ZANSKAR

9 DAYS- LADAKH, Jammu and Kashmir

2017 Trip Dates: Contact us to schedule your own trip! (min 8 people)

Cost: On request

Season: Aug-Sept

Description: This is a river adventure like none other. A two-week expedition gives you an opportunity to discover little seen parts of western Ladakh. Get ready for sights and sounds of monasteries, drums, fluttering prayer flags, canyons and white-water that are far beyond your dreams and expectations. 

You begin your journey by acclimatizing for a few days at Leh town, where you can also visit ancient palaces and monasteries. Drive past 7000 meter high mountains and awesome glaciers to begin the river run in the Zanskar valley at 12,000 feet. Spend the first two days enjoying moderate white-water, where you get an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural surroundings; Zanskar offers spectacular physical features, unlike anything you have seen in all of India or the world. 

At the end of the Zanskar valley, get ready for the spectacular Zanskar Canyon, also referred to as the Grand Canyon of Asia. The walls of the Canyon go up thousands of feet off the river bed. You have a feeling of being at one with nature and may feel like the only person in this desolate part of the world. The Zanskar Canyon is a grade 4 section and offers amazing white-water for rafting and kayaking. Spend most of the day on the river and pitch up camp late in the afternoon. Enjoy simple meals by the river side and laze in the afternoon or stroll and explore the area. Enjoy a spectacular night sky filled with twinkling stars, while you sit around a camp fire and listen to stories of the many runs our guides have done on their favourite river. You will also discover the rich culture and history of the region as we make our way down the Zanskar, and take back memories that will keep you thrilled for a long time to come.

Itinerary:

Day 00: Delhi–Leh (not included in trip cost). An hour-long flight from Delhi to Leh will take you over the Greater Himalaya where one will be able to see the K2 amongst many other breath-taking views. After transferring to the hotel we rest and acclimatize. Overnight stay at Leh hotel. We strongly recommend arriving in Leh 1-2 days prior to the trip start in order to acclimatise.

Day 01: Leh-Kargil. The drive to Kargil over the Fotu La Pass at 14,000 ft. is spectacular. We will stop at the Lamayuru Monastery that belongs to the ‘Red Hat’ sect. Also, we will stop at the stone statue of the Maitreya (the future Buddha) at Mulbek. Overnight stay at Kargil hotel. 

Day 02: Kargil-Rangdum. Spend most of the day driving from Kargil to Rangdum. As we go through Panikar and Parkachik, we take in awesome sights of the twin peaks Nun and Kun (both above 7000 ft.), numerous hanging glaciers and lush meadows. Camp overnight. 

Day 03: Rangdum-Remala. This is the last day of driving before we get on the river. We travel over the Pensi La pass at 14,000 ft. to enter the Zanskar valley and get some amazing views of the Drung Durung glacier and the Zanskar range. The starting point for the expedition is on the Doda River, a tributary of Zanskar, at Remala. Get a good night’s sleep as you anticipate the first day on the river. Camp overnight.

Day 04: Remala–Karsha. After a talk on safety procedures and basic instructions for paddling by our experienced river guides you are ready to start your expedition. The river begins with a grade 3 section, a great way to get your body exercised and a good introduction to river rafting for the first-timers. Raft for about four hours with a lunch break on the river. Set up camp at the confluence of the Doda and the Tsarap Chu rivers. You can choose to rest and enjoy the camp or hike up to Karsha Monastery. Camp overnight.

Day 05: Karsha-Honia. Get up at sunrise to see and photograph the morning light on Karsha Monastery, and then get on the river to head out to Honia. Enjoy practicing your paddling skills on grade 3 rapids and get ready to enter the Zanskar Canyon. Take in the amazing sights of the Zanskar range and the Greater Himalayan ranges as the valley starts to narrow. Camp overnight. 

Day 06: Honia-Nyerak. Pack up and get moving for about 25 km on the river. Enter the canyon to reach Nyerak. This is a grade 3 section and warms you up for the rafting that is to follow in the days to come. At Honimul, the last village, we enter a breath-taking canyon. The banks of the river now give way to mountain walls that rise thousands of feet above you. We run some terrific rapids today, stop for lunch, then raft some more before calling it a day and setting up camp below the Nyerak village. This campsite is one of the few sites in the canyon where one can camp and is perfect for a layover day to explore the area. 

Day 07: Nyerak. This is a day ear-marked for rest. You could choose to hike to the Nyerak village, mingle with the villagers and perhaps visit their homes, or relax and enjoy a break under the Weeping Willows, maybe splashing about in the camp stream. Rest and get ready for another exciting day on the river. Camp overnight. 

Day 8: Nyerak-Lamaguru. A 35 km river journey takes us through the core of the Zanskar canyon and brings us to Lamaguru at the confluence with Markha River. On this stretch of river we will encounter grade 4 rapids . Break for lunch at a beautiful site by a waterfall from the canyon wall. Paddle further through the stunning Red Canyon and camp for the night. Get ready to be amazed by some of the most extraordinary sights and colors today, all courtesy of Mother Nature. Camp overnight. 

Day 9: Lamaguru-Nimu. Raft grade 4 rapids till the take out at Nimu. Past Chilling village we will encounter excellent whitewater as Zanskar prepares to meet the Indus at Nimu. This is the end of your river journey. Drive back to Leh. Trip ends.

Day 01: Leh – Kargil

Day 02: Kargil – Random Camp

Day 03: Rangdum – Remala Camp

Day 04: Remala – Karsha Camp

Day 05: Karsha – Honia camp

Day 06: Honia – Nyerak Camp

Day 07: Nyerak (layover day)

Day 8: Nyerak – Lamaguru

Day 9: Lamaguru – Nimu - Leh