Nepal has earned the reputation of one of the best destinations for white water rafting. Cruising down rushing rivers of crashing waves and swirling rapids can make up excitement of a lifetime. Rafting trips for some is the highlight of their stay in Nepal. The waters in Nepal offer something for everybody: Grade 5-5+ rivers with raging white water rapids for the adventurous, to Grade 2-3 rivers with a few rapids for novices. Rafters also have a choice ranging from two to three-week trips to trips of two or three days
Rafting is one of the most exciting ways of exploring the nooks and crannies of Nepal. Options range from paddle rafting as a team to luxury safari-style trip where staff is provided to address the group needs to kayaking alone in the waters. Yet another extremely popular water-sport option is canyoning to explore hidden landscapes. The best time for these activities is October through nid-December and March through early May. The government has opened sections of 16 rivers graded on a scale of 1 to 5 for commercial rafting. Since safety is of utmost importance, choosing veteran rafting company is a wise move. It is also important to observe all the safety rules and precautions while on the raft.
General Info about Rafting
Normally the first day of a river trip begins early in the morning around 7 a.m. You are driven to put-in point of the river. Depending upon the distance between Kathmandu and the put-in point, the river can take from a couple of hours. This is a situation if you choose between the Trishuli and the Sunkoshi. A river trip on any other river requires a longer drive or a flight plus drive and even a trek in some cases.
If you start at 7 a.m. and the drive drops you at the put-in point exactly after three hours, rafting is likely to begin around 11 a.m. After you reach the put-in point, a safety talk takes place along with the inflating of the rubber rafts and organizing other river equipment by river crew.
The talk includes delivering of know how about measures to be taken in case of an emergency need. The participant should listen to the river guide very carefully. Questions can be raised to make things clearer.
The life-vest must be worn all the time while on the river, irrespective of weather you are hitting a major rapid or running a flat water section. A protective helmet is suggested if you are running a high class rapid.
Frequently the river outfitter provides the option between an oar boat or a paddle boat. Kayaking is another option. Normally the Kayakers bring their own Kayaks. There are outfitters who provide with a Kayak. If your option is the paddle boat, then you are instructed to properly use the paddle either during the safety talk or before sailing off. If you are of participate nature, then your choice would be paddling. Paddling is more challenging and thrilling. The paddle boat requires well co-ordinated team effort between the paddlers and river guide who stays at the back and plays his paddle in the role of the steering wheel of a car. The responsibility of the participants is to follow his instruction in a proper manner. The thrilling moment for a paddler is while hitting a rapid.
It is usual that you get wet whether you hit rapid or not within half an hour after sailing starts. In an oar boat, the river guide alone rows lightly and slowly on the flat wear and penetratedly and boldly while hitting a rapid. The oar boat gives you an opportunity to observe the surroundings.
As for meals, the river outfitter normally provides all meals during the trip days.
During autumn (mid-September through November) and spring (March – June)
For A Day Trip: T-shirts, shorts or light cotton trousers, tennis shoes/sneakers, swim suit, sun hat, sun goggles with string suntan lotion. Complete change of clothes includes shoes for the return drive to Kathmandu.
For two days or more in addition to the above, you are advised to carry extra T-shirts, shorts, an extra pair of dry shoes, trousers and a light wool sweater, etc.
During winter ( December through February)
For A Day Trip: Warm shirts/shirts or T-shirts, wind proof jacket and trousers, tennis shoes/sneakers. Complete change of clothes includes shoes for the return drive to Kathmandu.
For a trip involving two days or more, you are advise to carry warm shirts. T-shirts, heavy woolen sweater (warm clothes), extra pair of dry shoes and trousers in addition to the above items.
You can also carry reading materials, specific medication if required, camera, binocular, film, pocket knife and flashlight.
Long trips river Rafting:
Longer trips take you into some of Nepal’s most remote areas. Often they begin with short treks to the river. On these treks we employ local porters to carry our gear and supplies, so all you need to carry are your own personal belongings. Many of our long trips finish close to some of our less easily accessible National Parks and Wildlife Reserves (the Karnali trip actually finishes in the Bardia National Park). So you may wish to combine your rafting trip with a safari adventure and go in search of our native tigers, bears and rhinos!
Marshyangdi River- 5 Days: River Marshyangdi provides four days of uninterrupted white-water rafting. It begins from the village of Ngadi from Besishahar in Pokhara. The rapids on the river are unrelenting, and rafters are advised to consult companies with lots of experience. It runs sandwiched between 52 kilometers of boiling foam and towering peaks of Annapurna…..more
Arun River- 6 Days: River Arun begins at Tumlingtar and ends at Chatara, Kartikeghat. The starting point can be approached either by flight or by road. A mini-trek is required from both the airstrip or from the bus stop. Some parts of the river are smooth while some are rough and challenging. On the sixth day Arun River meets Sun Koshi. Rafters either drive back Chatara via Biratnagar or fly from Biratnagar to Kathmandu.
Sun-Koshi River- 8-10 Days: River Sun Koshi is Nepal’s longest rafting trip. The rafting site, three hours drive from Kathmandu is more accessible than the Karnali. The run is 270 km and requires 9 to 10 days from Dolalghat to end Chatara down to the Indo-Gangetic plains. The first couple of days are relatively easy while surprises sneak up on you during the last days. The white water stays white until the very end…..more
Karnali River- 11 Days: River Karnali in the far west is the longest and largest river in Nepal. It flows through steep, jagged canyons where the rapids are tightly packed, offering continuous challenging water at all flows. A bus ride to far-western Nepal or a flight to Nepalgunj can take one to rafting site. It takes about 7 days to navigate the 90 kilometers of canyons and waterfalls. During most of this trip, the wilderness is uninterrupted by human habitations……more
Short Trips Rafting
Short trips take between one and four days and do not involve any trekking. Some of these trips involve less challenging white water and are ideally suited to first time rafters and families. Others attract experienced thrill-seekers with their world-class rapids.
Seti River -2 days: River Seti can be reached from Damouli roughly 160 kilometers west of Kathmandu. Rafters encounter several rapids before reaching Trishuli River. Hindu religious site Devghat marks the confluence of Kali Gandaki and Trishuli and becomes River Narayani. Rafters have a choice of either coming back to Kathmandu or continuing the journey to visit the Chitwan National Park.
Trishuli River 1 – 3 days: River Trisuli is one of the most popular Nepali rivers for rafting. For first-time rafters it offers plenty of excitement. Due to its proximity to Kathmandu and the easy road access most rafting companies offer trips on the Trisuli. Tthe cheapest river trip available in Nepal. A river trip on Trishuli can be combined with trips to Chitwan or Pokhara…..more
Bhote-Koshi River- 2 days: River Bhote Koshi is a two-day run of pure adventure. The rafting site is located only three hours from Kathmandu. Twenty-six kilometers of continuous white water soaks rafters as they shoot through a veritable maze of canyons and boulders. It is the steepest river rafted in Nepal and required a lot of concentration. Starting above Barabise, you raft down to the dam at Lamosangu….more
Kali-Gandaki River-3 days: River Kali Gandaki winds through remote canyons and deep gorges of intense rapids among. Starting at Baglung, you could raft down to Ramdighat in five or six days. Trips on the Kali Gandaki begin and end in Pokhara and offer an exciting alternative to the Trisuli. The run flows 120 km and its challenges are continuous……more
River Rafting system in Nepal
The rivers of Nepal can be grouped into three categories on the basis of their origin:
(1) antecedent to Himalaya
(2) after the Mahabharat
(3) after the Churia range
Antecedent rivers belong to the period prior to the rise of the Himalaya. These rivers added their tributaries during or after the Himalayan origin alongwith the development of monsoon climate. After the formation of Mahabharat hills, the antecedent rivers changed their courses as Mahabharat stood as a barrier. As a result, most of the rivers changed their courses either to the east or west. Most of these rivers were responsible to deposit the sediments in the Churia basin.
The major river systems namely the Koshi, the Karnali and the Gandaki belong to the antecedent group. Rivers originating from the Mahabharat range and cutting through Churia hills come under the second group, these include Kankai, Bagmati, Kamala etc. The third group of rivers originate from the southern face of the Churia hills. For the purpose of commercial rafting, the following rivers are in use.
1. Saptakoshi River System (East Nepal)
2. Narayani or Saptagandaki River System (Central Nepal)
3. Karnali River System (West Nepal