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Rafting Expedition on the Sun Kosi River in Nepal

Raft one of National Geographic's top ten river journeys, from the mountains to the jungle

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Trip Ref #9007

Rafting Expedition on the Sun Kosi River in Nepal

Raft one of National Geographic's top ten river journeys, from the mountains to the jungle

8 nights
1 week off work
Apr-May, Sep-Nov
Up to 15 people
Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

Wild camping



Based on 4 reviews

This trip is suitable for all abilities from beginner rafters to experienced kayakers.

Take a thrilling, 270km journey from the lush hills near the Tibetan border, through the jungle, to the confluence of the Ganges

Visit remote Hindu temples and white sandy beaches and see beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife on this classic rafting expedition

Be part of an expedition that supports the local community and has helped to rebuild homes following the devastating 2015 earthquake

Day 1

Butterfly Beach



Leave Kathmandu and drive to Dolaghat, where you'll get straight into the water, beginning with some Grade 2 rapids, followed by a visit a local Hindu temple. Set up camp on the white sand of Butterfly Beach and spend the rest of the afternoon fishing, reading, playing football, doing yoga, or just relaxing. End the day with a meal cooked by your guides as you watch the stars come out overhead.

Day 2

No Exit and the Meatgrinder



Time to tackle some bigger rapids, specifically No Exit (Grade 3) and Meatgrinder (Grade 4). You’ll also have the opportunity to try a few cliff jumps, explore some bat caves and look for tiger footprints. After making camp, your guide can give any kayaking beginners some basic lessons in case you want to try your hand at it over the coming days, then spend the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying a world far from any light pollution.

Day 3

The Anxiety Series



Begin the day with the brilliantly named Anxiety series of rapids – Pre, Post and High, located just below the confluence of the Likhu Khola. Play in the warm water, enjoy the passing scenery and take to the kayaks, before setting up camp on the shoreline. You might even get the chance to play football with the locals. Take an evening walk in the jungle and then relax around the campfire as the sun goes down.

Day 4

The big one/two



Come face-to-face with the famous Hakapur rapid, the biggest on the whole journey. Depending on the season and water level, this rapid may or may not be runnable. If it is, be prepared to get wet and make sure you get your breath back in time for Hakapur II, which is often more exciting than the first. Camp at the confluence of the Sun Kosi and Dudh Kosi, which runs down from Everest, and meet a holy man who has lived in a cave here for the past five years and share some of his incredible stories.

Days 5, 6 & 7

Dramatic rapids, spectacular scenery



Over three exciting days you’ll tackle 10km of non stop rapids, including Jaws I, II and III, Rhino Rock and the Jungle Corridor, ending with the aptly named and thoroughly notorious Rollercoaster - don't worry, it's completely safe and completely exhilarating. You'll also reach one the highlights of the entire trip - a wild and impressive waterfall under which you can take a well-deserved shower. Next up is the Big Dipper and Black Hole, the last big rapids on the river and a fitting finale to the Sun Kosi. See the landscape change as the jungle disappears making way for the flat Indian Plains and if you dare jump from a 30ft bridge into the river below. Just after the confluence of the Arun and Tamur rivers, you’ll stop at a serene Hindu temple and then paddle on to Chatra, where you’ll have a last dinner with your team before jumping on the bus or plane back to Kathmandu.

Day 8

The final paddle


5 hours

Your last day on the water. After the confluence of the Arun and Tamur rivers you will stop at a Holy Hindu temple,Baraha Chhetra to view the sights and get a blessing.

After this you get to relax and enjoy the last few hours floating to point where you leave the river at Chatra. It's time for a cold beer and celebration for the expedition of completing the expedition, before either jumping on the bus for a 15 hour drive back to Kathmandu.

Or if you want to pay for a flight, you will arrive back in Kathmandu around 7pm.

Day 9


If you took the bus, you should arrive back in Kathmandu early this morning, ready for onward travel or some more time in this incredible country. If you took the plane you will have arrived the previous evening.



Local, qualified, English-speaking guides


7 nights riverside camping


Munch on tasty food throughout


To and from Kathmandu


Porters to help carry your kit


All your rafting and camping equipment


All river permits

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Visas where required

Day 1

Wild camping · Solo tent




Day 2 – Days 5, 6 & 7

Wild camping · Solo tent




Day 8




Day 9

Departure day




What is the food like?

Your raft guides are magicians with a gas stove and an open fires, so you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality (and quantity) of the food. Expect cooked breakfasts, salads, pastas, Dal Bhat (the local speciality), steaks, lasagna, curries and more!

What is the accommodation like?

Sun Kosi River

You'll wild camp on white sand beaches on the riverside. Your host will provide you with camping equipment, including toilet tents, shelters, mattresses, sleeping bags, tarps and tents, but if you'd rather bring your own gear, feel free! There's no electricity or wifi along the route, so solar charges are recommended to keep your camera batteries going. You can, however, get mobile signal for the majority of the trip.

Tents are allocated on a twin share basis but if you're travelling solo then your host if happy to provide you with your own solo tent on request.

The Area




Thamel District, Kathmandu

09:00 on Day 1



Approx 10:00 on Day 9 (or 19:00 on Day 8 if you opt for the flight)


You will be collected from your hotel in the Thamel district in Kathmandu on Day 1. Your host recommends staying at the International Guest House as they also include a free airport transfer.

On Day 8, it's a 15 hour overnight drive to reach Kathmandu on the morning of Day 9. However, you can take an optional flight and arrive back in Kathmandu around 7pm on Day 8. Please see Optional Extras for prices, and ask your host to book this for you. Note you will also need to book accommodation in Kathmandu.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu from major airports across the world.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Your host will provide all the necessary equipment for rafting and kayaking including PFD’s, helmets, dry tops, throw bags, dry bags, pelican boxes, wetsuits, paddles - all at international standards and regularly checked.

What do I need to bring?

  • Swimsuit
  • Sun cream
  • Shorts or cropped trousers and a T-shirt that you don't mind getting wet
  • Clothes for travelling in
  • Sunglasses with sports strap
  • Capped hat
  • Teva style sandals or trainers
  • Warm fleece
  • Socks
  • Camera
  • Small amount of money for snacks and treats
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Sleeping bag and mattress (if you do not have these please ask and we can provide them for you for free)
  • Warm clothes for the evening
  • Warm hat, gloves and scarf for the winter months
  • Pyjamas
  • Small wash kit - biodegradable products are preferred
  • Torch
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Flight at end from Biratnagar to Kathmandu to avoid bus journey.

Payable Before Departure

Flight at end from Biratnagar to Kathmandu to avoid bus journey.

Per Person

Hotel in Kathmandu - Double / Twin Room

Payable Before Departure

Hotel in Kathmandu - Double / Twin Room

Per Night

Hotel in Kathmandu - Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Hotel in Kathmandu - Single Room

Per Night

- Alex(May 2019)

It's hard to find words to describe just how incredible this trip was. I had THE best time basically all thanks to the amazing team. Our captain and founder of the company Maila was the best, and the whole team of guides was all top quality. Everything was amazingly organised and the food especially blew us all away! I had seconds and thirds for every meal (earning me the nickname Hungry Girl!) I was a rafting beginner and learned so much on this week, and even got the chance to give kayaking a go. We had an absolute blast and I would adventure with them in a heartbeat. As an added bonus the guides were also photographing us all week so we went away with an amazing collection of photos.

- John(November 2018)

The guys were fantastic. Didn't realise the attention that had been put into this from food to activities and beyond.

- Kulvin(November 2018)

I very rarely write reviews, but in this case, I felt compelled to as this trip exceeded all expectations. We were amazed by so many things - the scenery, the professionalism and friendliness of the staff, the camping environment and food - there was nothing we could fault on this trip. I'd recommend this for anyone looking to escape for a good few days.

- David(November 2017)

The guides were amazing and made for a very memorable trip!

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 97kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

The rapids on the Sun Kosi river are between Class II and Class V. This may seem daunting if you are a beginner, but your guide will get you through safely and make sure that you take the best route for your ability.

No previous rafting experience is needed, just a moderate level of fitness.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Summer and autumn are the high water seasons and during this time the whitewater rafting is much more exciting and challenging. In June to August the weather is hot and humid, whereas by September to November, it becomes milder. During the dry season (December to May), the rapids pack less punch, so this is not only the best time to learn whitewater kayaking, but you can also make the most of the lower water with rafting games, tubing and cliff jumps.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we'd suggest the following as a guideline per person:

Senior guide: £50 per group. Junior guide: £30 per group

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

You will be provided with clean, safe drinking water from fresh sources throughout this trip. Your guide uses a filtration system to purify this water with chlorine. Plastic bottles are to be avoided so please bring your own water bottle.

Any excess luggage can be safely left at your host's base at the start of the trip. Alternatively, most hotels in Nepal are happy to store luggage for you.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Nepal, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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