I went to Nepal for 5 weeks with my boyfriend, Lalo, from 22nd April to May 29th 2010. We spent most of our time trekking in the Himalayas along the Annapurna circuit (see my post:http://TravelMagma.com/nepal-travel-forum/never-ending-love-and-peace-nepal). We’d planned to visit Chitwan National Park for 5 days before returning to Katmandu for our flights home and we discovered that you could raft there via one of 2 rivers – the Trishuli or the Seti. We spent a lot more time in the mountains than we’d planned so when we got back to Pokhara after our trekking we went straight out to book our 2 days’ rafting for the next day.
We were very fortunate, the company we went with turned out to be a great choice as they were having a staff party which we got to join in on! There were 4 other tourists and about 24 Nepalis from Pokhara – 3 boats altogether. We had a 3 hour bus ride to the place where we began our rafting and the scenery was lovely, we had a view of the Annapurna range in the distance for much of the way. When we got there we helped to carry the equipment down a steep slope to the shore of the river. Whilst the boats were being set up we played football and volley ball on the sand!
We left most of our belongings on the bus for the rafting company to look after and just took what we’d need for the next 2 days in a small bag. One couple had a laptop and they put this in a water-tight briefcase and we all put our cameras in. This proved to be a very wise decision!
We received instructions on the commands we’d receive and how to paddle when we heard each one. Then we boarded the rafts and were pushed into the river. Luckily there were no rapids for at least the first hour or so and we could get used to rowing simultaneously. Lalo and I were at the front of our boat so it was quite nice that we could set the rhythm.
We just floated down the wide Seti river taking in the scenery which was gorgeous, the sky was bright blue and we were winding down a valley with lush trees on either side. After about 3 hours we stopped for lunch, we pulled our rafts up to a wide part of the river bank. We enjoyed sandwiches for lunch and entertaining chat with our fellow rafters. One of our fellow rafters was apparently a highly respected tennis player and on this day had entered the party spirit wholeheartedly and had been drinking since the morning. When we all got back into the rafts he subsequently fell back out and everyone (including him) found this very funny!!
As we continued floating down the Seti, we had live entertainment as the the drunk man sang constantly for about an hour! After a while our boat was attacked as someone from the other boat threw a bucket full of water over us! Our leader handed us a bucket and we retaliated! It was so refreshing as the sun was scorching this day. For the rest of the 2 days rafting we had many, many water fights between the 3 boats, the enthusiasm never waned! A fight would die down and half an hour later another one would start up!
During the first day we encountered only a few rapids of any significance and these were only 3+. However it was an extremely fun day.
Our camp site for the night was beautiful, it was on a large area of white sand next to a river bend, it felt like camping on a real beach. We were lucky as for dinner that night the group had arranged to get a goat from the nearest village. (I say we although I’m not personally a fan of goat but it was nice that it was only cooked on special occasions – everybody else seemed to enjoy it very much!)
There was plenty of Raksi going around (Raksi is a traditional Nepalese and Tibetan distilled alcoholic drink usually made from kodo millet or rice; different grains produce different flavors. It can even be made from mulberries) and we sang Nepalese songs accompanied by someone playing a guitar that they’d brought along!
It was so hot when we got in our tent that we went back out and slept under the stars!
The next morning the singing and dancing continued.. And also a group yoga session but unfortunately neither I nor Lalo have any pictures of this as we were both taking part!
The second day included more powerful rapids but these were separated by long stretches of calm waters when the water fights continued and we also got to get out of the rafts and float for long distances, carried along by the current. It was funny, as we were approaching the end point of our rafting our leader told us we had one more chance to go swimming if we wanted. This time only Lalo and another tourist got out of the raft. After a couple of minutes they started shouting!! Another river had merged with the Seti whose waters were much colder!
After lugging all the rafts and equipment up the steep banks we had more goat curry and bid farewell to the friends we’d made and then caught a local bus to Chitwan. We were really happy we’d booked when we did, we couldn't have asked for a kinder or more fun group of people to go with!