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River Rafting Nepal - Travel-Essence of Escape

In the beginning there was a river, The river became a road and branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry.

Provided by Ultimate Descent

Perhaps the most important thing: 22 years of experience in running professional river expeditions in Nepal and world-wide. In the last twenty-two years of operation, we have run every commercial first descent of rivers in Nepal. We run high water trips on all of Nepal's wild rivers and this experience shows in all we do.

  1. Expedition elements include professional guides and leadership, private ground transportation, porters and permits.
  2. Tasty and carefully prepared western meals, rum punch, tea, coffee and snacks. We always offer a vegetarian option as well and can cater to special dietary requirements.
  3. State-of-the-art equipments: self bailing rafts, lifejackets, helmets, wetsuits on certain rivers, dry bags for gears, tents, and camera barrels.

Not included are bottled/alcoholic beverages, any kind of insurance, visa costs, and expenses of a personal nature.

What to Bring

Personal equipment: The less luggage you have to carry around, the more you will enjoy yourself. Clothing should ideally be lightweight, should dry quickly, and provide insulation even when wet. Synthetic fibres are preferable to cotton for this reason while one is on the river. Here is a fairly extensive list to serve as a guide.

For Camping and Travelling

Personal equipment: The less luggage you have to carry around, the more you will enjoy yourself. Clothing should ideally be lightweight, should dry quickly, and provide insulation even when wet. Synthetic fibres are preferable to cotton for this reason while one is on the river. Here is a fairly extensive list to serve as a guide.

  1. A sleeping bag and pad. Your sleeping bag should be a two to three season bag, either down or synthetic filled. A foam pad or Thermarest sleeping mattress is mandatory for a good night's sleep. For those who do not have a sleeping bag and pad, they can rent it easily in Kathmandu or Pokhara for about $ 1 a day.
  2. Lightweight pants.
  3. Cotton underwear.
  4. Lightweight long sleeved shirt or T-shirt. We use these as a sunscreen in the camp....don't worry about getting enough sun because you definitely will.
  5. A fleece style jacket: polypropylene or wool is preferable
  6. Toiletries: keep it to a minimum and forget the cosmetics.... you won't have a chance to use them. Bring plenty of moisturising lotion.
  7. Spare glasses or contact lenses if you wear them.
  8. Flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries.
  9. Water bottle..

River Wear

  1. River sandals like Tevas or Alps are the preferred footwear on the river. It is essential that all rafters have footwear that they can wear in the raft and which will not come off in the event of a swim. This is considered as a standard safety equipment. Even old running shoes will do.
  2. Shorts or a swimming costume
  3. A sarong for women (a long piece of cloth wrapped around your waist) is another good option and can be purchased cheaply in Nepal. This is invaluable while visiting villages and respecting local custom in terms of dress.
  4. A baseball style cap and good sunglasses are absolutely essential. Sunglasses should be equipped with a retaining device to keep them on your face where they belong.
  5. Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater and waterproof) is essential. DON'T FORGET LIP BALM, SPF 15 MINIMUM!

Optional Items

  1. Small binoculars for wildlife viewing in the national parks.
  2. Camera and film. Also bring a good cleaning kit as the field conditions are harsher than in the towns. Spare batteries are also handy.
  3. Fishing equipment.
  4. Walk/Discman and tunes.
  5. Reading and writing materials.
  6. Personal first aid kit.

Perhaps the most important thing you can bring is a good mental attitude...

Personal Spending

There is not much you can buy during a river journey in Nepal. Bearing this in mind, you will not need to take much with you in terms of money, say 500-1000 rupees (US$15) will be enough. We will fill you in on the beer kitty when you get here. Chocolate, sweets and cigarettes are seldom available anywhere on the river, so bring a few treats for yourself, they can be great bargaining chips for the massage that you may need on the layover day...

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 to changing situations. With this in mind, here is 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. Once on the river, you will have to paddle hard through the rapids and cruise in between. On any of the larger volume rivers, you could say that 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 the choice of spectacular campsites. Typically, we are on the water for about 4-6 hours each day.

We get to the 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 in the itinerary, which gives you a chance to do as little or as much as you wish. These areas are 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 help with the preparation of simple 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... After a few days on the river, time has little meaning as the 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, whereas you were sure it was closer to 10. The next day we begin all over again.

Longer expeditions have the advantage of offering some real heart thumping whitewater adventure with the incredible journey aspect of a long river trip. With more time on the river, things are more relaxed, relationships 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 moonrise over the river and the friends you inevitably make will remain forever.

Rafting and the Environment

Nepal, for all its massive mountain peaks and impressive geography, is actually an incredibly fragile environment. At Ultimate Descents Nepal, our lives have revolved around the free flowing river. We feel an increased responsibility to protect and preserve these wild places. Not only do we leave every campsite cleaner than when we arrived, we've taken steps to protect Nepal's rivers and the people who live along them.

If you would like membership information regarding the Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT) or like to join our yearly trip to support eco-conscious tourism along Nepal's rivers, simply contact us.


At Ultimate Descents Nepal, we take safety very seriously. It is our first and never forgotten priority and it shows in everything we do. We employ some of the best rafting guides in the world. These men and women are whitewater professionals, trained in CPR, emergency wilderness first aid and swift-water rescue technique. Safety kayakers accompany each expedition and can get a person out of trouble faster than any other company.

Equipment is another element of of being prepared for anything. Rafting, like flying, scuba diving or safe sex, is intrinsically dependent on using the most advanced and reliable equipment. We use the best rafts, flotation devices, helmets and paddles available.

You can help us by doing your part- Listen to your guides and take safety seriously.

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Our Affiliations

  • Fairtravel4u -  For Realistic Tours
  • Borderlands Eco Adventure Resort
  • Nepal River Organization Trust
  • Borderlands Sri Lanka | Nepal
  • Sun Koshi Beach Camp
  • Borderlands PDP And Training
  • Nature-treks