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Adventure Experiences

Camping

With its lush wilderness and pristine waters, Bhutan makes a perfect camping destination. You can truly appreciate the country’s spectacular sights when you spend a night (or more) camping.

 Nature-lovers can get away from the city and spend time relaxing in the serenity of the outdoors. During their camping trip, visitors can enjoy a hearty meal beneath the stars and experience the authentic essence of Bhutan.

 For the ultimate outdoor vacation, you can select luxurious villa tents in pine forests or traditional camping high in the mountains. In addition to camping, you can go hiking, trekking, birdwatching, rafting and indulge in a variety of other outdoor activities.

Cycling

From crossing suspension bridges and speeding along winding mountain trails to spotting isolated temples perched on ridges - cycling and biking in Bhutan is an experience like no other.

 With the natural landscape of the country affording both smooth rides and off-road challenges, it is no surprise that this adventure sport is becoming one of the most popular activities in Bhutan. 

 Thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies can tailor the cycling tour to their needs but whatever you choose, the journey across mountain passes and through rural villages will be one you won’t soon forget.  There are specialised tour operators in Bhutan who can help plan every step of your cycling adventure.

Marathons and international events

Bhutan is known for both its mountainous terrain and carbon negative status. Athletic events organized in the country challenge both local and international participants and push even the most seasoned athletes to their limits.

 The most well-known of these events is the Snowman Race, which happens once every few years. Calling for climate action, this grueling ultra-marathon covers more than 222 km in the mountains and has been completed by only the most elite runners.

The annual Bhutan International Marathon is conducted to provide international competitors with a unique race experience and also to encourage running as a sport among the country’s youth.

 The Laya Run is part of the famous Royal Highlander Festival. This high-altitude 53 km takes runners along the Mochhu river and up into the mountains of Gasa Dzongkhag.

Helicopter Tours

Imagine seeing Bhutan from a birds-eye view. The traditional houses, winding rivers and terraced paddy fields laid out before you as if it were a map in a guidebook. You can now see this with your own eyes with helicopter tours.

 The Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service, operated by Druk Air, provides tours for those who don’t have the time for trekking and hiking or just want to experience Bhutan from the skies.

 Besides facilitating emergency air-lifts and evacuations, these helicopters have become a popular activity for tourists. Sit back and enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains and sites like Taktsang Monastery and Drugyel Dzong.

Hiking

Hiking in Bhutan is one of the most popular activities to do in Bhutan. The clean air, abundant forests and protected wildlife all contribute to the country’s reputation as a premier destination for nature lovers.

If long overnight treks are not your thing, short and scenic hikes will give you a taste of the Bhutanese outdoors. With a myriad of options all over the country, these gentler hiking trails can all be completed within a day.

The easy to moderate level hiking trails can be walked or cycled and afford great views of the surroundings, glimpses of flora and fauna and sometimes lead to renowned pilgrimage sites.

Unlike the trekking trails available in the country, these hiking trails are not as difficult. These short hiking trails such as the Changangkha to Buddha point hiking trail are fairly easy with not much of a steep climb. This route includes a scenic view of the Thimphu valley below.

The Trans Bhutan Trail has also recently been restored. For hundreds of years, it was used by pilgrims, messengers, armies and traders. Until the 1960s, it was the only way to travel and communicate with others across the country. Now, it has found a new life for an age of adventure and connection. More info about the Trans Bhutan Trail can be found at this link: https://www.transbhutantrail.com/

  1. Dochula to Lungchutse Lhakhang Hike (2-3 hours)

  2. Changangkha to Buddha point Hike (1.5 -2 hours)

  3. Gangtey Nature Hike (1 hour)

  4. Paro Taktsang Hike (5-6 hours)

  5. Chelela and Kungkarpo Sky Burial (1 day)

  6. Zuri Goenpa Hike (5-6 hours)

  7. Bumdra Hike (5 hours)

  8. Phajoding Hike (6 hours)

  9. Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Hike 2

  10. Tango Monastery Hike (2 hours)

  11. Gangtey to Longtey Village Hike (4 hours)

  12. Bumthang Cultural Hike (2 hours)

  13. Ngang Lhakhang to Tahung Hike (6 hours)

Motorcycle Tours

Motorcycling in Bhutan is a thrilling and adventurous way to explore the country's stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in its unique culture. The mountainous terrain, winding roads, and scenic vistas make Bhutan a paradise for motorcycle enthusiasts seeking a memorable riding experience. With great roads, a slow speed limit and incredible scenery, Bhutan is one of the world’s best destinations for motorcycle tours.

Rafting

The  glacial waters from the Himalayas provide Bhutan with the perfect avenue for thrilling rafting adventures. Get your helmets and life jackets on as you traverse mild currents and challenging rapids.

 The seven major rivers are Puna Tsang Chhu, Wang Chhu, Sankosh River, Mangde Chhu, Mo Chhu and Drangme Chhu. The rivers are graded in terms of their difficulty level.

With scenic views and a range of options, rafting in Bhutan is a perfect way to beat the heat in summer or get the blood pumping in the cooler seasons. Perfect for all outdoor enthusiasts, you can choose between rafting  groups and solo kayaking.

Traditional Sports

The national sport of archery is much beloved in Bhutan. The bow and arrow were originally used as weapons of defense during ancient wars but are now played recreationally during festivals and special occasions.

The traditional archery bow is made of hard dried bamboo. This is a social game where the players try to hit the target while the opposing team sings and dances around the target. The women sing bawdy songs to try and deter the opponent’s aim.

Besides archery, games like khuru (darts) are popular among men during the New Year celebration. Fathers, uncles and brothers play archery while the women traditionally prepare food and brew alcohol.

As Bhutan gradually develops, young people are interested in sports like football, basketball and golf. Traditional games are now seen more in rural communities but are being revived to preserve the nation's rich cultural heritage.

  1. Archery

In Bhutanese archery, there will be two teams of archers shooting at a target that is about 145 meters away. When the archer hits the target, dancing and singing are part of the celebration. Although it may be seen as a safety concern the archers drink plenty of beer and local wine, claiming that alcohol gives them greater aim.

  1. Khuru

In this traditional sport, there will be teams of 8 to 12. They throw large darts at a target which will be 20 meters away. Players sing, dance and make merry.

  1. Sok Som

Soksom is similar to the sport of javelin but here the player has to hit the target at the end of the range. It was mainly popular among the cow herders in the olden days. They would play with other herders while their cows grazed.

  1. Degor

This sport has two teams of six. Players take turns throwing flat stones at a wooden target, stuck in the ground. They get a score when the rock is close to or hits the target.

  1. Pungdo

This is the Bhutanese version of shot-put. Players throw flat stones from shoulder level.

  1. Jigdum

Players throw a sharp end wood that is 1 feet long at the target. Two types of jigdum are used, one long wood and a two pronged wood.

  1. Keshey

This sport is the Bhutanese version of wrestling where two opponents hold each other from the waist to toss their opponents onto the ground.

  1. Sheray Paray

Two people take turns holding each other's wrist with one person trying to break free from the other.

  1. Langthab

Langthab literally translates to bullfight. This traditional sport requires a strong head where both the players try to head-butt each other into submission.

Golf

While Bhutan may not be the initial choice for golfing enthusiasts, it certainly offers them exceptional and captivating experiences. With its unspoiled environments and tranquil ambiance, Bhutan presents well-crafted golf courses. As a result, golf has gained significant traction in Bhutan, establishing itself as a prominent aspect of the country's sports and recreational pursuits. Both residents and visitors are wholeheartedly embracing the sport, which seamlessly combines a passion for the game with the breathtaking surroundings of Bhutan.

Golf in Bhutan began in 1968 and today, there are a total of four golf courses, which are all 9 holes. These include the Royal Thimphu Golf Club (RTGC), India House Golf Club, Haa Golf Club, and Drakpoi Golf Club.

Trekking

Only in Bhutan can you experience traversing across glacial rivers, interacting with indigenous wildlife and trekking to the base of the highest unclimbed mountain in the world (Gangkar Puensum). This makes the country popular with trekkers and hikers the world over.

There are trekking alternatives to suit all aptitudes of climbers and experience levels along the long stretch of trails within Bhutan. The variety of paths found in Bhutan’s Royal National parks and reserves ensures that there is something for everyone, from easy nature trails that highlight fragile ecosystems to strenuous multi-day trekking through the uninhabited wilderness.

Trekking in Bhutan is categorized according to three levels of difficulty: hard, medium and easy. The Snowman Trek is the toughest trekking trail Bhutan has to offer. In this 20+ day trek, visitors climb higher than 5000 meters and cover 13 passes in the snowy mountains of northern Bhutan.

Although there are maps which make going solo trekking without guides possible, the guided tours offer a more immersive experience.  Local guides have experience with winding trails, important sights and can offer fun anecdotes and cultural insights.

Maximum Elevation

1. Bumthang Cultural Trek (3,120 m)

2. Bumthang Owl Trek (4,000 m)

3. Dagala thousand Lakes Trek (4,270 m)

4. Dagana- Thimphu Via Dagala trek (4,000 m)

5. Druk Path Trek (4,200 m)

6. Duer Hot Spring Trek (4,700 m)

7. Gangtey Trek (3,120 m)

8. Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek (5,005 m)

9. Jomolhari Loop (5,000 m)

10. Jomolhari trek (5,000 m)

11. Merak Sakteng Trek (4,100 m)

12. Nabji Korphu Trek (1,500 m)

13. Punakha Winter Trek (3,400 m)

14. Salt Trek Route (2,218 m)

15. Samtengang Winter Trek (1,900 m)

16. Snowman Trek I (5,320 m)

17. Snowman Trek II (5,320 m)

18. The Far- Out East Bhutan Trek (3,000 m)

19. Wild East Rodung La Trek (4,160 m)

 

Minimun Elevation

1. Bumthang Cultural Trek (1,200 m)

2. Bumthang Owl Trek (2,250 m)

3. Dagala thousand Lakes Trek (2,250 m)

4. Dagana- Thimphu Via Dagala trek (1,500 m)

5. Druk Path Trek (2,400m)

6. Duer Hot Spring Trek (3000 m)

7. Gangtey Trek (2,250 m)

8. Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek (2250 m)

9. Jomolhari Loop (2,500 m)

10. Jomolhari trek (2,500 m)

11. Merak Sakteng Trek (1,500 m)

12. Nabji Korphu Trek (1,000 m)

13. Punakha Winter Trek (2,250 m)

14. Salt Trek Route (686 m)

15. Samtengang Winter Trek (1,100 m)

16. Snowman Trek I (2,850 m)

17. Snowman Trek II (2,850 m)

18. The Far- Out East Bhutan Trek (800 m)

19. Wild East Rodung La Trek (2,250 m)

 

Difficulty

1. Bumthang Cultural Trek (Easy)

2. Bumthang Owl Trek (Easy)

3. Dagala thousand Lakes Trek (Medium)

4. Dagana- Thimphu Via Dagala trek (Medium)

5. Druk Path Trek (Medium)

6. Duer Hot Spring Trek (Hard)

7. Gangtey Trek (Easy)

8. Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek (Hard)

9. Jomolhari Loop (Medium)

10. Jomolhari trek (Medium)

11. Merak Sakteng Trek (Medium)

12. Nabji Korphu Trek (Easy)

13. Punakha Winter Trek (Easy)

14. Salt Trek Route (Hard)

15. Samtengang Winter Trek (Easy)

16. Snowman Trek I (Hard)

17. Snowman Trek II (Hard)

18. The Far- Out East Bhutan Trek (Medium)

19. Wild East Rodung La Trek (Medium)

 

Season

1. Bumthang Cultural Trek (May)

2. Bumthang Owl Trek (March, April, May, June, November, December)

3. Dagala thousand Lakes Trek (April, May, June, September, October)

4. Dagana- Thimphu Via Dagala trek (April, June, October, November)

5. Druk Path Trek (March, April, May, June, September, October, November)

6. Duer Hot Spring Trek (March, April, September, October, November)

7. Gangtey Trek (April, May, September, October, November)

8. Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek (May, June, September, October, November)

9. Jomolhari Loop (May, June, September, October, November)

10. Jomolhari trek (September, October, November)

11. Merak Sakteng Trek (March, April, May, September, October, November)

12. Nabji Korphu Trek (January, February, March, April, October, November, December)

13. Punakha Winter Trek (March, April, May, September, October, November)

14. Salt Trek Route (July, August, September)

15. Samtengang Winter Trek (March, April, September, October)

16. Snowman Trek I (July, August, September, October)

17. Snowman Trek II (June, July, August, September, October)

18. The Far- Out East Bhutan Trek (March, April, May, August, September, October, November)

19. Wild East Rodung La Trek (April, May, October, November)

 

Duration

1. Bumthang Cultural Trek (3 days)

2. Bumthang Owl Trek (3 days)

3. Dagala thousand Lakes Trek (6 days)

4. Dagana- Thimphu Via Dagala trek (6 days)

5. Druk Path Trek (7 days)

6. Duer Hot Spring Trek (9 days)

7. Gangtey Trek (4 days)

8. Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek (13 days)

9. Jomolhari Loop (7 days)

10. Jomolhari trek (10 days)

11. Merak Sakteng Trek (7 days)

12. Nabji Korphu Trek (6 days)

13. Punakha Winter Trek (3 days)

14. Salt Trek Route (8 days)

15. Samtengang Winter Trek (4 days)

16. Snowman Trek I (26 days)

17. Snowman Trek II (28 days)

18. The Far- Out East Bhutan Trek (6 days)

19. Wild East Rodung La Trek (9 days)

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