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Bhutan is not just about dzongs and monasteries. The pristine environment, the lush green forests and gushing rivers and rolling mountains is an ideal setting for some adrenaline pumping outdoor activities. Over the years, a lot of opportunities have been developed to satisfy those adventurous souls who are always on the quest to plunge into a world of thrill and excitement.
While trekking is one of the most exciting adventurous activities popular in Bhutan, mountain biking, river rafting and kayaking, fly-fishing and rock climbing are some of the activities fast becoming popular.
The tourism industry recognised mountain biking as a viable product a few years ago and since then it has gained considerable popularity, both among the visitors and the locals. A number of dedicated trails
are located in Phobjikha and Punakha and similar cycling excursions are possible in Paro, Thimphu and Bumthang with its beautiful wide valleys. For those looking to experience more, a cross-country biking
tour takes you along the winding highway which involves a lot of uphill peddling at times and negotiating sharp bends and corners.
These river activities are new to Bhutan. Over the past decade, some of the many rivers in the country
have been explored and are considered to be potential for some of the best river rafting in the world. For a beginner, the easy gentle float on the Mo Chhu in Punakha which stretches to about 6 km, starting at
the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten point and ends past the Punakha Dzong is a perfect trip.
Though fishing is generally an undesired activity and frowned upon by the Bhutanese, individuals can obtain license (Nu. 500 per day) to fish in its rivers. However, some strict measures are in place. Fishing is prohibited within a kilometre of a monastery, a lhakhang, a dzong or any religious centre. Fishing season is ‘closed’ for the months of October to December every year and fishing is also banned on some auspicious days. ‘Fly-fishing’ is, however, picking up among the locals and the tourists as an alternative sport to fishing.
Bhutan may not have the first class facilities to offer golf enthusiasts from around the world, but it surely makes up by giving the thrill to be golfing in one of the most remote golf courses in the world. Placed beautifully overlooking the magnificent Tashichho Dzong in the heart of the capital, The Royal Thimphu Golf Course has a nine-hole course (par 34, 2800yards). It is the only public golf course and visitors are welcome to experience the opportunity to play in an environment very different.
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