Wear your helmet, pull the ropes of your life jacket tightly, hold your pair of oars, settle in your raft and you are all set to face the challenges of rafting in Sikkim. The experience of facing the turbulent waters of Rivers Teesta and Rangit truly is matchless. One of the best adventure activities in Sikkim, white water rafting gives you an adrenaline high.
The icy cold River Teesta is labeled 4 on the International scale. It has a number of rapids with changing intensity and character. River Rangit, a tributary of the Teesta, is known for owning more turbulent waters and thus the experience is even more challenging making it ideal only for experts. The rapids in Sikkim are classified from 2 to 4.
The banks of the rivers have tiny hamlets with mountains in the background, thick jungles and patches of terrace cultivation. If you wish to enjoy camping in Sikkim, there are a number of campsites at the white sandy spaces. Good facilities for overnight camping are also offered. Beginners as well as experienced rafting enthusiasts can try their hands here at their favorite sport.
Places for Rafting in Sikkim
1. Teesta River
The roaring water of the river Teesta has been the favorite spot of every rafting enthusiast. It is Sikkim's largest and longest river. The force of the water creates white foam naming it White River. Travelers can feel the adrenaline rush rafting on the high-intensity rapids and rocky terrain of the river. The weather, green lush slopes, and lush fields along the Teesta River accumulate to create an enthralling experience for travelers. Rafting in Teesta begins from Makha and passes through Sirwani and Bardang. The wholesome experience ends at Rangpo.
Difficulty Level: Ranking at an international difficulty level of 3 and 4, the Teesta river is the best place for river rafting in Sikkim. The rapids at the top point of the Teesta River are wild and untamed making it enjoyable only for experienced rafters. Beginners or casual solo rafters may not be able to participate in rafting of this difficulty grade. However, amateurs or non swimmers can raft in a group under the supervision of an instructor. The stretches of the river are rocky. It takes about 6 to 8 hours to cover the whole rafting route of Teesta river depending on the weather.
2. Rangit River
Descending from the ice sheets of Mount Kabru, river Rangit is flowing through the enchanting valleys of Sikkim and it is a tributary of Teesta. It is a remarkable river with rapids of various intensities. The turbulent waters of the river offer a great time for adventure seekers. While you are moving your way through intense rapids, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape around the river. Rangit River is not restricted to rafting. One can also camp at night on the banks of the river.
Difficulty Level: The difficulty grade for the Rangit river is 2 and 4. Rafting in Rangit is possible for both amateurs and experienced rafters. Beginners or solo rafters should opt for grade 2 rapids for delicate rides. The experienced ones can go for grade 4 rapids for bone-chilling adventure. Those who wish to enjoy group rafting can raft under the supervision of instructors. The tumultuous water of Rangit is challenging and highly demanding. If you are looking for a mind-blowing rafting experience, then go for Rangit rafting in Sikkim.
Best Time For Rafting in Sikkim
Spring season is the best time to go river rafting in Sikkim. From March to May, the weather remains soothing which makes it an ideal time for rafting. The ice that starts melting increases the water level of the beautiful rivers. Rafting is much more fun and adventurous when in this gushing river during this time. In the spring season, the temperature fluctuates around 18°C to 25°C. The warmth of the sun and the cool breezes make the river rafting a pleasant experience. Ice cold water feels refreshing after hours of paddling and fighting the currents on water.
Things to Carry for White Water Rafting
The essential kit for river rafting in Sikkim is provided by the organizers. However, there are a few things that you should carry with yourself. Here is the list of the things to carry for rafting:
- Always carry an extra pair of warm clothing as you can get wet while rafting in the river.
- Bring an extra bag for keeping the wet clothes.
- Carry sunblock to prevent your skin from sunburn.
- Footwear that will not break or soak the water. Do not wear flip-flops for river rafting.
- Carry a waterproof jacket. The organizers may offer one if you do not own any.
- Pack a water bottle that can fit in your bag. You will feel more thirsty after paddling in the river.
Safety Measures While Rafting in Sikkim
- The first safety measure in rafting is choosing a licensed and professional organizer. Always ask about their experience and permits regarding the same.
- A life jacket is a must, even if you are an experienced swimmer. Always tie the buckles correctly, and make sure to wear a fitted jacket.
- Be it a road or river, never leave without a helmet. It is essential for protection in case of an emergency.
- Hold the paddle properly. Keep one hand on the base of the paddle, and the other over the "T" grip. Ask your instructor to demonstrate the correct technique.
- Have a tight grip on the boat. Try not to fall out when the boat hits a rock.
- Listen to your guide carefully during the safety lessons.
- Do not panic if you fall out of the boat. Try to remain calm. The lifeguard or instructor will come to your rescue.