

Also converging on Punakha Dzong, the twelve kilometre stretch of the Mo Chhu River below Tashitang is called the Devil’s Gorge and is suited only to Kayaking, and features dangerous Class V rapids, and is recommended only to the most experienced of white water exponents.

In central Bhutan, at Wangduephodrang, a thirteen kilometre stretch of the Dang Chhu River provides Grade IV-V rapids, for experienced kayakers only, though the final five kilometres is fine for rafting. Further downstream, after its confluence with the Puna Tsang Chhu River, a fifteen kilometre stretch of grade IV - V, from Kami Chhu to Waklaytar Bridge is suitable for kayaks, while a further seventeen kilometres beyond the bridge is also suitable for rafting and comprised of grade III-IV features.

Also in Central Bhutan, near Trongsa, the Emi Datsi Canyon stretches fifty kilometres from Rayfay to Tingtibi and is a two day grade V-VI spectacular for highly serious kayakers. A stretch of the Mangde Chhu Langthei to Rayfay offers grade III-IV kayaking over a seven kilometre run.

Near Bumthang, the Tang Chhu River offers ten kilometres of grade III-IV kayaking but it should be noted that the run also features an unusual grade VI flat-water stretch highly unsuited to amateurs.

In the northeast of the country, the Kuri Chhu River flows fourteen kilometres from Lhuentse to Tangma Chuu, the first half of the run beginning with grade IV before ending with grades V-VI, only suited to kayaking. A further twenty kilometres downriver from Tangma Chhu provides for both rafting and kayaking, largely of grade IV with two grade V sections, while further downriver a ten km stretch of grade III rapids is also suited to rafting.