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Rafting In Nepal

Nepal

Rafting in Nepal offers infinite choices and for avid rafters this is the ideal country. Distances are short and rivers, there are many. Nepal being a mountainous kingdom, the rivers gush down deep gorges and pass through fascinating landscapes often with incredible mountain views. Many world class rafters are of the opinion Nepal has the best rivers for rafting anywhere in the world. From the safest rivers to those recommended only to experts, there is many a choice. Rafting in Nepal also involves village tours and temple visits ensuring it is not merely a water sport. It is a unique experience. There is much to see and various ethnic groups of diverse cultures to meet along the way.

Season: The time to go rafting is September to early December or March to early June. The monsoon period (late June to early September) is best avoided, as flash floods are as dangerous as they are unpredictable. Moreover the river is so swollen there is hardly an exciting rapid to encounter.

Raft Type: Rafting in simple terms, means “floating down swift flowing rivers on inflatable rubber rafts”. It comes in two forms. A raft can be rigged with an oar frame, which has a guide sitting in the middle to do the rowing. In this case, the passengers have little to do besides enjoy the trip. The other type of raft has a guide sitting at the back shouting instructions and guiding the raft from the rear. But he has to be assisted by the passengers who are provided paddles and given a briefing before the trip on what is required of them. This calls for teamwork and builds up a bond among the clients and is very enjoyable.

Rapids: Rapids are sections of water, which rush down in great speed between boulders followed by a bumpy section where a raft is thrown up in the air, sometimes overturning it. Rapids are what make a rafting trip exciting and most of Nepal’s rivers are full of them. Excitement reaches a peak, when the boat is tossed up and you are fighting to keep your seat. Rapids in Nepal have exotic names like Ladies’ Delight, Upset, Screwdriver, Twister, etc and on some rivers you encounter a whole series of rapids.

Grading: Rivers are graded according to difficulty. So it is up to you to choose how tough or how easy a trip you want. If you want your adrenaline coursing through your body opt for a tough river with rapids that can toss the raft up in the air.

Safety: Helmets and life jackets are provided for your safety in case you fall off the raft, which is possible while negotiating the rapids. The recommended minimum for safety is two rafts per trip. In higher water, three rafts are considered safer. Two safety kayakers may also take the place of a second raft.

What to bring: Preferable outfits for a raft trip includes—T shirts, shorts or light cotton trousers, tennis shoes/sneakers, swim suit, sun hat, sun glasses with string, suntan lotion and a complete change of clothing including shoes which you will require for the trip back.
Guidance: If you want to know more about rafting, the book ‘White Water Nepal’ by Peter Knowles and David Allardice provides comprehensive information on everything you need to know about white water rafting in Nepal.

Choice of Rivers: Rafting trips can be anywhere from one day to seven days or more. Some of the rivers are listed below:
1. Trishuli: Has the easiest access and naturally one of the most popular and also the most crowded river. The put in point is not far from Kathmandu (two hours drive). The trip can end at Kuringhat (day trip) or wind up at the Royal Chitwan National Park in the plains. It is one of the easiest rivers for rafting.

2. Sun Kosi: Usually starts from Dolalghat, (3 hr from Kathmandu), This is one of the ten best rafting trips in the world. It’s an ideal choice for most people, especially first timers.

3. Karnali: A river in western Nepal is far from Kathmandu and so it less frequented. But the trip can be exciting and ends up at the Royal Bardia National Park. This trip includes a two-day trek but the surroundings are extraordinary with gorgeous canyons, pristine forests, lush green valleys and abundant wildlife.

4. Arun river: This is in eastern Nepal and far from Kathmandu. A flight to Tumlingtar is the easiest means of getting there. It also involves a short trek to the put in point. The trip is 6 to 7days winding off near the confluence of the Arun and Sunkosh rivers.

5. Kali Gandaki: This is a river in central Nepal hence one has to either fly or drive down to Pokhara. This trip also involves a trek to reach the put in point. But rafting combined with a trek in the Annapurna region is an unforgettable experience.

Other rivers are the Setikhola, Bheri, Tama Koshi, Marshyangdi (considered one of the best in the world by professionals) and Tamur, Your rafting trip will depend a lot on the amount of time you have, and how difficult a river you choose. A trip could last just a day or a longer one can last for more than a week. The scale of excitement goes with the scale of difficulty. But rafting also involves cultural experiences coupled with wildlife encounters. The rivers pass through regions inhabited by diverse ethnic groups depending on which part of Nepal you are in. Rivers play an important part in these people’s lives and you will meet many on your way down. Along the rivers, especially in the terai, hundreds of different species of birds are seen and in the Koshi and Karnali even the Gangetic dolphins make an appearance.



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