Rafting in Ladakh
The Zanskar is the remote tributaries of the Indus harbor brings one of the
spectacular navigable gorges from all around the world. A journey towards
the Zanskar River through rafting excitements is best described as the
"Grand Canyon of the Himalayas" to delve deep inside the drenched paradise
of the area along with the submersion of the Ladakhi culture along with the
thrilling white water adventure.
River Rafting in Ladakh and especially at the Zanskar and Indus rivers
brings a perfectly oriented adventurous program for the never-ending fun and
thrills. The Indus, originates near the Kailash Mountain and the Mansarovar
Lake in Western Tibet where the water levels remain high during the month of
June to late August, which is regarded as the best season for the
mesmerizing rafting expeditions. The river rafting in Ladakh areas includes
the featured drive in the incessant inflows to explore the western Ladakh,
villages, monasteries & ancient ruined palaces, along with some hiking &
The white water at Zanskar ranges is featured with different types of rapids
naming I and II grades and at some places, has grade III to even V rapids.
The popular rafting points are from Phey to Nimo and also from Upshi to
Kharu or from Upshi to Nimo. The other major points can be found from Phey
to Saspol or Phey to the Indus - Zanskar confluence at Nimo and from Nimo to
the historical monastic enclave of Alchi, about 75 Kms west of Leh. The
experienced rafters would love to try some more challenging route between
Alchi and Khaltsey towards Nurla.
More River Rafting Routes
Phey - Nimo route
This route consist mostly of Grade II or III easy rapids is that it passes
through astoundingly beautiful mountains, many of them with tiny hamlets and
imposing old monasteries nestling among the valleys. Starting from Phey
Village, about 12 Kms from Leh and ends Indus-Zanskar confluence at Nimo,
about 36 kms from Leh.
Upshi - Kharu route
This route is somewhat long as compare to the Phey-Nimo, but not too
difficult. The stretch between Upshi and Kharu consists of I and II rapids,
although there are some grade III rapids too. The starting point is at Upshi,
about 90 Kms South east of Leh, along the road which leads south to Manali.
From Upshi, the river makes its way westwards to Kharu, along the road to
Phey - Saspol
This rafting trip starts from Phey, about 8 kms south of Leh and its end at
Saspol, on Leh-Srinagar Highway, near Alchi. This route is short and relaxed
enough to enjoy the breathtaking view of landscapes and beauty of tiny
hamlets on the both side of Indus.
Kharu - Spituk
It starts from Kharo, about 45 Kms South-East of Leh and ends at Spituk,
just short of Leh. This route is specially recommended for the beginners and
Saspol - Khaltsey
If you are experienced rafters, you may try the more challenging route
between Saspol and Khaltsey, which has kilometre long series of rapids at
Nurla. The rafting will finish at Khaltsey 90 Kilometres from Leh.
Rafting Operators in Leh
There are several Travel Agents around Leh Market offering white water
rafting on the Indus River and Zanskar River. The charge from Phey to Nimo
rafting is Rs.1500 per person including transport, raft and Lunch. Other
Rafting expeditions from zanskar organized on demand and the cost depends on
number of person and rafting points.
LADAKH RIVER RAFTING PLAN
DAY 01 : Leh (3466 mts/11370 ft)
In the morning take a flight for Leh. Upon arrival at Leh met our
representative and then transfer to hotel. Take a complete rest and
acclimatise. Overnight stay at hotel.
DAY 02 : Leh (full day sightseeing at Leh)
In the morning take a full day guided sightseeing at Leh covering Shey,
Thiksey and Hemis Monastery. Evening back to hotel for overnight stay.
DAY 03 : Leh - Kargil (3201 mts/10500 ft) drive/9 - 10 hrs
We drive from Leh to Mulbek - Kargil, through a spectacular moonscape. We
drive over the Fotu La (14,000 ft), a high mountain pass and exit the Indus
valley. Enroute, we do a photo stop above the Lamayuru monastery belonging
to the 'Red Hat' sect. Overnight stay at Kargil.
DAY 04 : Kargil - Rangdum (12000 ft) drive
A spectacular drive past Panikhar and Parkachik, with magnificent views of
the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 meters), hanging glaciers and large meadows.
We drive till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft).Camp overnight.
DAY 05 : Rangdum - Ramela (3635 mts/11925ft) drive/6 hrs
We drive to Ramela, which is the starting point for the rafting trip on the
Stod River, a tributary of the Zanskar River. We drive over the Pensi La
(14,500 ft), which enables grand views of the Zanskar peaks at the bottom of
which is the Drung Durung glacier that feeds the Zanskar River, 40 km below,
into which we flow trip the next day. Overnight tented camp.
DAY 06 : Rafting expedition begins at Ramela
Raft till near Karsha Gompa, near Padum. (3496m; 11,466ft; 4 hrs) We raft 30
km in 4-5 hrs which includes a break for lunch and hot beverages. We are
surrounded by 6000 meter high peaks. River section today includes a Class II
section, a good introduction for first timers as well as to the river in
general. Settle into camp by afternoon, we can take an optional hike to
DAY 07 : Ramela - Karsha
After a late morning start, we raft from Karsha up to Honyo/Pidmo (3361m;
11,025 ft; 3 hrs). This stretch is approximately 25 km with Class II and III
rapids. Another easy day to get used to the river, the altitude and hone our
DAY 08 : Karsha - Nyarak
After packing camp, we raft 25 km to Nyarak (3286m ; 10,780ft ; 3 hrs) a
Class III section. The gorge narrows in on the river - this indeed is a
Grand Canyon in its own right. We stop for the day to pitch camp in a gorge
below Nyarak village.
DAY 09 : Nyarak
Rest day at Nyarak. Take a hike to Nyarak village or relax under the cool
shade of the willows at our Campsite. Wash up at the campsite stream and
enjoy the day off.
DAY 10 : Nyarak - Lamayuru
Today's 35 km rafting section takes us from Nyarak to Lamayuru (3190m;
10,465ft; 5-6 hrs including scout and lunch) through the core of the Zanskar
A classic white water day with continuous Class III rapids, and a few Class
IV rapid where the river squeezes between a gaps of about 18ft. We stop for
lunch near a huge waterfall and continue to camp at the confluence of Markha
river with the Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of
colours add to the trip today. Camp.
DAY 11 : Lamayuru - Nimu - Leh
We raft 40 kms of Class III/IV white water from Lamayuru to Nimu (3154m;
10,345 ft; 3-4 hrs) today. We raft past the village of Chilling and exciting
rapids as the Zanskar plunges out of the canyon to meet with the Indus at
Nimu. We end our trip at the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus. Drive
an hour back to Leh. Last minute retail therapy and a hot shower! Overnight
at Leh hotel.
DAY 12 : Leh - Departure
Early Morning check out hotel and transfer to the Leh Airport.