Nepal // Rafting and kayaking //

The Bhote Koshi

The Bhote Koshi, which runs alongside the Arniko Highway to the Tibetan border northeast of Kathmandu, is probably the steepest and hardest commercial rafting river in Nepal (Class 4+). In low water it’s like a pinball machine (and you’re the ball); in medium flows it’s more like being flushed down the U-bend of a toilet. A few companies specialize in this deviant experience, offering it as a one- or two-day trip out of Kathmandu (it’s only a three-hour drive) using road support, empty rafts and safety kayakers. At higher flows in late October and November most companies run the Upper Sun Koshi on the first day as a warm-up and the Bhote Koshi on the second day. If you have previous rafting experience or are just looking for an adrenaline rush, then this is the one for you. It’s a cold river, so if you are running it in the winter months between December and late February then look for a company that provides wetsuits and paddle jackets. An enticing option is a two-day trip, staying the night at one of the comfortable riverside resort camps.

Note that a dam is under construction near the Tibet border; when it’s complete, which may be in the lifetime of this guide, it’s likely to kill off rafting on the Bhote Koshi.

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