- Visit Alchi monastery, the oldest in the region
- Learn more about Tibetan culture in and around Leh
- Camp on the shores of Pangong Tso
- Discover the region's beautiful landscapes
|Day 1||Arrive in Leh and tour the town||Leh|
|Day 2||Visit Lamayuru and Alchi Monasteries||Leh|
|Day 3||Drive to Pangong Tso||Pangong Tso|
|Day 4||Drive Back to Leh via Thiksey and Hemis||Leh|
|Day 5||Free day in Delhi and departure|
Day 1: Arrive in Leh and Tour the Town
Early in the morning, you'll fly over the Himalayan barrier and land in Leh, where a driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. You'll spend the rest of the day exploring the city, including the markets, the royal palace, and the monastery. Leh has an altitude of 11,500 feet (3,500 meters), so it's best to take it gently on the first day to give your body time to acclimate.
If you're feeling up for it, your guide will also take you to Leh Palace, which overlooks Leh from the top of Namgyal Hill. The palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century but was abandoned later when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century.
Day 2: Visit Lamayuru and Alchi Monasteries
Today you'll visit two of the area's most famous monasteries: Lamayuru and Alchi.
First, your driver will take you to Lamayuru Monastery, which sits on a promontory above the valley. Lamayuru is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. According to the stories, Lamayuru's valley was once a lake where Nagas (holy serpents) lived, and the Bodhisattva Madhyantaka prophesized that the lake would one day be emptied and a monastery would be built here.
Afterward, you'll visit Alchi, the largest and most famous monastery in the region. Alchi is 43 miles (69 km) from Leh and was built approximately 990 years ago. This Gompa (or monastery) is known for its massive Buddha statues, lavish wood carvings, and beautiful artwork.
In the late afternoon, you'll return to Leh and have the evening free to relax or explore the market.
Day 3: Drive to Pangong Tso
After breakfast, your driver will pick you up and take you through the Changla Pass (17, 998 feet/5486 meters) towards Pangong Lake. This is a long, easy ascent over winding roads and through Sakti Village. You'll stop at the pass to take a few pictures, then drive down to the village of Tangtse, where you can take a break with a cup of tea.
You'll continue the drive through several more small villages before you get a sudden view of the Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 m). This famously blue lake is only three miles (five km) wide at its widest point and is 83 miles (134 km) long. Once you arrive, you'll check-in at your camp by the lake and have the rest of the day to enjoy the spectacular view. The entire drive to Pangong Tso takes about six hours.
Day 4: Drive Back to Leh via Thiksey and Hemis
After breakfast, hop back into the car for the return trip to Leh. On the way, you'll stop at and visit several major gompas (monasteries).
First, you'll visit the Thiksey monastery, which belongs to the Gelug school of Buddhism (recognizable by their yellow hats). This monastery is located high on top of a hill and can be seen from miles away. It also contains a magnificent two-story image of Future Buddha.
Next, you'll drive to Hemis, which belongs to the Drukpa order (who wear red hats). Hemis is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh, and also has a large collection of ancient relics. These, combined with the monastery's rare 17th-century murals and the painted stone reliefs that decorate the courtyard gallery make this gompa a must-see.
From there, you'll continue on to Leh.
Day 5: Free Day in Delhi and Departure
In the early morning, your driver will take you to the airport for your flight to Delhi. This hourlong flight gives you breathtaking views of the entire Himalayan Range before you reach the plains of north India.
You'll have a free day in Delhi to explore the city on your own. In the evening, your driver will meet you in the city and take you to Delhi International Airport (DEL) to catch your flight home.