This is an itinerary which covers most of the highlights of Ladakh in an action-packed 14-day package. We start our trip from New Delhi with an overnight Volvo to Manali, a lush Himalayan Hill station famous for its apple orchards. After a day of relaxing and local sightseeing in Manali, we embark on an epic 2-day trans-Himalayan road trip to Leh rated as one of the finest road trips in the World crossing 5 high passes with stunning scenery.
We have a day’s rest to recoup from the driving when we checkout the famous monasteries and palaces in Leh. The next 2 days we visit the northernmost tip of India – Nubra Valley which used to be a major stopover for traders during the silk route days. Enjoy rides on the double-humped camels there and visit Diskit monastery with the 32 mtr statue of the Maitreya Buddha. On the way back to Leh, we enjoy mountain biking from the highest motorable pass – Khardung La(5359m).
We then hike for 3 days through the picturesque Sham Valley interspersed with villages with green farm fields. One of the best ways to feel the essence of Ladakh. We also get an opportunity to stay in Homestays and view first hand the lifestyle of people in Ladakh. We end the trek at Tingmosgang and to Lamayuru, one of the most popular monasteries of Ladakh. Lamayuru is situated in mud spires in a moonlike surroundings which will leave you in total awe. The next day at Leh is reserved for rest and leisure. Checkout sunrise over Tsemo Castle or sunset over Shanti Stupa. A heart warming experience just seeing the sun light up the Valley and turn it crimson during sunset. Visit the charming and bustling market in Leh and shop for your loved ones.
The next 2 days are reserved for a visit to Pangong Lake and a thrilling whitewater rafting experience on the Zanskar.
This is one trip that will leave you with vivid images and special experiences that you will be talking about for a long time.
Day 01:Evening board the Volvo to Manali
Day 02:Arrive Manali. Local Sightseeing
Day 03:Drive to Jispa(3200m)
Day 04:Drive to Leh
Day 05:Leh Sightseeing and Acclimatization
Day 06:Drive to Nubra Valley – Diskit , Hunder
Day 07:Drive to Khardungla. Bicycle to Leh
Day 08:Drive to Likir(2 hrs). Trek to Yangthang
Day 09:Trek to Hemisshukpachen
Day 10:Trek to Ang. Drive to Lamayuru. Return to Leh
Day 11:Rafting day trip on the Zanskar river
Day 12:Drive to Pangong Lake
Day 13:Return to Leh
Day 14:Depart Leh
Day 01: Evening departure from Delhi to Manali by evening Volvo(5 pm)
Board the Himachal Tourism Volvo bus from outside Himachal Bhavan in Mandi House in the evening. There are multiple Volvo buses that depart between 5:30pm and 7:00pm. The bus stops for dinner on the way. Most of the trekking group if not all would be booked on the same bus.
Driving Time: 14-15 hrs; Overnight Volvo Bus.
Day 02: Arrive Manali(2000m) by 9am. Rest and local sightseeing
The bus journey takes all night and you should be in Manali town before 10am in the morning. Our representative will pick you up from the bus stand and transfer you to our hotel near Prini. After breakfast, you can rest a bit and then set off on a sightseeing tour of Manali covering Hadimba and Manu temples and Roerich Art Gallery in Naggar.Post-lunch, you are free to do some shopping and checkout some vibrant restaurants in Old Manali. It is important to hit the bed early and rest well for the impending long drive.
Meals: B , Overnight Manali Hotel.
Day 03: Drive to Jispa(3300m) (5-6 hrs)
We start very early, before the daily tourist rush for Rohtang Pass(3980m). Once we cross Rohtang, we enter the semi-arid landscape of Lahaul. There is a brief stopover at Khoksar at the police checkpost, before proceeding on towards Jispa. Jispa is the most appropriate location for breaking journey on the way to Leh. Jispa at 3300m is not too high and is a great place to rest a night before proceeding on. There is a beautiful monastery close by and Bhaga river flows just next to the small wayside village. We spend the afternoon walking around Jispa.
Driving time: 5-6 Hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Jispa Hotel/Deluxe Tent.
Day 04: Drive to Leh(3500m) (10 – 11 hrs)
An extra early start yet again. We have to cross 4 passes today before reaching Leh.The drive up Baralacha La pass(4892m) is scenic. From there on we remain on high ground, above 4500m till we cross Taglang La(5360m) and descend into the Indus Valley and then drive on to Leh town. The road is broken in parts especially as we near the top of the passes. There is a high chance of having water flowing on roads in some stretches…esp above Darcha. The scenery throughout is pretty stunning, and we can’t help stopping now and then for clicking pictures.
Driving time: 10-11 Hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Leh Hotel.
Day 05: Leh Sightseeing – Shey Palace, Thiksey Monastery
We have a relaxed start after 2 days of continuous driving. After breakfast, we go for our half day sightseeing tour of monasteries and palaces. We visit Shey, the erstwhile capital of Ladakh which has a palace. Shey also is a famous picnic spot for the locals because of the grassy fields with water bodies in front of the palace. We then move to Thiksey monastery which resembles the Potala Palace of Tibet. The main attraction inside, is the 2 -storeyed statue of Maitreya Buddha which was the poster picture for incredible India campaigns. The view from atop Thiksey monastery is simply stunning. We return to Leh for lunch. Post-lunch we can walk around the charming markets of Leh.
Meals: B, Overnight Leh Hotel.
Day 06: Drive to Nubra Valley over Khardung La(5359m)
We drive over the highest motorable pass to Nubra Valley, which used to bean integral part of the silk route. Infact, the famous double-humped camels in this Valley were actually brought in by traders from across the Hindu Kush during the silk route days. We stop at the Hunder sand dunes, a unique place in Ladakh. It is a small desert just next to the Shyok river. You can take a ride on some bactrian camels here. We then drive to Diskit monastery with the giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Evening free to checkout the rustic town of Diskit. Nubra Valley borders with Pakistan and is the gateway to the Karakoram Range. The highest battlefield on Earth- Siachen lies in the Nubra Valley.
Driving Time: 5-6 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Hunder Hotel.
Day 07: Drive to Khardung La Pass(5359m). Optional mountain bike down to Leh(2-3 hrs)
We drive back to Khardun La. The highest motorable pass, where are mountain bikes will be waiting. We spend sometime taking in the stunning views of eastern Karakorams and enjoying some cardamom tea prepared by soldiers. Mountain Biking down the high pass is completely effortless! But, high caution has to be maintained on the rough, slushy tracks. Double check your cycle brakes before starting off. Peerless views of the entire Stok Range and Leh as we cycle down the pass.
Biking Time: 3-4 hrs
Meals: BL, Overnight Leh Hotel.
Day 08: Drive to Likir(3650) via Alchi. Trek to Yangthang(3700m) (5 hrs)
A 2 hr drive takes us to Likir, the start point of our 3 day trek. We have to cross 2 small passes Phobe La(3580m) and Chagatse La(3630m) to reach Yangthang. The trail immediately leaves the green village of Likir and gets onto the arid trail. After Phobe La we descend to the small village of Sumdo, where we have lunch. Post-Lunch, there is a steep hike to Chagatse La, from where we descend a little and go up again to the green farms of Yangthang. Ridzong monastery is one more hour below Yangthang.
Trek time: 5 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Homestay.
Day 09: Trek to Hemisshukpachen(3600m)(2-3 hrs)
From upper Yangthang, we move to lower side with a handful of houses, cross a stream and walk up to the pass at Tsermangchan La (3750m). Hemisshukpachen is a big village with a road skirting its boundary. It has also got a huge statue of Buddha newly installed at the highest point in the middle of the village. Post-lunch, we spend the rest of the day loitering around the village and learning more about the local culture.
Trek time: 2-3 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Homestay.
Day 10: Trek to Tingmosgang(3650m) (3-4 hrs). Drive to Lamayuru. Back to Leh
A gradual ascent from the village on a barren landscape takes us to 2 chortens with prayer flags. From here, we descend on a narrow dusty trail to climb steeply to Meptak La(3980m) with prayerflags. From here, we descend to the village of Ang. Temisgam is another 30 mins from here. We have lunch at Temisgam and hop onto our vehicles to drive to the ancient Lamayuru monastery set in a stunning moonlike surface. After the visit to Lamayuru we drive back to Leh.
Trek time: 3-4 hrs. Driving: 5 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Leh Hotel
Day 11: Rafting day trip on the Zanskar river
Rafting is one more thrilling activity you can indulge in when in Leh. Indus and Zanskar offer classic day trip sections. The Zanskar day trip is graded 3+ and is in a gorge section. We drive for about 2 hrs from Leh, upstream the Zanskar river to the starting point called Chilling. The Zanskar river carries a lot of silt, is very cold and has some fantastic rapids. A great way to experience the Zanskar Gorge. You are kitted up with wet suits, life jackets, helmets and paddles for the raft trip. Post trip, we have a sumptuous lunch on the riverside, getting warm in the strong sun. We visit the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib on our way back. Free time from late afternoon for shopping and buying souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
Rafting Time: 3 hrs
Meals: BL, Overnight Leh Hotel
Day 12: Drive to Pangong Lake
Pangong Tso is the biggest lake in Ladakh and spans 135Kms with just one third of the lake lying in India. The rest lies as part of China. The cobalt blue Pangong Tso, can be reached after a 5 hr scenic drive over the Chang La(5360m). The Chang Chenmo mountains make the backdrop of this stunning lake. The colours around will send the photographer in you into a tizzy! Cobalt lake, arid brown mountain range with snow white summits and the azure blue of the skies!! This could be heaven. We spend a night here enjoying Pangong in all its colours as the light shifts. A great place to look in oneself as you look out at the blue expanse. People spontaneously slip into a meditative state at this enchanted lake.
Driving Time:5-6 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Pangong Deluxe Tents/ Homestay.
Day 13: Return to Leh
After a relaxed breakfast, we make our way back over the Chang La to Leh. Another day to savour the spectacular arid scenery on route.
Driving Time:5-6 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Leh Hotel.
Day 14:Depart Leh
Early morning transfer to the airport for departure. Trip Ends