Tamor River Expedition
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:Challenging, Hard
- Max Elevation: 4m/km (20ft per mile)
- Total Duration:12 - 14 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.
Please be ready and keep in mind that adventure in the Himalayan Rivers requires an open & emphatic mind. During your Rafting Expedition you are lacking some of the basic need like hot shower, and electricity. Due to weather conditions, health issues, and other general issues of the group members or sudden natural disaster like landslide, flood, and other natural aspect we may to change your River /route. We try our best to follow our original plan when you booked your expedition, but your safety is our primary concern. In case the trip need reroute of your River Expedition is necessary, our Trip leader/ guide make final call or decision.
- Camera, water bottle, extra money, sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat, hiking loose fitting shorts/ synthetic T-shirt etc.
- River shoe, camp shoe, 2 to 3 pair's woolen socks, 1 pairs liner gloves, warm hat.
- Day backpack 35 ltr to 50 ltr, and a duffel bag for your clothing.
- Warm layers, synthetic jackets, fleece, Rafting short/ pants, Thermals.
Our Daily routine
06.30 wake-up to a steaming hot tea or coffee
08.30 pack-up and load rafts
09.30 start rafting
13.00: afternoon 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 Outdoor 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.
Create your dream trips together customize your holiday particular interest or wishes.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for details and additional information about the area.
We will provide a comprehensive gear list on booking.
Journeying a river: Jai Karnali, January 2020
How did river Ganga come to be?
Mythology says that there was a noble King who requested that Ganga descend from heaven to bless humanity and quench the thirst of the land and its people.
Pleased to shower the world with blessings, Ganga rushed down with such gusto that people feared that all that came in the way would be washed away. The God Shiva came to the rescue and stopped the momentum of the water with his long thick long hair. Because of this, Ganga flowed smoothly and satiated the thirst of all beings and showered blessings on the land with each drop of precious water.
Ecologists interpret this myth as a metaphor- Shiva’s thick long hair is synonymous with dense jungles that help check the floods and stop the land from washing away as the river accelerates down the slopes from the melting glaciers.
Rafting down the river Karnali in Western Nepal last month, it felt as if the myth was true! In our group of 11 people were some seasoned sailors, kayakers, river guides, and rafting experts, but a few like me had never been on a raft. I am also not a strong swimmer; so, it was an act of faith and surrender to the river and expertise of our leader Mani, and river rafting expert Manu to go on the trip.
We put the rafts in the river after about 4 hours drive up the town of Surkhet at an altitude of about 800 m. The rafts and the equipment, including the tents and rations, were supplied with the generous support of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) in the States.
This expedition was conceptualized and planned by Ravi, NOLS India Programmed Director, and Mani ( #navigateoutdoor Nepal) NOLS senior Instructor and who co-led the expedition. The two kayakers, Ganesh and Nanu Kayaks and were in the tumultuous waters of Karnali watching and guiding our rafts at each and every rapid that came along. They were plenty of challenges to varying degrees!
For the next seven days we were out on the river, and camping at some of the most beautiful banks. We witnessed a vast expanse of pristine natural habitats along the way both on land and in the waters. We parked the rafts often to take a walk over to beautiful villages and bought fresh vegetables, fish, milk and yogurt, etc. from the villagers. We savored some delicious meals in cottage eateries that you can find along the traditional walking routes of the shepherds, traders, and village folk, that connect the plains with the high Himal region in the kingdom of Nepal and beyond on the Tibetan plateau. The river crisscrossed some of the most wonderfully crafted hanging bridges on these routes as well.
We saw how the simple and rich life of fishing communities sustainably harvest the bounty of fish from the river. They fish in their dug up canoes made from tree trunks. The fish from Karnali is famous across the region and fetches amongst the highest price in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu. High value and low volume seem to be the guiding factor – it can be 2-4 days walk to sell and transport the fish, so, the fish is dried or smoked creating a very special, niche type of produce from the villages along Karnali.
Agriculture and livestock rearing is still flourishing in the villages. It was amazing to see some of the most appropriately designed dehusking, pounding, and winnowing equipment still in use – that has perhaps not changed in the last thousand years.
It is indeed a living culture that uses and maintains the landscape, in harmony with nature, using indigenous knowledge to enhance biodiversity and what we call ecosystem services. Our faith in the concept of the Gross National Happiness index was further strengthened. The common Human Development indices merely emphasize infrastructure and access to institutions such as hospitals and schools- but there is so much to be taken into account for true sustainability. While the intent is not to romanticize the old, biocultural heritage, the wisdom of the old seems to be working harmoniously and should well complement human development in a more meaningful way.
Some of the big questions being discussed in conferences and seminars across the world could be answered in a much more eco-friendly and happy way by experiencing the life and values of the community here and of other indigenous peoples across the world.
The modern idea of development as highly individualistic has become increasingly crippled with outdated notions of competition, rather than collaboration, also creating massive disparities in income and consumption of natural resources.
We could learn from the communities here, and take lessons from the past into the future: the dignity of physical work, interdependence, and interconnectedness are three principles that need to be central to human endeavor- there is no sustainability without equity and dignity.
Gradually, we descended down with the flow of the river, as it slowly calmed down in the Terai region. It’s a rich habitat for tigers, rhinoceroses, elephants, and another charismatic megafauna. The very sight of these deep jungles invokes awe. We got off the banks of the mighty Karnali at the little town of Chiso Pani.
We deflated the rafts, packed the gear, washed, and rushed to one of the many restaurants in this little town. Some of us relished the delicious fish from Karnali to their heart's content! For others like me, the restaurant served fabulous fresh greens with dal-bhat; as they say in Nepal “Dal Bhat power, 24 hours!”
May the river Karnali have a long life and continue to bless humanity as the King had anticipated in the ancient times. May present-day leaders start to wake up to the wisdom in conservation and sustainable utilization of the river, rather than damning it and threatening the sheer existence of these communities. May we all learn from the life of the people here; all the wonderful ways to weave a close-knit community and flourish together with nature.
Thanks for the whole team Chura Mani Aryal, Manohar, Nanu and Ganesh river experts, and beautiful Karnali River, and people from the river corridor.
"I want to thank you and your guides and employees again for the wonderful memories I have of the Manaslu trek and the lovely side trip into the Tsum Valley. The scenery and experiences were great and I especially loved the variety of forests, the wildlife, and of course the incomparable mountain scenery. I want to add a special thank you to you for the special care you gave me when my foot and leg became very swollen. Your help and knowledge allowed me to complete the trek with minimal discomfort. I still experience the problem to a minor degree but still, look forward to further adventurous travel when the situation allows in the future. Conversations with you about Nepalese history were also an enjoyable and informative aspect of the trek".
I would like to thank Navigate Outdoor for organizing such a joyful and safe trip to the Tsum and Manaslu region. I'd like to thank Mani and his entire team to make our trip such memorable and extra care to all of us on the trekking. I really enjoyed having my own personal time exploring the side valley taking pictures and interact with local people on the trail. Mani is an experienced leader who allows space while trekking. He helped, and always available for other trekkers they need medical attention. I saw him support others and interact with them in a really professional way. I appreciated and enjoyed the 24 days trekking in the Tsum valley and Manaslu round trekking.
Nick Green Australia 2018
I appreciate your attitude "Anyway life comes first and business comes second and other things." I can see you are really living that motto when you tell us of the wonderful time you are having with your family.
Dane, and I really enjoyed the trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary. While I have been trekking in the Himalayas a number of times it was nice to do a trek with my son. Dane was very impressed to see the high mountains. Thanks for organizing Annapurna Base Camp trekking for me and my son Dane. Mani, I really appreciated sharing your previous experiences and telling stories about your own life and adventure career. We'll do another trip in the future. We'll share our experiences with our friends and recommended Navigate Outdoor. I can't express the joyful moment I had on the Annapurna Base camp trip you with, and felt 100% safe, thanks for taking care of us in the trekking.
Malcolm and Dane Dwyer Australia 2019
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 & Gray 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 fishermen to add an extra flair to the menu. On the water, I felt safe and involved in 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 the bus journey.
Dan Colorado USA.
Thank you, Mani. I look forward to our next adventure.