Peak Climbing
Rafting in Nepal

Those who have been to Nepal often ask: "what's changed in the last few years?

The river running scene

  • A lot more people are coming to Nepal specifically to go rafting and kayaking the message is out on the international grapevine that this is the best place in the world for multi-day trips!
  • Rafting companies, both large and small have got more safety conscious-safety kayakers are now commonplace and equipment and standards generally have got better.
  • Local Nepali raft guides have taken up kayaking with enthusiasm and are now adding at world-class level, competing in the Rodeo World Championships.
  • For the rafter, there is now a wider selection of trips on more rivers (the Marsyandi and Tamur are now open to rafting), and some exciting high water trips operating at the end of the Monsoon.
  • New roads and cheap helicopter flights have made access easier,
  • Kayak clinics have rally taken off as people have realized how warm and friendly are rivers like the Seti. It sounds strange, but Nepal is just one of the best places in the world to learn to kayak!

Introduction to Nepal

Nepal is a river runner's paradise no other country has such a choice of multi-day trips, a way from roads, in such magnificent mountain surroundings, with warm rivers, a semi-tropical climate, impressive geography, exotic cultures, wildlife and friendly welcoming people! (and not nasty biting insects) But it's not just the rivers- as anyone who has been there will tell you, Nepal is a magnificent holiday in its own right- a fairy tale land of temples, mountains, dramatic festivals, exotic cultural, colorful people, medieval villages, superb craft shopping, great food and sight- the bonus is some of the world's best rivers!
Forget the images of hard 'Expedition' boating – yes, there are a few rivers like this- but Nepal is jus an outstanding holiday destination for the average recreational kayakers: most of the rivers in this book are class 2 to 4 – and you don't have to be anyone special to come rafting or kayaking in Nepal. Everyone we know has enjoyed his – or her – holiday here, but the one thing you do need to bring is the right mental attitude: values, especially time values, are different from ours and you do need to more flexible and tolerant to enjoy your time here and avoid undue stress.
Rafting in Nepal is usually a 'wilderness' experiences in that most rivers don't have highways alongside them- but it's a soft, tamed, wilderness with white beaches for camping, clean blue rivers, friendly locals and few 'nastiest' (one of the things that we hadn't appreciated sufficiently is the happy dearth of mosquitoes and other biting insect- this only struck us last yea when we were being eaten alive by back flies in Peru) Someone described Nepal is as "blissful escapism"!
Incredibly inexpensive, Nepal is a peaceful democratic country where rafters and kayakers get a warm welcome as one of the best forms of eco-tourism.

Why Nepal is famous for Rafting?

  • A paradise for the average. Recreational kayakers of rafter.
  • Finest choice of multi-day trips in the world.
  • Warm water and white beaches.
  • Semi tropical climate.
  • Friendly welcoming people.
  • No bugs! (Well almost)
  • Spectacular mountain scenery.
  • World-class whiter water.
  • Rich cultural heritage.
  • Wild life & jungle.
  • Many trips are easy with over 800 kilometers of class 1-3.

The Rivers

The antecedent system of river drainage partly explains why the rivers of Nepal are so good for rafting and kayaking – they don't just rush straight down to the plain, but follow convoluted courses traveling the Midland valleys of Nepal and then cutting their way in more mighty gorges through the Mahabharat Range. The profile of the Kali Gandaki is typical of many Nepalese Rivers in that the gradient eases off at an altitude of around 1000 meters (3500 ft) – this explains why most rivers running is at relatively low altitude. All Himalayan Rivers are actively down cutting and carry a lot of material as sediment, or as boulders trundling along the bottom – hold a paddle shaft to your ear and you may hear it.
There are tremendous variations in the volume of water in the rivers; Typically the mean monthly flow in the monsoon will be over ten times that at low water and the instantaneous highest flow may be 80 times! These are some of the mightiest mountain rivers o the world!

The People

The physical diversity of this colorful land is mirrored in the numerous different tribes and ethnic groups who make up its population. Each group has strong cultural traditions, dress and language. High in the mountains you may meet the Bhotias of Tibetans stock, or the famous Sherpas. These high mountain people were always great traders, supplementing their subsistence farming with trade over the high passed to Tibet. The Thakalis are another trial group, originally centered on the Kali Gandaki valleys, who have become famous as skilful traders and innkeepers.
On your way sown the river you may meet a village populated by Magars, then a few kms later a village of the Rais tribe – your guide may be able to recognize the tribe by its distinctive architecture. You will meet ferrymen whose family have been ferrymen from time immemorial – paddling their dug – out canoes, 'dungas' skillfully against the current.
Most of these people will be Hindus, but usually it is a Hinduism that has strong blends of Buddhism, the older religion the whole of Nepal seems permeated by its Buddhist past and its philosophy of tolerance and respect for life and people. Despite intense pressures of poverty and limited resources, ethnic or religious strife is almost unknown in Nepal. Most visitors to Nepal are amazed at the tolerance and cheerfulness of the local people and some of your most delightful and vivid memories will be of meetings with local people.

A river is one of the best ways of viewing Nepal's abundant wildlife. You will see a vast number of different birds: from eagles to egrets, vultures to hornbills, over 800 species! Butterflies and moths are usually more visible when you camp, and again there is a huge variety – over 5000 species.
If you are lucky you may sight the rare Gharial crocodile (that's the fish eating one with the strange long snout) or the more common mugger crocodile that feeds on anything: fish, small mammals, dead bodies, or other carrion. The occasional rafting group on the Narayani and Karnali rivers have sighted the very rare Genetic Dolphin, one o the few freshwater Dolphin species in the world (we suspect that a kayakers stands a better chance of viewing the mammals closely because of the latter's curiosity). If you are a fisherman than you will be interested in the famous Masheer fighting fish – record weight 45 kgs!
There are several species of snakes, but these are very rarely seen. River – rafting groups normally see lots of monkeys, and mongoose sightings are quite common. If you are lucky and on the right river at the right time you may be also see tiger, leopard, wild elephant, blackbuck, tiger, gaur, wild buffalo, rhino, hyenas, wild dogs, civets, wild boars, sloth and black bears. These are of course more likely to be sighted on the more remote rivers particularly in the west

General Advice for the River Runner

When to go

Nepal climate is dictated by the monsoon with arrives in June and usually finishes in late September. The monsoon brings torrential rains that flood the rivers so most people would not want to be kayaking or rafting at this time (but it can be a great time for the expert big water kayakers) Peak season for tourist and for rafting is October throw November: the monsoon is over every thing is very bring rivers are moderately high but dropping, temperatures are warm and sky are clear with find mountain views.
The only disadvantages with these time of year are that it is the peak season and airline reservations are harder to get: also you can't be sure when the monsoon will finished. It can be a month late and this can throw your plans into chaos if you are planning on running a river where water levels are critical – as they are on many of Nepal's rivers.
The winter months from late December though to early February are cold, but skies are still clear and river levels will be low. Lots of river running groups come out over Christmas and have a great time. But you certainly should expect cold water and perhaps think in terms of wet suits and dry tops.
From late February through to early may is also a good time for river running – rivers levels are reliably low, air temperature warm, rivers warm and blue. The disadvantage is that the air is often hazy you can't be assured of stunning mountain views and their may be an occasional shower of rain.
Pokhara, because of its altitude of 800 meters, probably gives a fair indication of the average temperatures that most river runners may encounter.

Deg. Cent

Every year the annual monsoon brings a huge deluge that sweeps down the river and scours it clean-this means that camping on riverside beaches in Nepal has different environmental impact from camping by rivers in North America or other countries. We suggest the following guidelines as good practice:

  1. Try to limit the size of your group. An excessively large group will geometrically compound your impact on the riverside environment.
  2. Leave your camping beach cleaner than when you arrived-good raft guide always organize a 'sweep' of the beach before departing.
  3. Paper and cardboard waste should be burnt. We suggest that you keep your own small plastic bag for burnable waste, cartons, old bandages, tissues, cigarette butts, and other nastiest, burn and contents on the fire when directed by you guide, note that cooking fires may be considered holy, so always first.
  4. All non-biological items, like tins and bottles, should be washed and carried out, off the river (unless local people request these as useful containers). It is environmentally unacceptable to bury these as the next monsoon will sweet them down the river and expose them on another beach for people to cut then feet on.
  5. Vegetable waste, such as onionskins and potato peelings should be buried well away from the composite below monsoon. High water level.
  6. Food scraps, washing up water, etc. should be disposed of in the main current the river (not and eddy). Greasy washing up water should first be filtered through kitchen paper and the paper burnt later.
  7. Toilet pits should be dug well away from camp and below the monsoon high water lever. Used toilet paper is normally put in a bag to be burned later. If your own, carry a lighter and burn your own toilet paper.

These basic guidelines have the backing of all reputable rafting companies Dos hesitate to encourage your team if they neglect something. Only if we all show positive concern will we protect this beautiful river environment.
The Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) asks that you please report any flagrant braches of these guidelines. Please make the time to do this of Nepal cannot afford river rangers- if you don't bother to write then no one else will.

One of the major ecological problems in Nepal is deforestation. The Himalayan tourist code says that you should make no open fires, a general rule, that we would agree with when away from the river. However, on the large rivers of the Himalaya the monsoon sweeps down huge quantities of drift wood that get deposited on the beaches and in well-populated areas the villagers will gather this for firewood. But, on more inaccessible beaches the wood will just remain there until the next monsoon.

We think that it is acceptable to use driftwood like this for small campfires and particularly for burning garbage. It is nice to sit around a campfire, but you don't need to do this every night-and there is certainly no place for a roaring great bonfire! Some of our best nights have been by candlelight and under the stars!

It is pleasant to cook on a wood fire, but the normal good rule is that cooking should be done on gas or kerosene stoves, with fires only used occasionally, Almost everyone agrees that it is ecologically unacceptable for any rafting trip to bur firewood- but, guides do like cooking on wood fires- so they will often try to shift the responsibility onto the customer by asking. "Would you like a campfire tonight?" If you have an ecological conscience then your answer should be something along the lines- "Yes, it would be nice to have a campfire, but we don't think its right to buy firewood- why don't we wait until there's driftwood available”?

  Rafting Rivers
River Name
Trip /Days
Rapid grade
  Trisuli River Rafting
  Bhotekoshi River Rafting
  Kali Gandaki River Rafting
3/4, 4+
  Sunkoshi River Rafting
  Marsyangdi River Rafting
  Seti River Rafting
  Karnali River Rafting
  Tama kosi River Rafting
Class 5 (5+)
  Dudh Kosi River Rafting
Class 5-(6)
  Arun River Rafting
Class: 5(6)
  Tamor River Rafting
Class 4-(4+)
  Karnali River Rafting
 Jungle Safari
 Other Services
 Contact Us
More About Rafting
What is Rafting
Styles of Rafting trip
Kayaking in Nepal
What to bring
River Grade
Tirsuli River Rafting
Seti River Rafting
Kali Gandaki River Rafting
Marsyangdi River Rafting
Bhote Kosi River Rafting
Tama kosi River Rafting
Dudh Kosi River Rafting
Arun River Rafting
Sun Kosi River Rafting
Tamor River Rafting
Karnali River Rafting
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