Sunkoshi River Rafting

River Facts

Difficulty in Nov: Class 4-( 5-)
From: Dolalghat (Alt.625m)
To: Chatara (Alt.105m)
Distance: 260Km (170 miles)
River days: 8-10
From Kathmand: 3 hours
Avg. gradient: 2m/km(10 ft a mile)
Volume in Nov: 400cms (1,4000 cfs)
Best season: Sept-Oct and May


One of the ten best white water rafting trips in the world. Big rapids, warm water beautiful scenery and most camping make this a classic multi-day river trip. A great trip for intermediate and advanced kayakers. At it’s best in medium to high flows.

The River

Sun koshi means “River of Gold”-perhaps named after the gold that is sometimes panned from the river gravels, or alternatively it refers to the orange colour of the water in the Monsoon when it is thick with alluvial silt. The river rises near the Tibet and is joined by the Bhote Koshi just downstream from Barabise. Most raft trips start below here at Dolalghat- the section above here is normally ran as a one day trip and we describe it briefly in our section on the rivers.

The sun koshi flows eastwards in Nepal through the great valley between the Mahabharat Lekh Mountains and the Himalaya. It form the watershed for most of eastern Nepal and gathering strength from tributaries draining the highest mountains in the world it emerges onto the northern plains of India where it joins the Ganges.

The volume increases considerably with the flow from these tributaries. In November, the flow at Dolalghat is about 100 cfs., which is approx. 11,00 cfs.; lower down the river, through the big rapids of the ‘Jungle corridor’ it would be about 400 cubes which is approx. 11,000 cfs- a typical low flow on the Grand canyon of the Colorado. At the lake –out at Chatara , the flow is a mighty 800 cfs.-still only a fraction of monsoon levels.


Most raft groups at present start at Dolalhat, and from here the first few days are relatively easy and are a relaxed warm –up for the rapids below. In future when the new road is completed then it seems probable that many trips will start two days has at least one or two major rapids and lot’s smaller fun ones. Most major rapids are pool/drop with huge bouncy pressure waves near the bottom-similar to the rapids of the Grand canyon of the Colorado. Days of running big rapids and floating through lush green countryside make this a truly memorable river experience.

River flows vary immensely – from the huge post-monsoon run-off in late September down to low winter flows in January and February, rising again in May with snowmelt and pre-monsoon rains. With the right group and experience it is possible to raft in high water conditions post –monsoon in September or in May. At this time the river the river is high and wild and certainly not for the faint-hearted.

River Map

Please click on map to have larger view.

Sunkoshi River Rafting Map