It turned out that our campsite for the night was close by and within sight of the beach-come-graveyard. The guys put a tent up for us on a perfect sand beach and set about preparing starters, popcorn and spaghetti. Candles were dotted around camp and a toilet set up. The stars were bright and we could see the Milky Way fairly clearly.
The next morning on the river we were approaching some rocks when a few young boys sitting on them waved at us and motioned us over. We couldn’t stop and thought they were just curious to meet us. We found out later that one of the boys who had been swimming had drowned half an hour before and they were trying to find his body. Even one of our guides admitted to us he had lost two friends to this river. It was to be feared and respected in equal amounts.
Not long after, we passed a river bank where a jubilant crowd was gathered. They seemed keen to say hi to us, and the younger ones were taking photos of us drifting by, so we shouted back our own greetings. We wondered whether it was some sort of party.
Then we noticed the pile of rocks.
And the fresh bamboo.
Oh. It was a funeral and a fresh grave.
That night Steph and I decided to sleep in the open air rather than in a tent. The setting was stunning, and it was certainly an experience, but I don’t think either of us had a full sleep. Giant ants were everywhere and the scorpion we found earlier may have made us jumpy.
The trip was such a exhilarating experience and a huge amount of fun. We absolutely loved it. It was a true adventure with some unexpected and revealing moments. It made us respect the power of the river, respect nature, and respect life in general.
The trip cost 16,000 Nepali Rupees ($160 or about £100) for everything. We used “Adrenaline rush” I think. The staff said they were mostly freelance and work for many different companies, so the reputation of a specific company is hard to guarantee, as your experience will depend on who is working on that particular trip.
The private bus took about 3h at the start and 5h to get home. The food was mostly western, so that part wasn’t so exciting, but being cooked for in that kind of situation was pretty impressive.