As Recommended by Lonely Planet

Rafting – Bhote Khosi

Trip Title: Rafting – Bhote Khosi

Trip Length: 2 Days

Trip Grade: B       [Grading Overview]

Country: Nepal

Area: Nepal rivers

National Park: N/A       [Parks Overview]

Activity: Rafting

Activity Grade: 4       [Grading Overview]

Special Focus: White Water

Months: February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December,

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Just three hours away from Kathmandu, the Bhote Kosi is without a doubt the most exciting thing you can do in Nepal without risking a social disease, and quite possibly one of the best two day rafting trips offered anywhere in the world. The Bhote is a very steep and very continuous mountain stream; a unique combination of exceptionally fun and challenging rapids without it ever getting past the point of recreation. It’s sort of like being flushed down a huge open-air toilet, but the Tidy Bowl Man is your guide and there are no worries.The thundering of the next rapid is never far downstream and only occasional pools of calm give a chance to reflect on the awesome beauty surrounding the river. Emerald green fields are terraced high above the river on precipitous slopes, curious villagers lining suspension bridges are amazed as we plunge through cascading waves and chutes of foam.Only 30 kilometers from Tibet, and conveniently located at the rafting finish point, the Bhote Kosi Riverside Resort is very tastefully sculptured into acres of sprawling terraces right beside the river, overlooking forest and powerful water. The resort has spacious safari tents, showers, toilet facilities and a well stocked bar; all the indulgences of home in a very exotic setting. Be prepared to stay additional days at the Bhote Kosi Riverside Resort as the opportunities for playing are not limited to whitewater; Ultimate Descents runs regular kayak clinics from here or you can just relax by the river with a book and cold drink. The beautiful location, thrilling, adrenaline charged whitewater, and the ability to stay in a luxurious tented camp make this one of the favorite rivers we run.Another option if you are not ready to head back to civilization is to head up to the Borderlands Resort 10 kilometers from the Border of Tibet. Borderlands Resort has spectacular canyoning, great trekking and is set in a beautiful riverside location, and is well worth checking out. Your price includes private transportation from Kathmandu, all meals, accommodation in tented safari camp right beside the river, and all rafting safety equipment. You need to bring a sleeping bag, sandals or trainers, a pair of shorts, a change of clothes, sunscreen, and money for the bar and a good mental attitude. Weather in Nepal is generally very warm (we are a the same latitude as Florida or Egypt) but when it is cooler we also provide wesuits or thermal tops and paddle jackets.


Day 1

Our trips meet at 0600 (always make a point of checking this a it can change depending on the time of year) at our office in Thamel. Because all the restaurants are closed at this time, bring something for a light breakfast. We will have tea and coffee at the office. Once we have everyone collected we have a short walk to our chartered bus. The bus ride takes us out of the Kathmandu Valley and through the rice fields and ancient town of Dhulikhel. On a clear day the entire Himalayan range is clearly visible from the summit. From here the road drops 1,100 meters to the village of Dolalghat on the banks of the Indrawati River, and at the big river we push the herd north, up towards the Tibetan Border and the steep water that tumbles down from the plateau. When we arrive a buffet lunch is ready, before eating just drop your gear into one of the safari tents that are scattered in private areas on gardened terraces.

After lunch everyone is fitted with rafting gear, then the trip leader and safety kayaker give an extensive lesson in river safety, paddling technique, and what to do if you suddenly find yourself not sitting in a raft anymore. Most of the people we take down the river have never been in a raft before, and our guides gear the safety talk to neophytes. Rafting on the Bhote Kosi is sort of a full body activity, with much more involved than simply paddling forward and backward. You learn how to throw your body weight around boulders and through hydraulics. It’s sort of like playing Simon Says in a big rubber playpen sliding down a rollercoaster while you get water thrown on you. Fun!

We drive up to nifty little rapid called Carnal Knowledge of a Deviant Nature Named for the compromising position often attained after running the last drop) and the rafting begins. This gem of a rapid starts out with a long series of boulder dodging and hole riding, and ends with the entire river rebounding off of two rocks before spilling over a two meter ledge into a big soft pool.

The next six kilometers of a river is a nonstop series of class 3 and 4 drops terminating into short pools with the next drop just a few away. The river flows through a beautiful narrow canyon with lush green vegetation and waterfalls coming in from the steep sone walls. At the bottom of this stretch is a rapid called ExLax (‘cause people go all over the place). Democracy rapid just above barabise is a great demonstration of why this system of Government will never be totally successful in Asia. We continue on down through the center of town and onto a short flat stretch. While most people equate flat stretches with a lessening of intensity, our raft guides know better. The reason the river is flatter here is because a side stream has deposited a tremendous amount of rock into the river channel, essentially making a dam, which backs the river up for a kilometer. Upon reaching the dam, the entire gradient of the last kilometer fulminates into fifty meters of incredibly steep and technical rapid, respectfully known a the Great Wall. It takes the right t river levels to be able to run the Great Wall. The Great Walls once redeeming feature is that there is a pool at the bottom, because right after the pool is an incredible rapid called Liquid Bliss, which leads directly into a rapid called Fake Right Go Left, which leads directly into another rapid called My God, what To Do? This is one of the most fun stretches on the river, made doubly fun by the fact that The Great Wall is behind us and the Riverside bar is ahead of us. Staying at the Bhote Koshi Riverside Resort makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable and relaxed. While dinner is prepared by expert staff take the time to sit beside the river or play volleyball. It’s an excellent opportunity to have a beer, swap and refine lies (“No shit, there I was…”).

Day 2

In the morning, everyone comes to breakfast where a huge pot of cowboy coffee is waiting. Coffee not only wakes us up; it also insulates us from the fear of being a sentient being early in the morning. When the vastness of the world and the smallness of our place on it is so clearly seen.

After a hearty breakfast we head right up to the top of the Bhote Kosi. Before starting there is another paddling session to refresh everyone’s memory and scrape away last nights fog. It’s all action today and we will have about five hours on the river. After a long series of class 3 rapids we drop into the first class 4 drop, affectionately known as Gerbil in the Plumbing 9yes, I did just make that up to the fill space). From Gerbil there is a stretch of class 3 whitewater and then we come to the crux of the day, which is a long, technical rapid called Frog in a Blender – guess who’s the frog). The guides often scout this one, a swith changing water levels the ride can become, well, interesting. Don’t worry though, your trustworthy and stalwart safety kayaker is waiting for you at the bottom, providing of course that he isn’t still cartwheeling in one of the several hydraulics to be found along the way.

After Frog things settle down for about twenty feet, and then it’s back into the soup with a long series of class 3+/4 drops. We run the bottom stretch again though most people don’t recognize it the second time through. Depending on the time we stop to have a snack right after My God, What To Do? The trip ends with a bang in a long series of drops known as Dazed and confused. Without a doubt this is some of the finest whitewater rafting to be had anywhere. Back at the Riverside Resort it is time for a welcome shower then a buffet meal and a few drinks at the bar before heading back two and a half hours to Kathamndu, usually arriving around 1900 hrs. We believe that you will sleep well tonight.


Prices start at around: €120 for a basic 2 day trip.

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