Ladakh - A Trans Himalayan Safari
Trip code: Private Journey
Price from: from £2435
The rugged landscape of Ladakh, home to ancient monasteries perched in improbable locations, remained unexplored for centuries, and has only recently been opened up to visitors. One of the highlights of the tour is a spectacular jeep safari over some of the highest mountain passes in the world, including Taglang La, at over 17,000 feet. Views in the arid high altitude landscape change dramatically at every turn, with the blue waters of the Indus River flowing ever through. There is the chance of sighting rare wildlife including the magnificent snow leopard. We also take in the serene hill town of Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s home in exile. The varied€commodation is mid-range or basic, with a period first class hotel in Delhi.
Day 1 London - Delhi
Take an evening flight from London Heathrow to Delhi.
Day 2 Delhi
Upon arrival transfer to the Maidens or Claridges Hotel; both first class hotels. The afternoon is free to relax after your flight.
Day 3 Delhi - Dharamsala
This morning take a short flight to Dharamsala, which is the current home of H.H. The Dalai Lama. The town is perched along a spur of the Dhaulandhar range, overlooking the Kangra valley and the Shivalik mountains. Stay at the Blossoms Village Resort or Chonor House for 2 nights. In the afternoon visit the nearby Norbulingka Institute, built in the style of the Dalai Lama’s former summer residence in Lhasa (Tibet) and now maintained as a sanctuary to preserve Tibetan culture and art.
Day 4 Dharamsala
Visit the Tibetan Buddhist enclave of Mcleodganj with visits to the Namgyal Monastery, the Kalachakra Temple and the Bhagsunath temple. In the afternoon you can relax in one of the many inviting cafes where it is easy to strike up a conversation with one of the locals and explore some of the smaller local monasteries.
Day 5 Dharamsala - Manali
Today undertake a long but scenic drive to Manali. You’ll visit the Baijnath temple at Palampur en route. Stay two nights at the simple Banon Resorts.
Day 6 Manali
Set along the Beas River Valley, Manali is a popular hill station. The town was once the starting point of the ancient trade route which snaked its way to Ladakh in the north. Today explore the Old Town, visit the intricately carved Hadimba Temple or roam around the busy mall. This day is also important for€climatisation purposes.
Day 7 Manali - Keylong
Commence the incredible journey up through the Himalaya towards Ladakh and the town of Leh which, both geographically and culturally, is linked to Tibet. The day’s drive crosses the nearly 4,000 meter Rohtang pass. On the way there is time for a visit to the Khardung Gompa (Monastery). Stop for the night at Keylong, staying at the simple Tashi Deleg hotel.
Day 8 Keylong - Sarchu
Another fantastic drive to Sarchu today, crossing the Baralacha La pass (4,890 meters). Spend the night at the stunningly located Sarchu tented camp.
Day 9 Sarchu - Leh
Drive along the Rupshu plains with a chance to see rare wildlife such as wild ass (kiang) and Ibex. Cross Taglang La (17,500 feet) before reaching Leh; stay at the Lharimo Hotel for three nights. (Tsomoriri Lake: You have the option of driving via the beautiful Tsomoriri Lake, arriving Leh a day later). The afternoon is at leisure to€climatise.
Day 10 Leh
Leh and the surrounding landscape is a real show case for the diversity that India offers. Historically an important trading post between Tibet and India the area is dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries that are treasure houses of religious art and ancient artefacts. The morning is spent visiting Leh’s local sights including the bazaar, Sankar Gompa and the Shanti Stupa. There is time this afternoon to explore the town at your own pace.
Day 11 Leh
A full day’s tour of the Indus Valley today includes the impressive Hemis and Thiksey Gompas (monasteries). You’ll also visit the Shey Gompa which was formerly a Royal Palace.
Day 12 Leh - Alchi
Drive to Alchi stopping at the Likir Gompa en route; visit the Alchi Gompa which is well known locally for its intricate wall paintings. The night is spent at the simple Alchi Resort.
Day 13 Alchi - Leh
Return to Leh in the afternoon for a night’s stay at the Lharimo hotel.
Day 14 Leh - Delhi
Take a morning flight to Delhi where you’ll stay at deluxe Leela or Shangri la hotels.
Day 15 Delhi - London
Fly back to London.
Season: Mid-June to mid-October
Recommended extension: Nubra Valley
Drive to the beautiful Nubra Valley for three nights in a tented camp, driving through Khardung la, one of the highest motorable passes in the world. Excursions will include a visit to the Samsthaling Monastery, a hike to Ansa, ride a double-humped Bactrian camel at Hunder; option of rafting on the Shyok River; return to Leh for a night. Fly out of Delhi on Day 19.
Health precaution: Ladakh is at high altitude and anyone with breathing, lung or related problems should seek medical advice before travelling.