Many trekkers are drawn to the Himalaya for some of the world’s best hiking, but there’s a huge variety of adventure on offer in Nepal. You can rush down roaring rivers, bungee jump in gorges, or see the Himalaya from the air. Canyoning, rafting, kayaking, paragliding, and mountain biking are not only possible in Nepal, but can be done against a backdrop of dramatic mountains. Here are eight must-do adventure sports in Nepal to try.
1. Mountain Biking
Photo: Jocelyn Powelson
Mountain biking is an ideal, flexible way of exploring Nepal. You can explore off road and ancient trails in remote areas, stopping wherever you like. Rent a bike to explore the Kathmandu Valley or book a biking trip and discover less-visited areas of the country. Options include a 110 km loop of the Kathmandu Valley via Nagarkot and Namobuddha, or a shorter 54 km trail from Pokhara to Sarangkot and Naudanda.
2. Rafting and Kayaking
Photo: Ajul Tamang
In Nepal you can enjoy the rushing rivers by rafting or kayaking on them. You will find white sandy beaches perfect for camping, allowing you a multi-day trip down a river with evening campfires and tent accommodation. The Trisuli River is a popular introduction to rafting, with easy access from Kathmandu. If you want something less crowded, you can choose between other rivers like the Seti Khola, Upper Kali Gandaki, or Karnali in the far west. The best time is mid-October to November, when the monsoon is over and rivers are full of water.
3. Horse Riding
Photo: Eva Wieners
Horse riding in Nepal involves riding along narrow trails. You won’t get tired of walking but your muscles will nevertheless be tested while riding on simple trails! There’re some good, scenic horse riding routes in the Kathmandu Valley and around Pokhara up to Mount Sarangkot, as well as in more remote destinations like Mustang.
Paragliding above Pokhara. Photo: Vera & Jean-Christophe/Flickr
Paragliding with the Himalaya as a backdrop is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you haven’t done it before, seeing the highest mountains in the world from a different angle is a reason to jump. Paragliding is very popular near Pokhara, from Sarangkot Hill, here you’ll be able to see the snow-capped Annapurna. In the Kathmandu Valley paragliding can be done from Chapakharka, near Godavari village, with views of Mount Everest on a clear day. Paragliding is best done between October and April, until the monsoon.
Nepal has had the first zip line in Asia since 2012. From near the top of Sarangkot, beside Pokhara, you can zip down one of the world’s tallest and longest zip lines, with the magnificent Annapurnas as your backdrop. You will be 600 meters up in the air, zooming down at 140 kilometers per hour and covering a distance of 1.8 kilometers. If you want an adrenaline rush, this is a must-try activity.
Photo: Elen Turner
Descending a watery canyon by abseiling, jumping, or sliding into deep pools of water might sound crazy, but it can be done safely with an organized trip in Nepal. After abseiling down waterfalls you will be rewarded by a refreshing swim in natural pools. Jalbire Canyon, near Mugling, is simple and suited for all levels, while the Charaundi Canyon on the Trisuli River in Dhading Distrcit requires jumping off a 12-meter high cliff into a pool of water.
7. Sky Diving
Skydiving in Nepal offers spectacular views of the mighty Himalaya as well as green valleys and shimmering lakes. Skydiving near Everest skydiving is undoubtedly a unique experience, and Gorak Shep, Kala Patthar, is the world’s highest drop zone. The skydiving takes place in front of Mt. Everest but you will also see some other high mountain peaks. If you want something less extreme, you can skydive near Pokhara, viewing the Annapurna Range and Phewa Lake.
8. Bungee Jumping
Photo: Elen Turner
Last but not least, you can find bungee jumping in Nepal as well. Plunge from a steel bridge 166 m high above the Bhote Kosi River, three hours drive from Kathmandu, at The Last Resort. Or you can jump at Hemja, 20 minutes to Pokhara, from a tower. Wherever you go, you’ll be as thrilled by the views as the jump.