Rafting activities back to normal in Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi riversTourism entrepreneurs say resorts and hotels built on the banks of the two rivers are currently fully occupied.
With the start of the summer season, the number of tourists visiting Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers for rafting has increased significantly.
These two rivers in the north-east of Kathmandu are ranked as the seventh-best rivers for rafting, among the 6,000 odd rivers in the world.
Bhotekoshi, which runs alongside the Arniko Highway to the Tibetan border, is considered to be one of the most challenging rafting rivers in Nepal.
Tourism entrepreneurs say that the resorts and hotels on the bank of the Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers are now fully occupied.
Shiva Adhikari, president of the Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies, said the number of visitors has doubled during the current season as compared to last year’s figures.
“All resorts are running full as of now. More than 400 domestic and foreign tourists are arriving for rafting daily," he said.
Hoteliers said the overexploitation of sands by the crusher plants has impacted the flow of the rivers, and many tourists had to return in the previous years.
But since the administration has tightened the extraction of sand from riverbeds, the Sunkoshi river is flowing as it used to, before.
Travel trade entrepreneurs say an estimated 2,000 tourists arrive in Sindhupalchok for canyoning every week.
According to the rafting association, annually, they receive 80,000 visitors for rafting and canyoning—20,000 of whom are foreigners.
Apart from water activities, mountain biking and bungee jumping activities have also been attracting adventure enthusiasts.
Unisha Rayamajhi from Patan said she came for rafting with her office employees.
“We are a team of 20 people, including some foreigners,” she said.
Adhikari said that the resort gets fully occupied on the weekends.
There are seven resorts operating in Sunkoshi and Bhotekoshi, offering rafting services.
According to the association, there are 16 hotels and resorts in the district.
Before the devastating earthquakes of 2015, about 700,000 tourists used to arrive at the resorts built on the banks of Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers.
The hotels and resorts were badly impacted by the earthquakes and the Covid-19 pandemic. They have since bounced back to normal, according to Adhikari.
Anjan Khadka, manager of Sunkoshi Beach and Resort, said that rafting is the main attraction in Sindhupalchok. "After the earthquakes, around 300,000 tourists arrived in Sindhupalchok for water activities,” he added.
Khadka also said that nearly 10,000 people get employment from river rafting activities in the district.