When water levels are high, between the end of June and late August, Leh’s more entrepreneurial travel agents operate rafting trips on the Indus and Zanskar rivers. The routes are tame in comparison with Nepal’s, but floating downstream in a twelve-seater rubber inflatable is a hugely enjoyable way to experience the rugged and beautiful landscape. Two different stretches of the River Indus are most commonly used: from Phey near Spitok to the Indus–Zanskar confluence at Nyemo (3hr), and from Nyemo to below the ancient temple complex at Alchi (2hr 30min). Experienced rafters may also want to try the more challenging route between Alchi and Khalsi, which takes in the 1km-long series of rapids at Nurla. The annual multiday expedition down the River Zanskar to the Indus is by far the most rewarding as it also includes the spectacular road approach to Padum. A popular shorter route on the Zanskar is from Chiling to Nyemo (3hr).
Several adventure tour operators in Leh offer whitewater rafting or kayaking on the Indus – two of the best are Splash Adventure Tours, Changspa Lane, and The Nomadic Way, Mentokling Complex, Changspa Lane.