(9 nights 10 days)
This drive from Srinagar is perhaps only a tad less thrilling than the one from Manali as the passes you cross are not as high. But in terms of scenic beauty and variety in the terrain you drive through, it is surely a notch above. You also get well acclimatized by the time you reach Leh, so this is indeed a great alternative for those who find the drive from Manali a bit too rugged or strenuous.
- Day 1: Arrive In Srinagar - Sonamarg (2740 M / 8900 ft) 84 km / 2 ½ hrs drive Reach Srinagar Airport in the afternoon via Delhi. Do a short but picturesque drive to reach Sonamarg by early evening. Stay overnight in rooms at a hotel.
- Day 2: Sonamarg - Mulbekh (3140 M) 160 km /6 ½ hrs A morning walk in the meadows should just hit the spot. Later leave on a drive from verdant landscapes into starkly contrasting mountain desert terrain as you cross the formidable Zoji La (3529 M). Drive via Drass and Kargil to reach the peaceful plateau of Mulbekh by late afternoon. Stay overnight in safari tents at a campsite.
- Day 3: Mulbekh - Leh (3505 M) 190 km / 7 hrs Leave after breakfast on a drive over Fotu La (4107 M) & Namika La (3780 M) to reach the moonscapes of Lamayuru. Later you reach Khalsar and carry on along the Indus all the way to Leh – stop en route at Nimmu (confluence point of the Indus & Zanskar), Patthar Sahib Gurudwara and Magnetic Point for a quick look. Stay overnight in a hotel/resort in Leh or its outskirts.Leave after breakfast on a drive over Fotu La (4107 M) & Namika La (3780 M) to reach the moonscapes of Lamayuru. Later you reach Khalsar and carry on along the Indus all the way to Leh – stop en route at Nimmu (confluence point of the Indus & Zanskar), Patthar Sahib Gurudwara and Magnetic Point for a quick look. Stay overnight in a hotel/resort in Leh or its outskirts.
- Day 4: Leh - visit select gompas, 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 5: Leh - Nubra Valley at Deskit/Hunder (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. Do a ride on the double-humped Bactrian Camels in Hunder and spend sunset at a vantage point near Deskit Gompa. Stay overnight in a hotel in Deskit or in tents at a campsite on the sand dunes of Hunder.
- Day 6: Deskit / Hunder - Turtuk 90 km / 3 hrs Post breakfast 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. Have a traditional Balti lunch and spend the rest of the day walking around in the village and interacting with the warm & hospitable locals with cherubic European looks- the kids are especially adorable. Overnight in tents at a campsite.
- Day 7: Turtuk - Leh 220 kms / 8 hrs Post breakfast retrace you route past via Hunder- Deskit and over Khardung La to reach Leh by early evening. Spend sunset at Shanti Stupa for great views.
- Day 8: Leh - Pangong Tso (4260 M) 150 km / 5 hr Leave post breakfast on a great drive over Chang-La (5,475 M / 17950 ft) to 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 9: 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 10: Leh - Fly Back Morning transfer to the airport in time for your return flight.
PLEASE NOTE: if you have one more day to spare then rafting on the Zanskar/ Indus can be included.