Though not entirely new to the experience, my whitewater rafting experience was limited to two short (3 to 5 hrs) rides on Trisuli and Sunkosi rivers. But I felt I was ready to take-on something slightly more challenging.
Well, it did not require a lot of research on net to conclude that my next foray into this adventure sports is a slightly longer route on Trisuli itself. There are packages ranging 1 to 3 days (15 to 60 kms). I took a day long package which lasted about 6 hours.
Starting point is about 50 kms south-west of Kathamndu, on the way to Pokhara. So I decided to take my bike till the site, took me about 2 hours. I was one of the six and the only Nepali (beside the guide) on the trip. There were 2 Koreans, 3 Germans taking this trip with me.
After a quick breakfast and some handy tips from the guide, we were on with our life vests and helmet securely on. And thus the adventure began.
The rafting started at a slow pace. This part of the river was calm enough to enjoy the river valleys, greeneries and some wildlife. I started taking some pictures with my iPhone which I had carried with me despite the request of the guide to keep it securely on the water tight compartment, and tell you what, it would have done me good if I had listened to him!!
About 45 minutes downstream, we encountered some Grade II and III rapids. These are slightly challenging yet interesting and fun.
After two hours ride we reached our lunch spot. Trust me, rafting might look like a passive activity, but it is not. It is one of the most tiring activities I experienced in recent times. And this all makes you hungry. So it was an apt time to fill your tummy and rejuvenate your spirits.
After about 30 minutes, we were ready to resume our journey. We passed through a beach with some strange shaped boulders that somehow resembled sculptures. I take my iPhone out to snap some pictures, and guess what, I could not turn it on. Somehow enough water had seeped into the phone to trigger automatic shutdown. I foolishly tried to turn it on, and it made the matter worse. Screen started acting funny. At this point my Korean fellow rider, Albert, suggested that I should immediately take the batteries out… turns out.. you can not take the batteries out in the d… phone!!! My Korean buddy did not lose time in being cheeky “well! in Samsung Galaxy, you can!!” (Albert? Aren’t the Koreans supposed to have names like Kim or something resembling Kim?)
About 20 minutes downstream we reached the Trishuli gorge. The walls are very steep and the water flow is high comparatively. I held on tight to the ropes as rapids started growing ferocious and were coming more frequently.
Passed the gorge and reached a point where water was completely calm. Almost felt like we were rafting on a lake or something. It is at this point I saw Albert talking with the guide. And while talking he started removing his watch and splash.. he was already into the water. This was followed by 2 Germans. I looked at the guide quizzically, “can you do that?… is it even legal?”… turns out it is perfectly safe to swim in some places during the trip, provided you know how to swim ..of course.
‘Jhulungee pul’ rapid or the Hanging Bridge rapid came next. The rapid is named after the famous and old suspension bridge, where local spectators shout in excitement while the rafters down below fight hard to tackle the rubber boats. The area is a common station for travelers for some more snaks.
Soon the journey ended and all I was left with was my own story on how I enjoyed those twists around the corner or the high bouncy shifts.
Although this trip is fully dedicated to experiencing your adventurous and ‘bring-it-on-spirit, there are few things that should be taken care beforehand.
Few things that should be brought prior to Whitewater rafting:
- Long sleeved T-Shirt to protect you from sunburn.
- Swim wear (water resistant wear)
- A couple of dry clothes for after rafting wear
- Footwear (sandals or flip-flops)
Most of the Whitewater Rafting companies will offer:
- All ground transportation as per their itinerary
- Fooding/Lodging if you are staying in their place of choice as per the itinerary
- Day Whitewater rafting with life jacket, helmets & plastic paddles
- Lunch on the river bank
- Rafting permit
- Dry bag
- Safety/medical equipment
- Other expenses of Whitewater rafting crew
- Necessary equipment for rafting
- An adventure of a lifetime!
While itinerary might differ from company to company, their basic activities are quite similar:
- Pick up from your location (hotel or lodge)
- Transfer to the starting point of the rafting
- Briefing on Whitewater rafting techniques
- Safety paddling & emergency tips
- Rafting after briefing
- Lunch at pre-defined timing
- A drive back to your Hotel/ lodge as per the itinerary
The fun starts when you actually put on those rafting gears and jump into the rubber boat to experience the thrilling Whitewater Rafting in Nepal.