I staggered out of the tent still in a daze from the beers I had the night before. It was still cold and there was a mist hanging over the river. I could see that our guides had already lit a fire and that the coffee pot was over it. Perfect. That’s when I noticed the man sitting there. He wasn’t part of our group and he wasn’t with us last night when we went to bed. Where did he come from I wondered?
Seti River Rafting
Good morning he bellowed, would you like some coffee? I nodded my assent and joined him. It turned out he arrived late last night with his friends who were still asleep. They were heading to a wedding in Chitwan National Park (where we were heading) on their motorbikes and it got too dark to carry on so they decided to stop. Our guides told them to sleep in our camp, a typical Nepalese sign of hospitality.
We were in the middle of the Seti River halfway between Pokhara where we left and Chitwan National Park. It was day 2 of our white water rafting experience and we were on a high. The previous day we set off from Pokhara wondering if we had what it takes to raft all day. It turned out that we did. We shared our raft with a lovely couple from Liverpool and our guide. The other raft had our backpacks.
Travelling Around Nepal
Nepal is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Seeing the country at a slow pace on the river was such a wonderful experience. It wasn’t all vigorous paddling, we had many times just to sit back and enjoy the view. Often we would have small children running down to the river’s edge to wave hello. They lived in remote villages with very basic amenities but what they lacked in infrastructure they made up for in humanity.
My new-found friend poured another coffee. He was explaining to me that Nepalese weddings can go on for three days! A bit similar to the Irish wedding I told him. The mist had cleared and the sun was slowly creeping over the hills. I say hill because in Nepalese terms that’s what they are. For the rest of us, they were mountains. Bloody big ones too.
The night before we arrived at a sandbank in the river and our guides set up camp. A local guy came to help them, from where I have no idea because we couldn’t see any settlements. He asked us if we wanted beers. After rafting for 8 hours he already knew our answer. He trotted off and came back with a big bucket of beer and placed them in the cold river to cool them down. I felt like I was Huckleberry Finn.
Nepal and Nature
I noticed the wedding group had no tents, I suppose they would have been too big and cumbersome to carry on the bikes. So the guys decided to sleep under the stars. I believe everybody should have at least a few days a year back out in nature. It reconnects us to Mother Earth and makes up appreciate what we have around us.
Slowly, the others started to wake up. I introduced Karen to my friend and we all had breakfast together besides the river. What a way to start the day I thought. We were all soon off on our separate ways. Day 2 of the rafting was as spectacular as the first. It had more rapids too which was fun. This was Karen’s first time rafting and her screams of delight at every rapid was infectious.
Adventure Travel In Nepal
Nepal is perfect for adventure travel. Many of the organisations practice sustainable tourism practices. Just make sure you do your research before booking with one. In our 6 weeks in Nepal, we went trekking, rafting, hiking, and cycling. We could have gone Paragliding back in Pokhara too but we were too lazy after trekking for 6 days in the Himalayas.
Day 2 of Rafting on the Seti River
Day 2 of rafting on the Seti River was slightly shorter than day 1 because of the onward journeys. We were heading to Chitwan National Park to see the wildlife and the rest were heading back to Pokhara. They had a bus waiting for them whilst we had to flag one down on the side of the main road. It was hot and dusty and we were in the middle of nowhere but after years of backpacking, we were used to these situations.
After about 30 minutes a tuk-tuk stopped for us. We quickly decided we liked the guy and went with him. Now, bear in mind that Chitwan National Park was about 2 hours away and a tuk-tuk isn’t the most comfortable of rides. It felt like a good idea at the time. Around 30 minutes into our journey, our driver asked if he could stop for food as he hadn’t had lunch. We thought he would stop at some roadside eatery but it turned out he was heading to his home.
We got there and he invited us in. If this would have happened years ago this would have come as a surprise but we have now gotten used to the kindness and openness of strangers. He told the shopkeeper below his flat to look after our backpacks and we headed up to his simple abode.
Imagine his wife and daughters surprise when their Dad comes home for lunch and he brings two bedraggled foreigners in with him. The Nepalese are the most hospitable of people and they soon were fussing over us. They offered us lunch (dhaal bhat of course) and tea. There was no furniture in the living room so we sat on the floor.
It is such an honour to be invited into somebody’s home. You learn so many things about a culture when you do. What I learnt that day was the simplicity of life for most Nepalese and what warm people they are. Even though on paper the are poorer than us in many other ways they are so much richer. Some things don’t change though. The two daughters were both on their mobiles looking at Facebook!
Back on the road
After lunch, we were back on the road. 1.5 hours later we made it to the edge of Chitwan National Park. Even though it was a cramped and bumpy ride I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. We all need us to say yes more to the world, by doing so it opens us to so many possibilities.
There are many organisations in Pokhara that organise Rafting On The Seti River. We went with Paddle Nepal who was great.
Our accommodation in Chitwan was amazing, we had a river right on our doorstep and fields going off in the distance. I could hear a wedding party somewhere. Could it be my new friend I wondered?
Our adventures in Nepal didn’t end here. In Chitwan National Park we had incidences with Rhino, Crocodiles and drunk farmers! But that’s another story.