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White Water Rafting and Kayaking in Nepal

Updated on January 26, 2013
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Nepal is one of the popular destinations for white water rafting and kayaking. White water rafting involves a group of six to eight paddlers. A river guide navigates the raft through fast flowing rivers with turbulent rapids. Nepal offers an exceptional kayaking experience. There are many kayak clinics with highly experienced local and western instructors.

Source of most of the rivers in Nepal are the Himalayas, so they are very steep, and full of white water rapids. The rivers that run down the mountains become broad when they flow in the flatlands. White water rafting was commercialized in Nepal in the mid-1970.

The raft is made of hard polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabric. Even when it is punctured, the raft can float because there are several air chambers, and damage to one chamber does not deflate the raft. Rafting and kayaking in Nepal is very affordable but your experience is priceless.

Classification of River Difficulty for Water Sports



The rivers can be divided into six different grades depending on the difficulty level and technical requirements. However, you have to remember, an easy river can be very unsafe in rainy season, whereas very difficult routes can be harmless in dry season. Most of the rivers in Nepal fall in class 3 and class 4 types.

Class 1: The is easy route because the river has small waves, and you require minimal skill. Ideal for family trips.

Class 2: The rivers in this class have rough waves and require basic skill. Difficulty level is medium.

Class 3: You need a good guide to navigate class 3 rapids. Difficulty level is challenging. You come across rocks, eddies and jerky waves.

Class 4: In Class 4 rivers, you come across white water and long rapids. You need an expert guide because the rivers are difficult.

Class 5: The rapids Class 5 rivers are long, continuous, and very difficult. There are huge obstacles, steep ascent and strong current. To navigate Class 5 rapids, you need highly experienced guide.

Class 6: Class 6 rivers are considered unsafe. There are high chances for severe injury or even death.

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How to choose a river for rafting and kayaking

Depending on time and money you want to spend, you can choose river routes. You can go for one or two days rafting/kayaking or your itinerary can be up to 12 days trip. However, every trip gives you different experience.

Generally rafting and kayaking equipments are provided by the operators. However, you must be always ready to hire some logistics. During the rafting and kayaking expeditions you have to camp in the riverside. You can choose the package that suits you best.


When to go for rafting and kayaking

Due to flash floods, rafting and kayaking in rainy season (June-August) is considered risky. You need highly experienced guides to navigate rivers in monsoon. Source of the most rivers in Nepal are the mighty Himalayas, so in the cold months like January and February rivers run dry. September to early December is the best time for rafting, kayaking and also canoeing.


Planning for rafting and kayaking

If you have limited time, you have to book your rafting and kayaking trip in advance with international or Nepal-based agencies. Local companies charge $30-$80 per day depending on the number of people on the trip, experience of the companies, and the rivers.

Rafting and kayaking trips generally include overnight stay in a campsite. You are required to raft or kayak for 5-6 hours daily. You have to be very cautious while choosing the agencies. Ask if their charge includes food and other logistics. Check how reliable the companies are. Talk to someone who has done rafting and kayaking in Nepal.


Is it safe to raft and kayak in Nepal?

The answer is yes, but you must be careful about choosing the company. Make sure that the equipments are of high quality and the river guide is experienced. Before you begin talk to the guides about the equipments and safety measures.

The most important part of river safety is the number rafts or kayak per trips. It is generally advised that there must be at least two rafts or kayak per trip. If someone falls or raft capsizes there has to be another raft to rescue.



What you need for rafting and kayaking

Roll-top dry bags to keep your things dry

Foot wears with good grip

Light clothing that dries quickly and slight warmer cloths for cool night. When you are rafting or kayaking in winter, you need body warmer.

Swimsuits, towel, sun hat, mosquito repellent, sunscreen

Sleeping bags (your company may provide or you can hire in Kathmandu)



Points to remember

Avoid cotton cloths

Rafting involves collective effort

You don’t have to be a swimmer

You have to be fit, but you don’t need tremendous stamina

You can experience rafting and kayaking by spending from $100 to $800

Check if your company provides life-jackets, wetsuits and other logistics such as tents and sleeping bags

Expect at least 30 percent rapids in the rivers

There are always constant dangers such as undercut rocks and eddies

Most of the accidents occur because of a paddler’s irresponsible behavior

Some dos and don’ts

Don’t do drugs and alcohol during the rafting and kayaking expeditions

Pay attention to the guides

You helmet and jacket must be fitted properly

Be responsible and always ready for self rescue

Keep your hands and legs inside the raft

Even if your raft capsizes or you fall from the raft, don’t panic, stay cool and focused.

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    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
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      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      @Audrey, looks like some of his sites are being blocked. Thanks for your visit.

      @Vocalcoach, thanks for enjoying this visual tour. Cheers

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I would love to visit Nepal! You have written such a good hub about Kayaking in this marvelous place. I enjoyed it so very much. Up and more!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      This is a great hub Vinaya!! So sorry that it got scraped!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Yourglobalgirl,

      I'll love to hear your Nepal stories.

      Cheers

    • Yourglobalgirl profile image

      Yourglobalgirl 4 years ago from UK

      And lived to tell the tale!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      @Marlene, thanks for sharing your view.

      @Yourglobalgirl, I'm glad that you have done white water rafting in Nepal.

      Cheers

    • Yourglobalgirl profile image

      Yourglobalgirl 4 years ago from UK

      I have been white water rafting in Nepal and it was wonderful.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Kayaking is a lot of fun! I used to go kayaking as a kid.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      @midget, rafting/kayaking is very adventurous water based spot. Thanks for your comment.

      @ignugent, you don't have to be a swimmer to raft, all you have to do is row the oars.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      This must be great but I cannot do this because I don't know how to swim. I will just share it with my friends!

      Voted up and more! :-)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      love kayaking! used to go with my students. Theese are great places to go for the sport! thanks for sharing!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Daisy Mariposa

      TToombso

      Tillsontitan

      Mary

      Thank you very much for reading and leaving appreciative comments.

      Regards

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I've been white water rafting in Costa Rica and loved it (I was a little scared). I've also done some kayaking, that's more of what I like. Interesting Hub. I voted it UP, etc.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      What a beautiful and diverse country Nepal is! This hub is very helpful for anyone, anywhere who wants to raft/kayak. You've given great hints and information.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Vinaya, this looks AMAZING! I wish I could do this right now. :) Great job. Voted up and sharing.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Vinaya,

      You are a great ambassador for your country. Thanks for publishing another terrific article about Nepal.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      @Peggy, Thanks for reading and sharing your views.I will definitely check your hub.

      @Suzie, thanks for sharing your views. I'm sure you will love Nepal.

      Mountains and rivers are great.

      @bdegiulio, rafting in Himalayan rivers is great experience. Thanks for your comment.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great Hub Vinaya. I love whitewater rafting and this looks and sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us. How cool would it be to go rafting on a river that came down from the Himalayas?

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Vinaya, What a great hub! I love white river rafting, having fallen in love with it in Turkey. You outline all the relevant points excellently and your info and tips on doing in Nepal specific is great to know. I would love to get the chance to visit your country and now would definitely do rafting and kayaking there! Thanks so much, have voted and will share this!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Vinaya,

      Whitewater rafting is so much fun! I have only experienced day trips. If you want to see some photos, look to my Jackson Hole in Wyoming hub. I like your listing of the classification of difficulty for the river sports. No way would I be interested in anything beyond a class 3! Kayaking is something that I have never experienced, but it also looks like it would be fun. Thanks for showing us more of what can be enjoyed in your beautiful country of Nepal. Up, useful & interesting votes plus sharing.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Billy, white Water rafting is fun. I'm glad that you have done little bit of rafting.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This looks like some great fun! I have done a little white water rafting here in our area but nothing like the rivers of Nepal. Great hub my friend; thank you for the tour!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Dear Cathleena, thanks for sharing your experience. Rafting is a fun, but sometimes it can be dangerous.

      Thanks for always reading and leaving appreciative comments.

    • Cathleena Beams profile image

      Cathleena Beams 5 years ago from Lascassas, Tennessee

      Awesome fun! I can appreciate this hub since one of the best vacations I ever had we went white water rafting with my brother and sister while they were visiting us here in Tennessee. We were on the Ocoee River - All of us in one big raft with our young guide. My brother went overboard during our adventure and we almost tipped over when all of us reached out for him at once to try to pull him back in.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Brian,

      If you want, you can go for level I rafting, which is very safe for children and old people.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Regards

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 5 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      Great hub- I'm probably a little to old to consider white water rafting in Nepal but a few years ago I would have loved to have done. Great information and excellent photo's. voted up

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hi Natashalh, so nice of you to leave a lovely comment.

      Cheers

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Super cool. As I've posted before, I don't know that I will ever make it to your part of the world, but this is on my list if I do!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hi Aurda, it feels good that you know someone from Nepal.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      My co-worker Karna is from Nepal. I told him about you the other day. He was curious about how I knew you! I have been tubing but not water rafting. Flash floods would be scary...EEk! Great hub though!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hi Angel, water sport is a wonderful adventure when it is played safe.

      Cheers

    • Angelme566 profile image

      Angelme566 5 years ago

      another good tourism in your place..Rafting is a very enjoyable outdoor activity , a good bonding moment with family or best friend. One knows how to swim or not is but so okay for it is a safe ACTIVITY. We have also like this in our place.

    • profile image

      Jenny 5 years ago

      This season, rafting is on my list. Good work my friend.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Christy thanks for leaving appreciative comment.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You outline all the points associated with white water rafting very well here. The idea scares me but you have many safety points here to help readers who are interested in the activity.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Daisy, I'm very proud to have a friend like you. Thanks you for always being supportive.

      Cheers

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Vinaya,

      Your aticles about Nepal make your country proud! I enjoy reading them immensely.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Debby,

      thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Water sports are not only adventurous but also full of risk. But if you follow your guide's advice, rafting is always a fun.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Vinaya - You are very adventurous and I guess willing to take calculated risks with superior guides who take groups out on the rapid waters on a regular basis. Enjoyed the ride with you. Blessings, Debby

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Brett. thanks for leaving wonderful comment. You are so right about White Water Rafting. Thanks for following me, I'm following you back.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Wow the scenery is incredible, combined with adrenaline and exercise, I'd say it'd be a great way to spend some time! You also give some helpful tips, especially for newbies.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Maya,

      thanks for stopping by. Thanks for reading my hubs and leaving appreciative comments.

    • profile image

      Maya 5 years ago

      thanks for sharing your expertise

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Eddy,

      thanks for reading and writing a wonderful comment. I always enjoy your appreciative comments

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Vinaya which I am sure many will enjoy.

      Up up and away without a doubt.

      Take care

      Eddy.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello alocsin, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Rafting and kayaking is fun.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sounds like fun. Thanks for all the tips. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Jackie, thanks for sharing your story.

      Cheers

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I had a couple of brothers and a niece working in White Water Rafting but I am chicken. That white water says it all. That is a strong water and i am not a strong swimmer. Oh, sure I can dog paddle for hours...

      Great fun read. Voted up.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Rosemary, thanks for sharing your story. Interestingly, I have only one hubber friend from Nepal, who is quite inactive on hubpages.

      Thanks, for reading and leaving a comment.

      Regards.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I have never been whitewater rafting but my daughter has several times here in NZ and she loves it. She got a little worried the first time when the raft capsized but the resue went smoothly so it didn't put her off.

      I received an email from another hubber from Nepal yesterday asking me to visit your country, but it is strange he has been on hubpages 4 years but no hubs or followers. I didn't reply just binned it.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      @sheilanewton

      @radha

      @JS Matthew

      @homesteadbound

      Thank you very much for reading and taking time to comment. Rafting and kayaking is fun. Not only the adventure, but the natural beauty along the way gives you wonderful experience.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      What an interesting hub! I would love to go to Nepal sometime!

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Awesome Hub Vinaya! Thanks for sharing on Google+! I always wanted to try this. We have some rapids a few hours from my house and I have a friend who goes sometimes. Maybe someday I can travel to Nepal and ride the waves! This Hub is stuffed with useful information! Great job. Voted as always...

      JSMatthew~

    • radhapriestess profile image

      radhapriestess 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Interesting and informative article about Rafting and Kayaking in Nepal. I do not know too much about the rivers there. Might be good to have an article on some of the rivers there.

    • sheilanewton profile image

      sheilanewton 5 years ago from North Shields, UK

      Great article, my friend. Loved every word of this.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      @gogogo

      @Frank

      Thanks for reading and leaving appreciative comments.

      Regards

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      another good share.. I remember once when I was fishing I wore clothes made from cotten and when they got wet I almost sank like a stone when the fishing boat tipped..:) Great share again my friend

    • profile image

      gogogo 5 years ago

      very interesting hub, enjoyed reading it

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      b. Mailin, white water rafting looks scary but when you have good equipments and experienced guide, it is exciting. Thanks for appreciating my work.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      White Water Rafting always sounds so Exciting, but Scary! This is really quite an Interesting and most Informative Hub Vinaya, Thanks for Sharing your knowledge on this subject. Liked your Do's and Don'ts list, very Helpful.