The white water rafting hub: Phey, Zanskar Valley
Phey is a village that is located in the Zanskar Valley of the Ladakh region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Phey is at an altitude of around 11,400 feet above sea-level and is about 20 km from the town of Padum in Zanskar.
Phey lies on the Kargil – Padum road. The best way to get to this village is by taking a bus from Kargil 300 km or a local bus. From the town of Padum, the village of Phey is best approachable by either hiking through the hills or walking along the dusty road. The hike from Padum to Phey and back is easy and something one should try if time permits. The hike takes not more than four hours and takes you through remote high altitude villages and monasteries. There are also a few Buddhist meditation caves along the way that are worth a visit.
Since this village is inhabited by Buddhist there are a few prayer wheels in the village and some stupas. The houses are all painted in white with maroon painted windows. The village of Phey has houses on either side of the road with barriers made of stones lined up all along the road from the start to the end of the village.
The villagers of Phey are a hard breed of people who live a simple life. The women work in the house and grow crops near the village while the men are mostly shepherds and take their sheep and cows to graze daily during the summers. During the winter months everyone including the cattle are house bound since the conditions outside the houses are extremely cold.
There is also a village school which has students coming to learn from all the remote villages which are in close proximity to Phey. These children generally walk to school and back so it’s common to see a group of young kids, even five-year-olds walking all alone on these roads.
Phey has a couple of adventure companies that run white water rafting on the Zanskar River. The white water rafting in the Zanskar River is something worth doing for anyone who likes adventure. Rafting is conducted up to grade five. They even have rafting for beginners which is a must do thing for anyone who visits Phey, because it is not always that one gets a chance to go rafting in the Trans-Himalayas. It is important to hire body suits since the water is freezing cold.
The village of Phey does have a government guest house which has very nice rooms for very affordable prices. There are also a couple of guest houses and a few home stays in the village. The home stays come with very basic accommodation and the cost is generally inclusive of breakfast and dinner.
Phey also has some restaurants which are more like dhabas and the menu mostly has Tibetan and European cuisine. The only Indian dish on the menu the vegetable thali.
This village of Phey is an ideal stop over for adventure junkies or anyone who wants to experience white water rafting in the Zanskar River since this village is the base for rafting in the valley.
For a similar experience, click here