Gazing over India’s Siang River, a rafter might never guess that it is the mellower downriver sister of the fearsome Tibetan Yarlung Tsangpo, which has yet to be navigated by humans. Think of it as all of the wild scenery and adventure without the peril.
“It’s something like the Asian version of the Grand Canyon with turquoise blue water, friendly locals, and huge, huge water,” says Ben Stookesberry, who has paddled the section numerous times.
Every year American raft guide Roland Stevenson runs several commercial trips down the river—what Stookesberry dubs a life lister by virtue of its remoteness, scenery, and big water. Rafters paddle through Class III and IV+ rapids, meet members of local tribes, cross the river on precarious bamboo footbridges, and camp on white sandy beaches near leopard and elephant tracks. But it’s perhaps the quiet passages through the river’s deep gorges that instill most every traveler with a reverence for one of the world’s last big free-flowing rivers.
RiverIndia, run by veteran American raft guide Roland Stevenson, offers ten-day trips on the Siang River starting at $3,250.
Next: See Ben Stookesberry's Dream Trip: First Descent of the Yarlung Tsangpo, Tibet
On more than two dozen expeditions to 23 countries, kayaker Ben Stookesberry has logged more than 70 first descents, hurled himself off waterfalls, run from crocodiles, and produced seven kayaking films, including Kadoma about the life of Hendri Coetzee.