The rugged, mountainous landscape of Bhutan lends itself well to both on-road or off-road mountain biking and the sport is seeing increasing popularity among both visitors and Bhutanese alike. There are a variety of biking routes available ranging from smooth journeys on paved roads to challenging off-road dirt trails that wind through rough terrain. The sport offers a certain intimacy with the environment that is seldom experienced in vehicles. With better roads replacing the old and the increasing number of off-road roads, biking is now becoming a very unique and original way of seeing and interacting with the country, people and the Bhutanese environment.
Most biking trips go through well paved roads while others trail on to dirt roads and trails. Traffic is still relatively very light and the experience very intimate. The more adventurous have the option of making side excursions for more “off-the-road” ventures if prefer. The trails accommodate most types of frames: including MTB, Hybrid, and Road, depending on your cycling style and experience. Biking trails mostly meander through small towns and villages and rural areas; it’s just you, your bike, the tour group and the agrarian and natural scenery.
There are also numerous opportunities for optional hikes with a bit of climbing thrown in. There are some challenging climbs with one in particular that is more than seven hours. You peddle the pads over two miles (3,400 meters) above sea level. Your effort is rewarded with a breathtaking view and an unforgettable experience. Riders should have an adequate level of fitness and stamina and be experienced enough in the art of mountain biking. Tours are fully supported by a van following riders. The van allows riders to rest should they require it. Many of the biking trails lead through small villages and temples which can provide interesting and informative diversions should you wish to take a break.
The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are one of the kingdom’s best kept open secrets. Fed by the glacial-melt of the Eastern Himalayas, six major rivers (Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu and Dangme Chhu and their tributaries), have been scouted for kayaking and rafting.
They cut through high valleys and low plains to meet up with the Brahmaputra River in India. The pristine natural setting and the sheer variety of the rivers’ courses provides a unique opportunity to explore Bhutan’s beautiful wilderness. Adventurous travelers will not be disappointed by the rugged, untamed waterways of Bhutan. The rivers are plentiful with strong currents varying between slow, gentle flows in some places and powerful, raging torrents can be found throughout the country. Although adventure sports and tourism are relatively recent introductions to Bhutan, they are rapidly gaining in popularity.
The river courses available in Bhutan offer something for all visitors, regardless of experience: There are easy routes for beginners and hair-raising runs for the veterans. Besides the rafts and the kayaks, Bhutanese agents also organize walking and trekking expeditions along the scenic river banks. The best time for rafting and kayaking is from March to April and November to December.