Tamor and its tributaries drain the glacier of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. The river is the sixth largest river in Nepal and it seems to have a thrusting power because it is constrained by the valley sides.
Above Dhovan, Tamor and its tributaries have a steep gradient and are probably only of interest to expedition kayakers. Nowadays competitive rafters enjoy the challenge and thrilling water on Tamor river. Tamor River is 130 km and has more than 150 rapids all above class 3 grade.
The valley its self is very beautiful and unspoiled with relatively few village and little agriculture. The valley sides are well wooded, good for camping and plentiful signs of wildlife.
Local people are a fascinating collage of tribes and castes. Sources quote 27 different languages and dialects being spoken in the one local district. Locals don’t see many westerns and are very welcoming.
Donovan, the usual start point for the Tamur, is only a couple of hours downhill walk from Taplejung Airstrip. There is no regular flight and it is known for being quite unreliable. As an alternative, the trek from Basantapur is outstanding with magnificent scenery along the trail. Gupha Pokhari, which is at the top of the ridge at height of 2880m/9834ft from sea level is a holy lake and favorite overnight stay, we recommended tasting some of the local wine and Tumba.
- Trip Grade:Hard
- Max Elevation: 4m/km (20ft per mile)
- Total Duration:16 Days
- Best Time:0ct- Nov & April – May
- Whitewater star:4 stars
- Scenery / wildlife:3 stars
- Start and End:Kathmandu
Day 01: Arrived in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel in Kathmandu.
Your trip begins from Airport, is small and cozy! Arrived in immigration be ready to issue your visa (for visa apply you need 2Pass port size pictures and change cash dollar $40.00/smaller bills) After you get visa walk to the baggage claim and to the arrival its very short distance. When you arrive arrival our company @navigateoutdoor representative display board with your name at the guest pick up area, and transfer to the hotel, we brief you about your trip to the hotel.
Day 02: Optional Sightseeing/cultural tour in Kathmandu valley with our local tour guide.
Tour begins at 8:30 am ready for the day, sightseeing starts with Soyamvunath, Basantapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa & Pashupatinath temple these are world heritage sights and preserved from UNESCO. We spent about 1 hour each place so we have enough time to get explore the historical places, it will be hustle bustle while you walking around the sites.
Day 03: fly to Biratnagar, and drive to Basantpur and stay |
The longest and exotic adventure day of the trip: we catch the first fight and fly to Biratnagar 45 minutes with trip leader rest of our river crew they left the night before and waiting for the group at the airport at Biratnagar. After load vehicle starts our 2nd part of the adventure journey which driving beautiful Mountains road to Basantapur. We will stop a few times include Dharan for lunch and snacks or personal care. Journey to Basantapur is beautiful we won’t get bored either get sleep drive through small villages, agriculture sites, terraces and also cross Tamor Riveron the way up to Hile, we stay at the Basantapur in the local hotel and eat local Nepali food Rice Lentil, mixed veg classic Nepalese food.
Day 04: Trek Basantapur to the Chauki Camping.
Early morning breakfast (we guide and prepared all the meals) your trip leader will be very busy to short it out porter and other gear loads for the next 4 days for the trek; we start our trekking around 9:30 AM to 10 AM and reached the camp around 2 PM to 3 PM with few stops for lunch and view point walk, it’s beautiful and easy walk with gradual ascent you won’t even gaining any elevation; High lights of the day: Rhododendrons forest/trees, villages/carrying their daily stuff on their back alpines trees, meadows birds and flower(spring is better for flowering) and we sharing trail with locals, mules/donkey and other, and camp on the open ground.
Day 05: Trek to Ghupha Pokhari about 6 hours Camping.
One the best trekking day; you will come to see Mt Makalu Himal, Kanchenjunga mountains range, and hike through the dense rhododendron forest and moss trees with the mind-blowing beautiful view of the foothills. We stop at the Mangalbare have lunch and interact with villagers and school students and continue our journey to Gupha Pokhari and stay near the Holy Lake Gupha Pokhari (lakes like cave hard to noticed) Its also very popular place for people live in Taplejung and Sankhuwashawa district and local people trade Yak milk product and handicrafts they also make dry cheese which is famous in eastern part of Nepal it’s call Chhurpi.
Day 06: Trek to Gupha Pokhari to Dhovan it’s about 5 to 6 hours and stays overnight on the river starting.
The 3rd day of trekking on the foothills in the Himalaya and also beautiful ridge walk from Ghupha Pokhari to Gorja and gorgeous downhill walk through the black Cardamom field/ terraces and Tamur River flows on our right side and hearing some river rushing sounds from distance, we came cross one village Dovan, but we camp another side of Dovan village.
Once we get there we start preparing our rafting expedition, pumping rafts and rigs rafts for the gear load for next day. Our guide will be busy and want to set up rafts and organize gear rest of the expedition from trekking to Rafting. If we get in the time otherwise we will prep our river expedition next.
(Day 07: Rest day depending on our trip schedule and time:
Day hikes to the canyon and explores the village, or just hang out at the camp and chill out/prep for the expedition. In the Rafting expedition we won’t bring an extra person for cooking our guides/ trainee guides they are well trained set up camp and cook and serve meals to our guest each and every day, it would be great if you could give hands to set up camp and small chores at the camp, teamwork.)
Day 7: 1st day on Tamor River expedition, Tamor river known as a big volume technical river class IV – V rapids have more gradient then other commercial rivers in Nepal.
After breakfast and safety talk river briefing we start our expedition around 10:30 AM before we lunch we encourage our guest to swim on class II-II water at the starting point with back up rescue support above and below. This activity gives ideas of water and force and our safety system. Within 5 minutes we have few class IV rapids, we always stop and scout and make plan A & B and run rafts with setting up downstream safety/ kayaker. We scout few more rapid after and before the lunch and Camp just below Kabeli Khola Confluence.
Day 8: 2nd day of the Tamur expedition;
Our normal schedule wakeup and hot drinks at 7am after breakfast we start to pack up and load our oar rafts and put on the water not later than 10 am, today we stop twice to land scout first one is just below our camp confluence rapid of Kabeli Khola and the second one just before lunch and rest of the rapids are read and run, which means scout the whitewater as we paddle with good distance and keep eye each other, we start looking campsites around 3 pm and camp not later than 4 pm.
Day 09: 3rd day of Tamor expedition:
River start gets little slower but still, lots of rapids pull and drops, most of the rapids last two days quite continued, its beautiful rafting and side canyon and waterfalls, terraces and mountain slop settlements. We carry our lunch on the oar raft and stop for the lunch between 11:30 AM to 12noon for one hour and enjoy the after meals next to the river. Normally we start looking for the campsite around 3:30 Pm and camp not later 4 PM (often we experienced afternoon headwind its better idea start early and camp early)
Day 10: 4th Day of the expedition:
We start little earlier because today we have most of the water is flat and headwinds during the afternoon, we also have some decent rapids/land scouts and the beautiful view of a mountain, looking for the camp around 3 PM and camp not later than 4 PM.
Day 11: 5th day on the Tamor expedition:
River gets even much slower, and flat, we start little earlier so don’t need to fight with afternoon headwind. During the rafting, we will pass through beautiful landscape terraces and canyon. Better day for try kayaking for beginners, today we reached the Mulghat which is a quite big village and camp closer to the village.
Day 12: 6th day of Tamor expedition, Layover day:
Rest day at the Mulghat explore the local village visit temples and complete rest for the big day.
Day 13: 7th Day of Tamor expedition
Rafting Mulghat to confluence and camp at the confluence. Its about 35 Km and have 50 rapids with some of the major/biggest rapid entire section of Tamur expedition; i.e. Aasharm, Canon Ball and other continue rapids all the way to Sunkoshi River. And camp at the confluence and explore the village and celebrate the success.
Day 14: 8th day of Tamor expedition
The last day of the Tamur Expedition rafting actually this is now than river known as Saptakoshi the complete seven river. The biggest river in Nepal and she collect one-third of Nepal’s Himalayan glacier water to the Ganges. We stop at the Baraha temple (Hindu Temple) popular destination for the Hindu pilgrimages in different time of the year and good view from the temple is amazing of Sunkoshi river.
Soon after we reached dissemble/unpack and load vehicle and drive 5 minutes to the Chatara town for the lunch, after Lunch 3 hours drive you to Biratnagar fly to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
Day 14: Rest day/extra day in Kathmandu; explore local market shopping and Our guide will arrive in Kathmandu this morning at 6 PM evening get together for the farewell dinner at Thamel celebrate the dinner with our crew and share the experiences of the expedition.
Day 15: Transfer to international airport, fly to home.
- All meals on rafting expedition.
- Domestic flight tickets Kathmandu – Biratnagar - Kathmandu.
- State-of-the-art rafting equipment, all the rafts NRS brand and branding PFDs (NRS), Helmet Pro-tech, Wetsuits or paddle jackets for each client.
- Experienced world-class rafting and safety kayaker and first-aid trained crew.
- Comprehensive group medical kit with some emergency med, trauma kits, river-related meds.
- All essential camping equipment, Tents, cooking utensil, sleeping bags, sleeping mat, dry bags expedition big size 100ltr capacity sharing and one small day dry bag.
- Rafting permits and rafting fees.
- Clean treated drinking water (iodine/ chlorine) for both clean dishes and veg.
- Meals Dinner, Breakfast, and Lunch with hot drinks, tea coffee, and hot chocolate.
- 4-night hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast on twin/double occupancy standard rooms.
- Sightseeing in Kathmandu with a tour guide and private vehicle.
- Airport picks up and drops as needed.
- International flight tickets, visa fee, baggage fee.
- Lunch and dinner while you are in Kathmandu.
- Personal/health / travel/ adventure insurance.
- Personal clothing for your trips.
- Extra nights in Kathmandu/hotel & lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
- Emergency evacuation fees and charges.
- Guide/crew tip.
- All bottle beverages i.e. coke/soda, beer/alcohol/ mineral water etc.
Our daily schedule and activities
06.30 wake-up to a steaming hot tea or coffee
08.30 pack-up and load rafts
09.30 start rafting
15.00 to 1600: set-up camp on the riverside
16.00 to 1700 tea, snacks and time for relaxing / beach volleyball
18.00 to 1900: dinner
Navigate Rivers run self-sufficient trips on several rivers in Nepal; whether just a weekend on the water or you are wanting to escape Kathmandu for more than a week, We provide experienced rafting crew in the country with world-class trained and the latest equipment and excellent safety records
Karnali River Experience.
They say that the journey is better than the destination. That all the experiences along the way are like an accumulation of rocks along a riverbed. This story is another stone in a river.
I have known Mani Aryal for several years, meeting him in the United States, in the state of Utah. Mani and I were both on a work contract to take a group of students down Desolation & Grey Canyon on the Green River. After spending three weeks with Mani I knew that I made a paddling adventure buddy and that he would be a person that I actively stay in contact with. The years have a way of floating by with adventure and intentions. Every time I spoke to Mani he persistently invited me to Kathmandu to see his home and to float the rivers. Three years after saying “no”, I finally could say “maybe”.
Kathmandu is large in legend and small in structure. The shuttle ride from the airport is an example of whitewater: dodging potholes, must-make moves, and pure adrenaline. It’s best not to watch.
There are two options to get to the river when signing up for a Karnali River Expedition trip: 1) take the plane or 2) ride with the guides and gear on public transport. I was on a tight budget, so option #2 was the only way to go. Putting together a multiday river trip is always difficult, especially when you start combining buses, shuttles, and rendezvous. The first leg of the journey was via public transportation to Koholpur. The guides and I, hanging out at the main bus depot, loading all of the gear we would need for the next 12 days was a new experience indeed.
You see a lot of different people and livestock on the long distance buses. Chickens and goats are not uncommon. If a woman is standing with a baby, it’s a norm to hand a baby to you, a seated passenger, to hold the child in order to give her a break.
The second half of the shuttle was a private bus to the put-in, the small village of Dungeshor that is located straight down a canyon. The route our bus driver picked was shorter to save fuel but longer because of road conditions. Our bus rocked, creaked and moaned down the road for 8 hours only to cover 85km. “Singletrack” may be a better description than “road” as there were only inches to spare between rock walls and open air.
Sideswiping other buses, scouting rock gardens and pushing our transport were common occurrences that quickly become norms. We reached Dungeshor after 10 pm to hastily inhale some food and beer from a generous restaurant owner who opened his doors after hours. Afterward, we set up our tents on the riverbank to welcome a solid, unwavering piece of ground to usher in some sleep.
The next morning, the guides were in their prime, having already started getting breakfast ready for everyone. Mani was no exception, greeting me with a great, white smile and a coffee to help orient my mind back to my body. The biggest surprise was all of the children hanging about camp. We were all warned not to leave our gear unattended. Later that day, I realized a carabineer walked off to hang out with the children. The guides seemed to include me that much more by laughing and sharing stories of gear gone lost.
Throughout the six days, Mani and his guides were exceptional hosts. It seemed as if they never stopped moving. Always quick to put a coffee in your hand, help you set up your campsite or to offer a meal. Every morning they would barter with local fisherman to add extra flair to the menu. On the water, I felt safe and involved in the risk management. All ideas were heard until a plan formed to be implemented with everyone on board. The standard followed by Mani was professional.
Six months after this trip, the strongest memories I have are of traveling to and from the river. Once I had oars in my hand and a blue sky above me I knew who I was and how I got there.
The total trip duration from Kathmandu to Kathmandu was 10 days included bus journey.
Thank you, Mani. I look forward to our next adventure.