(7 nights 8 days)
This is a compact, fast paced trip, particularly well suited to those who really can’t spare more than a week for a trip to Ladakh. We make sure that you get to see the pick of the well known travel delights like Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley…but also those that are off the beaten track like Turtuk, the drive over Wari La that allows you to come directly to Pangong from Nubra… few prospective tourists get to know of these Ladakh experiences and still fewer people actually get to do these. Those who do, get captivated by the unique scenic beauty & visual appeal, the pristine ambience with very limited tourist activity, and find it a refreshing change, a sanctum offering the wonderful feeling of being incognito in spectacular place, insulated from the crowds that throng elsewhere.
- Day 1: DELHI LEH (3505 M) 1hr 15 min flight Arrive at Leh airport from Delhi. It is a 1hr 15 minute flight with great views over the last 15 mins. Our representative will receive the group at the terminal and you then drive for about 10 minutes to reach Leh. Check into your hotel rooms. 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 gompas, monuments and a traditional village home for a Ladakhi meal After breakfast visit Shey & Thiksey Gompas. On the drive back take a detour across the Indus to Stok. See the palace & museum here, before going to 300 yr old traditional home high up in the village, to enjoy a Ladakhi meal. Late afternoon and evening at leisure in Leh – see the palace & walk around in the bazaar. Around 1730 hrs we leave on a beautiful drive of about 45 mins on the picturesque Srinagar Highway to spend sunset at Nimmu – the confluence point of the Indus & Zanskar Rivers, and also stop at Magnetic Point to enjoy the experience of seeing your vehicle slowly move uphill on its own – with the engine switched-off. Though it’s proven that it is just an optical illusion, the visual effect is eerie. Be back at your guesthouse for dinner.
- Day 3: Leh - Nubra Valley at Deskit (avg. alt. 3048 M) 140 km / 5 hrs A stunning drive over the mighty Khardung La (5602 M) brings you to the verdant Nubra Valley. We reach Deskit for a sumptuous hot lunch at your hotel. Relax a while and early evening around 1600 hrs we drive about 15 minutes to reach the white sand dunes of Hunder. Do a ride on the double-humped Bactrian Camels in Hunder and return to enjoy great sunset views from a vantage point with a huge outdoor statue of the Sakhyamuni Buddha near Deskit Gompa. Stay overnight in a hotel at Deskit.
- Day 4: Deskit border villages of Turtuk 90 km / 3 hrs Post breakfast drive further north, past the Thoise Air Field. The wide, open Nubra Valley starts closing in dramatically with the rocky mountain face getting darker & darker, finally bursting out into the verdant & vibrant Turtuk area at the north western end of the valley which borders the Balti province of Pakistan - this area & the twin villages of Turtuk Youl & Pharol were annexed by India during the 1971 war. In fact the village gives the look & feel of being in Pakistan/Afghanistan. However, you may rest assured that the locals are very patriotic towards India. Check into safari tents at a verdant campsite amidst fields & orchards, sprinkled with clumps of wild & vibrantly colored blooms. Have a traditional Balti meal – so tasteful, nutritious and salubrious a diet that even 80- 90 yr olds in the twin villages of are active & full of life. We spend the rest of the day walking around in the villages & interacting with the warm & hospitable locals sporting European looks. The cherubic kids are especially adorable, and so are the vistas in the surrounding region when you hike out a bit.
- Day 5: Turtuk - Leh 230 kms / 8 hrs Post breakfast retrace your route past via Hunder- Deskit and over Khardung La to reach Leh by early evening. Rest of the evening at leisure to just stroll around in Leh bazaar/town.
- Day 6: Leh Pangong Tso (4260 M / 14000 ft) 150 km / 5 hr Leave post breakfast on a great drive over Chang-La (5,475 M / 17950 ft) to reach Tangse. We stop here to have our lunch in the Ladakhi style dining area of a local home-cum-guesthouse. Later we also take a short detour to see a temple with some amazingly intricate wood carving, and we finally reach the grand Pangong lake by late afternoon. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountains of the Changchenmo range to the north, their reflection shimmering in the ever changing blues and greens of the lakes brackish water. Stay overnight in tents at a campsite bang on the lake shore.
- Day 7: Pangong Tso Hemis Leh 165 km / 5 ½ hrs Enjoy your early morning cuppa & a spectacular sunrise by the lake shore. On the drive back to Leh, take a detour at Karu to see the glorious Hemis Gompa atop a hill in the periphery of the Hemis National Park. Later we have our packed lunch in a quaint cafeteria at the base of the main stairway. Reach Leh by late afternoon. Rest a while and leave for the bazaar to shop for Thangkas, Chunky antique Silver Jewelry with Turquoise embellishments, mementos, Apricots & apricot based beauty products… Spend sunset at Shanti Stupa for unforgettable views of Leh Valley & town. Bid your adieus as you enjoy a grand farewell dinner at Summer Harvest restaurant and reach you guesthouse in time to turn in for the night.
- Day 8: Leh Fly Back Morning transfer to the airport in time for your return flight your return flight to Delhi…