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Karnali River Rafting

Trip Length:11 Days
Put In Point: Dungeshwar
Take Out Point: Chisapani
Region: Karnali
River Class: IV/IV+
Meals: All meals on rafting days

Trip Highlights

  • Epic river adventure with some of the best rapids in the world
  • Breathtaking scenery, wildlife sightings
  • River adventure far from the modern world
  • Trained and experienced crew
  • Safety kayaks throughout the trip
  • Magnificent camping services


Karnali, which originates near the holy Mount Kailash of Tibet, offers arguably the finest multi day-river trip in Nepal. From Tibet, the river enters Nepal and cut through the Himalayas creating fantastic gorges. It is Nepal's largest and longest river and flows through relatively least-populated region of the country, offering you adventure in complete wilderness. For nearly 180 kilometers, rafters will be in the lap of the nature cut off from the modern world. The river passes through one of the last places in Nepal where you can see dense forest and have a real chance of seeing wildlife from your raft. Langur and Rhesus monkeys, leopards, bear, martens, deer, crocodiles, and even Royal Bengal Tiger, can be spotted from your boat. The river is home to different fish species like giant catfish and Golden Masheer. The trip pumps your adrenaline as you have to negotiate multiple Grade III-V rapids. You will stay on some of the best river beaches and also get to know about culture, tradition and lifestyle of the local people residing on the lower reaches of this fantastic river.
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Package Details

Getting there

This is one of the remotest river expeditions in Nepal. Getting to the put in point is a fun in itself. After about an hour-long flight to Nepalgunj Airport, you will meet your crew and start driving toward Dhungeshwar. You will reach the put in point in the evening.

Meals and Accommodation

You will stay in a three-star hotel in Kathmandu on sharing basis. Breakfast is complimentary. During river trips, however, you camps will be set up at beautiful beaches along the river. You rafting crew will cook and serve you three meals a day during the river journey. Cargo boat carries your food, camping and kitchen equipment. Most of the lunches, however, will be packed ones. It depends on your rafting schedule. Evenings will be fun as the crew members will sing and dance around the campfire. Next morning, everything will be packed and loaded on the cargo boat.

Best Season

The best season to enjoy Karnali River rafting is from October to the end of November, followed by April to June. In October-November the river will be high after the monsoon rains making the river a wild ride through different rapids. The April-June, before the monsoon begins, will be a bit quieter. Regardless of the season, the river offers you one of the best whiter water experiences as it passes through gorges, forests full of wildlife and some of Nepal’s least explored areas.

Packing List

  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Shorts, T-shirt
  • Sun glasses with sports strap
  • Hat
  • Sandals or trainers
  • Camera (can be stored in our dry bags/box whilst rafting)
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Personal Toiletry
  • Personal medication
  • Sleeping bag and mattress
  • Dry, warm clothes for the evenings
  • Pajamas
  • Headlamp
  • Book, deck of cards or small travel games

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Nepal

Welcome to Nepal. After landing at Kathmandu airport, complete immigration formalities and find our representative outside the arrival lounge with your name card. Get transferred into your hotel. Remaining time is free for independent activities. In the evening, attend a trip briefing session with your river guide.

O/N: Hotel
Day 2
Fly to Nepalgunj; drive to Dungeshwar – Approx 50 minutes flight, 6 hrs drive

After early breakfast, your guide will lead you to the domestic airport for a flight to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is the commercial hub in mid and far western Nepal. Upon arrival at the Neapalgunj airport, board a waiting car and start driving toward Dungeshwar in Dailekh district. The bus travels on winding roads up the Churia hills, offering your beautiful views of rivers, terraced land, beautiful settlements and the countryside. Dungeshwar is a small settlement near the confluence of Lahore Khola and Karnali. After your boats are prepared, float on the river for about an hour to your campsite.

O/N: Tent
Day 3
Adventure Begins

Your river adventure begins in earnest today. After a leisurely breakfast at your camp, start floating downward. Exciting rapids of the might river will greet you today. Negotiate the rapids following instructions of your river guide. Most of the float will be in wilderness for the next few days. Enjoy the rapids in the fast flowing water that flows from Tibet. ‘Sweetness & Light’ is the major rapid that your will negotiate today. In high season, however, you will have to enter from the middle riding two high waves. It is a Grade IV rapid. Your guide will enter the rapid from the right side and make some steep drops. You will stop at a suitable place for lunch. And after lunch, continue floating to your camp.

O/N: Tent
Day 4-8
Rapids and Waves

Over the next four days, you will negotiate some world class Grade III, IV and V rapids. Some of them are given below:

Humans For Lunch: A fabulous rapid where the raft run down through continuous wave trains. (Grade III)

Jailhouse Rock:The rapid is on the gorge section of the river. It is a magnificent rapid with a large hole on the right side. You enter the rapid from the middle and paddle left ward. (Grade IV)

Inversion:This rapid comes right after Jailhouse rapid. It’s a relatively large rapid with a series of large waves coming from the righ. Your guide will navigate the raft in a straight line. Right after the rapid, you will see a beautiful waterfall and then one of the best river beaches on Karnali going by the name Scorpion Beach.

God’s House:Many rate God’s House as one of the top five rapids in the world. It lies some 20 minutes downstream from Scorpion Beach. Your guide will enter the rapid from the left to avoid a very big hydraulic on the center-left. You ride a series of waves before coming out of the rapid.

Juicer:This rapid comes right after God’s House. It has a large hole on centre left and on the centre right a little below. Your guide will enter the river from the left riding a large wave in the center. (Grade IV)

Flip N Strip:As the name suggests, it’s going to be a scary ride. The guide will enter the rapid from the center as there are large holes on the left side and large hydraulics on the right.(Grade IV)

Totali Ghat:This rapid is right beneath a footbridge on the left bend below Flip N Strip rapid. As there are large hydraulics on the left, the guide will enter the rapid from the right (Grade IV)

Other noteworthy rapids are Snapshot, Freight Train, Red Rock Canyon and Wizard’s Sleeve.

Day 9
Raft to Chisopani

From your last campsite on the lower canyon of the gorge cut by Karnali, draft down to Chisapani where you see a large single suspension motorable bridge. It’s an easy float. Welcome back to the civilization. Curious kids will follow you as you come out of the river.

Upon arrival in Chisoapni, you will be transferred to Bardiya National Park for night stay and jungle safari. After lunch, enjoy jungle safari on jeep or elephant back. If you are lucky, you can catch the sight of the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger and several other wildlife species.

O/N: Jungle Lodge
Day 10
Drive to Nepalgunj Airport and Fly Back to Kathmandu

After a leisurely breakfast, start driving toward Nepalgunj for an hourlong flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, check into your hotel. Take the much needed rest in the comfort of your hotel room. Or you can take a stroll in your hotel neighborhood to buy souvenir for friends and families back home. In the evening, we will host a farewell dinner for you in a typical Nepali restaurant. Enjoy traditional Nepali cuisines as you watch songs and dances performed by local artisans.

O/N: Hotel
Day 11

Your last day in Nepal! Our representative will escort you to the airport for your return flight. While returning back, you will have plenty of time to reflect on the amazing time that you had in Nepal.

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Karnali River Rafting

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If you want to customize your trips, need any logistics or permits for filming, guidance for climbing and rafting then feel free to contact us directly and start planning your trip to Nepal.

Bhoj Raj Bhat
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Bishnu Bhattarai
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West Himalaya Treks & Expeditions
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