Kayaking Arunachal Pradesh, India

Nov 21, 2013

I always wanted to go to Asia to paddle huge big water.

This year was the time to go. Jonas Gruenewald asked me if I would like to join a trip to north east India (Arunachal Pradesh district).

Quickly we found two more good crew members, the flights were booked and the planning started. But the organization was way more complicated than we excpected and it turned into a nightmare for us. The Indian contact answered emails or phone calls extreme rarely and at the take-off day it was still unsure if we would have the permits to enter Arunachal Pradesh and if a driver would pic us up at the airport.David and me about to drop into one of these massive rapids -  Siang River - pic: Jonas Grünewald -

David and me about to drop into one of these massive rapids - Siang River - pic: Jonas Gruenewald 

traveling with kayaks sucks - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
traveling with kayaks sucks - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

Arriving in Dibrugarh (Assam district) thing looked like to change in a good way for us. We found a cap for the way to the Brahmaputra, we caught the ferry and our driver and guide was awaiting us with permits on the other side. So our journey to the Siang was good to go.

way to Tutting - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
way to Tutting - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

Rice fields in front of the Himalaya - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
rice fields in front of the himalaya - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

3 days of dirt road for approx. 300 kilometers

3 days of driving river upstream (approx. 300 kilometers on the dirt road), we were stopped by the army. The Siang (also known as Tsangpo) river comes from China and our plan was to start as close as possible to Chinese boarder. Due to the fact that the relationship between India and China is obviously not the best, the area is sensitive and the army is based there. Even talks to the local government, police and army could help us to get permission to drive mire upstream, so we had to put in close to Tuting.

Siang - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
Siang around 150.000 cfs - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

Camp 2 on the Siang River - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
Camp 2 on the Siang River - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

The Siang River is probably the biggest river I have ever paddled. The monsoon just stopped in September and the water level is still very high in October. We started our tip on this huge brown stream.  And the first rapids came up quickly. They were huge, unpredictable, chaotic wave trains but manageable. In the next 2,5 days we enjoyed a lot of rapids and flatwater, all integrated in an amazing jungle landscape. After approximately 100 km we arrived at the Ghandi bridge, the take out. It’s a 300-400 meter long hanging bridge.

 the Siang is probably the biggest river I have ever paddled
- around 150.000 cfs


Ghandi Bridge - pic: Jonas Grünewald -                 - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
Ghandi Bridge and the ferry on Bramaputra - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

At the put in of the next planned river trouble came up. Class 5 big water creeking, 2 days of unknown whitewater and jungle landscape created doubts for some crew members (one had a broken rib), so we made a decision against a descent.

In the next days we had problems to find alternative rivers, but local people were kind and helped us to figure out new plans. The Yamne river and the Simang river did not appear to be hard big water rivers but beautiful class 4 rivers through the jungle.

- pic: Jonas Grünewald -
Simang River - pics: Jonas Gruenewald

      Simang River - pic: Jonas Grünewald -

The time passed by so quickly in India and we had to leave an awesome place, but after a few weeks I was super looking forward to eat something else than rice.

Thanks to Level Six for that sick ass looking gear, Jonas Gruenewald who made this trip happen, Eddy, Nino, Lesslie Ciao and to all the friendly locals down there.

Bramaputra - pic: Jonas Grünewald -
Bramaputra - pic: Jonas Gruenewald

Explore more

Share this