‘The River of Gold’ so named for the golden colour of its water. This is one of the most well-known rivers in Nepal and one of the longest. This river takes a 10 day Expedition (8 days rafting) to complete starting in the steep foothills of the Himalayas and ending in the open low-lands of the Teri close to the border with India.
I had heard that this river was one of the best rated rafting trips on the world, with some sights claiming that it was even THE BEST rafting trip in the world. I was unfortunately disappointed, especially hyping myself up for this epic adventure. Out of the 10 days there were only two days with continuous quality white water. Most days were just flat with some minor rapids along the way. Being in a kayak this meant a lot of boring paddling just to travel and no rapids to play on. This could be due to us running the river later in the season once water levels had dropped off a bit. I am also told that a lot of bedrock has naturally moved and so rapids have been lost or changed.
This river was vastly more populated than the Karnali Trip (another 10 day expedition) I’d been on. There was at least one major village seen each day, and a constant Highway that had been built along the length of the river. This partially spoilt the thought of remoteness and isolation of the area. Even so, the valley we were in was spectacular.
There were wide open beaches just for us to chill out on, clear warm water to play and wash in, and lush green forest full of life. We saw huge families of monkeys running through the forests and round cliff faces. Given the amount of calm-ish water I also got a lot of practice guiding the raft. I even got my first ever flip of a raft when I was guiding. Now I know it sounds like flipping the raft is a bad thing, but done in the right conditions it is one of the most fun things of all time. The other guides had been trying to flip it all week and on the second to last day I finally managed it! Normally turning the raft sideways in a wave will flip it easily. But because the boat was full of gear it just ploughed through the wave and had no lift. I was fortunate enough to have a particularly large wave to hand and went straight for it head on. The wave was so big it flipped us end over end! Hahaha.
I paddled the biggest rapid I had ever paddled up until that point. Harkapur. This is a solid big water grade 5 rapid with boils constantly changing the current’s direction, 3 massive holes to avoid or plough through, and a nasty undercut on the right. IT WAS EPIC!!!!!
I managed to convince a University mate of mine to travel over from Indonesia, come raft the Sun Koshi, then chill out in Nepal with me. It was great seeing a familiar face again and being able to spend some nights sleeping in the spare bed in his hotel room – AN ACTUAL BED!!! Hahah it turned out that he was actually running away from a girl he met in Indonesia! Apparently she had got way too attached and serious in the 2 weeks they’d been together, so bad that he had to run away to a different continent :’)
The drive back was defiantly the worst part of the trip. The bus was cramped, hot, and uncomfortable. It was an over-night travel back to Kathmandu, but people could barely sleep. Then when we get the junction for the rafting team o head to Pokhara and the clients to Kathmandu – Nepali Time strikes again. The transfer bus for the clients is late. Not only is it late, but it hasn’t even set off. The night before had been a festival and so our driver was in bed nursing his hangover. This meant we had to wait another 2 hours before we had another bus come and pick us up. All in all travelling back took over 24 hrs.
In all I had a great time.