Zanskar River Expedition Trek
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 Season : July to August 
 Grand Canyon of Asia
 River Grade : III IV


Area        :          Ladakh






An hour long flight from Delhi to Leh will take you over the Greater Himalaya where you will be able to see the K2 amongst many other breathtaking views. You land at one of the highest civilian airports in the world at 10300 feet. It is strongly recommended that you rest and
acclimatize to the altitude and not move out of your bed except for your meals today. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.



  After an early breakfast at the hotel a visit to monasteries such as Shey, Thiksey and Hemis will be arranged. You will arrive back to Leh in time for lunch for which Leh offers excellent opportunities. Post lunch relax or walk into the Leh town, to its exciting Tibetan market for souvenirs. You can take in the magnificent sights of peaks across the horizon and get ready for the drive to Kargil the next day. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.

Day 03: Leh- Kargil


  The drive to Kargil over the Fotu La Pass at 14,000 ft. is spectacular. Enroute, we stop for lunch at the Lamayuru monastery that belongs to the ‘Red Hat’ sect and capture the imposing moonscape on our cameras. Also, we will stop at the stone statue of the Maitreya and/ future Buddha at Mulbek. Overnight stay at Kargil hotel.   


Day 04: Kargil - Rangdum (12,000 ft) - Phey


  A spectacular drive past Panikar and Parkachik, a drive worth a thousand words and maybe even more, with magnificent views of the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 metres), hanging glaciers and large meadows. We drive all the way past the Suru valley up till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft) and stop for a lunch break and then continue with our journey to Phey. 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 take a float trip on the first day of the expedition. Overnight tented camp.  

Day 05: Rest Day at Phey


  After a two day long drive a rest day is called for. To build up your energies, soak in the sun, accilmatize and to get ready for the challenging four days ahead of you. Ride a donkey, hike up to a hidden and ancient monastery, mingle with the local kids or simply do nothing.  


Day 06: Phey – Karsha - Zangla





  After an early wakeup call and breakfast we pack up the camp and load our expedition gear on to the rafts. We start our rafting expedition at Phey (11,400ft) probably the highest put in for a river expedition on the planet. We raft 30 km in 3-4 hours which includes a small break as we pass by the KarshaGompa complex. Throughout the day we are surrounded by 6000 metre high peaks. The River today is a Class II section, a good introduction for first timers as well as to the river in general. We negotiate a braided river which at times often splits in to as many as 10 channels with only one or two good enough for the rafts to cross. Settle into camp at Zangla by afternoon. Easy day to get used to the river, the altitude and hone our paddling skills. Camp Overnight  

Day 07: Zangla - Nyerak


  Pack up and get moving for about 25 km on the river & enter the canyon to reach Nyerak(3286m; 10,780ft; 3 hrs). 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 breathtaking 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.  



  Leisure day in Nyrerak. Trek up to the village and interact with locals. Check how people leave in this harsh place.



   Today’s 40 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Chilling (3190 m; 10,465 ft; 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 known as the GATE. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall and continue to the confluence of Markha river with the Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colours add to the trip today. After packing camp, we raft to Chilling. 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 at Chilling village.   



   We raft 35 kms of Class III/IV white water from Chilling to Nimmmo (3154 m; 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 Nimmo. We end our trip at the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus. Drive an hour back to Leh. Overnight hotel.




   The flight back to Delhi will take you over the Great Himalayas and allow you to bid farewell to the mythical land of Ladakh, until next time! We know you’ll be back!