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Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights

Destination: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue

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The mighty and majestic glacier fed Mo Chhu River gushing down through the midst of terrace rice fields, scattered settlement, mixed forest, protected and undisturbed wilderness provides an exciting opportunity for rafts & kayaks enthusiast. The exhilarating Mo Chhu rivers perfect with lush green landscape and heart pounding rapids is perfect for kayaks & rafts of all time. Come, experience this natural paradise, and challenge the rapids of Mo Chhu River. It offers a year-round recreation from beginning of February until the end of December. To make it more interesting you can explore the multi-day kayaks and raft through Punakha region.

Detailed Itinerary

The remarkable Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan where the historical events, coronation of the first king Ugyen Wangchuk and the first National Assembly Session was accounted to held here. Punakha still function as the winter capital for the monastic body headed by the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). It lies at an elevation as lowly as 4430ft/1350m and the sub-tropical valley of Punakha is warmer than Thimphu. Punakha is also the home for the fabulous Punakha Dzong, which is one of the most spectacular and important in the kingdom saddled on the confluence of two rivers Pho chhu(male river) and Mo Chhu(female river) resembling the giant battleship. The dzong was built in 1637 and it was named “Pungthang Dechen Phodrang” which means the Palace of Great Happiness.

  • Location: Western Bhutan
  • Distance from Thimphu: 77 km (03 ½ hours)
  • Elevation: 1350m/4430ft

Mo Chhu (Female River) is one of the major rivers in Bhutan with its source in Gasa region, which is the northern district, that border to Tibet.  The lakes that forms Mo Chhu (Female River) are –Laya Tsho(lake) near Laya Gewog, Sinchhe Glacier Lake in Laya Gewog, Mt. Gangchentag Glacier Lake, which comes together to form Mo Chhu(Female River). The river raise in Gasa province and generally flow downhill through the valley of Kabji and then generally flow towards southward to Punakha through the side of the Punakha Dzong and immediately meet with the Pho Chhu (male river) just below the Punakha Dzong or in front of Punakha High School and together forms Puna Tshangchu. The combined river flowing further 11 Km it is joined by Dang Chhu, which flows through the valley of Wangdue province drained from the Black Mountain. Flowing further through the southern region the name is changed to Sunkosh River until it cross the Bhutan border and finally joints Brahmaputra.

Access Point

  • Paro: 142 Km 05 hours
  • Thimphu: 77 km 2 ½ hours
  • Wangdue: 13 Km 30 minutes

Scenery: The beautiful valley of Punakha provides immense opportunity through its rich natural environment for adventure activities of all kind. The valley is rich and abounds with terrace rice crops and orchards with steep valley, golden topped monasteries, and temple scattered throughout.

What to Bring: We suggest you to bring bathing suits, shoes that best fit for rafts & kayaks, towel, waterproof camera, sunscreen, bug spray, string to hold your sunglasses, sandals to use after the rafts (can keep in the car), and flop flops.

Other Information

Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park (JDWNP): The Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park is one of the fully operated parks in the country with its location range from Punakha, Gasa, Thimphu and Paro, covering around 434950ha. Having the largest protected areas of conservatory of glaciers, alpine meadows, scrublands, sub-alpine, temperate conifer forests, warm and cool temperate broad-leaved forests, major rivers and streams, and the flora and fauna that inhabits the ecosystem. It is also home for many endangered animal species like- Takin, Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, Himalayan Barking Deer, Red Panda, Marmots and several bird species. There are several medicinal plants found in the park used for commercial, medicinal, traditional and religious values.

Available Rafts and Kayaks

Upper Mo Chhu

  • Location: Punakha (Western Bhutan)
  • Rafts & Kayaks Location: Kabji Botokha – Khamsum Yueli Namgyel Chorten
  • Sport Length: 5 Km (1 ½ hours)
  • Difficulty: Class III – IV
  • Flow: 1500 – 2000 cfs
  • Best Season: March – April, November – December (Tips: With good scouting, runs at higher flow possible)
  • Crafts: Rafts & Kayaks

Lower Mo Chhu

  • Location: Punakha ( Western Bhutan)
  • Rafts & Kayaks Location: Khamsum Yueli Namgyel Chorten – Below Punakha Dzong
  • Length: 6 km (01 hour) (Note: In spring, higher winds and small currents wakes this stretch longer and harder)
  • Difficulty: Class I – II
  • Flow: 800 – 1000 cfs
  • Best Season: March – April, November – December ( Tips: With good scouting, runs at higher flows possible)
  • Craft: Rafts & Kayaks

Available only Kayaks

Mo Chhu – Tashithang Devil’s Gorge Section

  • Location: Punakha (Western Bhutan)
  • Kayaks Location: Tashithang – Below Punakha Dzong
  • Sport Length: 12 km (05 – 06 hour with scouting)
  • Difficulty: Class V
  • Flow: 1000 – 3000 cfs
  • Season: February until December (Caution: higher than medium flow makes this run dangerous. High water run not recommended for amateur).
  • Crafts: Kayaks Only (Too steep for rafts)

Mo Chhu Upper Run

  • Location: Punakha (Western Bhutan)
  • Kayaks Location: Kabjisa – below Punakha Dzong
  • Sport Length: 5 Km (1 ½ hour with scouting)
  • Difficulty: Class IV – V
  • Flow: 1500 – 2000 cfs
  • Best Season: March – April, November – December
  • Crafts: Kayaks Only