White Water Kayaking In Nepal

White Water Kayaking In Nepal

Looking for something to do in Nepal other than a trek? Well, how does white water kayaking in Nepal sound?! While in Pokhara or Kathmandu, be sure to stop into Ultimate Descents offices and check out the many rafting trips they offer.

For us and our rowdy group, we started from Pokhara and booked the Lower Seti White Water Kayaking Trip. Our group comprised of Jesse and I along with 6 other travelers we met during our Annapurna Hike (Want to read about that hike? Get it here.) In total, we booked a 2 night/3 day river trip that included an extra day of training – so a total of 4 days. TIP: Try and get a group of 6-8 so you are get a cheaper price, per person, on the trip. The bigger, the better!

The guides are all trained and certified and know the rivers of Nepal like the back of their hands. Super friendly locals guide you through rapids during the day and cook you dinner by a camp fire at night. A trip well worth it if you have the time to spare. The trips range from a few days to a week or more. You can raft or kayak along many different rapid types and rivers. Basically, they have something for everyone.

For us, and our group, the white water kayaking offered us the perfect amount of adrenaline and activity we were wanting. The river was a beautiful mint color and the water was cold and refreshing. Not to mention, you pass through beautiful scenery and villages. A truly great experience for those looking to get away from the city and out into the wilderness of Nepal.

Trip Details:

  • Day 1: The first day is a practice day on the lake in Pokhara. On this day, we learned all about kayaks and practiced our hand at paddling, rolling and hip work.
  • Day 2: Full Day kayaking on the Lower Seti / Overnight camping on river bank
  • Day 3: Full day kayaking on the Lower Seti / Overnight camping on river bank
  • Day 4: Half day kayaking on the Lower Seti / Option to go back Kathmandu, Chitwan or Pokhara.

* All your meals, camping supplies, kayaks, safety equipment, wetsuits and guides are included in the trip cost. All you need to do is pack a small bag of clothes and drop it in a dry bag that they provide.

Below is our story of our 4-day kayaking trip with pictures to prove what a great time we had!

The Trip – Day 1:

First day on Phewa Lake and training has officially commenced. BTW – carrying Kayaks from the shop to the lake was weirdly hard. NO idea those things were so heavy! Moving on. We get to the lake and hop in our respective kayaks. We geared up in a wet suit, helmet and jacket and paddled off to a cove in the lake to begin training. The lake is big and beautiful with calm water, perfect for practice.

Now, if you’ve ever white water kayaked before you are aware that these kayaks are different than recreational kayaks. Unlike recreational kayaks, white water rafting kayaks have your lower body strapped in. A concept that I (Lauren) wasn’t too fond of and a concept Jesse was completely jazzed about.

We begin our training. Paddling, check. Hip movements, check. Now the rolling. Everyone in our group of 8 rolled, except me. As I paddled out in the water, willing needing to flip my kayak over, a panic attack started to set in. I calmed and convinced myself “all will be ok” and that “I won’t drown.” I roll.

What felt like ages, was only a few seconds underwater. I panicked under the water when I couldn’t find the “pully” that releases you from the strap that holds your lower body into the kayak. Trapped underwater, what a dream. I kick my knees and managed to get the strap off with ease. I come up from the water, freaking the f**k out, and never get back in the kayak. I let my fear get the best of me.

As the rest of the group continued to practice rolls and rescues, I sat on the side (like a loser, I know) until I heard a sweet voice asking me to “go with him on the duckie.” Clearly seeing I was upset, he helped me get in the duckie (an inflatable recreational kayak) and off we paddled. He told me he was a “river master” in training and that if I wanted, I could ride with him tomorrow and for the rest of the trip. Loving this idea for the sole purpose I wasn’t trapped to the kayak, I said yes! I’ve white water rafted before and loved it. So, this had to be basically the same concept, right? Only with a significantly tinier raft, but hey It wasn’t a kayak, so I was in! It was me and Ubrah, for the rest of the trip.

Day 2:

The 8 of us wake up early and get ready to go. The guys at Ultimate Descents pick us up in a bus loaded to the brim with all the gear we need over the next few days. We cruise for an hour or so until we reach the drop off point. We suit up and off we head to the shore to get our kayaks in the water. After some lunch, the group practiced their rolls and rescues a few more times and if I must say so, they were getting pretty good!

We set off after lunch to begin our 3-day journey on the Lower Seti! Cue the pump up tunes!

We cruise down the river, past villages where locals are going about their day. Kids are swimming in the water, women are doing laundry and men are fishing. Waving as we go, we approach our first rapid. Ubrah and I go first. My heart is pumping as we crash over the waves and slide left to right in the rapids. I turn around to see the 7 others, plus the guides, who are about to descend the first set of rapids.

Everyone gets through…except for one of our buddies. He flips his kayak but ejects himself no problem. We all realize he’s not okay once he swims to shore holding his eye. When he flipped, he hit his eye on a rock underneath the water and busted open is head. Thankfully, we have two nurses in our group but seeing the severity of his injuries, our buddy still had to be brought to the road and put on a local’s motorbike to be taken to the nearest hospital. Promising he’ll be back after his set of stiches, we continue on without him. Day 1 on the river and we’re down one load mouth, witty Brit.

The rest of the day was injury free (thankfully) and a blast! We make our way down the river over rapids and everyone is gaining more confidence in themselves and their abilities on the water. After a few hours of paddling we are nearing our stopping point for the night. We hear a motorbike in the distance with some British bloke shouting profanities at us. Our buddy, the one with a busted eye, he’s back!

Having our group back together lifts everyone’s already high spirts. We pitch the tents and begin to make a fire while the guides cook us dinner. We all eat dinner together, around the fire and one of the guides, who packed a guitar, gets it out and begins playing. All the Nepalese guides, plus us friends from 5 different countries, hanging out in the middle of Nepal, under the stars…Yeah, life’s pretty good.

Day 3:

Our second day on the water and we’re up early with breakfast being served. We eat, suit up and off we go. Today is supposed to be the most difficult day, so the group gets an hour of practice rolls and rescue in before we depart. While they’re “practicing”, Ubrah and I take in the morning sun and poke jokes at our group. To say we’ve bonded is a understatement. He’s actually give me a nickname – “dede”, which means sister in Nepalese. These guides really treated you like family.

After some practice time, we set off and man what a day this was. We zoomed over rapids and were completely soaked by days end – thank god for those wet suits. The water is cold! It was such an amazing, fun day full of heart pounding drops and loads of laughs.

We take up a camp for the night and do the same preps as the night before. However, the guides have a beer run in mind for us. They walk to the local village and get some beers for us. After dinner, we all sit around the fire drinking beers and learning a little more about each other. A German couple in our group packed all the ingredients for s’mores. The Nepalese, including a few of our other international friends, had no idea about this American campfire tradition. To say it was a hit, is an understatement! Between a few beers and stuffing our faces with s’mores, we ended our night singing around the campfire with gut busting laughs and enjoyable conversation. A truly wonderful experience – man, we love Nepal!

Day 4:

Our last and final day. Today is a half day on the water so we get to sleep in a little later this morning. We eat another delicious meal, cooked by our wonderful guides and gear up. The group did a few last practice rolls (featured below) before we head out one last time!

We head out on a day just like the day before – amazing rapids and beautiful scenery. However, today, we have the biggest drop of any of the rapids we’ve done up to this point and the best part, it’s at the very end. What a way to end the trip!

After a few hours of paddling through rapids, we arrive. Ubrah and I go first and I must say it was one of the most epic experiences of my life. I for sure thought we were going to flip, but my trusty “river guide in training” kept me safe. Whatta guy 🙂

Next up is the rest of the group, and they kill it! They crash and rush over and through the rapids, down and around drops. Seeing them all complete the biggest drop on the route was so awesome and their hoots-n’-hollers with their big smiles said it all. This trip not only taught the group new skills but it brought us closer with each other and our guides.

We finish our trip by a river bank in a town thats name was forgone to us. We helped the guides load the gear by the road. We thanked them all for a wonderful experience and their kindness and with some sadness, we gave out hugs one last time. The guides flagged us down a local bus and we hopped on. Our river trip is officially over.

Before we left, we took on epic selfie to never forget the wonderful times shared on the Lower Seti.

Questions or comments? As always, let us know in the comment section. Or just leave us a positive note!

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

One Reply to “White Water Kayaking In Nepal”

  1. Hey. You look super fun to hang out with. Super inspo for sure. BIG FAN BIG FAN. DUCKY FOR LIFE. SHELF SOME VALS BENNY. WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE, THEY DID. HOLD ME CLOSER TINY DANCER.

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