Rafting and Kayaking in Nepal Added 15th Mar 2011 by Christina Dawkins

Nepal is a river runners paradise. You are seriously spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing which river to run. In one trip you will experience heart racing rapids, snow capped mountains, isolated villages and unspoiled surroundings. However if you are short of time it can be very confusing as to which river you should choose to run. To help you make that I have listed a few below.

Sun Kosi - River of Gold. 9 days. Grade 4-/5-. Voted by many as one of the Top 10 river in the world, this river gets its name from the Goddess Kaushiki, it is one of the longest trips Nepal has to offer running 8-10 days, depending upon the season through the beautiful Mahabharat range. This is the longest river in Nepal (270km). You start this river only three hours from Kathmandu, near the Tibetan border and end up near the dusty Northern Indian plain in just a week! Most of the rapids are Class III but be prepared as the biggest waves are saved for the last few days, hopefully you'll be working like a well oiled machine by then! A highlight of this trip is the huge waterfall you encounter half way through the river (the best shower of your life!) It's a great way to discover the real Nepal as you meander through remote rice paddies and avoid all the noisy traffic.

Karnali White Water Rafting River in Nepal

Karnali White Water
Rafting River in Nepal

Karnali - The Wild West. 10 days. Grade 4/5. Slightly more demanding than the Sun Kosi, this trip is ideal for anyone wanting to raft or experienced kayakers. This is Nepals mightiest river – the longest, largest and the most beautiful. It comes from the base of the Holy Mount Kailash in Tibet before dropping off into dramatic canyons raging with whitewater. Very few tourists make it over to the West of Nepal, so this is a great river to get away from the crowds and see a lesser travelled Neapal. You will need 8-10 days for these Class IV rapids and can be tied in with a trip to Bardia National Park. I guarantee you will enjoy the 7km gorge has been described as a 'thrill a minute roller coaster rider', basically one giant rapid!

Tamur - The Jewel in Nepal's East. 11 days. Grade 4/5. This is the most remote commercial rafting trip available. It is one of the newest rivers open to tourists and combines one of the best Himalayan treks (3 days) and an exhilarating river journey. The water comes from the mighty Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world and in its 131 raftable kilometres there are 120 rapids! The unspoilt and barely inhabited environment of this area make for an unforgettable trip. Anyone can raft this river but it is only suitable for experienced kayakers.

Kaligandaki White Water Rafting River in Nepal

Kaligandaki White Water
Rafting River in Nepal

Kaligandaki - The Holy River. 3 days. Grade 4-/4+. Nepals holiest river, it is named after the Hindu goddess of destruction. It begins its journey high on the Tibetan Plateau in the Mustang region on the Northern side of the Himalaya, carving down into one of the deepest gorges in the world between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. A great multi day trip which will have you riding the well known rapids Big Brother and Little Brother, these Class III+ rapids will not let you down. Wildlife, lush vegetation, white sandy beaches, jaw dropping gorges, remote villages and surfing waves almost the entire trip, what more can you ask for?! A new Dam has meant that this trip is shorter than it once was, but it still makes it one of the best medium length with more complex rapids than many of the other rivers offer.

Marsyandi - The Raging River. 1-3 days. Grade 4+/5. This river is not for beginners. The scenery on this trip is simply breathtaking, however it is unlikely you will have time to stop and look! Rapids are steep, technical and continuous and a serious undertaking. If you're after a more demanding river with great scenery this is defiantly the river for you but be warned, this river deserves respect from those that chose to run it, only experienced kayakers should run this river.

Trisuli – 1-2 days. Grade 2+/3. Coming from the Langtang Himal, this is the most popular short rafting trip in Nepal. Easily accessible from Kathmandu or Pokhara the river winds its way through stunning gorges and exhilarating rapids a great trip for anyone. Ladies Delight, Upset, and Butterfly are just a few of the rapids you will come across. This river can be enjoyed all year round, although it can really pack a punch during the monsoon, just make sure you don’t swim otherwise you might end up in India! This trip will suit anyone from first timers to more experienced paddlers wanting to warm up before they head to a harder river. This is an ideal trip to tie in with a visit to Chitwan national Park.

Bhote Kosi White Water Rafting River in Nepal

Bhote Kosi White Water
Rafting River in Nepal

Bhote Kosi - 100% Adrenaline Rush. 1-2 days. Grade III-V. Only a three hour drive from Kathmandu, this is also a good river if you only have a short time. Although be warned, there is no chance to look at the scenery on this river, it is go, go, go! Unlike the Trisuli, the Bhote Kosi has continuous whitewater. Rapids such as A Ferret in Your Pants and Frog in The Blender give you an idea of what's in store! I would highly recommend this trip for those who want a bit of excitement. And hey, while your in that area why not try Nepal’s Bungee Jump and throw yourself off 160m bridge!

Seti Khola - White River. 1-3 days. Grade II/III. Seti means white in Nepali, this river is named constant whitewater it offers. You will travels through Magar villages from where the famous Gurkha soldiers hail. To make the most out of this river you will need 2-3 days. This river is more suitable for families or people wanting to learn kayaking in warmer waters! Although I have to say it is one of the most beautiful rivers Nepal has to offer.

So there you have it. Nepal has some of the best whitewater in the whole world, if you are travelling to this area you should definitely consider a trip. Your only problem might be deciding which one to go on! For more information on rafting and kayaking in Nepal, just contact one the providers of rafting in Nepal or kayaking in Nepal.

This article was written by Christina Dawkins from GRG's Adventure Kayaking. Visit their web site

Chrissy has been living in Nepal for about 2 years and is the only Western member of the GRG's Adventure Kayaking. She helps out with marketing and organising special trips for... Read more

Outdoor Activities

Related White Water Rafting Articles

Try these White Water Rafting Providers in Nepal

View All

Feedback