By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM
Adventure into the gushing water is the extreme form of adventure in the waters of Nepal. 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.
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 and the Seti River, when their currents are much calmer. 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. It encourages all the agencies to work in a professional manner to satisfy their customers. To fill with more thrills among the adventure loving enthusiasts, every year NARA organizes a national level competition at Fisling, the Trishuli River.
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 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.
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.
The money earned from tourism can be used for the economic development of the country. There are many sectors, which directly or indirectly depend on tourism. If only tourism sector stands strong, it will buttress other sectors of the economy. The government and tourism entrepreneurs must act responsibly to boost the dwindling state of tourism sector of the country.
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