This medium-length rafting expedition is an excellent way to take advantage of Nepal's post-monsoon rivers. Leaving from the popular lakeside town of Pokhara, you'll brave class III and IV rapids with an expert guide, camp and dine under the stars on riverside beaches, and kayak on smooth sections of the Kali Gandaki. This makes a fun addition to a trekking trip, or a stand-alone journey for travelers short on time.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a day of cultural sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • Get your adrenaline pumping on class III and IV rapids
  • Camp on the beach under the gaze of a famous Shiva statue
  • Kayak for a day on a smooth section of the Kali Gandaki

Video of kayaking the Kali Gandaki (Video credit: Michael Cross)

Brief Overview

Duration 6 days

Grade (Class) III+ / V

Put in Malgunga
Take out Mirmi (the dam) 

Best season October to November, March to June

Price $250 pp (minimum 4 people to run)

Best Season

Similar to the majority of the river trips in Nepal, this river is at it’s best just after the monsoon when the rivers are flowing high. It’s also a great time of year to see the majestic Himalayan mountains as the weather and waters are warm. The best months are October until December, closer followed by March to June. The river is still possible to run in Jan-March, however, this is winter in Nepal so the temperatures drop considerably.   

Experienced Required

No previous experience required for rafters. We have all the skills required to navigate you safely down the river and full instruction will be given at the beginning of the trip. For kayakers, you need to be a confident Grade III paddler.  

River Access

This trip starts and ends from the popular lakeside town of Pokhara. The put in is just an hour and a half bus journey from Pokhara. We will provide a private vehicle to and from the river. The takeout is a five-hour drive back to Pokhara. Pickups and dropoffs can be arranged from your hotel. 

Accommodation & Meals

As with the majority of our river expeditions, the accommodation on this trip is under tented canvas. Welcome to our 5 million star hotel! We will provide you with tents, sleeping bags, mattresses a, d pillows, to try and make you as comfortable as you can be. There is something very special about camping out on the banks of a Himalayan river. Meals will be prepared fresh every day. You can expect a variety of meals such as full cooked breakfast, pasta, steaks, salads, and dal bhat.  

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa
The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa

As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll have beautiful views over the valley, the Himalaya, and of the terraced fields below. After going through customs, a representative will be waiting to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets and get you settled into your hotel. Once you've settled in, head out and visit one of Kathmandu's cultural highlights. In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu

Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares. There are a number of ways you can spend the day given the many incredible sights around the Kathmandu Valley. Later in the evening, head out for dinner at one of the city's great eateries, or your specialist can arrange a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Day 3: Drive to 'put in', raft, and camp

Machapuchare (aka fishtail mountain) in the background

Meet early in the morning in Pokhara and drive by private vehicle to the put in. After an hour and a half, you will reach your destination. Your guides will start unloading the bus and pumping up the rafts. You will be given your equipment and given a full safety briefing. Once the rafts are loaded (everything you need for three days has to come with us as there’s no road access!) it’s time to set off.

After just ten minutes, you are greeted with the two biggest rapids of the whole river! Big and Little Brother. These will certainly get your heart pumping! After 4-5 hours on the river, we will pull up to a beautiful sandy beach where we will make camp and start cooking dinner. There will be opportunities to play football, relax, swim, and take in the surroundings. This camp is famous for its large statue of Shiva that watches over the camping site. And then it’s time for some rafter's rum punch! 

Day 4: Full day of rafting

Evening scene on the banks of the river

You will wake up early in the morning, pack the camp up, and reload the rafts before setting off! The first rapid of the day, appropriately named ‘Good morning’, will wake you up for the day ahead. There are many class III rapids to enjoy today. Stop halfway in the day to have lunch on the banks of the river, before tackling the next series of rapids. It’s then the same procedure as last night as you set up a temporary camp on the river banks for one more night under the stars. On clear nights it’s even possible to see the milky way from here.  

Day 5: Rafting and optional kayak adventure

Your final morning. After a hearty breakfast, the camp will be packed up one final time. Paddle your last rapids before hitting a fairly long flat section to finish off the day. For those of you interested, you will be offered the chance to have a go in the kayaks if you wish. It’s then time to unload the rafts one last time, pack the bus and drive around 5 hours back to Lakeside Pokhara where you can have a well-earned shower for the first time in 3 days! For those short on time, this is the best way to experience Nepal’s river culture.  

Day 6: Depart Kathmandu

Swayambhunath
Swayambhunath Temple

Time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. It's good to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.

Map

Map of Kali Gandaki River Rafting - 6 Days
Map of Kali Gandaki River Rafting - 6 Days