Aquatic Adventure - Rafting and Kayaking in Nepal

The many 'raftable' rivers in Nepal meander between canyons, villages, and virgin forests, wildlife, like needle through thread, weaving the country's rich tapestry of ethno-culture  and bio-diversity. Originating in the bowels of the Himalayas, these rivers flow across the length    and    breadth    of   Nepal    and   neighbouring India, before emptying mostly into the Bay of Bengal.

Rafting/Kayaking is  inarguably  the best  way of exploring Arcadian Nepal. The waters  offer something  to everybody:  from  grade 5-5+ rivers with many raging white water rapids for the brave and the adventurous, to grade 2-3 rivers with a few rapids for the laid-back type. The beautiful thing is that just about anybody, whether old or very young, can raft. Moreover, it can either be a two-week trip or a 2-3 day  trip   you decide.

Paddle rafting is strongly recommended. It   involves teamwork  with   the   river runner bar ·  instructions from his perch on the aft. You can either do  participatory rafting, where you and your group are provided with a river runner  barebone staff support, or a "luxury safari style" trip where a full team of staff is provided to adress your group's every needs.

Mind you, rafting/kayaking is not only way to travel downstream. A fer companies offer inflatable kayaks or fiberglass kayaks for hire.

canyoning gives you the freedom to explore some of the most ruggedly beautiful yet forbidden places in the country.

Seasons:October through mid-December and march through early May are the best times. It is possible in winter, but you have to watch out for hypothermia. During monsoon (June to September), the white water sections are dangerous, but gentler stretches are runnable.

River Profiles: So far the governmant has opened sections of 10 rivers for commercial rafting and kayaking.

Karnali (Class 4-5): Nepal's longest, it flows through steep, jagged canyons where the rapids are tightly-packed, offering continuous challenging water at all flows. Either a bus ride to far-western Nepal or a flight to Nepalgunj can take you there. the river section take about 7 days to navigate, even as you explore canyons and waterfalls. For those craving an adrenaline rush, this river is a must.

Sun Koshi (Class 4-5): This is the longest river trip (270km) offered in Nepal. You begin at Dolalghat just 3 hours out of kathmandu and end in  Chatara, doen the gangetic plain of north india, in 9 to 10 days. The Sun koshi starts off with relatively mild rapids te first couple of days. The surprises sneak up on you during the last days. It is considered one of the world's top  10 classic river journeys.

Trisuli (Class 3+): This is the cheapest river trip available in Nepal. Although relatively unsafe during monsoon, it is fun otherwise. A risuli river trip can be combined with trips to Chitwan. It is undoubtely the most popular of Nepal's raftable rivers.

Kali Gandaki (Class 5-5+): Sacred Hindu river, here the rapids are technically challenging, winding through canyons and gorges. Starting at Baglung, you could raft down to Ramdighat in five to six days. You may then continue on to the confluence with the Trisuli at Devghat, adding another 130km and 3-4 days.

Bhote Koshi (Class 4-5): A couple of hours out of kathmansu, it is 26km of continuous white water. Can be done is 2 days. It is the steepest river rafted in Nepal, requiring Zen-like concentration from the river-runner, and offering an adrenaline rush even in low-water months. Starting above Barabise, you raft down to the dam at Lamosangu.  

Upper Sun Koshi (Class 1-2): Begins at Khadichour and ends in Dolalghat. The river is lined with clean sandy beaches, which make for great picnic or camping spots. The trip offers a great family getaway, far from the madding crowd.

Marsyangdi (5-5+): The raging Marsyangdi is 4 days of continuous white water. Begins from the village of Ngadi, up from Besisahar. As the rapids are unrelenting , it is advised that you consult companies with lots of experience . for people lookingfor a 5-6 day trip with raging rapids, the Marsyangdi is definitely where it is at.

Other rivers :  The Bheri in western Nepal can  be combined with a visit  to the Bardia  National  Park. The Arun from Tumlingtar is another adventureous option.


Safety is the most important part of any river trip. Choosing a professional veteran rafting company is the first step. So it helps to abide by the following tips:
  • Pick your river with care.  Seek information  from  a rafting  agency local experts,  and literature on river levels and difficulty. 
  • There should be a minimum of two rafts per trip,  so that one  can  help when a fall happens from the other
  • Carry first-aid kit, survival and rescue gear.
  • Check to see that end loops and the leash are adequate before you  push off. This makes it easier to keep hold of your boat when swimming  big rapids, and also in the event of rescue. 
  • Be   a    team     person,    paddle synchronously.
  • For boats, paddles and helmets, bright colours are recommended.
  • Wear  life jackets  and  helmets, properly  too.
  • Keep your feet and arms inside  the raft at all time.
  • When you fall off into a rapid, float on your back, with  your  feet downstream