The Best Whitewater Rafting: 7. Paro Chhu River, Bhutan

Hike to temples along this sacred river

Rafting in Bhutan

Rafting in Bhutan offers a cultural experience     Photo: Northwest Rafting Company

More and more travelers are paying the $200-$250 per night tariff just to enter the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, but it’s still a rare opportunity to raft the country’s sacred rivers. This 11-day trip floats four Class II-III rivers past some of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world, including the Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century monastery that sits on the banks of the Mo Chhu (Mother River) and has survived six fires, two floods, and one earthquake.

You’ll also hike to Tiger’s Nest, a famous monastery chiseled into a cliff 2,000 feet above the Paro Valley floor. Forewarning: Don’t be shocked when you visit the Temple of the Divine Madman. The shrine to Bhutan’s most famous saint (who had a wicked sense of humor) is adorned with giant phalluses—which the Bhutanese believe ward off evil. $3,795; best time to go is November.

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