(7 nights 8 days)
Diverse cultures have developed in the Himalayas over the last few centuries. Some of the regions, that remained cut off from the rest of the world for historical reasons, have retained their unique character. To the West of the Himalayas, Ladakh is one such region. It is a land like no other. Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, Ladakh lies athwart two others, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range, and covers almost 1, 00,000 sq. kms, or a little more than twice the size of Switzerland! The greater Himalayas shelter Ladakh from the Indian monsoon. Ladakh was once covered by an extensive lake system, the vestiges of which still exist on its south-east plateau of Rupshu and Chunshul in drainage basins with evocative names like Tso Moriri, Tso Kar and grandest of all, Pangang Tso. With Tibet and Xinjiang regions of China to the East and North West, and Pakistan to the West, Ladakh occupies a key strategic position. One can explore the high altitude cold desert of Ladakh through Jeep Safaris and treks.
- Day 1: Arrive Leh (3505 M/11500 ft.) Board a morning flight and reach Leh airport. Our representative will receive you at the terminal and you then drive for about 20 minutes to reach Leh town. Check into your room. It is critical for proper acclimatization that people flying in to Leh don’t indulge in much physical activity for at least the first 24. So the rest of the day is reserved for relaxation and a short acclimatization walk in the vicinity.
- Day 2: Leh - visit select gompa, monuments & villages in Leh valley Visit Shey, Thiksey & Hemis Gompas. Later enjoy a Ladakhi meal at a traditional home in Stok Village. Late afternoon and evening at leisure in Leh – see the palace & walk around in the bazaar.
- Day 3: Leh – Turtuk 220 kms / 8 hrs Deskit (altitude 3048m / 10,000ft) 210kms/7hrs Check out after breakfast, and leave on a stunning drive to Nubra valley. Drive over the mighty Khardung La – the 2nd highest motorable pass in the world at a mind blowing 5602 M / 18,380 ft. The road then dramatically plunges into a whirlpool of bends to gradually unfold itself along the rushing Shyok and Nubra Rivers. We move on to Deskit and drive further north, past the Thoise airstrip to Turtuk - a part of the Balti region of Pakistan till it was annexed by India during the 1971 war.. Overnight in tents at a campsite.
- Day 4: In Turtuk – short walks / hikes & tradititional balti meal Post breakfast spend 2- 3 hrs walking in & around the villages, interacting with the warm & hospitable locals sporting European looks. The cherubic kids are especially adorable. Get back to the campsite & enjoy a traditional Balti meal – so tasteful, nutritious and salubrious a diet that even 80- 90 yr olds in the villages are active & full of life. Later go for a hike & explore the fantastic, totally pristine natural beauty all around.
- Day 5: Turtuk - Deskit / Hunder 90 km / 3 hrs Post breakfast, retrace you route past via Hunder – here those interested can enjoy the double humped camel ride. Later continue your drive for another 10 min. to reach Deskit by afternoon. On arrival check in to the hotel. Post your evening cuppa, go to a vantage point with a huge outdoor statue of the Sakhyamuni Buddha near Deskit Gompa to enjoy great sunset views Photo ops: en route to the pass; at the pass, views of Nubra Valley descending after the Pass.
- Day 6: Deskit - Shyok – Pangong Tso (4260 M / 14000 ft) 230 km / 8-9 hr Leave post an early breakfast, on an uncommon drive over a very offbeat route that takes you over a little known road via Shyok, into the Sakti Valley. A short while later, stop for a quick look into the cave gompa of Chemrey, and move on to meet the route from Leh, a short distance before the imposing Chang-La (5,475 M / 17950 ft). Go over the pass and carry on via Tangse and finally reach the grand Pangong Lake by evening, in time to catch the sunset views. Stay overnight in tents at a campsite.
- Day 7: Pangong Tso - Hemis - Leh 165 km / 5 ½ hrs Enjoy your early morning cuppa by the lake shore. On the drive back to Leh, take a detour at Karu to see Hemis Gompa. Spend sunset at Shanti Stupa for great views.
- Day 8: Depart Leh Morning transfer to the airport in time for your return flight back home taking with you the memorable moments you had during your stay in Ladakh.