Rafting ventures in Nepal – Paddling down the rapids!

Nepal although a land-locked country avoided by the marine bodies boasts with an immense resource of water. As only a small percentage of this huge reserve has been utilized purposefully for hydel projects, water-supply or irrigation schemes, a majority of the rivers rove aimlessly. However, a few of them offer the opportunity of white-water exploit to the swashbucklers who enjoy maneuvering their rafts against the rapid of Himalayan streams. According to the Nepal Association of Rafting Agents, a union of the rafting entrepreneurs, 11 rivers in the country are open for rafting expedition. These rivers are categorized according to the international scale of river difficulty, expressed in Roman figure from I to VI, sometimes appended with a + or – to the figure. The grade for each river varies with the season. The rivers in Nepal permitted for the rafting are usually between the grades III and IV. Hence, rafting and kayaking can be enjoyed by the novices also with the help of a river guide.

Whitewater Rafting on the Bhote Koshi in Nepal.The most popular rivers for rafting in Nepal are: Trishuli and Bhotekoshi followed by Sunkoshi, Seti , Kali Gandaki and others. Trishuli and Bhotekoshi can be reached within 4 hours from Kathmandu. The start-point of Trishuli expedition lies somewhere in the middle of Kathmandu and Pokhara making it the most accessible river-trip. The trip can be completed within a day, is relatively easier than Bhotekoshi and is the most economical raft option. On the other hand, Bhotekoshi has a high gradient with steep rapids and is preferred by somewhat experienced rafters. It is also recognized as one of the best short raft trips found in the world (source: Lonely Planet). The other easier and cheaper alternatives are Sunkoshi and Seti while challenging river-routes are Marsyangdi, Kali Gandaki, Tamor and Karnali, the last two being located a bit farther from Kathmandu.

The season appropriate for rafting and Kayaking coincides with the tourist season of Nepal- between September to December. The river is gentle during the spring which is best time for beginning paddlers. For more audacious rafters, monsoon is favorable with the floods contributing to an adrenaline-surging challenge! The trips can be booked between 50 to 80 USD depending upon your requirements and the number of expeditors. The river guides provided with the payment of package price are usually well-experienced, most of them having overseas experience and/or license. There are also training centers or “Kayak Clinics” run by rafting companies that provide practical on-the-water instructions to the tyros on proper paddling, rescue and maneuvering according to river dynamics.

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