At a glance

11 days
Arrival Airport
Kathmandu (KTM)
river grade
Air Temp
35°C (95°F)
Water Temp
20°C (68°F)
7 nights
3 nights


Set is the less explored Western Nepal. the Karnali River has some of the biggest and best rapids in Nepal. Couple this in with an amazing journey to the river through the remote and friendly villages around Surkhet, make this a great trip. You’ll spend your days running fantastic whitewater, exploring hidden waterfalls and villages and your evenings (and layover day) relaxing on expansive sandy beaches in the midst of jungle clad hillsides. On the lower reaches we often see some spectacular birdlife and wildlife. The Karnali feels like a “real journey” and despite not being as well known as the Sun Kosi, the river delivers excellent culture, rapids and a wonderful Nepali experience. Other trips similar to this you may be interested in, are our Sun Kosi rafting trip or our Tamur hiking and rafting adventure.


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Destination Map & Video

What you will be up to


You’ll be met at the airport by your Water By Nature Trip Leader who will take you into Thamel to your hotel, where you can take the chance to catch up on sleep or go and explore this fascinating town.

Included: No meals


Breakfast can be taken on the roof of your hotel with a stunning view of the Himalaya. The day is yours to explore this incredible city. Whether you decide to visit some of the fascinating temples and stupas, take in an early morning trip to the monkey temple or check out the Sadhus in Pashupatinath, do some retail therapy, or just sit on the roof of one of the many restaurants, Kathmandu will put a big smile on your face. Your trip leader will give you all a pre-departure chat and pass out some of your equipment for the trip.

Included: Breakfast


After breakfast we board our flight to Surkhet, in the “Wild West” of Nepal. Our bus will meet us here and take us to the start of our river trip. By late afternoon, we’ll be rigged and ready to set off for the short trip downstream to our overnight camp.

Included: All meals


Today we see a gradual introduction of whitewater as we take to the river for about 4 hours.  We pause for lunch at a beautiful waterfall, giving us the chance for some fabulous photo opportunities. After lunch we get to try out our teamwork on some fun rapids before we run our first major rapid of the trip, “Sweetness And Light” which leads us in to our evening campsite.

Included: All meals


After breakfast, we have a fantastic day of whitewater to look forward to, starting with “Shake Rattle and Roll” and “Humans For Lunch”!  En route, we stop at Jungleghat, a fairly major village en route to Tibet for a timely cup of “Chi”. About 10 minutes downstream from the village are the rapids “Jailhouse Rock” and “Inversion.”  Shortly after, we relax for lunch, and float down to our camp at Scorpion Beach, where we enter a beautifully forested canyon with cascading waterfalls.

Included: All meals


LAYOVER day! Your biggest decision today may well be whether to have a game of beach volleyball, read your favourite book, learn to kayak or whether to walk up to a local village.

Included: All meals


After we have been suitably rested and refueled we head down river to take on the biggest whitewater of the journey.  “Godshouse” is our first rapid for the day and GREAT fun! We continue downstream to enjoy the towering waves of “Juicer” and “Flip ’n Strip” before we stop for lunch.  After our lunchtime siesta, the rapids keep on coming thick and fast, in the form of “Snapshot”, “Freight Train” and the “Red Rock Canyon” before we hit some calmer water further downstream.

Included: All meals


The whitewater action of the previous few days gives rise to some calmer water and the chance to really relax and bask in the warmth of the sun, take in the ever changing scenery and try your hand at kayaking.

Included: All meals


Another day where we gently float along at river speed while fishermen show off their catch and summon us to come and buy as we drift on past. They are as puzzled by our presence there as we are of their ways.  Dug out canoes ferry passengers across the river and young children swim out to our raft with the prospect of “hitch hiking” further down stream. Tonight is the last evening on the river and one to treasure as you lie under the stars being lulled to sleep by the endless sound of moving water.

Included: All meals


We have a floating breakfast as we watch the sun rise over the hills.  Chisopani marks the end of the rafting journey. We drive back to Nepalganj for our return flight to Kathmandu. You’ll be transferred to your hotel where you can grab a shower before we go out for our post trip meal.

Included: Breakfast and lunch


After breakfast and any last minute shopping, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight back home.

Included: Breakfast

Speak to a WBN Advisor

UK +44 1709 802 203

USA +1 303 261 8896

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Dates & Prices

Sunday 24 March 2024 - Wednesday 3 April 202411 days£3500€4095$4500
Sunday 21 April 2024 - Wednesday 1 May 202411 days£3500€4095$4500
Sunday 13 October 2024 - Wednesday 23 October 202411 days£3500€4095$4500

Flights to Kathmandu, Nepal

We are always happy to advise on flights. Please call our UK or US office for advice. Why not use your frequent flyer miles for your adventure, if you have them? Many airlines offer flights to Kathmandu (airport code KTM). For UK customers, try Qatar Airways or search for your best flight options. For U.S. customers, try Exito Travel for a competitive quote.   Please ensure you DO NOT book your flights until your trip is CONFIRMED to run, by our office.
We have price and departure information about the following trips in Nepal (river prices only – flights not included). The dossier for this trip includes more information regarding the extension to Bardia National Park which is located near the take out point of this trip. This can be booked during the online checkout.

In order to secure your place a deposit of USD $750 per participant is required.

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What you should bring

We find most of our clients have in their posession already what is needed for a river rafting journey. We have broken down here the items into what you’ll need on the river and in camp. We also suggest you take a quick look at the video on How To Pack A Dry Bag. An equipment list of what you will require for your adventure will be sent to you prior to your departure along with a Water By Nature Travel Bag.

Download equipment file
Image of group in front of waterfall on the Karnali river

The Karnali River reviews

Rated 5.0 out of 5
5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 2 reviews)
Very good0%

Amazing river, even better trip and experience

Rated 5.0 out of 5
16th April 2019

I had the opportunity to float the Karnali with Water by Nature and the trip was awesome. We met in Kathmandu and every part of the trip was explained to us we had an opportunity to meet not only the crew but also our trip mates. We were given our dry sacks and the river gear we would be lent had a great orientation. We had aa unforeseen mishap when our flight rescheduled and left EARLY without informing us, our trip leader handled every aspect of rescheduling our flights and ground transportation to best fit our needs, which gave me instant confidence in the company’s problem solving skills. Once on the river the experience was amazing we floated through beautiful scenery and really fun whitewater. We stopped to explore a village and have a very authentic look into the native lifestyle that depends on the Karnali river. We had great hikes and stops along the way including a waterfall. Our meals for the entire trip exceeded mine and my fellow trip mate’s expectations. The crew worked so very hard to make sure we had the best trip possible, they really enhanced our experience. Over all I never felt unsafe (which i was worried about traveling through a developing country) and felt that the trip could not have been planed or handled any better by Water by Nature. Given the opportunity i would definitely go on another trip!


Wonderful Nepal

Rated 5.0 out of 5
24th June 2018

You start your trip off in Kathmandu – this is a bustling city with lots of Temples and shops for the tourist. Once you are on the river, however, its is very tranquil and it was quite warm, which seems a paradox considering Everest is not that far away..!!

The river is exciting with some very good rapids, which will test even the most experienced rafter. We visited a couple of villages on the way down the river and were made very welcome by the local Nepalese people, who offered us tea and a chance to purchase some locally grown chillies – very hot..!!

The evenings were spent on excellent beaches alongside the river, enjoying the food prepared by the WBN crew and having a chat with the other guests around a camp fire.

A great trip and a great way to see Nepal.

Gary Boon

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