Taking you through the heart of Nepal, this river trip is rated one of the top ten river journeys in the world by National Geographic. Well off the beaten track, you'll spend your days enjoying great whitewater, warm weather and the evenings camping on pristine, white sandy beaches.


  • Traveling 270 km on the Sun Kosi River from the lush hills near the Tibetan border, down through jungle, all the way to the flat plains near the Indian border
  • Enjoy nature's showers with epic waterfalls
  • Camp on white sandy beaches
  • Visit remote Hindu temples along the way


This is one of the best river expeditions available in Nepal and is open to pretty much anyone. Described as a ‘Pool Drop River’, this means there are plenty of big bouncy rapids followed by flat sections making it safe for all to enjoy. There is plenty of action, but also plenty of time to relax and soak up the scenery.

Duration 11 days

Grade (Class) III+ / V

Put in Dolalghat (3-hour drive from Kathmandu
Take out Chatara (15-hour drive to Kathmandu or 45-minute flight from Biratnagar)
Best season September to November, April to June

Best Season

As with the majority of rafting trips in Nepal, the best season is from September - November after the monsoon when the water levels are at their very best. Not to mention the weather is warm with clear views of the mountains. If you are an experienced kayaker, then running this river in early September can be very exciting when the water is at its highest. If you are a beginner/intermediate kayaker, then April or May will offer the perfect conditions to improve your skills.

Plan your trip to Nepal
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Experience Required

Whitewater on the Sun Kosi River (Photo credit: Maila Gurung)

For rafters, no previous experience is required. Your river guides will have all the experience you need and will give you a full safety briefing and instructions at the beginning to make sure you are comfortable with all the commands.

For kayakers, you will need to be a confident Grade III boater. Although there are some bigger rapids on the river (namely Hakapur the Grade V rapid), these are easily portaged, or you can enjoy them from the raft. It is a great river to improve your kayaking.

Accessing this River

The great thing about the Sun Kosi, unlike other expedition rivers in Nepal, is that it is only a quick 3-hour drive from Kathmandu.

Accommodation & Meals

On the Sun Kosi river, you'll get to camp on pristine white sandy beaches. Tents and camping equipment travel down the river in waterproof bags on a cargo raft and are put up each afternoon. The camp is then dismantled every morning as you travel farther down the river.

There will be no electricity or wifi along the route, so solar charges are recommended to keep your camera batteries charged. You can, however, get mobile signal for the majority of the trip.

For your meals, you will be pleasantly surprised at the astounding meals your raft guides can rustle up over gas stoves and open fires. All the food and kitchen travels down with the cargo raft. You can expect cooked breakfasts, salads, pasta, Dal Bhat (the local specialty), steaks, lasagna, and curries to name a few!

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 3 Rafting warm-up and Butterfly beach Butterfly beach
Day 4-9 Rafting: rinse and repeat Camping
Day 10 Drive or fly back to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 11 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Most itineraries are around 7-9 days. The suggested itinerary, below, is offered by GRG's Adventure Kayaking.

Kayaking on the Sun Kosi river
Kayaking through rapids on the Sun Kosi (Photo credit: Maila Gurung)

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, Nepal
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: Rafting warm-up and Butterfly beach

Travel to the river, with a full safety briefing before you start and a quick 3-hour rafting warm-up before camping at Butterfly beach. The first few days are quite gentle with Grade II/III rapids to get you nicely warmed up.

Days 4-9: Rafting: rinse and repeat

Full days of rafting ahead. Your general routine will be breakfast at 7:30 am, packed by 9:00 am, and on the river by 9.30. We will then paddle down until lunchtime (12 noon) when we will stop on a beach for around an hour to refresh ourselves before jumping back in the rafts/kayaks. We will raft until around 4 pm when we will then set up camp for the evening.

Enjoy a spot for fishing, explore the local villages and temples, play football with the local kids, or simply relax with a book on the beach before lighting the night's campfire. As the days go on, the rapids get bigger, the highlights being Hakapur, Rhino Rock and Jungle Corridor - rapids that you won’t forget for a while!

We'll be traveling through dense forests, remote villages and stunning scenery.

As we near the end of the trip, the river flattens out a bit as we get closer to the Indian Plains.

Day 10: Drive or fly back to Kathmandu

This is our last day in the raft. We will raft to the final Hindu temple where we will stop to have a quick tour. We will then take out of the river at 1 pm. For those who have opted for the flight back to Kathmandu (currently around $170 USD per person), it is a quick drive to Biratnagar airport and then a 45-minute flight back to Kathmandu. For those on a tighter budget, we will load the bus and travel 15 hours overnight back to Kathmandu, arriving approximately 9 am the following morning.

Day 11: Depart Kathmandu

Swayambhunath Temple, Nepal
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.