The Mo Chhu starts high in the Himalayas and has a few runnable sections before meeting the Pho Chhu at the Punakha Dzong. "Mo" means female and "Chhu" means water or river, so this is the "Female River." This section of river has easy Class I and II rapids combined with beautiful scenery, making it the most rafted section of river in Bhutan.

You begin at a bridge that crosses the Mo Chhu and leads to a trail that goes up to the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. It’s well worth the 30 minute hike through rice paddies up to the chorten before you paddle down the river. The first couple rapids are the most difficult (easy Class II+) and the remainder is a fairly easy float through a beautiful canyon.

The highlight is rafting by the Punakha Dzong, an old military fortress built in 1637 that is currently used for government offices, monasteries, and is the winter home of the Je Khenpo (the religious leader of Bhutan). Just past the Punakha Dzong the Mo Chhu joins with the Pho Chhu and becomes the Puna Tseng Chhu. You can take out on the right just below the confluence or paddle down further to the town of Punakha.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at the trailhead for the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.

Put-in for the Lower Mo Chhu

Put-in for the Lower Mo Chhu

Mile 0.5: Trixie’s Revenge (II+) is a left turn with some boily water just below put-in.

Rafting Trixie's Revenge Rapid on the Mo Chhu in Bhutan

Rafting Trixie's Revenge Rapid on the Mo Chhu in Bhutan

The only other named rapid on the Lower Mo Chhu is Bermudas (II).

Mile 5.1: Paddling by the Punkha Dzong is simply incredible. Just below here the Pho Chhu enters from the right.

Rafting towards the Punakha Dzong

Rafting towards the Punakha Dzong

Mile 5.3: Coffee Pot (II+) is the most difficult rapid on the Lower Mo Chhu and is just past the Punakha Dzong.

Coffee Pot Rapid on the lower Mo Chhu

Coffee Pot Rapid on the lower Mo Chhu

Mile 5.6: Take-out at a sandy beach on river right or continue downstream to the town of Khuru.

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