RAFTING IN NEPAL

Thrill and Adventure into the gushing water

By LB THAPA FOR THE ROAMING POST

Adventure into the gushing water is the most extreme form of adventure. It is therefore white water rafting has been much popular among daredevils who want to test the ultimate limit of their courage. The interesting fact is that now not only foreigners but Nepali youths have also started showing keen interest in white water rafting. The increasing numbers of Nepali and foreigners towards white water rafting has elated the tourism entrepreneurs in general and rafting companies in particular. Until a few months before the earthquake the number of Nepali and foreign visitors for rafting were enough. But now their numbers have drastically plummeted to a large extent. However, many entrepreneurs believe that the nation will rise again from the rubble for sure.

Nabin Gurung has always been close to white water rafting business ever since he was a small boy. As a small kid in his village he had earned a nick name ‘Fishman’. He had spent all his childhood playing in the river. Nabin was born in Kuringhat, Chitwan, a village entirely located by the side of the Trishuli River. Even at the age of five he would go to the river with a gang of mischievous village boys and dare to swim in the river. “Since I was too small to go to the river, I would always get strict instruction for not stepping into the river. My job was to take care of their clothes until they return from the other side of the river. All of them were consummate swimmers. They would invariably swim across the river and go other side of the river to steal mangoes from the trees. As soon as those big boys reach on the other side of the river, I would enter into the river and hone my swimming skill. One day, those big boys came early and saw me swimming in the middle of the lake. They could not believe in their eyes”.

Nabin’s love for rivers made him popular among the locality. Eventually his dream turned into reality when he started his own white water rafting company. “I knew if I could do anything good then it was only a business related to the river or I would be good for nothing. And today I am very glad that by the grace of god I am doing what I always liked the most in my life” added Nabin Gurung.

Nabin and his family collected every single penny they had and ventured to set up ‘Adrenaline Rush Nepal Pvt. Ltd.’ in 2003. Literally speaking his entire family is involved in the business. His father Sher Bahadur Gurung, elder brother Nirajan Gurung, and younger brother Niroj Gurung all siblings are consummate rafting guides. “We belonged to an ordinary family in the village. There was not much left in the village as agriculture was highly precarious profession. It was necessary to do something urgently to support the growing expenditure of the family but no one could decide as what to do. Finally I convinced my family to begin a rafting company. My parents had faith in me as a result we teamed up and jumped into the business. It was my family members’ belief in me that infused me with courage and determination” he quipped.

With the passage of time, Nabin Gurung’s business flourished and won the confidence of the adventure loving foreigners. His business is unique in the sense that all the staff in the company is the family members…there is no paid salary staff. Well, it sounds bizarre but it is true. In the meantime, something much unexpected happened in Nabin’s life. He fell in love with Miss Joelle Parker, a vivacious lady from US, and they got married. After having joined the family Parker led the team from the front and took the business to a new height.

There are three popular sporting disciplines in the river. They are Kayaking, Cannoning, and Rafting. But very recently ‘Adrenaline Rush Nepal’ has introduced Duckies or River Tubing for the first time. Though River Tubing is not a new thing abroad, but in Nepal it is a new entrant. The River Tubing is an ideal adventure for the beginners where rivers do not flow very hard. Believe it or not the River Tubing has become very popular among the beginners in Nepal. The River Tubing is conducted in the Trishuli River, when its currents are much calmer and also the Seti River. The best season for all kinds of waterborne adventure in Nepal is from September to November and March to May. A trip to Karnali takes normally 10 days, Tamur (Taplejung) 12 days, Kaligandaki, 3 days, Marsyangdi, 2 days, Lower Seti, 2 days, Trishuli, 1-3 days, and Bhotekoshi, 2 days.

Nepal Association of Rafting Agency (NARA) does govern all the agencies in discipline. It encourages all the agencies to work in a professional manner to satisfy their clients. To fill with more thrills among the adventure loving enthusiasts, every year NARA organizes a national level competition in the Trishuli River at Fisling. NARA has been doing its job most professionally. However, many trekking and rafting agencies have more expectations from the NARA. “Due to lack of strict law to govern the adventure related activities in the country, many unprofessional men have become guides in these days. If the government is unable to clamp down such activities, then at least NARA must act sensibly” advised Sher Bahadur Gurung.

Without doubt Nepal has already earned a huge name as one of the most popular adventure sports destinations in the world. Thus, it is required the government must come out with pragmatic packages to promote tourism in the country. The task has become even more challenging and much tougher after the devastative earthquake of 25 April. Our politicians and the policy makers should take onus with the sense of patriotism. Let’s not forget that tourism industry is the only reliable sector from which the country can earn sizable amount of foreign currency. This money can be used for the economic development of the country. There are many other sectors of the economy which directly or indirectly depend on tourism. If only tourism sector stands strong it will buttress other sectors of the economy. At a time when earthquake has damaged much of the infrastructures, the government and tourism entrepreneurs must act responsibly to boost the dwindling state of tourism sector of the country.

All photos by “Adrenaline Rush Nepal”

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

LB Thapa is a travel blogger. He is also the author of six books. His books have been published by Nirala Publications, New Delhi, India and Himalayan Maphouse, Kathmandu, Nepal. His book, POKHARA AND ANNAPURNAS has been translated into seven foreign languages. LB Thapa’s books are also available on www.amazon.com

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