One of the ten best whitewater rafting trips in the world. Big Rapids warm water, beautiful scenery and great camping make this a classic multi-day river trip. A great trip for intermediate and advanced kayakers. At its best in medium to high flows.
River of Gold Sunkosi
Sun Kosi means “River of Gold” – perhaps named after the gold that is sometimes panned from the river gravels; or alternatively, it refers to the orange color of the water in the monsoon when it is thick with alluvial silt. The river rises near Tibet and joined by Bhote Kosi just downstream from Barahabise. Most raft trips start below here at Dolalghat. Navigate Outdoor we start our trip from Sukute which is 10 extra KM to the Dolalghat.
The Sun Kosi flows eastwards in Nepal through the great valley between the Mahabharat Mountains rage and the Himalaya. It forms the watershed for most of eastern Nepal and gathering strength from tributaries draining the highest mountains in the world it emerges onto the northern plains of India where it joins the Ganges.
This is a large volume river where most of the major rapids are formed by monsoon debris brought in by side streams and loose rock fall so the rapids change from year to year depending on the severity of the monsoon. One of the nice things about the Sun Kosi is that, with the exception of a few big rapids like Harkapur –II ( that can be walked around if wanted). Some the rapids we do land scout and discuss with our clients before we run them like; No Exit grade 3, Harkapur –II grade 4+/ 5, Jaws grade 4 ; Rhino Rock grade 4, and big dipper grade 3-4 ; they several rapids they can flip your raft anytime anywhere some time wire pool makes your raft flip which is on the flat water section in between jungle corridor and waterfall beach.
During the low flows will be perfect for those who want to learn guide and progression on Kayaking. Navigate Outdoor organize guide school/ kayaking learning opportunity for the adventure enthusiastic every year please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and date.
- Trip Grade:Moderate
- Max Elevation:2m/km(10ft a mile)
- Total Duration:14 Days
- Best Time:Sept-Oct & May- June
- Trip start & end:Kathmandu
- Distance:260 KM (170 Miles)
- Takeout:Chatara (alt 105m)
- River days:8 -12 days depending on the season.
The brief itinerary of High water/ big water rafting
Day 01: Our Navigate outdoor staff will be at the airport to pick up and transfer to the hotel, we will brief you about the trip logistics, and other plans at your hotel it can be at our office too or over the dinner time.
Day 02: Half day sightseeing around the Kathmandu and preparation for your expedition i.e. packing and organizing your personal items/clothing and gear for the trip.
Day 03: After breakfast our guides/river crew will come and meet you at the hotel help to load luggage and head to the River it will take 2 ½ hours, when we reached at the put-in unload vehicle, pump rafts, and prepared for rafting expedition it will take quite long time, we will have lunch, safety brief/risk management brief before start raft. Reach the campsites around 3:30 PM - 4 PM, at the camp we will be teaching you how to pitch tent, tarps, and camp set up so we will follow every day when we reached the camp.
Day 04: Tea/Coffee at 6:30 am ready on the table you can serve as you like, after breakfast we start packing up, and load rafts and start rafting not later than 10 AM, we will stop around 12 noon and enjoy our lovely lunch prep by our guides. We will stop and scout some rapids depending on water flow one or two maximum land scout and continue paddle until 3 - 3:30 PM and camp at the Tamba Kosi river confluence. Set up camp, after dinner hangs out around the campfire and share the experiences, and highlight of the day.
Day 05: We will follow the same routine as above: We will not stops and scout any rapids from the land but we will still scout from raft as we float in the rapids we have some really fun and big waves rapids Punch Judy grade 3-4, Pre anxiety 3, high anxiety and camp on the River Right. Long day on the water.
Day 06: We will follow the same routine as above: depending on the water level or the situation, we will scout one of the biggest rapids Harkapur –II from river right and discuss with crew and our team and make group decision either running or portaging, whatever decision we make it will be very fair and transparent make sure everybody fitting. We will stop at the Dhudh Kosi river confluence and have lunch and continue to the camp at Raighat.
Day 07: we will follow the same routine as above: we will stop twice and scout two rapids first one is Jaws grade 4 and the second one is death man eddy (the biggest eddy on the river and it collect so much debris that’s its call death man eddy) and camp just below the Raighat bridge.
Day 08: we will follow the same routine as above: Star with big rapids Rhino Rock grade 4 and Jungle corridor rapids 4 rapids continuous one after other about 10km from Rhino Rock rapids after all this rapids we stop on river left to hike up to the waterfall and have lunch same area it’s a beautiful water I have ever seen on my rafting trip ever. Paddle about 2 hours to the campsite there is also a water you can hike and enjoy the beauty.
Day 09: Layover day wake up late and enjoy the whole day chilling out at the camp, or day hike to the village.
Day 10: Now we will follow the same routine as the previous day, will be rafting and hitting some of the big friendly waves rapids reach the Tamar River confluence and camp.
Day 11: We will start little earlier than our normal schedule because we want to reach at the take out not later than 10:00 AM with 30 minutes stop at the Baraha Temple area, once we reach the take out there will be the lot happening including carrying some heavy gear, and personal care. After pack and load on the vehicle drive 5 minutes for the lunch, and drive 2 hours to the Biratnagar airport and fly to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel, our river crew they will traveling the gear and reaching at the Kathmandu next morning.
Day 12: Our crew will be reaching Kathmandu and finishing up gear clean up, and put away for the next expedition and get ready to meet with the group around 6 PM for the Post dinner and celebration of the successes.
On the river, we will be a paddle in averages 4- 5 to hours, and serve a variety of food Nepali, Indian, Italian; and many more Lunch will serve cold but breakfast and dinner will be hot with unlimited hot drinks at the camp whole day and morning and evening.
Day 13: Extra day in Kathmandu for your personal shopping and sightseeing Bhaktapur(optional).
Day 14: Fly to your next destination, transfer to the airport.
Note Our river crew export on the cooking and all round experiences. Complimentary alcohol: Rum punch every night on the camp and drinks disk etc.
- All meals on rafting expedition.
- Domestic flight tickets 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.
- 5-night hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast on twin/double occupancy standard rooms.
- Sightseeing in Kathmandu with the 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
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 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.
Note: We customize your trip according to your interest, duration, and budget. This itinerary gives you some idea and broader pictures of the trip while you are thinking to do so. Please do not hesitate to contact us for details and additional information of the area.
We will provide comprehensive gear list on booking, and most of these items you can buy or rent in Kathmandu
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.