As Recommended by Lonely Planet

Sun Khosi White Water Rating Trip

Trip Title: Sun Khosi White Water Rating Trip

Trip Length: 9 Days

Trip Grade: B       [Grading Overview]

Country: Nepal

Area: Nepal Rivers

National Park: Chitwan       [Parks Overview]

Activity: Rafting

Activity Grade: 3 - 5       [Grading Overview]

Special Focus: Rafting

Months: May, June, August, September, October, November,

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The classic high water trip – The Sun Khosi Expedition – Monsoon Madness (June). This is the longest river trip offered in Nepal, traversing 270 kms through the beautiful Mahabharat Range on its meandering way from the put in at Dolalghat to the take out at Chatara, far down on the Gangetic Plain. Whipped foamy white, where narrow canyons constrict the rivers flow, the cataracts are long and powerful. There are dozens of adrenaline pumping rapids, and miles of calmer water to reflect on this beautiful area. At high flows this is one of the 10 classic rivers in the world.


Remember if you have a group of 6 or more we can arrange this trip for you on your prefered date during any of the available months listed.

To run the Sun Kosi just after the Monsoon must rate as on of life’s most exhilarating experiences. At this time of the year the river is high and wild, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. This is big volume whitewater at its best. Swept along by the pulsing waters we’re soon maneuvering through boiling narrow channels and dodging obstacles. The river dances through corridors of lush forest then accelerates through leaping waves and roaring drops. There are dozens of adrenaline pumping rapids, and miles of calmer water to reflect on the beauty of this remote area and totally unwind.

This is the longest river trip offered in Nepal, carving through the beautiful Mahabharat Range on its meandering way from the put in to the take out at Chatara, far down on the Gangetic Plain. It’s quite an experience to begin a river trip, barely 60 kms from the Tibetan border, and end the trip looking down the hot, dusty gun barrel of the North India Plain just eight days later. The Sun Kosi starts off fairly relaxed, with class 2 and small class 3 rapids to warm up on during the first couple of days. Savvy guides will take this opportunity to get the teams working together with Swiss precision, as on the third day the rapids become more powerful and frequent, with high water trips finding themselves astonished at just how big a wave in a river can get. While the lower sections of large volume rivers are usually rather flat, the Sun Kosi reserves some of its biggest and best rapids for the last days.
Meatgrinder, High Anxiety, Jaws, Harkapur II, Roller Coaster, and The Big Dipper are only some of the rapids that have earned their names and reputations from previous expeditions. Days of constant white water, time spent exploring villages, jungle, and some of the small Hindu temples along the way make this an unbeatable river expedition.

Sun Kosi Rafting Itinerary:

Day 1 – 7:
After a hearty breakfast it’s time to push the herd north towards the big river. The put in for the Sun Kosi is only two hours away by bus through the ancient city of Baktapur and out of the Kathmandu valley to the village of Dolalghat. On a clear day the views of the Himalayas and Mt. Everest are incredible. At our put in point we sort equipment and inflate the rafts. The guides tie all the equipment into the rafts, which is quite a thing to witness. Twenty years of running rivers has taught us a lot, not the least of which is how to tie a load so it stays put no matter what.

A raft trip down the Sun Kosi isn’t just a vacation… it’s an education. Our river guides spend the first part of the morning explaining the finer points on how to paddle through whitewater and stay in the raft as it bucks and contorts through rapids. For those who missed a point in the previous lesson there is a lesson on how to swim through whitewater, using your flotation device to keep your head up and your feet to push off rocks or pesky kayakers who happen to be surfing in the middle of a rapid. The guides will also teach you what they look out for when they run a river, the innocuous looking rise in the water that hides a hole, or the way you can use a pillow of water rebounding off a rock to push the raft where you want it. Whitewater rafts are amazingly versatile and stable crafts, and in the care of an expert raft guide it is possible to run challenging lines safely and confidently. Your guide is a professional, someone who has devoted their life to learning and running rivers. Under his or her careful indoctrination the raft crew learns how to work as a team, practicing on the numerous smaller rapids we encounter on the first two days of the river. By the time we get to the really big rapids the crews will be working together with the timing and precision of a Bangkok nightclub act. It’s a good thing too, because the first time you line up above a big water class IV rapid you’re not going to believe what you see, hear, and feel. The water above a big rapid is as soothing and quiet as a children’s story, and it’s not until you look down into the churning, digesting, gut-twisting white abyss that you realize the story is written by the Brothers Grimm. Gravity seems like a seductive and cruel mistress, pulling us into something we want. We drift smoothly along and watch as our fate is sealed…the watery conveyor belt undulating and throbbing; finally giving way to the liquid cheese grater attachment of life’s Quisinart. Most people find that time slows down and fear vanishes, replaced by a primal resignation and a sharpening of all senses to a point usually only attained during an automobile crash. The heart-shaking roar of whitewater becomes dim, like a background symphony heard through the cheap paper walls of some sleazy budget hotel. Now this is living!

From Dolalghat we have 270 blissfully motor-free kilometers before we hit the next road. 270 kilometers of living for no other purpose other than to see how much fun we can have. Life is reduced to eat, sleep and play. In accomplishing these things, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn, and more importantly, how much you’ll forget. In no time at all the amalgamation of all your concerns will seem distant, unimportant and eventually, unworthy of your attention.

Most of the rapids on the Sun Kosi are formed by monsoon debris brought in by side streams and loose rockfall. These rapids change from year to year depending on the severity of the monsoon rains. After stopping at Tokshel Harkapur and spending time checking out this porter town we drift down to a rapid called Harkapur 2. Pulling over to the left to camp for the evening it is interesting to go down and look at the rapid and contemplate the start of the next day. Harkapur 2 becomes the main topic of conversation that night. There is a large rockfall on the right and the river is further constricted on the left by a huge debris slide! Boulders from the slide have washed into the middle of the rapid forming large ledge drops and holes. Harkapur 2 is always an interesting rapid and there is plenty more to come. A few kilometers downstream watch out for the famous Dudh Kosi, the river of milk, which tumbles down from Mount Everest. We recommend a sacrificial swimmer out of the raft here to appease the Gods. The Dudh Kosi is a lot cooler than the Sun Kosi. Below the suspension bridge is a small rapid that is followed by Jaws, then Dead Mans Eddy. Sculptured into the rock on the left side of the river is a huge eddy that has a dubious reputation of collecting most things that float downstream!

Camping on the Sun Kosi is awesome. The massive floods of the monsoon deposit huge tracks of pure white sand along the river creating ideal campsites. We will have at least one layover day where we stay at the same river camp for two nights. HELLO BEACH PARTY!!! Volleyball, sand sculpture, foot bag, Frisbee, sun bathing or just relaxing on a warm beach with a good book are favorite activities for the layover day. You can also take advantage of the layover day to trek to a peak or nearby village, or take part in the kayak workshop the safety boaters offer. Evenings are spent around the campfire, drinking hot-spiced rum and getting to know the people on the trip. Food is communally prepared, every day a different raft crew helping with the creation of sumptuous meals. The kitchen becomes one of the main social points on the trip, and without a doubt the best place to catch up on the latest gossip or get to know someone better…” Cut that chicken for you, mam?”

The Jungle Corridor is an outrageous section of rapids in a hard rock canyon with tropical forest right down to the river. At the end of the Jungle Corridor a series of waterfalls cascade in from both banks so keep your soap and shampoo (biodegradable of course!) handy for a really refreshing shower.

Day 8:
The last big rapid of the trip is called The Big Dipper. Tie your shorts on tight, ‘cause the other name for this rapid is The Quick Stripper… we needn’t elaborate. If we all make it through this one with our dignity intact, it’s a quiet cruise down the confluence with the Tamur and Arun and the beginning of the Sapta Kosi, or the Seven Rivers. The confluence is called Tribeni Ghat and has an interesting temple to visit. Before emerging onto the flatland Terai, there is another larger Hindi Temple called Baraha Chhetra. Every year on the day of the full moon in January, thousands of Hindu pilgrims mass here to pay homage to Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that once a demon god inhabited this area and troubled the villagers, holy men and pilgrims. Hearing of this, Lord Vishnu, preserver of the universe, took the form of a pig and slayed the demon in battle. Inside the temple is a pig headed figure of Lord Vishnu, and the annual Braha festival commemorates the victory. Just a little further downstream lays India and all its semi functional chaos.

By noon we have reached the takeout and all the expedition equipment is cleaned, sun-dried, and broken down then loaded on top of our private bus. From the takeout it is a long drive back to KTM and a welcome hot shower.

Safari Option:
Staying at the luxurious Temple Tiger Camp is a great way to finish off your trip. Set in the heart of the Royal Chitwan National Park you have some fantastic opportunities to see the prolific bird life, not to mention occasional sightings of the Royal Bengal Tiger, rhinos and an amazing array of other wildlife. Naturalists are on hand with their seemingly endless supply of knowledge to answer your queries regarding all the species of animal in the park. The lodge is made entirely of local materials and blends in beautifully with the environment. There is a range of activities to enjoy from elephant safaris to jungle walks, to just relaxing in the serene surroundings of the Lodge. Meals are all-inclusive and are a wonderful combination of Western and Nepali dishes. Accommodation is in spacious safari tents with twin beds and separate hot and cold showers. Since you do have to book in advance we strongly recommend that you try and think how you will feel at the end of the river journey and decide if returning to Kathmandu will really be the option that you will want! On day thirteen we transfer you to Meghauly Airport (about 2 ½ hours away) where you will meet with your return flight to Kathmandu. That afternoon we suggest that you spend some time doing some well deserved retail therapy. A group farewell dinner is always welcomed and it is a final chance to relive the previous two weeks with people that do believe you when you explain just how big that rapid was!!!

Another option well worth considering if you are looking for a long trek is to start from the rivers end up the Arun Valley into Everest. We can arrange to have all your gear at the takeout and this is one of the most pristine treks in Nepal to the highest mountain area on earth. Combined with a Sun Kosi expedition you will be away from civilization for 35 days or more…


500 per person (KTM-Raft-KTM only with bus transport – Hotels and internal flights arranged on request).

Cost includes: All meals, bus transportation to the put in point and back from the take out point, all rafting equipment and accommodation on twin sharing basis.

Cost does not include: Sleeping bag/ mattress, alcoholic beverages, personal expenses and insurance.

Temple Tiger Wildlife Resort in Royal Chitwan National Park:

3 Days Cost 215 – Single supplement 130 (Transport extra – please enquire )

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