Kayaking in Nepal – Some serious fun

It was one of the best experiences I had that continued for 4 days unlike many other adventures that last only few hours. Yes, I am talking about my experience of Kayaking in Nepal this year. I paddle river Trisuli being relatively new to this sport. But I am determined to go back to Nepal to kayak in more than one river this time as it has got a lot to offer. It’s was one of the best holiday where we were staying in camp site and had proper meal for three times with snacks in between. All we had to do was have breakfast and go for kayaking, take a break for lunch and then paddle again for few hours and come back for evening tea. Then we played volleyball with the locals and then get ready for delicious dinner. It couldn’t have been better as all we had to do was lots of adventure all day. Nepal is one of the best and cheap places to kayak with some of the world’s best rivers. Nepal has got a lot to offer from hiking to paragliding, kayaking to rafting and so much more. I can’t wait to go back to do more of everything. I would give you some overview of the various rivers that you can run in Nepal. You can hire all the gears and the kayak there only so no need to pack everything from home with you. But some essentials would be good to have:

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Gears required: Kayak, life jacket, helmet, wetsuit, dry bags for gears, tent (if you are camping on the way to the final destination), and personal gear bag

Items that you would need for camping (minimum requirement): Sleeping bag, light weight pants, a fleece style jacket, toiletries, light weight sleeved t-shirt, spare glasses, water bottle, long sleeved thermal top and bottoms, light weight hiking boots, toilet paper and lighter, day pack (depending whether you are hiking to get to the river trip or not). If you are planning to kayak on your own then you might also have to carry the gears mentioned above with meal and cooking utensils.

Items to carry with you in the river: Sunscreen, sunglasses, shorts, swimwear, river sandals (they are handy when you have to walk in shallow water on the rocks holding your kayak),

Courses: If you are new to Kayaking then you can start with ‘Beginner Kayak Clinic’ course that usually is for 4 days. Otherwise Intermediate and Advanced Kayak Courses are also available here for more experienced paddlers.

 Cost: It can cost you around 35 USD to 50 USD per day for food, accommodation and gears, depending upon which river you are paddling. It is good to ask the rates from different tour operators decide according to your budget. Sometimes they also include transport to and from the destination so make sure to ask them beforehand as it’s a long way to get to the camp site sometimes. We got free transport from Pokhara to the camp site and then after we finish the course they dropped us to Kathmandu for free which was our next destination as Trisuli river is same distance both from Kathmandu and Pokhara.

 Tour Operators: This is one of the main sources of income in Nepal so there are many tour companies that are involved in this business. Here are links for some of them although once you are there it’s better to check out their shop and have a chat as that will give you more confidence with the people and their services.

 Before I start talking about various Rivers in Nepal, here is the definition of various grades of rapids in White Water Rivers:

  • Grade I – Flat water, No rapids
  • Grade II – Bubbling current, small rapids
  • GradeIII – More technical and require more expertise
  • Grade IV & V – Seriously big rapids. Require some kayaking experience and confidence in water since there are possibilities of getting stuck in the whirlpool if the kayak flips or can’t control the direction of kayak
  • Grade VI – Not run by the tour companies due to the serious risk involved

 Rivers

  1. Trisuli – It is great for beginners or good for experienced paddlers to warm up before they go for other rivers. It is easily accessible from Kathmandu as well as Pokhara. This river swells enormously during the monsoon season and that time it is one of the most challenging and dangerous river to paddle.                                                               Duration: 1 – 3 Days, Distance: 60 kilometers Trisuli
  2. Seti – This River is again divided into Lower Seti and Upper Seti. Lower Seti is great for families due to its calm and relaxing water and gentle rapids, whereas Upper Seti is good for intermediate Kayakers. This river Seti has plenty of grades I – III rapids and it provides a scenic view of the valley, forests and a nice white sandy beach.              Duration: 1/2 – 2 Days, Distance: 32 kilometers, Grade: I – IIISeti
  3. Bhote Kosi – This River is great for continuous rapids of grade IV and V at high flow and grade III at lower flows. It is very close to Kathmandu hence easily accessible. Not long but full of fun and adventure and also provide a scenic view of the surroundings. People do get a chance to feel being in a washing machine in the river and have couple of swims generally until unless you are really good with kayaking. This is a perfect river for a roller coaster ride because of the drops it provides. This goes near Tibet border.                                                                                 Duration: 1 – 2 Days, Distance: 22 kilometers Bhote Kosi
  4. Kali Gandaki – Great for fun and also known as the Holy River, Kali is known to be named after the Hindu goddess for destruction. It is flowing between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain range and takes you to the deepest point. It provides grade III, IV and V grade challenging rapids where more techniques will be required. Like other rivers, this river also gives you a closer view of the beautiful wildlife.                                                                           Duration: 3 Days, Distance: 90 kilometers, Grade: III – VKali Gandaki
  5. Marshyandi – This river is some serious fun and requires some skills to go down on it is one of the best white water river that runs in the world. It provides rapids with IV and V grades and require discipline to really get through them as it has many technical and steep rapids throughout the stretch.                                                                             Duration: 3 – 5 Days, Distance – 27 kilometers, Grade: IV – VMarshyandi
  6. Sun Kosi – Longest river trip with a stretch of almost 270 Kilometer, Sun Kosi is almost 3 hours drive from Kathmandu.  It is also known as one of the top 10 rivers in the world to paddle. It provides breath-taking scenery all along the way. It has rapids of all grades from II to V. By the time you run this river you can cover from Tibetan border to North Indian plains.                                                                                                                                                              Duration: 8 – 10 Days, Distance: 270 kilometers, Grade: III – VSun Kosi
  7. Karnali – This river has earned a lot of respect for being the mightiest river in Nepal. It gives you a fulfillment to run this river as it has everything for a kayaker from various range of rapids to technical steep drops. It does give you a reason to boast about your kayaking skills once you have paddled this river. It is also one of the top 10 rivers in the world to paddle. It has rapids from grade III to V+.                                                                                      Duration: 8 – 10 Days, Distance: 180 kilometers, Grade: III – V+Karnali
  8. Tamur – Not so commercial, this river provides exceptionally challenging white-water rapids. With beautiful view of the gorge it passes through the secluded beaches and wilderness in Nepal. There are towering canyons around this river that makes it more challenging during the first 16 kilometres with high grade rapids.                         Duration: 11 Days, Distance: 120 kilometers, Grade: III – IVTamur
  9. Bheri – This is more over for family trips with amazing scenery and easy rapids of grade II to III.                    Duration: 4 days Distance: 105 kilometers, Grade: II – III
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Identity Unknown – Picture perfect or simple defect

Identity Unknown - Picture perfect or simple defect

I saw this plant in Pokhara, Nepal and havn’t been able to identify it yet. Does anyone want to give it a go?  May be lets just give it a new name. I took the picture because it looked nice with the background color. Tell me first thing that comes into your mind looking at this picture.

Bhaktapur – A city of festivals and celebrations

Bhaktpur is an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Many people who go to Kathmandu miss this place. But I would really recommend to visit this 1427 A.D. town that is rich in culture and gives you a feel of the life style at that time. It is called a city of festivals because here people celebrate festivals each month starting from new year to the end of the year.

I would love to live at this place but I only had a day to visit this beautiful enchanting place so I would love to share the pics of this place for your pleasure. I hope it will provide you a window to seek into the past and dream about the life at that era on this part of Earth.

Let's take the journey through the magical world of Bhaktapur

Let’s take the journey through the magical world of Bhaktapur

One regular day in the life of the people living in Bhaktapur

One regular day in the life of the people living in Bhaktapur

 

 

House with a lot of stories to tell

House with a lot of stories to tell

 

People gathered to play cards - Simple life

People gathered to play cards – Simple life

 

Walls older than few hundreds of generations

Walls older than few hundreds of generations

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Temple can be a place to hang out as well

Temple can be a place to hang out as well

 

Lets take a look at the other places now - I love the narrow lanes here as well

Lets take a look at the other places now – I love the narrow lanes here as well

 

Symbol of the security at the door of Kingdom

Symbol of the security at the door of Kingdom

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Temple

Temple

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History speaks through these houses

History speaks through these houses

 

Thinking about the life they have lived and enjoying the evening

Thinking about the life they have lived and enjoying the evening

 

Plenty of space to play

Plenty of space to play

 

 

 

Window to the soul

Window to the soul

 

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Other ways of entertainment we miss in the modern world today

Other ways of entertainment we miss in the modern world today

Looking into life

Looking into life

Old but gold

Old but gold

Colorful houses

Colorful houses

Beautiful isn't it...I can't imagine how creative the people were at that time and how much effort they put into making something like this a reality

Beautiful isn’t it…I can’t imagine how creative the people were at that time and how much effort they put into making something like this a reality

Do you want to go up there?

Do you want to go up there?

Did I just disturbed somebody at lunch time?

Did I just disturbed somebody at lunch time?

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Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva

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Sky high Tower

Sky high Tower

That the way you feel in here...all colorful and cheerful

That the way you feel in here…all colorful and cheerful

Wo...some of them were creative in a bit scary way I felt...what do you think??

Wo…some of them were creative in a bit scary way I felt…what do you think??

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Welcome

Welcome

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Lord Ganesha ...just in a different role here

Lord Ganesha …just in a different role here

Would you like to decorate your house with these?

Would you like to decorate your house with these?

High as sky

High as sky

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Gallery of amazing things

Gallery of amazing things

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That's the main square now

That’s the main square now

Love these pieces of art, used to fill water in old times, and here still are

Love these pieces of art, used to fill water in old times, and here still are

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We could have been the meal of the tiger that day – Lesson: Rice Terraces can be way bigger than they actually look

The lesson from the story seems to be a bit weird when it comes to survival in the jungle, I know. But you would soon realise why this seems more appropriate rather than saying that don’t try the treks that you are not aware of when tigers can be around at the same time.

Sarankot (1610m) – day hike – 5/6 hours from the town called ‘Pokhara’ in Nepal

4th Day in Nepal, we had successfully climbed up this day long hike but one problem was that we started a bit late. It was the day after Shivratri so me and my friend were of course not in the best state of our mind but we had been thinking of being more active and lose some weight in the holidays that we had gained from the various cuisines we already had so far. We anyways got determined to do this trek which didn’t look very threatening looking at our level of fitness and it was around 1 PM when we started. It was very sweaty but still refreshing to get to the top. We took our time to take some nice shots and admired the beauty of the town from there.

 

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I have already posted some really nice pictures that I was able to take the same day of sunset (only that I didn’t mention that it was half an hour before we were getting our new lesson in life https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/a-magical-evening-from-nepal/

).

Soon we realised that we have been descending for quite a while via road and it does not seems to take us anywhere near the town hence I pointed out to a trek that was near the road and looked like a short cut. My friend agreed with me and we both started following this trek more quickly than we had thought as the sun was on its way home much too quick. We heard few kids laughing and saying there are tigers in the forest but their tone didn’t seemed to be serious hence we assumed it to be a common joke around the locals.

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Soon we had arrived the rice terraces with no one left around and we are still descending. We could see the town somewhere far away below but it was still a long way to go. Now there was no clear trek so we started jumping one rice paddies at a time. Then we spotted a farmer winding down his day and thought it as a good idea to ask him for the direction. He looked a bit amazed looking at us, two girls, in the middle of nowhere and keen to make our way in this wilderness into the dark. But he anyways pointed out to the right side and said good bye. As usual we obeyed to any guidance provided by this so called only available local expert in this foreign land but soon we realised there was no way that we can go ahead in that direction, else we will end up being in the very dense forest. And if we try to climb down the rice paddies then it was as high as the wall of an average room so there were quite a few chances of breaking our legs in case we jump from there. We thought that we were following the easier trek earlier (before we took the promising direction guidance from the farmer) so we might want to go back (to the left). So we thought of backtracking our way a little and successfully did half of it in one direction. But now there was no staircase like paddies left, all we could see were high walls all around and it was getting harder to imagine ourselves climbing down those with any success to getting close to the city. We scrambled few bushes and tried to follow the water streams between the gaps of two rice terraces vertically but then it was getting dark all too soon.

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Then we made an unsuccessful attempt to cross the rice paddies horizontally via the water stream and got ourselves into a very steep rock soon and back tracked the same to reach the top of the paddy. My friend was brave to say that it’s ok if we have to stay in the forest and back of my mind I started counting the resources we had to stay there – none. No tent, no water, nothing to eat, nothing to cover ourselves and no torch (battery of my mobile was also dying). She was confident to an extent that she was telling me to climb the tree if an animal shows up and here I was not trained in all these traits of climbing trees, living in the forest with nothing. Ouch, I felt a bit scared and my mind started racing to find a way out. I asked her if she is ok to back track the way up and go back to the street from where we descended at least that way we will be close to civilization and will be able to get a ride home if nothing. Thankfully she agreed and my heartbeat got a bit normal. Then next challenging task was to lead the way and I volunteer to do that. Soon I felt as if I had eyes of a cat (people used to say that I had catlike eyes – hazel), but joke apart, It really helped because I was able to see my way in very dim light from the moon.

Finally after 30 minutes of struggle we were able to see few people sitting near the farm. I can’t explain how relaxing it was as if we found the lost treasure there. Now I was more hopeful thinking that we would definitely be safe and alive now. But there you go, a guy from the group said that he can help us to go back to the same rice paddies and show us the proper track that we have just missed. This was not happening, as it was really dangerous to go back but he tempted us with the time it would have taken to get home through this short cut. And a moment later we were following him through the same path. Annoying – yes it was at that time but survival was more necessary than any other emotion at that point of time. My friend snapped at him once as well when he started doing the small talk by asking where she is from. She replied – ‘How does it matter at this time?’ and it was true we were there stuck in the middle of nowhere and not at all in the mood of this kind of conversation. But after a while we became more relaxed as we realized that he knew where he was taking us. My phone was of some help with the light to show us the way as well.

But the happiness of being found didn’t last too long. There it was – he said it. He started telling us that there is a tiger or may be a few in that forest and he even confirmed the path we had taken after being guided by the farmer few hours ago was where they saw the tiger few days ago. I gulped and didn’t know how to react. I was not sure to look ahead or look back to make sure no tiger is following me. Not that I would say that I am afraid of dying. But at least I wanted to be ready. My friend wanted me to take her picture looking into the eyes of tiger in case she encounters such situation and put it on Facebook (lol). But now that looked like a really bad joke when in the dark I was not sure where to look for this dangerous creature. It was not even like going into a national park to spot one…here we were not willing but still in risk of seeing one in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to shout or cry not sure what but I had to man up and focus on the way.

Soon when we were just able to gather our calm and cool again he threw another piece of information on us about a Japanese girl who got lost there like this almost a year ago. I was expected some kind of horror story now. But thank God it was alright. He told us that she gave him a lot of money to save her life, not that he fought with the tiger and all. But it was when we were ready to follow the track at our own when he asked if he can stay with us. Now that was awkward. We told him that we can give him money but he should find his way back home after that. There was a little discussion now on this as I preached this guy about morality and pointed out that we are happy to pay for what he is doing for us and we really appreciate his help. We realised that he was more risky to be around than the tiger then we decided to pay him money and track our way back home from there. We did that and finally got to the main road and took a deep breath. Our first reaction was a little shock realizing that we are safe and alive but we had a laugh soon when we started walking in the middle of road and my friend said that it would look very bad if after surviving through the forest we got hit by a car there.

We stopped for dinner on the way home in a nice looking restaurant, not that we were looking very good to enter there but we stopped anyways. We really needed some good food after no lunch all day (just late breakfast) and all this adventure. I liked a quote from my friend that we should be really good friends that we didn’t fight during this crises today. I really felt relaxed after all this and the meal tasted as if I never had that good a meal in my life. It was a meal after you just got another chance to live 😉 Now I think I am exaggerating it.

Thanks for reading dear friend. It was one of the experiences I will always remember and I am glad that you lived it with me again.

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Awesome days doing River Kayaking – Thrishuli River, Nepal

Loved the thrill, fun, fear and adventure