Tibet Rafting

Tibet Rafting

Tibet RaftingA rafting trip can be added to any of our standard itineraries.  Simply choose which river trip you would like to join and we will adjust the itinerary and price according.  Please read all the information below so you make the right choice of river to suit your abilities and expectations.  Our standard departures shown on this website are run between 1st of June and 30th September.  These are the summer months in Tibet and are the best time to raft due to warmer weather and good water levels.  Of course water levels and weather can change rapidly so be prepared for an adventure!
If you want to organize a longer expedition or run a river that is not on this website, please contact us and we can organize a customized itinerary.

Safety and Background
Our international rafting guides and safety kayakers have extensive  experience running challenging whitewater expeditions in the Himalaya and elsewhere.  Expert safety kayakers are used on every whitewater run.  Chris Jones, the project manager has ten years experience guiding, instructing, and managing rafting and other outdoor adventure operations around the world.

All clients are provided with international standard safety equipment including a full wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy vest. We use state of the art rafts, kayaks and equipment.

When we design your itinerary we consider seasonal weather patterns, water levels and temperatures, altitude, accessibility, as well as surrounding scenery and cultural sites to ensure that you have the best possible experience on the water. Travel in Tibet can be challenging; however, the moment you arrive, we will make every effort to ensure your journey in Tibet will be a fascinating, fun and rewarding experience.

Trip Inclusions
When you book a rafting or kayaking adventure the following is included:¡¤ Transport to and from the river.¡¤ All personal rafting gear including: full length wetsuit, lifejacket, helmet and wetsuit boots.¡¤ Picnic lunch and snacks (all meals on multi-day expedition trips).¡¤ English/Chinese/Tibetan speaking guides.¡¤ Water resistant container for cameras and personal essentials.¡¤ State of the art rafts and expert safety kayakers.For day trips, all you need to bring is the following:¡¤ Bathing/swim suit¡¤ Towel¡¤ Sun hat and sunscreen (SPF 15 lip balm is recommended)¡¤ Sunglasses with strap¡¤ Refillable water bottle¡¤ Camera and protective camera bag¡¤ Pair of shorts to go over wetsuitFor overnight or multi-day expedition trips you should also bring:¡¤ Warm clothing for off the river and evenings¡¤ Sleeping bag (available for rental if required)¡¤ Personal Toiletries¡¤ Spare film and batteries¡¤ Small torch/flashlight¡¤ A book or cards!

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs) What is the weather like?
Summer in Tibet can be pleasantly warm.  In the river valleys, day time temperatures are often in the mid to low twenties (70s Fahrenheit).  Night time temperatures can be chilly.  At higher altitudes the temperatures will be cooler and winds can sometimes make it quite cold.  But remember: weather in Tibet can change without notice.  So plan for extremes of temperature.

What rivers do you recommend?
This totally depends on the type of experience you are seeking.  If you are fit and a confident swimmer and looking for BIG whitewater action then you should consider the Drigung Chu or Reting Tsangpo.  In high water these runs can be challenging and fun.  If you are looking for something a little milder, then the Tolung Chu or one of our float trips would be more suitable.  Remember to let our staff know exactly what type of trip you want and they will do their best to help you choose the right trip.

What about the effects of high altitude?
If you have only just arrived in Lhasa and are not acclimitised, please choose an easy trip like the Lhasa River or Tolung Chu.  To participate in any of our more difficulty whitewater trips you must have spent a minimum of 2 - 4 days in Lhasa or at high altitude to ensure you are sufficiently acclimitised.

How safe are the trips?
On every rafting trip, safety is our top priority.  We employ international guides to ensure that international safety standards are met on every trip.  The wetsuits are designed to keep you warm and your life jacket will keep you afloat even if you cannot swim well.  You will be asked to wear a helmet on all river trips (except the Lhasa River, because it is quite easy!).

Before we embark on any rafting or kayaking trip, you will be given a comprehensive safety talk.  The safety talk can be given in English, Chinese or Tibetan.  It is most important that you ask questions if you do not understand.
We carry a comprehensive first aid kit and rescue equipment on every trip.  All our international staff are trained in first aid and river rescue.

What does the safety kayaker do?
We use expert safety kayakers on all trips (except the Lhasa River) to ensure no-one takes an unintentionally long swim.   If you fall out and cannot get back to the raft the safety kayaker will paddle up to you, ensure you are OK then point out the safest direction to swim.  The safety kayaker may direct you climb on the back of the kayak and paddle you to the raft or to the shore.

Do I need to know how to swim?
This depends on the style of trip you intend to undertake.  If you are booking on a float trip such as the Lhasa River, you do not have to be able to swim.  If you want to undertake the Tolung Chu Classic, you also do not have to be able to swim but it is recommend that you are at least comfortable in water.  If you want to undertake one of the more challenging rivers such as the Tolung Chu Canyon or the Kongpo Chu then it is recommended that you be able to swim reasonably well.  On high water trips on the harder runs it is essential that you are a strong swimmer and very confident in the water.

Do I need to be very fit?
Again, this depends on the style of trip you intend to undertake. To undertake the Lhasa River of Tolung Chu, you do not have to be very fit.  If you want to undertake one of our harder trips, then you should be reasonably fit.  You should be at least physically active every weekend.   You should be able to walk up 2 flights of stairs in Lhasa without discomfort.

If you are planning on undertaking a harder run in high water, you should have rafted before and be very fit.

What sort of camera should I bring?
We provide water resistant containers for your camera so you don¡¯t have to bring a waterproof camera.  If you are hoping for some casual pictures then a small point-and-shoot camera will be adequate.  Modern digital cameras are a luxury and enable you to take many more pictures and edit on the spot!  If you are a serious about photography then bring your SLR camera.  Ensure you have a protective camera bag and bring plenty of lense cleaning material.  (it can be quite dusty in Tibet)  A wide angle lense is useful.   You will have limited access to your camera while actually rafting and a tripod cannot be carried on the raft.  On multiday expeditions, there will be plenty of time for photography particularly in the evenings.  Bring plenty of film as film is often not available outside of Lhasa.

When is the best time to go?
Basically any time between the beginning of June and the end of September is a good time to go rafting in Tibet.  In May the weather settles down and begins to warm up.  We start rafting in June and run trips until the end of September when the weather begins to cool down again.  The monsoon reaches parts of Tibet from June to August, however, unlike south Asia, the rains are short lived and rarely affect our rafting itineraries. We welcome the rain as it swells the rivers to high water levels.  This can mean huge rapids and exciting rafting if you are up for it!

How are rivers in Tibet graded?
We use the internationally accepted river grading system, which begins at 1 and ends at 6.  We do not exaggerate our grading!

Grade 1: Easy, flat water with very small waves.
Grade 2: Easy, moving water with small waves and ripples and the occasional rock to maneuver around.
Grade 3: Swift moving water with fast currents, narrow channels and moderately  physical paddling is required.
Grade 4: Difficult whitewater with powerful currents, big waves, steep drops and the possibility of the raft overturning.  Paddling is challenging and at times strenuous.

Rafting in Tibet

2-3 hours Lhasa River (Kyi Chu)

Lhasa River (Kyi Chu) The Lhasa River is the perfect run for those looking for a spectacular scenic trip and not too much action. It is an ideal way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and gain a different perspective of Lhasa and the Lhasa Valley. We use oar rafts, which means the guide does all the work and all you have to do is sit back, enjoy the view and take photos. You do not have to be acclimatized ...

2-3hrs rafting Tolung Chu River

Tolung Chu River The Tolung Chu is a fun whitewater adventure only 1 hour from Lhasa. It is a perfect introduction to whitewater rafting in Tibet. You do not have to be able to swim, but it is recommended that you are physically fit and have acclimatized in Lhasa for a few days as you will be required to paddle and move around the raft. This is our most popular trip for those that only have a short time in Lhasa....

1 or 2 days Drigung Chu River rafting

Drigung Chu River rafting The Drigung Chu is situated in an exquisite alpine valley about 2 hours from Lhasa. Continuous class III rapids are interspersed with incredible granite gorges and challenging class IV rapids. The 2 day trip runs more whitewater and also includes a visit to the Tidrum Nunnery and hotsprings.

3 nights & 4 days Reting Tsangpo

Reting Tsangpo This incredible river journey was first paddled by Wind Horse in spring 2005. We access the Reting Tsangpo by its north fork, putting into a small alpine stream with incredible views of the Nyenchen Thanglha range near Lake Namtso. The north fork enters the main river on day two and we paddle big water through incredible alpine juniper forests and past nomad camps