Inside Bhutan

Inside Bhutan – Bhutan Drangme Chu River Expedition from Live The Adventure on Vimeo.

This is the ultimate adventure travel itinerary exploring some exclusive areas of Bhutan as we travel by private transport, bike and raft. Starting from the capital ‘Thimphu’, our adventure takes us across to central Bhutan over three 3000m Himalayan passes with our private bus and fleet of mountain bikes. This gives us the opportunity to pick and choose the best biking enroute including some outstanding descents from the high passes, as we make our way acroos the country towards central Bhutan. Along the journey, we will also take advantage of the rivers and raft some great half day trips as preparation for our multi-day journey later on. This part of the adventure passes through remote villages, inspiring Dzongs and monasteries and along stunning valleys as we mix adventure with culture including timing it with, the rare experience of the colour and splendour of, the national festival in ‘Mongar’.

Once we arrive in central Bhutan, we then step up the adventure as we travel off road as far as our bus can take us and then with the aid of ponies, walk to the head of the Drangme Chu River to a beautiful sandy beach our base for the night. From this point on, we will be totally self-sufficient with all of our expedition equipment as we spend the next 4 days descending the stunning Drangme Chu River draining towards India and into the Manas National Park. The journey offers some exciting rapids to run and a unique perspective to this kingdom as we travel through remote villages and areas rarely seen by western eyes. The Manas region is one of the largest untouched bio diverse regions left on the planet and a UNESCO world heritage site due to its diversity of wildlife, flora and fauna.

This unique itinerary is aimed at all levels of ability with the option to bike as often or little as you like as we journey east, offering rafting suitable for complete novices through to those with experience. Our journey east to the river utilises the many welcoming hotels each evening to rest and try the local food and drink. Four nights of our adventure will be spent camping on the beautiful sandy beaches on the banks of the river where your guides will prepare fresh meals whilst you relax after your time on the water.

We end our trip inside the Manas National Park where we spend two nights on the Indian border exploring the jungle by elephant and jeep, staying at our jungle lodge each evening, before we start our journey home.

The whole trip will be led by Live the Adventure Director ‘Anthony’, who was part of the team that pioneered the first descents of the rivers and had exclusive access to explore the country, including being one of the first westerners to enter the Manas region. He currently works at the forefront of adventure travel in Bhutan and has guided throughout the Kingdom as well as currently being a training provider to the Bhutanese river guides. He will be joined by guides that he regularly works with, many of whom were trained by him, ensuring the best possible adventure experience combining local knowledge and the most experienced guides in Bhutan.

Day 1 – Arrive at Paro by air from Delhi (no flight on Tuesday’s or Thursday’s) or Bangkok or Kathmandu. Hike to the famous monastery ‘Tigers Nest’ and then we stay overnight in Paro at a comfortable traditional Bhutanese style lodge.

Day 2 – Drive/Mountain bike to Punakha over the Dochu La pass (3,116m). In the afternoon, we will be able to visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong and stay the evening at a secluded riverside resort. Paddlers will have the opportunity during the evening to outfit their kayaks ready for the next day.

Day 3 – Our first taste of Bhutan white-water will be a morning run down the pristine Mo Chhu River which is class 2 or 3/4. In the afternoon, various options including bike riding before spending another night at the riverside resort.

Day 4 – Spend day rafting or kayaking the Po Chhu (class 3), mountain biking, hiking or whatever you choose. In the evening we spend the night in Wangdu to cut short the next day’s drive time.

Day 5 – Long drive day to Bumthang as we head east across Bhutan, with regular stops to take in the stunning scenery and immerse ourselves in the culture. Spend the night at a local lodge.

Day 6 – Back on the water for the morning to paddle the Upper Chamkhar Chhu (class 3) and spend the afternoon sightseeing in Bumthang. Spend the evening at a local lodge.

Day 7 – A fairly long drive again today to Mongar (options to mountain bike will be available). This takes us even further east through more rural villages and more remote scenery. Spend the night at the hotel in Mongar.

Day 8 – Mongar Festival and sightseeing around Mongar (November 21st last day of Mongar Festival).

Day 9 – Drive from Mongar and stop when the road is no more and set up our camp for the night.

Day 10 – Pack up camp and head off to meet the ponies and then hike to the River. THIS IS WHERE THE REAL ADVENTURE STARTS! From this point, we will be totally self-sufficient with all of our expedition gear, in one of the last untouched regions of the world. We pack all our gear in the dry bags and then trek down a small pony trail that winds down to the Drangme Chhu. Expect about 3 hours of hiking, once we arrive at the River we camp on a beautiful beach where we meet the Drangme Chhu for the first time.

Day 11 to Day 14 – We set off on our kayaking and rafting descent of the Drangme Chhu. Even though the River has been run a small number of times before, due to monsoon floods we will still need to treat this as a relatively unknown run. We camp on riverside beaches surrounded by wild jungle, lighting camp fires in the evenings and preparing evening meals.

Day 14 – We end our trip in the Royal Manas National Park on the Indian Border which is one of the largest bio diverse regions in the world. We take out and cross the border into India and spend the night at a modest safari lodge.

Day 15 – A day on safari in Manas National Park with elephant rides and time to relax at the lodge where we spend a second night and enjoy a farewell celebration dinner.

Day 16 – On our final morning, we will take a morning jeep drive to Guwahati airport and then fly homewards via Delhi or Bangkok.

Passport Information

Your passport must have at least six months valid duration at the time of travel. We will also need a copy of your passport for our files in the UK. We also advise you carry photo copies of your passport whilst travelling.

Visa Information

Your visa for entry into Bhutan will be arranged by ‘Live the Adventure’ Worldwide Travel.  We will send you a copy of the visa form for you to fill out and return to us and we will then arrange your visa for you. Dependant on your travel arrangements and your itinerary, you may be required to apply for an Indian visa if you are entering India at any time in transit. This can be done via the Indian embassy.

Medical Information

For all up-to-date medical information please visit:  This website will inform you which inoculations to you need for the countries you are travelling to, and all advice on medical kit you may want to take with you. Inoculations must be done at least 6 weeks prior to your trip departure.

Flight Information

Live the Adventure has a dedicated flight account manager at STA Travel who understands the intricacies of our travel itineraries. If you complete the form on our Check Flights page it will be sent to STA Travel and also to Live the Adventure. If you would prefer to talk through any details with Live the Adventure first i.e. before completing the STA Travel Flight Enquiry Form below, please call us on 01746 718 436. We are very happy to talk through and recommend arrival and departure scenarios to fit in with your choosen travel itineraries, as well as different flight options and stop overs before you confirm or book your international flights and help make your flight booking process as smooth and as hassle free as possible.

Once your flights are booked, we will also need a copy of all your flight information. Bhutan Entry Flight options: all entry into Bhutan is through Paro (PBH) airport. These flights are not included in the listed price and upon confirmation of your connecting international flights we will book these for you and in doing so arrange your entry visas into Bhutan. Current flight options fly in from Delhi, Bangkok, Kathmandu and Mumbai.

Insurance Information

We have worked with many companies that supply insurance for our trips. Should you need any assistance with this we can put you in contact with them. We advise that you take your insurance out straight away so that if anything was to happen from now to the trip departure date then you will be able to claim.  Your insurance must cover you for the whole of the trip and all the activities listed in your Trip Itinerary. We will need you to send us a full copy of your insurance policy before your trip departs.

$6300.00 USD per person for 2016 (£4540.00 GBP as of 29.02.16)

Prices are quoted in US Dollars.  When paying for your holiday you will be charged in Pounds Sterling (GBP) based on the rate of exchange on the day of purchase.

The cost of this Bhutan Adventure Holiday expedition includes:

All accommodation on twin/double occupany basis and meals
Private land transport
Permits, fees and taxes for all itinerary destinations
All mountain bike and rafting equipment
Fully experienced and qualified cultural and activity guide

The above costs do not include the following:

Costs for consumption of alcoholic beverages, sodas and bottled drinks which will have to be paid for individually
Hot stone bath option
International Flights
Guide Gratuities
Personal insurance
Single room supplement charge of $400 per person.

Privately Guided Closed Trips: This trip can be privately guided for a minimum of 4 people with dates can be chosen to suit you.

Please contact us to check availability before completing this booking form. A 25% deposit is required with all bookings.  Once we have received your completed booking form and deposit you will receive a full set of joining instructions including kit list.

Booking and Medical form

Inside Bhutan


Trip Rating

This trip can be arranged as a private itinerary, dates to suit you, for a minimum of 4 people


$6300.00 USD for 2016 (£4540.00 as of 29.02.16)


16 days

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