Nepal, the land of the Himalayas, popular for mountain trekking and expedition, is equally popular for white water rafting. With over 6000 rivers across the country, Nepal is truly one of the world's best destinations for rafting trips. Flanked by some of the highest mountains in the world and stunning landscapes, the rivers in Nepal with white sandy beaches are a paradise calling out thrill-seekers who loves swaying through the gushing torrents. Far from the chaotic cities and busy life is the beautiful rivers falling from the Himalayas, surrounded by green hills, lush forests, and lofty mountains. In this blog, we will be talking about the 10 popular rivers for white water rafting in Nepal:
Named after the trident of Shiva, the Trishuli River is a popular destination for rafting and kayaking in Nepal. Trishuli is far by the most accessible river in Nepal for water adventure. Every year, during peak season, hundreds of domestic as well as international tourists head to the river to try rafting. Rising from Langtang Mountain, this river is suitable for everyone. The exciting grade 2-3 rapids, which are straightforward, promise a thrilling ride; there are very few extreme rapids to encounter. In a nutshell, rafting in the Trishuli River is safe and exciting for all ages. In regard to kayaking, it is ideal for intermediate kayakers.
The put-in point of Trishuli is about a 2.30-hour drive from Kathmandu. This means it is the best choice for a short rafting trip for you if you have limited time. Most people choose the classic 2-day trip to Trishuli River. Beautiful gorges, glimpses of the cable car, temples, and stunning landscape are some worth eye-catching delights while rafting in the Trishuli River. If you want to add a trek, you can head to Mardi Himal Base Camp or Annapurna Base Camp from Pokhara. Or you can visit Chitwan National Park. February to June and September to Mid Mid-November is considered the best time for rafting in Trishuli. If you are in Kathmandu, you can book on weekends for getaways and refreshments. Check out our 11 Days Adventure Holiday for multi-sport adventure in Nepal
Rafting in the Bhotekoshi River is definitely a must-do for rafting enthusiasts. The river is used for both rafting and kayaking and for years, this river has been the firm favorite for water adventure. Also regarded as one of the best short white water rafting near Kathmandu. Bhote Koshi is one of the top 10 rivers in Nepal for rafting. It is a part of the Koshi river system of Nepal and the upper course of the Sun Kosi River. Unlike other rivers, there is not much mountain scenery. However, en route, you can stop in Dhulikhel to embrace stunning views of the mountains.
The put-in point of Bhotekoshi River is just a 4-hour drive from Kathmandu. You must drive to Baseri by private transport, the main put-in point. Particularly famous for being the steepest river in Nepal, Bhotekoshi has everything a short-great rafting package should have. The rapids can be intimidating but are rewarding; rapids are class IV-V high level and III at the lower level. If you are short on time and want to experience an adrenaline rush in Nepal, go for Bhotekoshi River rafting. Rafting in the Bhotekoshi River is possible throughout the year, but for a pleasant experience, September through October is considered the best time.
Karnali River is among the most popular rivers for white water rafting in Nepal. Karnali River is Nepal's longest and largest river, known for its challenging nature for rafting. The stunning jungle scenery, wilderness, and wild rapids are some of the highlights of rafting in the Karnali River. The rivers meander through a series of canyons draped in natural scenery. Also dubbed the Wild West, the river rewards splendid natural scenery and unspoiled wilderness. Ending at the Bardia National Park, rafting in the Karnali River is a must-do river expedition. If you are lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of endangered freshwater dolphins.
Karnali River originates in the Kailash Mountain in Tibet and flows down into Ganges. The river features beautiful gorges, spectacular rock formations, and massive-continuous rapids that test the dauntless rafters. It is a 10-day river expedition to Karnali River, starting from Kathmandu, ending near Bardia National Park. The rafting trip to Karnali is ideal for novice as well as experienced paddlers. Although some rapids are quite challenging, you can overcome them, enjoying the adrenaline rush through the raging water. Starting from Kathmandu, you will have to drive to Surkhet and Sauli. And the rest of the days are the days you've been waiting: rafting and camping.
Kali Gandaki River, notable for its deep canyons, is yet another popular choice among rafters. With more than 50 rapids, the Kali Gandaki River reserves a special spot for white water river rafting in Nepal. Named after Goddess Kali, Kali Gandaki rises in the mystical Mustang region of Nepal and flows southward through the Kali Gandaki gorge. As you navigate through the river, the adventure you set in for will reward breathtaking views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range, and at every confluence, you may see fire rings from cremations. The exciting rapids, white beaches, narrow gorges, and stunning scenery combines to give you the perfect thrill.
Kali Gandaki River is one of the holy rivers in Nepal. With exciting rapids (as mentioned above), terrace dotted with beautiful villages, suspension bridges, waterfalls, lush green forest, and not to mention mountain views, this river is considered one of the few rivers in Nepal perfect for rafting. You will be enjoying 4-5 hours rafting in the river, tackling exciting rapids, and enjoying the beautiful views. Note: the river puts forward two biggest rapids-Big and Little Brother- in the earliest ten minutes. The trip starts and ends in Pokhara; the river is a few hours' drives from Lakeside, Pokhara. You can also go to the kayaks after finishing rafting.
Get help from our travel specialists for holiday ideas that matches your interests.
Popular for kayaking and rafting, Tamur River rafting can be combined with Himalayan trekking. Also dubbed "The Jewel in the East," the river originated from Kanchenjunga peak. The trip starts with a few days trek high ridge in remote Eastern Nepal and takes you to Tamur River for world-class white water rafting. Sandy beaches are something everybody thinks of when it comes to rafting in Nepal, but few rivers actually match the level of action-packed rafting, and the Tamur river tops the list. Popular for being the sixth largest river in Nepal, the Tamur River is one of the seven rivers forming Sapta Kosi (or Saptakoshi).
Tamur River entails 120km descents with many exciting rapids. But before entering the exciting mode of rafting, you must trek through a 3000m high ridge and lush forests, and this adventure is an opportunity to embrace the mesmerizing views of Kanchenjunga, Everest and Makalu. The trip starts with a domestic flight to Biratnagar from Kathmandu, and you need to hop on a bus for a 5-hour journey to Basantapur. This trip also includes trekking for 4 to 5 days before heading to the river for rafting. The river offers a unique opportunity to raft for at least six days.
Sunkoshi river rafting is the best river in Nepal for white water rafting, the Sunkoshi River is the perfect place for a water adventure in Nepal. This river welcomes hundreds of rafters every season for the multi-day river trip. Sunkoshi river rafting is also the longest river trip offering a unique experience near the Tibetan border. This river has been listed as one of the top ten rafting trips in the world. The river flows through the great valley between the Himalayas and Mahabharat Hills. Milder Class II and Class III rapids let you thrive on an adventure that gets progressively challenging. The river is perfectly ideal for novice and professional rafters and kayakers. With sandy beaches and forested valleys, you can expect to admire stunning natural scenery.
The rafting spot or put-in point in Dolalghat is 3-hour drive away from Kathmandu. The river has some finest spots for camping and thus is a great multi-day river trip. Sunkoshi literally means "River of Gold." The roller coaster rapids and challenging currents, stunning mountain views, remote valleys, picturesque villages, and dramatic landscapes all add to give an ultimate river adventure. Once you leave Kathmandu and head to Dolalghat, the adventure begins with beautiful remote scenes and sandy beaches. This trip is arguably popular among Nepalese rafting enthusiasts as well. The ideal rafting duration for the Sunkoshi River is 9 days, but you can customize it as per your preference.
Only a half-an-hour drive away from Pokhara city, the Seti River is an ideal destination for white water river rafting pokhara in Nepal. This river offers 40 minutes of non-stop thrilling rapids with stunning views of mountains like the Annapurna range and surrounding peaks. Anyone looking for short two-day rafting trips and light rafting experience can opt for this trip. Seti River rises from the sacred Fishtail Mountain and flows through beautiful and contrasting landscapes. Seti translates to "White," named after its white river due to the continuous rapids. Anyone wishing to raft or kayak can join Seti River rafting or kayaking trip from Pokhara and Kathmandu.
The rafting excursion starts from Damauli, which is the put-in point for rafting in the Seti River. If you are interested in Bird-watching, the Seti River rafting trip can grant you the wish to do that; there are great birdwatching sites around the river. After the trip, you can head to Chitwan National Park or explore Pokhara, which is a popular tourist destination in Nepal. The riverine forest scenery is one of the highlights of this trip, and the river serves as a great introduction to white water adventure and kayaking. Due to its small volume and warm temperature, Seti River is quite a popular choice among novice rafters.
Marshyangdi River, a mountain river in Nepal, is a popular choice for rafting and kayaking alike. This river has great potential for entertainment purposes like rafting and kayaking, along with hydropower purposes. Rafting in this river is more of scenery and less of an adventure. However, it is technical and not to be underestimated. It flaunts some of the exciting rapids with stunning views of the Annapurna range. The river winds through narrow gorges and canyons, committing an exciting journey. The technical ride can be a bit challenging, but with a little effort, you can do it and enjoy. Ideal for those who seek intense rafting trips, Marshyangdi calls for professional rafters. In this sense, it is suited for those who have previous experience.
Bulbhule or Nagdi is the put-in point of Marshyangdi River, which is approximately 5-6 hours' drive away from the capital city. It also involves 2-hour trek to the rafting spot. You can indulge in two-day of intense and exciting rafting trips. This river demands different approaches and fast reactions from the crew; you have to be very careful and committed to enjoy a successful trip. Seasoned rafters choose this river to enjoy the ultimate experience of rafting in raging Marshyangdi. What makes it unique is the breathtaking views of Annapurna massif and Manaslu alongside challenging and continuous rapids.
Bheri River is one of the easiest rivers for water adventures in Nepal. Arguably it is a less crowded rafting destination situated in the far western part of Nepal. With the rapids of Class III and IV, this river is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy rafting for the first time. However, keeping the location in mind, very few actually opt to go rafting in Bheri. But, a rafting trip in Bheri is an undeniable opportunity to explore remote villages, enticing culture, and admire stunning natural scenes of Nepal. That said, you can combine the trek with rafting, choosing Bheri among other rafting rivers in Nepal. The unspoiled village, white beaches, attractive campsites, spectacular natural scenery, and local people are some of the highlights of white water rafting in Bheri.
Devisthal is the put-in point of Bheri, and the take-out point is Chisapani. You will have to fly to Nepaljung from Kathmandu or hop on a long journey bus to Nepaljung. Your journey to the Bheri River takes you to some of the remote areas of Nepal. Due to its remoteness, this river welcomes relatively fewer rafting enthusiasts. March through May and September through December are the best time to raft in this river. Upon finishing the rafting, you can head to Royal Bardia National park for a jungle safari. Please note that the Bheri River rafting trip operates on a camping basis only.
Last but not least, we have Arun River among the list of top rivers in Nepal for white water rafting. The river is not just popular for rafting but is equally popular for kayaking. Rafting in Arun River bestows striking views of Arun valley, deep gorges, and stunning landscapes. This river is one of the tributaries of the Saptakoshi river and is the largest trans-Himalayan river in Nepal. Rafting in the Arun River is also an opportunity to admire unrivaled views of the snow-capped Himalayas. The powerful currents of the Arun River create exciting rapids that are the essence of rafting. Be ready for challenging rapids if you want to head to Arun River for a white water adventure.
The journey to the put-in point of the Arun river is a 16-hour ride from Kathmandu. The best and easiest way to start the trip is by flying to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu. Generally, the transportation, as well as accommodation, are managed by the trip operator. So you don't have to worry about anything. The trip starts with a 3-day trek through the remote areas of Arun valley. This could be a good point for you that the trip involves 3 days of trekking. In general, this river is a great choice for a long trip.
Get help from our travel specialists for holiday ideas that matches your interests.
The best times of the year for rafting as well as kayaking in Nepal are September through December and March through June. We can also conclude that the summer season is the best season to raft. The days from March to May are hot and long, and the water level in the river is low. This implies that the rapids are not extreme.
In monsoon, the water level rises, making it difficult for water adventures. The general rule of thumb is that you have to avoid rafting in monsoon season. With monsoon season-ending, the rivers are extremely high in the months of September to early October, making it suited for experienced rafters only. Mid October to November is considered the ideal time to raft because of exciting rapids and balmy weather.
You must be well aware that the trip operator manages everything for you, including all specialized equipment and guide. In the case of camping, they will do that as well. You'll only need to bring your extra pair of clothes, a towel, insect repellant, toiletries, sunscreen (compulsory), Ziploc bag for wet clothes and gears and sandals. In case of cold weather, don't forget warm pair of clothes, socks, and shoes. If you are a photographer or vlogger, make sure to bring a waterproof camera. Before you leave your house for rafting, double check your bag and make sure to grab everything you need for white water rafting.
Your safety should be of paramount concern for the trip organizer and yourself. That means you should be careful and be prepared for anything that may come to you. From choosing a professional rafting company to being wary of everything, you should be safe. Here are a few tips for your safety while rafting in Nepal