Ladakh: Land of High Passes
Situated at an average altitude of over 11,000 feet Ladakh (literally- 'land of high passes'), nestling in the Himalayas, is a place like no other. A high altitude cold desert, its dramatic landscape is the closest most of us will ever get to the moon. Vast plateaus bounded by towering massifs, verdant valleys that surprise you with a splash of vivid green, the highest motorable pass in the world, incredibly blue skies, remote monasteries built on hilltops, air so clear you can literally see for miles, but also so thin that you had better acclimatize before you undertake any serious walking... and above all the Ladakhi people- simple folk, full of warmth and wisdom.
There are two ways of getting into Ladakh- either fly directly into Leh from Delhi or drive up from Manali. (You can get to Manali from Delhi by air, or by car, or an overnight deluxe bus.) Itinerary 1 involves the driving option, Itinerary 2 below flies you in. Ladakh also offers some unbeatable trekking opportunities- from gentle 2/3 day treks out of Leh to more rugged trips of up to 2 weeks. So pick your comfort (or tolerance!) level and send us a message.
Day 1: Delhi - Leh
Fly from Delhi into Leh. Keep your camera ready in the flight for some dramatic pictures of the snow-capped Himalayas. Leh airport is at 3,256 metres (over 10,600 feet) and you will feel the difference at once. To acclimatize yourself, it's advisable to walk slowly and take it easy for the first day or two. Check into your lovely hotel- The Kaal- built in the traditional Ladakhi style with carved windows and prayer rooms with exquisitely carved wooden furniture. The atmosphere is homelike, the food is great and it's a short drive from the town centre. You can visit the Leh market later in the evening. Rest and acclimatize. Overnight Leh.
Day 2: Leh and the monasteries
Visit the Shey, Thiksey and Hemis gompas (monasteries). It's a full day trip with about 100 km of driving- but still an easy trip for the first day. The colourful monasteries of Ladakh with their scroll-paintings (thankhas), carvings, Buddha statues and stunning locations are an artistic and beautiful experience. Return to Leh in the evening. Overnight Leh.
Day 3: Leh - Alchi
Drive to the Alchi monastery, 75 km away, visiting some interesting places like Rizong Gompa en route. Alchi is the oldest monastery in Ladakh. Take a torch- it's dark inside and you don't want to miss the ancient statues and paintings on the walls. Cameras are not allowed inside the inner sanctum, but you can take pictures outside. The walls outside are full of dramatic paintings done in the traditional Ladakhi style. Overnight at the Uleytokpo Camp at Alchi. These are beautifully designed camps with tents for two people and have modern washrooms.
Day 4: Alchi - Lamayuru - Leh
Drive back to Leh via Lamayuru. The landscape leading to the Lamayuru monastery is known to resemble the moonscape, with its craggy hills and rock formations. The view from the top of the monastery is definitely other-worldly! Overnight Leh.
Day 5: Leh and Pangong
An early morning start for the beautiful Pangong Lake, 215 km (5 hours) away. This is a long and magical drive over mountains, through a river bed, later crossing the Chang La pass at 5360 metres. There are snow-capped mountains all around and it can get pretty cold. Pangong is a ridiculously picturesque lake with many dramatic shades of blue and crystal-clear waters. You have the option of spending one night at Pangong, or return to Leh.
Day 6: Leh and Khardung La
Drive to the Khardung La pass- the highest motorable road in the world at 18,380 feet. The road is well maintained by the army and the view as you keep going higher is amazing. Enjoy that top of the world feeling! Drive back to your hotel in Leh for the night.
Day 7: Leh
If you're up to it, climb the hill up to the Shanti Stupa. Otherwise it's an easy day in Leh today. Overnight Leh.
Day 8: Leh - Delhi & onward
Catch your flight from Leh to Delhi and move on to your next destination.
Prices start from 850$ per person for a minimum of 2 people travelling together
Booking & Cancellation Policy
- 07 nights' accommodation with all meals included
- Sightseeing as per itinerary
- 4x4 SUV travel in Ladakh with driver, fuel, tolls and taxes
- Airfare from Delhi to Leh and back
- Personal expenses like telephone calls, laundry, beverages, etc
- Entrances and camera fees at monuments
- Tips and gratuities to drivers, guides and hotel staff
- Government Service Tax @ 5%
Ladakh, known as 'Little Tibet' is a peaceful Buddhist district of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. It has given refuge to the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans who crossed over. For adventure lovers, there are high altitude scenic treks and river rafting. The high mountain ranges speak of splendid isolation. Colourful monasteries are perched atop perilous peaks, with prayer flags fluttering in the wind. This is a mystical, magical place.
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