Guide to Kathmandu rafting holidays: Nepal’s whitewater gateway

Sep 15, 2015 BY Paul McWilliams

Kathmandu rafting holidays offer world-class rafting on pristine rivers surging with powerful Himalayan glacial melt-water. Kathmandu is a unique city and your Nepal’s whitewater gateway to amazing rafting options. With a number of Nepal’s best rafting rivers within easy striking distance of the capital, this is the start and end point for many rafting holidays.

Nepal and kathmandu rafting holidays. Image courtesy of AdventureX

Travelling further from the capital, you can also explore some of Nepal’s more remote rafting rivers, including the Karnali and Tamur. These longer rafting adventures transport you through landscapes and breathtaking scenery that few tourists ever get to see.

Nepal’s capital and largest urban centre, Kathmandu is home to around 1.7 million people. It’s found in the bowl-shaped valley of Kathmandu in central Nepal. As this mountainous country has never been conquered, the city retains a unique style and charm you won’t find anywhere else.

Despite being the country’s largest urban area, Nepal’s mountainous Himalayan topography means there are glacial rivers within easy reach. The Lower Seti and Bhote Kosi are close by for short rafting trips of a day or two. These lower, gentler rivers have some smaller rapid sections that are ideal for beginners looking to learn a few skills before moving on to the bigger rivers in Nepal.

Nepal and kathmandu rafting holidays 2. Image courtesy of AdventureX

In this sense, Kathmandu is Nepal’s whitewater gateway to both the rafting rivers, both in terms of skill level and as a transport hub.

Kathmandu rafting holidays

As well as the Lower Seti and Bhote Kosi found close to the capital, the Kaligandaki is one of Nepal’s most stunning rafting rivers. With some punchy rapids, it offers a glimpse of what’s to come for those willing to explore the rivers further from the capital. Trips on the Kaligandaki depart from the lakeside region of Pokhara.

Also leaving from here, you can raft the Upper Seti, a short but very exciting river with loads of white water for those who are short on time but looking for an adrenaline rush. The Marsyandi carves through the legendary Annapurna Circuit trekking trail, so it’s perfect for a combined rafting and trekking holiday. The river itself is surrounded by breathtaking scenery but keep your eyes on the water, as things can get rough.

Nepal and kathmandu rafting holidays. Image courtesy of AdventureX

The Sun Kosi River is often voted as one of the world’s best. The longest rafting river in Nepal, it traverses 270km through the Mahabharata mountains, starting just a three-hour drive from Kathmandu. The Karnali is the biggest rafting river, suitable for 10+ day adventures with riverside camping. Those looking for longer trips should also try the Tamur, one of the most remote but rewarding rivers in Nepal.

Kathmandu rafting holidays are the starting point for wider Nepalese rafting trips making it Nepal’s whitewater gateway. Being the country’s main transport hub you can arrange most expeditions here and with plentiful accommodation and some incredible sights, it’s well worth taking a few days here at the start or end of your trip.


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