Why go rafting?
Nepal is a river runner's paradise. Our warm rivers, magnificent mountains, semi-tropical climate, diverse cultures, and wildlife all add to the charm of a rafting adventure.
Rafting routes can take you into the heart of rural, unspoilt Nepal. They also offer an alternative to trekking if you're not a big walker, or if you or your friends have disabilities. Ecologically, it's a safe bet—if you're conscientious and dispose of waste properly, you won't even leave footprints behind. It's also an amazing chance to see wildlife, particularly things native to the river ecosystem, like kingfishers, cranes, and the Karnali's bottle-nosed dolphins. Best of all, there's the exercise and the sheer thrill factor—steering through rapids, working as a team, and probably the occasional man overboard. Nothing matches the rush of successfully navigating a rapid or watching the sunset over a wide tarai river.
Is it difficult?
For most trips, like those down the Trisuli, all you need is an everyday level of fitness and a little courage. Even novices can handle grade five rapids with help from an experienced guide. But trips like the Sun Kosi, where all the rapids are grade five and above, are best left to experts.
But I can't swim!
It's not absolutely necessary to be able to swim, though swimmers are more likely to feel relaxed and safe in the water. If you want to do progressively more remote or difficult trips you should be a strong swimmer.
When should I go?
Peak season is mid-October through early December. During the monsoon and just after, the rivers are swollen with rain and difficult for inexperienced people to negotiate. The winter is freezing, and in the spring rivers run low.
The best trips for experience and value for money are multi-day ones down the Sun Kosi or the Karnali, truly away from it all. But there are also day-trips, like the easy one down the Trisuli.
How much will it cost?
Most rafting trips are advertised as costing between
Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,000, depending on the length of the trip and level of service, but prices often drop by as much as half for Nepalis. Trips to remote rivers cost more because of transport, and it's good to budget extra for expenses.
Getting the most out of rafting:
Choose the right trip. Make sure you know everything about it—how many days, where you will start from, pass through, and end in, transport to and from start and finish points, what grade the rapids are, who you're going with, and what the price includes.