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Rafting in Nepal

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Nepal is earning the reputation for being one of the best places in the world for white water rafting and Kayaking. And it is the best way to explore a typical cross section of the country’s natural as well as cultural heritage. A variety of cultural activities can be witnessed being performed along the river. The adjoining slopes of the river often harbor dense vegetation and interesting wildlife. Several varieties of fishes also abound the Nepalese rivers.

The longer river trips offer the best range of scenery and rapids and allow participants enough time to develop skills and friendships. Most long trips take from eight to twelve days, with a lot of time rafting in Wilderness.

Safety: Mountain Leaders Rafting takes the safety and security of all its clients very seriously. It is our primary concern and reflected in every aspect of your time with us.

  • All our guides are licensed trained in CPR, first aid and advanced river rescue techniques.
  • All our equipment is world class, up to date and carefully maintained.
  • We use Avon self-bailing rafts.
  • We always use safety kayakers on every trip.
  • We prepare all food with the utmost attention to hygiene.
  • Whenever possible we use our own MRR private minibus and driver.

What We Provide 

Before your trip you will be invited to an orientation meeting in order to meet the rest of your paddling team, the guides and safety kayakers. At this meeting there will be opportunities for you to ask any questions that you may have and discuss any personal requirements, such as a special diet or medical conditions that could affect your time with us.

We have our own private transportation to take you to and from the river. When our own coach is not available then we provide a privately booked alternative.

We provide plentiful, healthy and hygienically prepared food and drinks.

Along with our high quality self-bailing rafts, we provide helmets, plastic paddles, wetsuits (during winter), lifejackets, dry bags, camera barrels, all necessary safety and medical equipment. Tents and sleeping mats are also provided. Sleeping bags can be supplied upon request.

All our equipment is of the highest quality, clean and well maintained.

What to Bring 

In some ways it is best to bring as little as possible to the river. There are however, some essential personal items that you may need.

Please bring:

  • Light weight clothing that will dry quickly, Shorts,

T-shirt, Swim wear  on the river.

  • Warm clothing for the evenings including a fleece or a pullover.
  • Sunscreen and lip protector.
  • Sunglasses (with retaining device) and/or a cap.
  • Towel.
  • Toiletries (environmentally friendly is best!) and any personal medication.
  • Flashlight.
  • Footwear that will stay on in the river, ‘Tevas’ or tennis shoes are best

You may also want to consider bringing:

  • Camera, spare batteries
  • Spare glasses
  • A book to read
  • Your diary and a pen!
  • Snack treats
  • A small amount of money
  • A positive attitude!

Please tell us if you are a non-swimmer or not very confident in the water. Also it is essential that you inform us of any medical conditions that may affect your well being on the trip.

Don’t forget to request vegetarian or other special meals if required.  


For Trekking ( Marsyangdi and Tamur Expeditions)

  • A day pack for the trek to the river. Long sleeved thermal tops and bottoms (long underwear). •Light and medium weight weaves are the handiest. •Walking shoes or lightweight hiking boots are a must. People who are used to walking long distances over uneven terrain will do fine with light hiking shoes or even running shoes. Some of the guides will do the trip in Tevas, but if you saw their feet, you’d opt for better footwear. Heavy mountaineering boots are more of a burden than a blessing. •

Personal Spending

There is not a lot you can buy on a river in Nepal, bearing that in mind you will not need to take much in the way of money, say 500-1000 rupees/day (US$15). Chocolate, sweets and cigarettes are seldom available anywhere on the rivers, so bring a few treats for yourself.

A Day on the River

There are no rules to running rivers other than those dictated by common sense. To enjoy and learn, the participants need to be flexible and adaptive in changing situations. With this in mind here’s what we normally plan on any river journey…

We rise at dawn with the sun and wander to the campfire where a huge pot of coffee is waiting. After a hearty breakfast and loading the rafts, we start rafting. We try to get on the water by around 9 am. On the river you’ll paddle hard through the rapids and cruise in between. On any of the larger volume rivers you could safely say about 30 percent of the time is spent running rapids and 70 percent cruising.

The day’s rafting is punctuated with a leisurely lunch break around midday, as well as stops to scout the more challenging rapids, explore temples and villages, waterfalls and other interesting sights. The length of time spent rafting is directly related to our choice of spectacular campsites. Typically we are on the water 4-6 hours each day.

We get into camp around 3-4 pm in the afternoon and there is plenty of time to explore and relax. On longer trips there is always a layover day built into the itinerary, a chance to do as little or as much as you wish. These areas are also difficult to get to… it would be a shame to end up rushing.

Evenings are spent around the campfire, drinking hot spiced rum and getting to know the people on the trip. Food is communally prepared, every day a different raft crew helps with the simple preparation of vegetables. The kitchen becomes one of the main social points on the trip, and without a doubt the best place to catch up on the latest gossip or get to know someone better…”Get that chicken for you, mom?”

After a few days on the river, time has little meaning, river time  takes over. Having played hard all day, it’s often a surprise to look at your watch before going to bed to find it’s only 8 pm, where as you were sure it was closer to 10. The next day we begin all over.

Longer expeditions have the advantages of offering some real heart thumping whitewater with the incredible journeying aspect of a long river trip. With more time on the river, things are more relaxed, relationship progress at a more natural pace, and memories become firmly entrenched for a lifetime. Long after the whitewater has blurred into one long white-knuckled thrilled ride, the memories of a moon-rise over the river and the friends you inevitably make will remain

Below is a general guide for Raft trips on Nepal’s most popular rivers. Himalayan snow-melt and Asia’s monsoon, courtesy of the Bay of Bengal, may alter the month listed below.

We operate the rafting trip for the following rivers. Nepal’s Rivers Information
River Chart

River             Month            Fall Class    Spring Class
Kali Gandaki Sep-Nov III to IV+ Feb-May III to IV
Karnali Sep-Nov  III to V Feb-May III to IV
Marsyangdi Oct-Dec IV to V Feb-Apr         IV+
Sun Kosi Sep-Oct III+ to V- June III to IV+
Tamur Oct-Dec III to V Mar-Apr II to IV+
Trishuli Round Year III to III Jun to Aug IV (Monsoon)
Bhote Kosi Oct-Dec III to V Feb-May III to IV
Seti River Oct-Nov Kayak Clinic Mar-May I to II

Trisuli – A Blast at Monsoon Flows – 1-3 Days – Class III-IV  
A classic river at high monsoon flows when huge runoffs make the river swell and sheer like an immense ribbon of churning ocean. Flows are gentler outside the monsoon season. The close proximity to Kathmandu makes the Trisuli one of the premier short trips for beginner to advanced (during monsoon) rafters.

People like to travel to Chitwan, Pokhara and India by road is best way to take this trip.  

Bhote Kosi – Two days raft trip with one day bungy jump or Canyoning trip.
If you have limited time but desire an adrenaline overload, then this could be an ideal trip package for you – with two days on the Bhote Koshi for white water rafting and rest spent in the relaxed and undisturbed Resorts in Last Resort, River side and Borderland Resort near the Tibet border. However, the spot is not just for easing back and observing the nature, you can still be a part of adventure by joining in the thrilling cannoning down the beautiful Kaule Khola or you can experience  Bungy jump 160 m. high in the Bhote koshi river Gorge.

Kali Gandaki – The Holy River – 3/4 Days – Class III – IV+
The recent damming of the lower portion of this river has left us with one Nepal’s premier medium length river journeys. Although villages are few, you’ll still spy pilgrims making their way down to pay homage to the Goddess Kali; the river’s namesake.

Nice drops, sparkling chutes and turbulent rapids provide class III to IV+ runs during the fall and spring seasons. This ancient trading route from Tibet takes you through the deepest river gorge in the world. Watch for the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Mountain Ranges (the popular trekking route) and has your camera ready! People can make combination  Annapurana trekking region with this raft trip.

Karnali – This is the BIG ONE! – 10  Days – Class III – V
The Karnali, Nepal’s mightiest river, descends through the Himalayas in a series of magnificent gorges. In traditional Nepalese fashion, dozens of potters carry our equipment for an hour hike to one of Nepal’s most isolated and least explored area. Exceptional big volume rafting through tropical jungle, deserted beaches, small villages and other remarkable scenery of the far western parts of Nepal.

This trip can be combination with Bardia National Park (you can join the our safari trips for more details of the program).  

Marsyangdi Steep and Challenging –5 02.- 6 Days – Class IV-V

The extreme and exotic Marsyangdi, means Raging River in the local dialect and this aptly describes one of the best white water runs in the world. We trek through charming Gurung villages and emerald fields to Khadi, Ngadi. Children play excitedly as we pass, snow-capped Himalayan giants surround us, and the champagne river churns and bubbles below. Few rivers rival this for exhilarating white water and sustained sections of steep, technical rafting test our teamwork.  

Sun Kosi –  The River of Gold – 8/10 Days – Class III -V
The warm waters of the Sun Kosi surge for 270km between roads. Whipped foamy white where narrow canyons constrict the river’s flow, the cataracts are long and powerful. There are dozens of adrenaline pumping rapids and miles of calmer water to reflect on this beautiful area. This trip combination with Kanchanjanga, Makalu and Arun Hidden valley trek or Kositapu or chitwan National Park (Jungle safari).  

Tamur Fly, Trek and Raft – 11 Days – Class III-V
A trip to the newly opened Tamur river in Eastern Nepal will provide a fantastic mountain flight over one-third of Nepal’s width, a short trek across a 10,000ft Himalayan pass, and an exhilarating river expedition.

Local people are a fascinating assembly of tribes and castes. You’ll see the sacred lake at Gupha Pokhari and be greeted by stunning views of the Kanchenjunga massif, Makalu and mighty Everest. Towering waves leap skyward, with seemingly endless rapids surging through steep canyon wall on the final few days of this ultimate river journey.

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