On November 14th Bio Bio Expeditions joined forces with Ultimate Descents, to run the first raft descent of the Drangme Chuu river in Eastern Bhutan.
Dave Allardice of Ultimate Descents writes ” Let’s not mince words here: Bhutan is the cutest little kingdom on earth. A gigantic staircase rising from the Indian border to the high Himalayas of Tibet, the soaring peaks of Bhutan are an untapped treasure house of whitewater. The rivers are powerful and challenging. The mountains are magnificent. The people are delightful. The architecture and art is superb. All together, this is a world-class odyssey in a magical land. Far from being a static, restricted environment, Bhutan is a dynamic country whose development is focused on meeting the practical, spiritual and aesthetic needs of its people. Compared with the countries that surround it, Bhutan is succeeding remarkably well.”
Bhutan is only 130 miles wide but still takes 4 full days of driving to cross the country and arrive at our put-in. Along the way we visited Dzongs (large fortresses), monastaries, and enjoyed an amazing 20 k raft descent of the class IV Mangde Chuu river. We arrived to the far eastern reaches of the country near Trashigang, Bhutan and got our first glimpses of the Drangme Chuu river. The river was running clear with an estimated 4000 CFS. We spent the next 7 days rafting and kayaking 120 K from Trashigang to the Indian Border. We were thrilled to find one of the finest rafting experiences in Asia. We found big fun class 4 + whitewater, with an occasional class 5 rapid, big beaches, wildlife, very few bugs, and plenty of interaction with local Bhutanese people. Simply put, the river canyon is a gem and we were all excited to have the opportunity to experience it still in its pristine state.
The people of Bhutan are some of the most gracious people we have ever met, warm and welcoming, and the country has left us with an indelible image of what is possible in an otherwise chaotic world. Hope for our planet is very evident in Bhutan.
We look forward to running the Drangme Chuu river again in 2010.
Click here for a short video preview – Final video coming in January.