Zanskar River Expedition

Day 01: Fly Delhi – Leh (3466m)

Transfer to hotel. Rest, hydrate and acclimatise. Overnight Leh hotel.


Day 02: Leh

Visit to a few monasteries such as Shey, Thikse and Hemis. Overnight Leh hotel.


Day 03: Drive Leh – Kargil (3201m / 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 at Kargil hotel.


Day 04: Drive Kargil – Rangdum

A spectacular drive past Panikar and Parkachik,with magnificent views of the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 metres),hanging glaciers and large meadows.We drive till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft).Camp overnight.


Day 05: Drive Rangdum – Remala (3635m; 11,925ft; 6 hrs)

We drive to Remala, 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 Remala. 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 metre 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 Karsha Gompa.


Day 07: 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 paddling skills.


Day 08: After packing camp, we raft 25 km to Nyerak (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 Nyerak village.


Day 09: Rest day at Nyerak

Take a hike to Nyerak 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: Todays 35 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Lamaguru (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 gap 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.


Day 11: We raft 40 kms of Class III/IV white water from Lamaguru 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 hotel.


Day 12: Transfer to Leh airport. Fly Leh – Delhi


Born from the merging of the Stod and Tsarap rivers, the Zanskar arises near the border between Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, and makes its way northward, to meet the Indus at Nimu. A beautiful stretch of water, the Zanskar isn’t as wild and wicked as its southern sisters, the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. It does have some grade III and IV rapids, but they’re fewer and more far between.

Among the most exciting runs on the Zanskar is the Padum-Nimu run, a trip which takes several days and involves having to camp out in the wild. It’s replete with exciting rapids, and is suggested only for those with a fair bit of experience in white water rafting.

Another good run is the Phey – Nimu route, easier than the Padum-Nimu one- it’s mostly Grade II or III. The main attraction of the run is that it passes through astoundingly beautiful mountains, many of them with tiny villages and imposing old monasteries nestling among the valleys. The run starts at Phey and ends about 36 km from Leh, at Nimu. Nimu is situated at the confluence of Ladakh’s two main rivers- the Indus and the Zanskar.

Rafting: Zanskar River Expedition
Duration: 12 days
Grade: Class II & IV
Season: Aug – September
Degree of difficulty: Moderate


  • Group escort, river guide and safety kayakers
  • Rafting equipments – gear boat, safety crafts
  • river permit fee and wildlife fees
  • camping on twin share
  • All meals
  • Cook and service staff
  • Assistance on arrival and departure
  • Local transportation


Camping equipment provided on the river expedition

  • 2 Men Tents
  • Sleeping bags
  • Insulated Mattresses
  • Kitchen Tent
  • Dining Tent
  • Toilet tent
  • Basic Medical kit



  • Airfare
  • Liquor, soft drinks, beverages, etc
  • Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Expenses arising from unexpected fuel hikes, and any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
  • Medical or Travel Insurance
  • Costs towards evacuation of customers for medical or any other reason


Ladakh Safari reserves the right to change, alter or cancel a trip due to any reason which might not be in the best interest of your safety, like dangerous water levels, landslides etc.



What to expect:

Temperatures: Temperatures on the trip will vary from a maximum of 25 – 30 degrees to minimum 10 degrees Celsius. Its best to be prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill if the weather turns bad. The days are hot and the nights refreshingly cool.


Good footwear is very important – Good strap on sandals work well on the raft as well as at Camp. They dry quickly as well so it also saves the trouble of carrying alternate footwear. If you are carrying only sandals, make sure they are in good shape to last the days on river.


Clothing:  A good base layer which could be a thermal top (polypropylene), with a T-shirt on top will keep you warm and dry. Mid layers for camp provide insulation so anything that is warm will do e.g. a medium thickness woolen jumper or a mid-weight fleece top, along with another lightweight fleece top will suffice.  Any good waterproof, windproof jacket would do the job. Leg wear in the form of thermal long johns are invaluable. Cotton trousers or long skirts (long skirts for ladies also double as a `port-a-loo’) worn over this layer can keep you very comfortable. A good sun hat is very essential. Sunglasses which offer 100% UV protection are necessary to combat strong daylight. On the raft, T-shirts, shorts are best. We will provide splash jackets, or even wetsuits if the weather gets bad.


A good quality sleeping bag ensures a good nights sleep after a long day outdoors. Do not compromise on your sleeping bag – err on the side of carrying a warmer bag, than carrying a light one which may give you many sleepless nights. Carry any personal medication that you may need, or let us know should you be suffering from any particular ailment.


How to carry: Its best to carry your belongings in a large, tough duffel bag or a big rucksack. Pack similar things such as clothes, washing things, camping equipment etc. in separate stuff sacks or polythene bags so they are easier to pull out and add to the waterproofing in your bag.


Before we get onto rafts, we say goodbye to our duffel bags and transfer all that we need for the next few days into large dry bags, to be shared by 2 persons. Pack carefully.


A river day begins with breakfast at 7 am by which time; you are expected to vacate your tent so packing can begin. You may help with setting up and packing up of tents. We aim to usually be on river by 9am and reach our camp for the day by 2-3 pm, if not earlier. Lunch is usually had on river, and cocktail hour is at sundown each evening. Please remember to carry ample quantities of your favorite poison – there will be no local produce to bank on!


You will sleep inside tents, mats are provided for you to sleep on and are placed under your sleeping bag. Toilets are the great outdoors for most – we also carry a toilet tent to use for ladies and whoever may care to give up the joy having a nicer view.


Our crew of guides will also be supplemented by a cooking crew, which would prepare the days meals for 5 days that we are camping out. Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese and continental. We provide you safe drinking water throughout the expedition.


The entire crew moves together in a totally self-contained manner like a tight knit unit. All food, water and shelter, is carried on rafts and/or cataraft.  Which is why we need to use discretion while packing


We carry a pretty comprehensive first aid kit on the trip but it will help for you all to carry some easy to access medicine on the trip, for headaches, diarrhea, constipation, and some re-hydration powders like Electral etc. It’s also a good idea to have a roll of toilet paper accessible should you need to go.


Other considerations:

Travel to any part of the Himalayas deserves a little more respect than many other destinations because the whole region lies over 2600 meters (8500 ft). People in good health should not get alarmed by this but if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, you must take the advise of a doctor who has experience with the effects of altitude. We do not take heart or lung patients, or pregnant mothers on this expedition.


Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more, even though the rafting not of a very strenuous nature.


Note: Please keep your personal items to a minimum (besides the essentials) so that your bag (No hard shells please) is light and easy to carry.

Rafting On Indus