Why canyoning in Jalbire's all-natural water theme park should be your go-to adventure this monsoon
Pics: Ronish Raut
“Jalbire is this gigantic, gorgeous waterfall not far from Mugling. I can’t think of a better place for you to shoot your canyoning adventure in,” said my camping guide Suman Dai. It was a starry night, wrapped up in a pine-scented breeze with our tents camped next to a dark, silent lake. I hope to share that story with you in days to come, here in 'Sammy Adventures', a new fortnightly series in Nepali Times.
Suman Dai said those words with such conviction that I had to look up the place. Next thing I knew, I was packed up and on the morning bus to Chitwan.
From the Prithvi Highway where we were dropped off, it is a bit of a hike to where the canyoning begins. But finally seeing the tall beauty at the end of the trail made the uphill effort worthwhile. Locals have been thronging to Jalbire’s Lamo Jharana for years now, but its popularity among non-locals is a recent trend.
“The monsoon is the best time to come here for a dip,” says Maila Gurung, a trained river guide and also our canyoning expert for the day. The rains create a huge natural swimming pool at the foot of the waterfall.
While relishing your moment at the waterfall, taking pictures and swimming in the pond are quite fun, it is the adventurers who know how to truly enjoy the gifts of this little-known paradise. Apart from the Lamo Jharana, the entire stretch of Jalbire has more than a dozen waterfalls, cliff-jumping spots and natural slides — just the perfect place for canyoning.
Generally, a canyoning experience means abseiling down a waterfall, and you would be pretty much done. But not in Jalbire. Here, you cliff-dive, slide, and canyon through several waterfalls. By the end of my three hours in this au naturel water park l was exhausted, and yet somehow still could not get enough of it.
I have undertaken several adventures throughout the country from sky-diving to rafting, but Jalbire canyoning is in a league of its own. And if anyone asks me for the one adventure they should look for in Nepal, I would definitely recommend this.
Kathmandu to Jalbire: 120 km
Approximate drive time: 3 hr 30 min
Samriddhi Rai is a singer/songwriter. Her 'Sammy Adventures' travel vlog on Jalbire canyoning is up on her channel, youtube.com/samriddhiraimusic
Canyoning is simply hiking down fast-flowing mountain streams by abseils and rope works, supported by other outdoor activities like jumping, swimming and technical climbing.
Gearing up for the adventure requires a wet suit, helmet, life vest and shoes made specially for canyoning.
Canyoning should not be done without professional guidance. Pay heed to the safety instructions given out by the guides.
One needs to be fit to indulge in the sport, especially during the monsoon. The increased volume of water requires one to be strong enough to withstand the force of the waterfall.
Popular places to canyon in Nepal
Sisneri: A newly discovered water world 30 km from Kathmandu.
Lwang Ghalel, Pokhara: Lwang Ghalel is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Pokhara, with a successful tourism story to share. The Kudi Fall is 107 m in height and a popular canyoning spot.
Bhote Kosi: 113 km from Kathmandu, Bhote Kosi is the country's unofficial adventure capital. There are many spots for canyoning, the famous ones being Jambo Khola, Handi Khola, and Kavre Khola. By September, the road damaged by recent floods should be usable.
+977 (1) 4700928
+977 (1) 4700239
Now, a trekking app, Ayesha Shakya