River rafting in Ladakh
River rafting is one of the most popular and thrilling adventure sports in Ladakh. This exciting activity takes you over the wild Zanskar and Indus rivers, cutting through the magnificent landscape of Ladakh. And while battling the white frothy waves of these rivers, you are treated to some of the most unique and breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains and the Ladakhi deserts.
The experience of river rafting in Ladakh
River rafting in Ladakh is a surefire way of inducing adrenaline into your veins as you rush over the freezing waters of the Zanskar and Indus rivers while battling massive rapids. There are some patches where you relax and take in the splendid scenery of the Ladakhi desert and towering walls of the gorges, and then there are some sections where you have to keep paddling, manoeuvring through the whitewater. Rest assured, every minute will be fun-filled where you will form many lifelong memories!
There are two major rivers where you can choose to go rafting in Ladakh:
Zanskar river rafting in Ladakh
The Zanskar river route is spectacularly thrilling, offering challenging rapids that range from Grade II to Grade V rapids scattered all over the route. This route begins in Sarchu and ends at Nimmo. While rafting on the Zanskar river, you pass through ancient gorges with rock walls as high as 100 feet at some places and you also get to see the sprawling Ladakhi deserts along with the snow-capped peaks in the distance. You cross many quaint villages set on the banks of the river with the locals’ eyes following your raft as you flow past them. Here are the most popular Zanskar river rafting sections:
Tsogsti to Nimmo:
This is the easiest section of the Zanskar river rafting route that offers you a taste of the action but it is perfect for those wanting more of a relaxed experience. This route is great for absolute beginner rafters and first-timers. And even though the rapids might only be of Grade I+ on this, the views are still magnificent. This 5 km section takes around an hour to cover while offering a fun-filled and scenic experience.
Scorpoche to Nimmo:
This is a great moderate level section for beginners looking for thrills on big but manageable rapids. This route consists of rapids from Grade I to Grade II+, taking 2 hours to cover the 18 km route. On this route, the action is turned up a notch and the views are even more spectacular.
Chilling to Nimmo:
If you are an experienced rafter looking for a challenge, then the Chilling to Nimmo rafting route is the one for you. This route takes you right in the heart of intense action where you have to battle Grade IV+ rapids. This is also the longest route of around 28 km and takes around 4 hours to cover. The Chilling to Nimmo rafting section is only recommended for experienced rafters.
Indus river rafting in Ladakh
Experience the thrill of rafting on one of the longest rivers in Asia that was once the cradle of the oldest civilization in the world. The Indus River originates from Tibet and crosses Ladakh to enter Pakistan. This route is another major route in Ladakh that is just as good as the Zanskar route. Though the experience of rafting on the Indus River slightly different with most of the river being easier to navigate and also quieter. But it is also famous for having one of Asia’s most difficult rafting routes. Here are the most popular Indus river rafting routes:/p>
Phey to Nimmo:
This is an easy to moderate grade route with rapids ranging from Grade II to Grade III. This section is perfect for beginners as well as experienced rafting looking for a thrilling rafting session on the Indus river. This 25 km route takes around 3 hours to cover and the route is mostly a mix of both low and high-grade rapids.
Saspol to Khalsi:
The Saspol to Khalsi rafting route on the Indus River is famous for being one of the most difficult rafting routes in Asia with the massive rapids ranging up to Grade V. This 30 km takes four hours to cover and is full of challenging rapids that require precise manoeuvring of rafts. On this route, you get to battle the infamous kilometre-long series of rapids at Nurla which will test your endurance and skills with every swell of the waves. This route should only be attempted by highly experienced rafters.
Ladakh river rafting: Itinerary
Make sure to read the inclusions and exclusions section of the package you are booking to know more about what will be provided to you.
Rafting is a very safe adventure activity that involves very little risks. All rafting packages include high-quality equipment like helmets and life-jackets. You are also accompanied by experienced rafting instructors who are trained for any mishaps that might take place, along with support kayaks and rafts to help you if your raft capsizes.
Additionally, there are routes of different levels from easy to challenging, so if you are a beginner rafter, then you can go for an easy or moderate rafting route. Only experienced rafters should book the challenging routes as they require precise manoeuvring over Grade IV to V rapids.
There are some instances when the raft capsizes, in which case, you should be calm and follow the instructor’s commands. If you happen to fall off the raft, then do not panic, the instructor will help you get back on the raft. One of the most important things to remember while rafting is to always follow the instructor’s commands.
Ladakh river rafting: Things to keep in mind
There are some things that you need to keep in mind while rafting in Ladakh. To begin with, you need to wear unrestrictive clothing. When you wear a life jacket and helmet, make sure they have a snug but comfortable fit. Avoid wearing loose jewellery or expensive gadgets. Apart from that, always follow the instructor’s command, especially while entering a rapid. If you fall off the raft or the raft capsizes, stay calm and do not panic, the instructors are highly trained and they will retrieve you.
Ladakh is also one of the best trekking destinations in India. Click here to know more about the treks in Ladakh.
Rafting in Ladakh Summary
- State: Ladakh
- Nearest city: Leh
- Total days: 1 day
- Grade: Easy to challenging
- Grade of rapids: Grade I to Grade V
- Rafting distance: 5 to 30 km
- Season: June to August
- Avg temperature: 5 to 10 degrees Celsius