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The rivers open for rafting in Nepal are:
The Tamur, Arun, Dudh khosi, Likhu, Tama Koshi, Sun Koshi and Indravati of the Koshi rivers system in eastern Nepal; The Kali Gandaki , Budi Gandaki, Marsyangdi, Trishuli, Seti, Madi and Daraundi of the Gandaki rivers system; the Humla Karnali, Seti Karnali, Bheri and Mugu Karnali of the Karnali rivers system in far western Nepal.
Typically, on the first day, rafters are driven to the put in point which is the actual starting point of the river trip. In a few cases, the approach may also involve a short hike before arriving at the river bank. Before embanking on the trip, the guide will brief rafters on the Dos and Don’ts of rafting. He will then teach how to use a paddle and to follow his instruction while on the rivers (Where paddles are used, which are important for steering the raft through rapids). Paddles are fun as everyone plays a party in guiding the raft. But there are also trips when only the guide uses oars, thus taking complete control of the boat, single-handedly. Using paddles inculcates team sprite as co operation among rafting is essential for steering the boat. The guide also instructs on safety and the important of wearing helmets and life jackets.
In the afternoon, tents are sets up on a suitable beach along the rivers if the trip lasts longer than a day. Nepal is blessed with white sandy beaches along most of its rivers. The evenings are spent exchanging experience by the bonfire while dinner is being prepared. After a good rest, the trip resumes the next day after breakfast. During stops, there may be time for exploring the surrounding wildlife viewing or simply a relaxing swim.
The rivers Trishuli which is relatively close to Kathmandu, is one of the popular rivers for rafting and is ideal for beginners. Unraveling deep gorges and rolling valleys, the rivers take rafting through remarkable landscape before arriving in the plains (tarai). The exhilaration of tackling challenging rapids is followed by relaxing sections that allow time for admiring the surrounding. Trips can last anywhere from one day to three days and the rivers is open to rafting through the year, unlike other rivers where not feasible during the monsoons.
RAPIDS: Snail’s Nose, Malekhhu Rapid, Ladies Delight, Highway, Upset, Surprise, S-Bend and Pinball Rapid.
Rafting down the Trishuli is also an adventurous means of reaching Chitwan where rafters can then embark on another adventure- safari in the Chitwan National Park. Trips usually start from Charaudi.
A medium length river, the kali Gandaki offers spectacular views of mountains and flows by charming little villages with no motor roads in sight. With views of eight-thousand meter peaks and challenges of rousing rapids, this is indeed a unique experience for rafting. With visits to temple and villages, this trip is a cultural one as well, and the technical nature of the rapids ensures a busy time paddling.
RAPIDS: Small Brother, Big Brother and Refund.
The adventure begins with a trip down to Pokhara (either a half-hours drive) where the first day is spent relaxing. The put-in point which is 40km away is reached after a 3hours drive the next day. The rafting is greeted by a serious of rapids (class III and class IV) and can also enjoy some birds watching. Further down, the rapids decrease in frequency and the valley widens slowing down the flow. Interestingly, waterfalls with stalactite formations are seen along the way. Normally, this is a three-day rafting trip.
One of the rivers that have their source within Nepal, the Budi Gandaki drains the eastern slopes of two great mountains, the Manaslu and Ganesh Himal. It flows into the Trishuli like many rivers do and has an easy gradient from Arughat Bazaar just below which is the put-in point. Classified as class II and class III, the Budi Ganesh is another starting point for the Trishuli Run.
Very often, this trip is combined with a trek in the Gorkha district where great views of Manaslu and Ganesh Himal can be had. A direct route to the put-in point below Arughat is however an easy drive from Kathmandu. Budi Gandaki flows through an open valley and has an easy gradient. This trip is also a cultural experience for rafting as the rivers flows past typically Nepali village and the adventure finally ends at Charaudi.
Another popular river for rafting, the Bhote koshi originates in the Tibetan plateau from where it flows down steep gorges to Nepal in the south. Naturally, the landscape it flows through is rugged, adding thrills to the trip. It’s a tough ride with Class IV and Class V rapids at the higher flows and Class III in the lower levels.
RAPIDS: Frog in the Blender, John’s Home, Gerbil in the Plumbing, Liquid Bliss, Dazed & Confused.
It’s a 3-hours drive from Kathmandu along the Arniko Highway to Bhote koshi. The drive to the put-in point has its own highlight –views of snow-capped mountain such as Langtang and Dorje Lakpa Towards the north of the country. With its steep gradient, it is a fast flowing rivers that challengers the expertise of rivers guides. The rapids on the Bhote koshi are highly technical and come one after another in quick succession. At first the Class III rapids are encountered followed by the more difficult class IV. The rivers flows through narrow canyons covered in lush green vegetables and from the rocks flow down crystal clear waterfalls. The usual run on this river lasts one to two days.
Sun Koshi (Upper)
The Sun Koshi (Upper) is the ideal river for novices as it has no big, challenging rapids. The surrounding scenery is beautiful and the trip is relaxing with mountain views to admire. The river run is a short half-day of rafting through forested valleys and white sandy beaches. Combining an overnight stay at Dhulikhel, rafters can enjoy superb views of the Himalayan and a stunning sunrise the next morning before heading out to the rivers.
The put-in point for this Sun Koshi trip is Balefi Bazaar. As the trip begins, rafters immediately face Class I rapids. But this is a really relaxing run with plenty of time to take in the surrounding landscapes. With so much greenery around, there are sightings of wildlife such as monkeys, mongoose and deer. After a pleasant ride down the rivers, the trip ends at Dolalghat, the put-out point. An alternative to this trip is a one-day run that starts at Lamosanghu (Long Bridge) and comes across a Class III rapid before finishing at Chehare.
Sun Koshi (Lower)
The Sun Koshi (lower) is one of those rivers where a long trip (9 Days) is possible. Rated as one of the ten best high water rivers expeditions, it has turbulent waves and a large volume of water. The rivers run through landscape of thick vegetation that harbors rich wildlife. Many species of birds, monkeys and even leopards can be seen during the rafting trip. The rivers also have Gharial crocodiles which are predominantly fish eating creatures. The put-in point at Dolalghat is a three-hour drive from Kathmandu.
RAPIDS: Punch and Judy, Meat Grinder, High Anxiety, Black Hole, Rhino Rock, Big Dipper and Dead Man Eddy.
Amazingly, this river prepares the rafting for the big rapids by first introduction them to milder Class II and Class III rapids. It then gets progressively challenging from day to day, leading to some exciting rides through high water. There are also sections for relaxing during scenic floats and a remarkable jungle corridor. One of the camping spots is at an interesting confluence of three of the major rivers of eastern Nepal: Arun, Tamur and Sun Koshi. The trip ends at Chatara and the drive back begins.
The rivers Tamor lies in the east of the country and is fed by the waters coming down from Mt. Kanchenjunga. Tamor has some excellent Class IV and Class V rapids ensuring a good rafting trip. Ideal for adventure seekers, this is another long trip then involves a flight to Biratnagar in the tarai, followed by a long drive after which a four-day trek leads up to put-in point. The trek is rewarding with great mountain views.
The flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar itself promises grand panoramic views of the Himalayan. After stopping at a delightful little town of Hile on a hilltop, the next day’s drive is through a picturesque ridge all the way to Basantapur. Before the rivers are reached there are superb views of eight-thousand meter peaks like Kanchenjunga, Makalu and the mighty Everest. The river trip is exciting with a continuing serious of rapids especially when going through a deep canyon. But along the way, there are places to relax, swim and laze about the camp. Towards the end of the trip, there are challenging rapids with towering waves until the rivers finally turns peaceful allowing the raft to float gently to the put-out point. This river run can be combined with a visit to the Chitwan National Park for wildlife safari or a trek in the less visited
The Arun river run provides yet another adventurous trip in eastern Nepal for those who want more than just a rivers trip. The approach to the rivers involves a three-day trek through the wilderness, passing through village and enjoying views of mountain. This is a thrilling trip combining rafting with trekking and combing out in a pristine forest. The large volume of water ensures thrills and spills as it cuts a deep gorge through the hills. Impressive rapids that are technically challenging are encountered throughout the rivers run.
The trip begins with a flight to Tumlingtar in the hilly regions of eastern Nepal where rafters camp for the night before setting out towards the river. The next day’s adventure is a short trek to the next camping site. On Day 3, the rivers trip begins and Class III and Class IV rapids are encountered. The next day brings rapids in quick succession until campsite is reached. On the final day, the river is smoother and merges with the famous Sun Koshi. Finally floating for half an hour, the temple at Barah Chhetra is reached. Further down is Chatara, the Put-out point from where the drive back begins.
The river Tama Koshi flows down from Tibet and has a volume twice that of the Bhote Koshi. After flowing 75km down, it reaches the road at Busti which is the usual put-in point ‘Tama Koshi’ I Nepal means ‘rivers of Copper’. The river is recommended only for keen kayakers who can maneuver through the treacherous waters. The put-in point is at Busti Bride which is reached after a 4-hour drive by car from Kathmandu.
The river deceptively is quite clam on the outset, but soon plenty of rapids are encountered for the next 4km before an island is reached. Both sides of the island present Class V+ rapids. Then 5km, a continuous serious of Class IV+ rapids lead to bigger Class V rapids. This is one more followed by Class IV rapids that continue until the confluence with Khimti Khola is reached. The big rapid that comes up next is ‘Fatal Attraction’ and a portage is called for. The river then gets tamer until at Chisapani, it is Class III. Going further down for another 4km the Akase airstrip is reached. The sun Koshi is 1km from here.
Karnali the longest rivers in Nepal, originates in the holy Mt. Kailash in Tibet, and flows through deep gorges, deserted beaches and steep canyons. One of the best rivers trips in Nepal, the Karnali run can last up to ten fun-filled days. The mild Class III to fabulous Class V rapids makes the ride an unforgettable one, and combining fishing or jungle safari with the trip adds another dimension to the great adventure.
RAPIDS: Captivity, Flip & Strip, God’s House, Elbow and Sweet Well.
The Karnali is also famous for Mahseer fishing. Far removed from urban influence; this is a remote region of Nepal with frequent sightings of diverse wildlife. The river is demanding with encounters of massive rapids that test the skill of rafters. For thrill seekers looking for an adrenaline high, it has a 7km roller-coaster ride through a fabulous gorge. The journey to the river starts with an hour-long flight to Nepalgunj and drive to Surkhel. The put-in point at Tallo Dhungeshwor is reach after a six-hour drive through lovely Sal forests. Exciting rapids are encountered from Day One. The river takes rafters through the pristine Bardia National Park and the trip ends below the spectacular Chisopani Bridge which is the longest suspension bridge in Nepal.
The Seti Karnali is yet another remove river in far-west Nepal. The airstrip at Nepalgunj, Dipayal and Chainpur make access to this rivers relative easy. Seti Karnali flows through serene wilderness promising plenty of wildlife viewing. The rivers start at a steep gradient but gradually easer as it flows down. Seti Karnali is known for its splendid white beaches and views of distant mountains.
If one decided to put-in at Deura, the approach involves a trek over a hill from Gopghat which is rewarding for its beautiful scenery and views of Api and Saipal peaks which are the source of the Seti Karnali. The Class III+ and Class IV rapids encountered here can be tackled with little difficulty and the confluence of this river with the Karnali causes some bouncy waves. In certain sections, rafters are kept busy by the succession of rapids encountered at every bend. There are plenty of white sandy beaches for camping and amazing sights of 100m waterfalls.
The river Bheri has its origin in the Dolpo region of Nepal and is yet to be fully explored. Graded as an easy river to raft, it nevertheless gives rafting a thrilling ride. Along the way are encountered charming little villages with ancient traditions that have been perfectly preserved. Bheri is also well-known for its good fishing spots. As with the Karnali, the journey here begins with a plane ride to Nepalgunj followed by a 3-4 hr drive to the put-in point at Samjighat.
Soon after setting off on the rivers journey, the first major rapid is encountered and there are many more along the way. During the half for lunch, rafters have a chance to explore the surrounding areas and enjoy bird watching. Excitement builds up in anticipation every time the river flows through a narrow gorge. The sides of the gorge rise 200 to 300 ft in vertical walls.
On the final day, there are more rapids to be tackled but nothing seriously challenging. The Bheri then meets the mighty Karnali after which it flows into yet another gorge. Soon after leaving the gorge, the rivers enter the Bardia National Park, a sanctuary for a large variety of animals and birds of many diverse species. Towards the end of the trip, rafting is likely to see the endangered Gangetic dolphins that live in the calmer waters.
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