Karnali River Rafting Expedition

Raft and camp one of the most isolated whitewater rivers in Nepal, through unspoilt mountains and jungle. 10 days.

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REF: 09035

Karnali River Rafting Expedition

Raft and camp one of the most isolated whitewater rivers in Nepal, through unspoilt mountains and jungle. 10 days.

Adventures in Nepal don’t get much better than the Karnali Rafting. Not only is the river a gem for its whitewater rafting - including a 7km gorge, but its course travels through a relatively unpopulated area filled with pristine jungle. You’ll be in with a good chance of seeing native wildlife like deer, leopards, tiger, jackals, mongoose, monkeys and small brown bears. You’ll take out at Badia National Park - Nepal’s largest jungle park. What’s included?

  • 7 days of rafting along the Karnali River
  • 7 nights riverside camping, 1 night in a hotel
  • Local, qualified, English-speaking guide
  • All camping and rafting equipment
  • All meals (including breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Transfers to/from Kathmandu (excluding flights)
  • Porters
  • River Permits
  • Official trip photos

Optional flights to/from Nepaljung will save an 18-20 hour bus journey at the start and finish of the trip.

Perfect for: Class IV / V rapids - rafters looking for adventure but with no previous experience are very welcome.

What to Expect

Day 1:

Your journey will begin in Kathmandu as your guide picks you up and drives you to Nepaljung where you will stay in a hotel for the night.

Alternative: If you’d prefer to avoid the 20 hour bus journey, you can take an optional flight to Nepaljung the following morning, where your guide will collect you. If you do that, day 1 is a free day for exploring Kathmandu. Accommodation in Kathmandu and flights are not included, but can be arranged as an optional extra when booking.

Day 2:

Enjoy a relaxing morning in your hotel, and a complimentary breakfast before continuing the drive. If you chose to fly, you’ll get the first flight from Kathmandu and be picked up by the bus at Nepaljung airport.

Drive to the put in of the river, depending on what time you reach it you will either camp at the put in of the river or paddle down a few hours to a secluded beach on the riverbanks.

Day 3-8:

Your next 6 six days will basically be rafting from one wild rapid to the next, staying at pristine white beaches each evening and eating out by the campfire.

For the most part, you will stay in isolated and remote camps along the Karnali River, surrounded by jungle and breathtaking sceneries.

As for the rafting and kayaking, you will get to experience some of the truly epic Nepali rapids including the ‘Jail House’ and ‘Gods House’. In the last couple of days, the river will flatten out which makes for some perfect relaxing rafting and wildlife spotting.

Day 9:

For your last day on the water, you will paddle out to the take out point in Chisopani, where you can jump on the plane, or bus, back to Kathmandu.

If you’re not ready to head back just yet, you can even spend a few days at Bardia National Park looking for wild elephants, tigers and fresh water dolphins before returning.

Day 10:

If you chose to take the bus back, you’ll arrive in Kathmandu early in the morning.


You’ll spend the first night in a hotel near Nepaljung airport if you opted to travel by bus. The hotel is clean and comfortable, but no luxuries as it’s an extremely poor area. You can opt to stay in Kathmandu (not included in the price) and take a flight the morning of Day 2 instead.

On the river your host will provide all camping equipment including toilet tents, shelters, mattresses, sleeping bags, tarps and personal tents. These will all be included for no additional charge, but if you would rather bring your own gear, feel free!

Dates & Prices

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Optional flights Nepaljung <> Kathmandu Payable Before Departure
Flight at start to Kathmandu from Nepaljung to avoid bus journey $171.00 Per Person
Flight at start to Nepaljung from Kathmandu to avoid bus journey $171.00 Per Person

Trip Photos


View map

The Karnali River is Nepal’s longest and largest river, beginning in Tibet’s holy Mount Kailash. It carves through the Tibetan plateau and into Nepal’s lush western forests, becoming a raging torrent with huge rapids. A highlight of the river is the 7km long gorge of non-stop rapids. This is one of the Nepal’s must do rivers.

Kathmandu is famed for its World Heritage sights with include of the holiest Hindu temples and one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world. Despite the 2015 earthquake which brought devastation to parts of the city, the heart of Kathmandu is as intoxicating and exciting as ever.

Start point?
Your kayaking adventure will start in Thamel or Pokhara on request. From here, you will be driven to Chauraudi.

Finish point?
The trip will end in Chatra. From here, your guide can drive you on to Kathmandu, Chitwan or Pokhara.

Getting there and away?
Fly into Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu. Book whichever flight suits you best.

From Kathmandu, you’ll need to make your way to Thamel or Pokhara. Your host can assist you to make one of the following arrangements:

Your host will contact before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Visas, insurance, travel documents
  • Personal insurance
  • Additional snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for guides (optional)

You can usually expect 2 rafts on most trips (6-8 people on each), however if you are looking to visit us with a large group, we can offer the option of booking you a private trip.

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Rafters need no previous experience to raft the Karnali but you will need to possess a moderate level of fitness as you can expect to spend around 6 hours a day paddling, depending on the season.

This is a great river for the advanced kayaker, but you need to be a confident Class IV paddler with a solid roll to kayak this river. If you are a beginner kayaker coming on a rafting trip, we will give you the opportunity to try out kayaking on some of the easier sections of the river.

The trips have a large variety of food. For lunch, you can choose from foods such as pasta, salads, tuna, baked beans, cheeses, salami, biscuits, crisps, bread, fried rice and fruit. In the evenings, dinner can include garlic bread, french fries, Dal Bhat, chicken curry, mashed potato, Buffalo steak, chilli, Bolognese, custard, rice pudding, fruit salad, popcorn and prawn crackers.

There are also have lighter bites such as biscuits and bananas held in dry bags on the rafts for river time snacks.

Absolutely, just make a request when booking.

The summer and autumn are the high water seasons and during this time, the whitewater rafting is much more exciting and challenging. The June to August weather is hot and humid whereas by September to November, the weather will become milder.

During the dry season (December to May), the rapids pack a lot less punch than at high water times. This is not only the best time to learn to whitewater kayak, but you can make the most of the lower water with more rafting games, tubing and cliff jumps.

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

Your guide suggests that you bring:

  • Swimsuit
  • Sun cream
  • Shorts or cropped trousers and T-shirt you don’t mind getting wet
  • Clothes for travelling in
  • Sun glasses with sports strap
  • Capped hat
  • Teva style sandals or trainers
  • Warm fleece
  • Socks
  • Camera
  • Small amount of money for snacks and treats if you wish
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Sleeping bag and mattress (if you do not have, please ask and we can provide for you for free)
  • Dry clothes for the evening(s). Make sure you bring warm clothes with you as the night times can get cold, especially in the winter months.
  • Warm hat, gloves and scarf for the winter months
  • Pyjamas
  • Small wash kit - biodegradable products are preferred if you have them
  • Torch
  • Book, deck of cards or small travel games
  • Personal medication (please let us know of any pre-existing medical conditions before participating in any whitewater trip)

Our adventures are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travellers and very small groups, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.

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