Wild Karnali River Rafting

Wild Karnali River Rafting - 18 days

Location: Nepal, Asia
Departure point: Kathmandu Put-in-Point: Sauli
Take-out-Point: Chisopni, Bardia
Outward travel: 1hour flight and 3 ½ hours drive 2 days trek
Best season: Nov/Dec, March/April
13 days: Kathmandu-Kathmandu


Karnali is the Nepal’s longest and largest river. Springs from the base of Mt. Kailash (Ngari) the western part of Tibet, the center of the universe for both Buddhist and Hindu believers. Flowing south into Nepal and it forms the major drainage system of the western districts of Nepal. It is one of the finest BIG volume rafting and Kayaking trip in the world. A classic expedition and definitely the best combination trip: short 2 days trekking, rafting, Kayaking, Fishing, wild life safari, remoteness and unpopulated “Wild West”.

Sauli is the rafting put-in-point. The river drops into imposing canyons filled with powerful big volume white-water. These canyons flow into scarcely populated areas of pristine jungle teeming with abundant bird and wildlife. Just enough easier water to regroup and prepare for the next big challenge separates rapids like “Captivity”, “Flip and Strip” and “Gods House”. Towards the end of the trip the river gradient begins to ease as the Karnali leaves the mountains and flows out into the Gangetic plains of Terai. Jungle is thickens and the river is broadens than pristine Beaches become bigger and more beautiful.

Day by Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Fly Kathmandu>Nepalgunj and drive to Surkhet. Meet at meeting point as per our scheduled programs. Transfer to Kathmandu Airport, check in and 1hour fly to Nepalgunj. As soon as we reach to Nepalgunj Airport our private transport will waiting us, ready to leave for Surkhet. We traveling through southwestern plain of the Terai till the Kolpur (one of the larger city of Bardia and road head from right to surkhet hill 3½ hours. Meet with logistics and other river staffs and it will be organized for following nights. Surkhet is central principal town of Birendra Nagar, locating District Hospital, Post office and Bank (but you can’t use any credit Cards) accepts cash to cash. There is a small rural Airstrip but very rare to get direct flights.

Day 02: Surkhet/Sauli. After breakfast, we will be riding gears loaded truck as far as the dot road goes, perhaps until the syauli village and lunch en route (it’s depend on availability…be flexible). Truck ride is quite interesting passing through forest, villages and spectacular sceneries. After lunch we will be hiking down to rafting put-in point. It’s depends with how we timing, if we are still in time we will start same day, otherwise we pitch the camp here.

Day 03: after this point we have no names for the camping places. However the river gives teams to build and there is enough challenging rapids and water flow to allow for learning errors. We still manage to get at least one great grade IV rapid in and camp. Get an exciting for tomorrow.

Day 04: rises with nice and hot cup of tea or coffee and pack up, have breakfast then get set. This is the type of day people imagine, when they think of Himalayan white-water it is BIG and continuous. The team building is put into full practice and when your raft captain shouts “all forward” he really means it! Enjoy the rowing all the time and camp in this sensational setting.

Day 05: daily routines are as usual, rise with cup of tea or coffee, pack up, have breakfast and get ready to move on. Day is more of same including the notorious GOD’S HOUSE rapid. Don’t forget to take in the bird life, which is equally as abundant as the lush vegetation. Camp and relax.

Day 06: it is not over yet! Keep paddling hard! You are really experiencing the best of the “wild west” and yet another great day with full action packed and breath taking sceneries

Day 07: this is the day almost on holiday for you, as we have set on program a rest day, so you can take time to enjoy your surroundings e.g. fishing if we have rots, a short hiking, playing, relaxing or seating and writing on a great sandy beach.

Day 08-09: we have seen the rapids dying off as we came out of the gorge. We come across the west Seti confluence where the river is broadens. From here next two and half days you have chances to enjoy your journey admiring the country and villages as you come across. You will have seen the safety kayakers in action and will no doubt be inspired, so here you can ask with your guide to for some supervised instructions, or stay on the raft and learn more about the river. Now here we are at Karnali Chisopani Bridge the final conclusion camping. You see there is more to a rafting expedition than just rafting.

Day 10: as we have programmed, after last breakfast of rafting at chisopani see up the rafting staffs, Rhino Lodge Bardia’s staff will pick up us and transfer to Lodge …Km and Lunch. In the afternoon 1 or 2 activities according to programmed by lodge and dinner at lodge.

Day 11: full day Jungle activities, at evening, Tharu cultural dance with B/B Q dinner.

Day 12: Dolphin Excursion, Packed lunch, dinner at lodge.

Day 13: Light Breakfast, short Tharu village walk, Lunch and transfer to Nepalgunj and fly back to KTM.

Kinds of Rafting:
There are essentially two kinds of rafts available - the oar-powered raft and the paddle raft. The oar-powered raft has a frame either at the back or in the middle where the river-guide sits and does all the paddling and guiding work. The paddleboat requires all participants to do their bit. Depending on the size of the raft, four or eight participants sit on the side tubes and power the boat using long paddles. It involves teamwork and more physical effort than the oar-powered boat. Paddleboats, however, capsize more easily as the are lighter and do not have the rigid structure of the oar-powered boat. On big rivers like the Sun Kosi (Class IV to V) where there are huge rapids, more care is required. In such rivers, we usually use one oar-powered boat and one paddleboat so that one acts as a rescue boat in case the other capsizes. This also gives each particpant an opportunity to ride both kinds of rafts - be actively involved in one and relax in the other. Equipment: rafts are inflatable boats made of thick rubber, usually with separate air compartments so that a hole in any part of the tube does not mean that the whole raft will deflate and collapse. Life jackets and helmets are provided as mandatory gear. Paddles may be made of synthetic alloys and fibres which are longer and more maneuverable, or they may be of plain wood coated with synthetic waterproof paint. Wooden oars are slightly heavier but break less easily. On longer trips or more demanding rivers, splash jackets may be provided. 

All the gear and food will be packed inside waterproof bags and carried on the raft itself. Your cameras and accessories, stored inside the waterproof barrel, will be available for your use during the DAY. The setting up of camp and cooking will begin as soon as the campsite is reached. 

Safety requirements: While on the boat, you may at times take off your helmet and lif jacket, or even jump out of the boat to take a dip in the river. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to consult your guide before indulging in such activities, as his knowledge of the river will help prevent you form finding yourself unprotected when hitting the rapids.

All our staff, whether guides, cooks or helpers, are trained professionals who look after your safety on the boat and your comfort while at rest. Rely on them to give you the best treat of your holiday.

Summer Season
River Trip Date Where to start Where to end
Chose below Let us know and book in advance Depend on River Depend on River
Trishuli, Seti, Lower Bhote Koshi, Upper Sun Koshi Whenever you want Depend on water level Depend on water level


What is included in the price?

  • hotel in Kathmandu bed & breakfast.
  • All guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu and entry fees.
  • Rafting Guide & Supporter.
  • All rafting equipments such as self-bailing rafts, life jackets and safety equipments.
  • Paddle top, helmets and waterproof gear bags.
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis tent camping.
  • All national park and rafting permits and fees.
  • All meals during the raft trip. (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • Round trip ground transportation.
  • all kitchen and camping equipment, cook and needed staff.
  • Safety kayaker.
  • Sleeping Bag and mattress (will be provided if needed)


What is not included in the price?

  • Nepal visa
  • International flight & all domestic departure tax
  • Lunch & dinner during hotel stay in Kathmandu
  • During the lodge trek hot shower cost extra
  • Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
  • Tips, any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/road block due to any reason, table drinks, snacks while walking
  • Rescue & insurance such as travel, cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss.

Trip Fact

  • Trip codeEHCS-64025
  • DestinationNepal
  • Duration18 days / 17 nights
  • SeasonNovember to April
  • Group SizeMin. 2pax - 12pax + Above
  • activitiesWild Karnali River Rafting

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