- Ride a Bactrian camel in the Nubra Valley
- See three beautiful gompas (monasteries) around Leh
- Visit Pangong Tso, the largest brackish lake in Asia
- Drive down Khardungla Pass, the world's highest motorable pass
|Day 1||Arrive in Leh & Explore||Leh|
|Day 2||Tour of Monasteries Around Leh: Shey, Thiksey, & Hemis||Leh|
|Day 3||Transfer from Leh to the Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass||Nubra Valley|
|Day 4||Nubra Sightseeing: Deskit, Hundar & Camel Safari||Nubra Valley|
|Day 5||Transfer from Nubra to Pangong Tso via the Shyok River||Pangong Tso|
|Day 6||Transfer from Pangong to Leh via Sindhu Ghat||Leh|
|Day 7||Fly from Leh to Delhi, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Leh & Explore
Welcome to India! Fly from Delhi to Leh, a spectacular flight over the mountains. You may be able to see the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, and Gasherbrum on your way in. Once you arrive, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel.
Take it easy after arrival, as the altitude difference between Delhi and Leh is large: Leh is located at 11,562 feet (3,500 m). If you feel like it, head out to explore one of Leh's markets, which offer a good introduction to the life and culture of the city. You can also check out the city's gompas (monasteries), and try some traditional momos (steamed dumplings), as you take in the spectacular mountain views.
Day 2: Tour of Monasteries Around Leh: Shey, Thiksey, & Hemis
Begin your exploration of Ladakh today with a tour of the monasteries near Leh. Start by driving up the Indus Valley to Shey Palace and Gompa. Located on a hill 9 miles (15 km) upstream, Shey was once the seat of kings. A 24-foot (7.5 m) high gold-plated copper statue of the Buddha sits here. Continue driving to Thiksey Gompa, one of the largest and most architecturally-impressive gompas in Ladakh. There are several beautiful temples within its walls, plus stupas and Buddhist wall paintings. Thiksey has been nicknamed the "mini Potala Palace" because of its resemblance to this palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
Last but not least is the Hemis Gompa, built in 1630 and located 25 miles (40 km) from Leh. It's the biggest, wealthiest, and best-known gompa in Ladakh. Its popularity partly stems from the major summer festival held here, in honor of Guru Padma Sambhava's birthday. It also has the largest thangka (Buddhist painting) in Ladakh, which is unfurled once every 12 years. Be sure to check out the frescoes on the verandas here. After returning to Leh, visit the Shanti Stupa on a hill above the city. Built in 1995, from the stupa you can see panoramic views of Leh and the Indus Valley.
Day 3: Transfer from Leh to the Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass
Rise early this morning to journey to the Nubra Valley via the Khardungla Pass. This is known as the world's highest motorable road, with an elevation of 18,379 feet (5,602 m). Enjoy the views of the surrounding mountain peaks as you go. After a six-hour journey, arrive in Nubra around noon, and check in to your hotel. Then, spend the evening relaxing at your leisure.
Day 4: Nubra Sightseeing: Deskit, Hundar & Camel Safari
Today you'll make a visit to Deskit, the main village in the Nubra Valley. There's a small market and a gompa dating back to 1420 on the hilltop, from which there are spectacular views of the valley. About 100 monks live here. Later, continue to Hundar village, where you'll also see Samstanling Monastery and a ruined fort on a hill above it.
In the afternoon, return from Hundar to Deskit on a bactrian camel safari (or on foot if you prefer). The trek through the sand dunes takes about two hours. Afterward, return to your hotel in the Nubra Valley and settle in for the night.
Day 5: Transfer from Nubra to Pangong Tso via the Shyok River
This morning, visit the village of Panamik, which is famous for its hot springs. Once you've had a look around, drive to Pangong Tso, the largest brackish lake in Asia. A large part of it extends into Tibet. The lake is 80 miles (130 km) long, and 3 miles (5 km) at its widest point. It freezes completely in winter and there is no marine life here, except for a few migrating birds such as gulls and Brahminy ducks.
As this is a border region, the furthest point you're allowed to go to is Spangmik. From here, you'll have spectacular views of the mountains of the Changchenmo range to the north, as well as their reflections in the ever-changing surface of the blue-green lake. Above Spangmik are the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Pangong range. Spend the night on the shores of Pangong Tso.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Transfer from Pangong to Leh via Sindhu Ghat
Drive back to Leh via the Chang La Pass, at an elevation of 17,388 feet (5,300 m). On the way, stop at Sindhu Ghat, a scenic spot where the Sindhu Darshan festival takes place on the banks of the Indus River. You'll also visit SOS Childen's Village, a local NGO that supports orphaned and abandoned children. Soon, you'll reach Leh, where you'll relax and spend the night.
Day 7: Fly from Leh to Delhi
Say goodbye to India today! Transfer to the airport in Leh this morning in good time to check in for your flight to New Delhi, where you'll catch your onward connection. Shubh yatra, and bon voyage!