hite water rafting means cruising down a rushing river in an inflatable rubber raft or white water kayak over crashing waves and swirling rapids for the excitement of a lifetime. Nepal has earned a reputation as one of the best destinations in the world for white water rafting. Nepal's thundering waters, coming from the glaciers of the mighty Himalaya, provide unmatched thrills for rafting and immersing oneself in the landscape. A rafting trip is bound to be the highlight of your stay in the country.
Rivers are graded on a scale of one to six, with one being a swimming pool and six a one-way ticket to your maker. Four is considered to be quite challenging without being exceedingly dangerous to the novice rafter. Five requires some previous river experience. Here are some of the popular rafting trips:
The Trisuli River (grade 3+) is one of the most popular, if not the favorite, of Nepal's raftable rivers. Due to its proximity to Kathmandu and the easy road access which accompanies it, most rafting companies offer trips on the Trisuli. For first time rafters it offers plenty of excitement. Many choose to incorporate a ride down the Trisuli with either a trip to Pokhara or to the Royal Chitwan National Park.
The Kali Gandaki (4 - 5) winds through remote canyons and deep gorges for five days of intense rapids among gorgeous wilderness and mountain views. The run flows 120 km and its challenges are continuous. Trips on the Kali Gandaki begin and end in Pokhara and offer an exciting alternative to the Trisuli.
The Bhote Koshi (4 - 5) is worth special mention, It is a two-day run of pure adrenaline located only three hours from Kathmandu. Twenty-six km of continuous white water soaks rafters as they shoot through a veritable maze of canyons and boulders. LittIe more than a swimsuit is needed for this one.
The raging Marshyandi(4 - 5) is a relative newcomer in this group. The Marshyangdi run is four days of uninterrupted white water. Flowing through the gorges of the Annapurnas, it runs sandwiched between 52 km of boiling foam and towering peaks. Trips on the Marshyangdi start from Pokhara.
The Karnali River (4 - 5) in the far west is the longest and largest river in Nepal. To arrive at its banks requires a two-day trek from Surkhet in the Terai. The next 90 km are spent flying through spectacular landscapes and narrow gorges and down some of the most challenging rapids in the world. For the remaining 90 km, the scenery and wildlife are the main attraction, as is the abundance of fish. During most of this trip, the wilderness is uninterrupted by human habitations.
The Sun Koshi(4 - 5) is Nepal's second offering for expedition rafting. With a put-in only three hours from Kathmandu, it is more easily accessible than the Kamali while nevertheless offering an incredible stretch of exhilarating white water. The run is 270 km and requires 8-10 days to complete with road access only at the beginning and end. On the third day rapids reach the upper 4 classifications and the remainder of the trip is consistently intense - the white water stays white until the very end.