tamur river rafting nepal

April 01, 2017
& November 05, 2017

Rafting the Tamur River, Nepal, April /October 2017

Tamur is one of the most complete adventure trips in Nepal, and my absolute favourite! The trip starts with a beautiful four-day trek in a remote part of Eastern Nepal with views of some of the biggest mountains on the planet and continues with five days of world-class white water, great for ambitious kayakers and rafters who like the feel the adrenaline flowing.

The rafting was amazing!!! It is totally different from the commercial rafting trips you can experience from lots of places/countries. I felt it was more an expedition/adventure than just a trip since the river was extreme and I was in such a remote area.

This trip is a real expedition with the perfect ingredients of a remote trek, Himalayan views, sandy beaches, action-packed rafting and relaxed floating onto the Indian plains. Spend the days enjoying the scenery and the adrenaline, and the nights in good company around the campfire. A thousand Namastes on the way and the teamwork of the always-smiling guides make this a trip to remember.

Detailed Itinerary

The trip is 11 days for those who fly, which is recommended.

Day 1 – Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to hotel. Take a deep breath before embarking on the sights and sounds on bustling Kathmandu. Meet the others in the evening for a meal and a briefing on the adventure that lies ahead.

Day 2 – Choose between taking the overland bus journey to Biratnagar or enjoying another day exploring Kathmandu and fly the next day.

Day 3 – In the morning a short flight takes us to meet the bus travellers in Biratnagar, one of the main towns of the Terai plains, and continue driving to Basantapur though spice gardens and lush foothills. A cozy family-run teahouse is our rest place for the night. The local people are a fascinating collage of tribes and castes that have perfected the brewing of their local drink, Tungba (millet beer), to a fine art…

Days 4-7: After sorting out porters and other logistics, we start our trek by walking though ancient rhododendron forest and welcoming villages that have had only a very limited number of foreign visitors. After every steep climb we are rewarded with spectacular Himalayan views. The famous peaks of Everest, Makalu and Kanchenjunga welcome you each morning when you wake up and open your tent. Children play excitedly along the trail as we pass and snow-capped Himalayan giants surround us. During the trek we reach heights of 3000 meters, before descending though a variety of thick forests and lush valleys till we reach Dobhan, where we meet the thundering Tamur River. Here we have our first camp by the river.

Days 8 – 12 : At Dobhan three tributaries of the Tamur join their forces, combining the racing rivers of the high mountains to the north. Constrained by steep valley walls, it becomes Nepal’s sixth largest river and the start of one of the world’s remotest whitewater river expeditions. We inflate the rafts and load all our gear, and after a thorough safety briefing and paddle talk we jump straight into the action! With our safety kayakers in position, we run straight into the first series of class 4 rapids, only 200mtrs from the start! The team is pushed to get their team work together quickly and just as well because the first 20 kilometers of the Tamur is basically one long rapid!
Whitewater rafts these days are amazingly versatile and stable crafts, and in the care of one our expert raft guides it is possible to run challenging lines safely and confidently. We pride ourselves on this fact as we can get a team of people working together to negotiate the amazing amount of white water that the Tamur offers!

From Dobhan we have 120 kilometers of white knuckle white water with over 100 class 3 and 4+ rapids. The Tamur offers some of the most challenging white water Nepal has to offer, combined with some white-capped mountain views and great campsites.

Evenings are spent around the campfire, drinking hot-spiced rum and getting to know the people on the trip. Food is communally prepared so client participation is always welcomed as it is the social part of the camp prepping the veggies so us guides can cook and turn out any number of sumptuous meals. Guides are generally chefs that happen to raft too!

In the middle section the river opens up and there are beautiful white sandy beaches to camp on and enjoy the sunsets. On the second to last day the river turns back to the west. This is a phenomenal day of white water, with over 50 rapids throughout the day. With a couple of scouts (we will have a look before procceding) we encounter monster rapids like Ashram and Double f#%k and just before our camp on the tributary of the Sun Kosi we deal with the rapid Bad Below! When the village kids see rafts approaching they are all keen to get a great view of the spectacle coming and the chance of seeing any carnage with flipped rafts or swimmers! Then we float through a very narrow gorge to our campspot on the confluence of the Sun Kosi! This is were we can recount what has happened over the last week and talk about future trips.

On the last river day we strap on the gear loosely and float towards Chatra, our take out point. On the way we stop at one of Nepal’s oldest Hindu temples, Baraha Chhetra. 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. Just a little further downstream lays India and all its semi functional chaos. Where we explore the surrounding temple grounds and maybe be get to meet a holy man or chat with some beautiful coloured Sari clothed women, while they are doing their daily homages.

Then we jump back in the rafts and float through one more wave train and then the mountains and the hills just disappear as we enter the flats of Nepal Terai. After stripping down the rafts and loading the bus, we venture into the town of Chatra to our favourite Dahl Bhat shop and tuck into a great meal and a few cold beers and drinks before we either head to the airport for our 40 min flight back to Kathmandu or take the bus overland, arriving mid morning the next day.

Day 13 – 
The bus arrives in Kathmandu in the morning. After long hot showers and shaves and a bit of sightseeing and shopping we reunited with the crew and all join for a celebration last night dinner; telling tales and planning new trips.

Dates and Prices

Departure: 4th April 2017

Departure: 5th Nov  2017

Price: Overland by bus US$ 1,250

By flight US$1,650

Price includes: Two nights accommodation in Kathmandu, airport transfers, all meals on the trip, use of dry bags and tent and rafting gear,

Price excludes: flights to and from Kathmandu, visas, all meals and drinks in Kathmandu, all drinks on the river except water, tea and coffee, all personal gear including sleeping bags, mats and kayaks (can be rented), insurance, sightseeing and other activities.

What to bring?

  • A pair of river shorts or swimming costume.
  • A pair of Chacos or similar sandals. Trainers are also okay.
  • Long sleeved shirt to wear under your life jacket.
  • A baseball cap for under the helmet to keep sun off.
  • Wide brimmed sunhat.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Chums for fastening your sunglasses to your head.
  • Nalgene or similar water bottle.
  • Carabiner for fastening water bottle to your boat.
  • Thermal Top Medium weight – Heavyweight Capilene or polypropylene is the best.
  • Waterproof sunscreen and lip balm SPF15 minimum
  • Lightweight long trousers.
  • Lightweight long Sleeved shirt.
  • Fleece jacket.
  • Down jacket
  • Ladies should bring a long skirt or sarong to cover your legs whilst in the company of locals.
  • Underwear.
  • Glasses or Contact lenses. Disposable lenses are ideal.
  • Toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap and shampoo.
  • Forget the cosmetics and hair dryer! But we do suggest moisturizer.
  • Hand wipes
  • A 3-season sleeping bag and thermarest sleeping mat
  • Travel Pillow.
  • Small pack towel.
  • Headlamp or head torch and spare batteries.
  • Shoes or boots for the trek.
  • Insect Repellent.
  • Any medication you may be taking.

Optional Items

  • Your favourite book or a journal for recording your river memories.
  • Sketchpad.
  • Photographic or video equipment. We recommend bringing your own waterproof casing and a cleaning kit as sand gets everywhere. Bring a spare memory card or plenty of film. Also bring spare batteries for your camera.
  • Waterproof disposable for the “action” on the raft shots.
  • Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman.
  • An iPod or other music preferences. We have speakers.

Personal Spending

  • The only money that you need to bring is for meals in town, souvenirs, DVD, personal items and the beer kitty for the raft trip if you drink. Please remember that many of the countries we visit do offer Credit Card and ATM facilities and for a small charge you can withdraw cash either from your account or Credit Card for convenience.
  • If you wish to pass on a gratuity to your guide we leave this entirely up to you.
  • Basically, we advise you to keep things as light as possible, without skimping on the essentials.

Trip Reviews

10 Responses to Rafting the Tamur River, Nepal, April /October 2017

  1. Greg Bell says:

    Best multi-day raft/kayak trip in Nepal !!!

    I have traveled to Nepal many times to raft/kayak the wild rivers that flow from the highest mountains in the world.

    For me the Tamur is the ‘gem’ amongst the many superb rivers of the Himalaya’s.
    The trek to the river through the remote eastern village trails down to the headwaters of the Tamur is a great insight into the life of rural Nepalese
    Then you are on the river, superb whitewater, achallenge to all participants, with great camping on sandy beaches with great food & conversation.
    For me, this is the best multi-day whitewater trip in Nepal. See you on the water !!!
    Cheers, Greg Bell
    New Zealand.

  2. Jon Doty says:

    One of the best and most exciting trips we have been on, from the treeking to the great white water rafting. Everything was first class, guides ,food and rafting some of the best rapids we have been on. A trip not to miss.

  3. Holli says:

    I have been on a few river expeditions in recent years and I have to admit, the Tamur river with Pat and his crew rated as an absolute favourite! The trek to the river was just stunning, the mountains were a majestic partner to our trekking for the first few days and then the reward of hitting some fabulous white water to take us back to the noisy day to day Nepalese world, it was just superb.

    The guides had everything under control, the meals delicious, the laughter each day was good too! It’s a must for your bucket list, the Nepalese scenery and then the people to go with it was just the icing on the cake to a great white water expedition.

    Thanks Pat and everyone involved, I’ll be back!

  4. I had an amazing experience in this trip. It wasn’t just a rafting trip, it was more like a life change experience.
    It was my first time to go to Nepal and I have to say it was the best way to explore Nepal.
    The trek was awesome and I think even that trek itself could have been a great tour. The view of Himalayas, amazing food at middle of nowhere supplied by great staff, meeting new people, learning new language, seeing the local people how they live, interacting with them, amazing show organized by the locals at the campsite and lots more.

    The rafting was amazing!!! It is totally different from the commercial rafting trips you can experience from lots of places/countries. I felt it was more an expedition/adventure than just a trip since the river was extreme and I was in such a remote area. However I felt so safe with all the skilled guides and the crew.
    Camping by the river was another amazing experience.

    The feeling I had after the trip was satisfaction. The bus ride, trekking, camping, rafting, people, new friends, food, Nepal.

    I strongly recommend this trip for people who are seeking something new and excitement and I give five star for this trip!

    Thanks for the great time!

  5. Sabrina says:

    I will be going on the Tamur for my THIRD time this fall! I’ve kayaked around the world, and this is one of my all time favorite trips. I wouldn’t consider going with any other person other than Patrick O’Keefe who is a good friend and does a phenomenal job at organizing this major expedition. : )

  6. Iain McKendry says:

    Fabulous trip, the best multi day kayak trip I’ve done over many years of kayaking over the world, and definitely the best in Nepal. The trek-in was blessed with fantastic views of the snow capped peaks of the Himalaya and wonderful people. Pat’s team are extrenmely hard working, the food and camp setups were wonderful. On the river, the Tamur is a fantastic total blast of big water, wonderful scenery and beautiful beach campsites, aided by Pat’s kayak team who looked after the large group of kayakers in a relaxed and professional manner. I can’t rate the trip and Pat’s team highly enough. Very many happy memories of a grgeat trip,and wonderful people in the group, Pat’s team and local Nepalis. It’s all good!Cheers, Iain

  7. Bill Green says:

    I can’t begin to explain how amazing the whole Tamur experience was. From the first meeting in Kathmandu I knew I was on the right trip. Pat brought a happy confident air from the outset so I knew I was in good hands. The trek was breathtaking, himalayan sunsets, friendly villages with their welcoming teahouses ( that also sell beer ), time to chat and get to know fellow travellers and also the luxury of being fed and watered by Pat’s amazing Nepali crew.

    The river is in a league of it’s own for me having never kayaked in such big water. The safety kayakers were brilliant; there was never any pressure to do anything and they were some of the best kayakers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you lads. The campsites with the driftwood fires and good company and good food made every day special – not that it wasn’t special already.

    I could go on forever. If you want to go on a multi-day trek and paddle, give Pat a call, I wouldn’t go to anyone else now – you won’t regret it !


    Cheers Pat and all the Crew
    Bill Green

  8. Anthony Nagle says:

    I’ve traveled to Nepal several times before and paddled most of the more usual, famous named rivers but I have never got off a river feeling as exhilarated and exhausted as when we got off The Tamur.
    From start to finish this trip is an absolute joy. The trek with stunning views of The Himalaya. The walk down through sub tropical rain forest and lush terracing to The River and of course the river itself.
    Patrick O’Keefe did anb amazing job sorting out the logistics and putting together an incredibly hard working and professional team. I cannot recommend him enough and would not consider doing this trip with anyone else if I was to do it again in the future.
    Thankis Pat and all your team it was incredible.


  9. James Marshall says:

    The Tamur trip is a truly excellent adventure. Pat and his team are really fun, hardworking, skilled, and delightful company, they make the whole thing a treat. The walk in is sublime, beautiful scenery and campsites with views of Everest, Makalu and Kanchenjunga and the river is totally thrilling each day rounded off by camping on a silvery sand beach in the middle of nowhere eating great food around a driftwood campfire. It’s perfect. It feels like you’re on an amazing expedition. I cant recommend it enough.

  10. Pat O'Keeffe says:

    Just back from the Tamur trip October 2016. Another great adventure with Pat and the whole crew. I guess it speaks for itself that I have been with Pat on rivers in Nepal and Tibet multiple times. Always a professionally run trip and a wonderful, fun time! I joined the Tamur trip in October 2015 and returned again this year with my son. As always, Pat has a wonderful, professional team and organizes a great trip. As often happens on adventures, we needed to make adjustments along the way, but Pat and his team we able to adapt and keep a smile on everyone’s faces (even his own!). I highly recommend Pat for organizing adventures in Asia. Even if he isn’t running a specific trip, he will put you in touch with one of his many friends and contacts in the region. I am sure to be back on a river sometime with Pat and a few beers!

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