Spend a week amid the high-altitude beauty of India's northern territories on this off-the-beaten-path family adventure. Start in the city of Leh, where you'll walk the halls of ancient monasteries and hear the morning chants of the monks that live there. Take a thrilling whitewater ride on the Indus River, then head to Nubra Valley to tour the sand dunes of Hundar via camel. Hike the sacred shores of Yarab Lake, "glamp" at the otherworldly Pangong Lake, and return to Leh in time for shopping at its lively market.


  • See ancient monasteries and listen to the monk's early morning chants in Leh
  • Take a wild whitewater ride down the mighty Indus River 
  • Travel across the shifting dunes of Hundar on a two-humped camel 
  • Camp along the peaceful shores and endless views of Pangong Lake 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Leh, Leh Orientation Walk  Leh
Day 2 Explore Leh, Monastery Tours, Rafting Adventure on the Indus River  Leh
Day 3 Transfer to Nubra Valley, Hundar Village, Camel Rides & Hot Springs  Nubra
Day 4 Explore Nubra, Diskit Monastery, Visit Yarab Lake  Nubra
Day 5 Transfer to Pangong Lake, Camping Adventure on the Lake  Pangong Tso
Day 6 Return to Leh via Hemis, Free Evening in Leh Leh
Day 7 Fly to Delhi & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Leh, Leh Orientation Walk 

Get acclimated to the altitude in Leh today 

Welcome to India! Your flight will take you to the New Delhi airport, where you'll catch your connecting flight to your first destination, Leh. Located in the far northern territory of Ladakh, this charming city sits in a fertile valley just above the Indus River. The region is known for its abundance of picturesque monasteries, as well as for being a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The plane to Leh crosses the mighty Himalaya range, providing an amazing overhead view of the mountains and glaciers, so be sure to grab a window seat!

Upon your arrival at Leh Airport, you'll be met by your driver and taken to your hotel. You're likely to immediately notice the change in altitude here—Leh sits at 11,500 feet (3,500 m), which can be a bit of a shock to the system. You may want to spend today resting and acclimating, or if everyone is up for it, your family can take an easy guided walk around the valley.

The tour takes you to Leh's old Royal Palace, which sits on Namgyal Hill, then along a winding path to the nearby Tsemo Monastery, where you'll be rewarded with magnificent views of the whole of Leh, the Stok mountain range, and its surrounding villages. See the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Shanti Stupa, which was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. End the day with a visit to some of the local bazaars, where you can get a bite to eat and the kids can run around freely. 

Day 2: Explore Leh, Monastery Tours, Rafting Adventure on the Indus River 

Explore Leh and its impressive monasteries

This morning, enjoy a guided driving tour of Leh, which takes you along the Indus and Zanskar Rivers. You'll make a stop at Sindhu Ghat, where the kids can stretch their legs and, depending on the time of year, might even get to see some of the local festivals taking place on the banks of the river. Then, continue to Thiksey Monastery, where you'll listen to the morning prayers, chanting, and drum-playing of the monks that live there. 

Visit Shey Monastery, once the summer capital of Ladakh and home to the impressive Shakyamuni Buddha and Shey Palace. After touring the monastery and palace, you and the kids will have an opportunity to try out your archery skills! Archery is a popular sport here and is considered to be part of Ladakh tradition. After a lunch break, visit Stok Palace Museum, which was built in the 14th century by Lama Lhawang Lotus. The museum has exhibitions of various ancient artifacts, including royal crowns, coins, precious stones, jewelry, and prayer instruments.

If your family is looking for some real outdoor adventuring, spend your afternoon rafting down the Indus River, easily considered one of the most beautiful whitewater streams in the Himalaya. Your guide will provide a safety briefing, and you'll don the provided equipment, then start your journey, traversing moderate class II and III rapids along the way. The run takes you through breathtaking mountain views, with tiny villages and grand old monasteries hidden among the valleys, and the kids will love the excitement of the rapids as well as the chance to spot some local wildlife! 

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Day 3: Transfer to Nubra Valley, Hundar Village, Camel Rides & Hot Springs 

Ride a double-humped Bactrian camel in Hundar

The day starts early with a drive to the Nubra Valley, which takes you along Khardung La—the world's highest motorable road—and Khardungla Pass, which sits at an astounding 18,379 feet (5,602 m). Enjoy the breathtaking views that stretch south over the valley to the peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range and north to the giants of the Saser massif. Nubra Valley, or Ldumra (Valley of Flowers), is nestled between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges, a desert expanse that sits at nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level. 

Your final destination is the village of Hundar. Hundar is often referred to as the "desert in the sky" and is known for its sand dunes and barren landscapes. Once you've gotten settled at your accommodations, you'll have a chance to see more of this amazing region via camel! This guided tour takes you across the desert on the double-humped Bactrian camels that were once an integral part of the caravans of this ancient trade route. After the kids do a meet and greet with the camels, you'll mount up, and your guide will take you through the dunes, regaling both kids and adults with stories and the history of the area. 

Later, visit the village of Panamic, known for its sulfur hot springs. There is a small pool here, and changing areas are available if you or the kids want to take a dip. The village is also near the Siachen glacier, one of the largest in the world outside of the polar regions. This evening, take a stroll around the village, and if you happen to be there in the fall, the friendly residents are likely to let the kids pick a few apples from the many fruit trees you'll see around town. 

Day 4: Explore Nubra, Diskit Monastery, Visit Yarab Lake 

Visit the beautiful Diskit Monastery

See more of the Nubra Valley as you take in the deep greens and browns that color the surrounding mountains and the nearby Shyok and Siachen Rivers. The valley is also home to the famous Pashmina goats, so be sure to tell the kids to keep an eye out as you're walking around the area. Later, visit Diskit Monastery, which sits high atop a cliff. See the elevated cupola, which has a fresco that depicts Tibet's Tashihunpo gompa, and take in the expansive views of the valley and village below.

From here, it's a short drive to one of Ladakh's best-kept secrets: Yarab Tso Lake. Considered sacred by locals, the lake is not accessible via car, so expect to make a quick, 20-minute hike (an easy trek for kids and most fitness levels) to its shores. Here, you'll have a chance to sit and breathe in the fresh mountain air, watching the colorful prayer flags flutter around the water. Head back to your hotel this afternoon to rest up for tomorrow's adventure. 

Day 5: Transfer to Pangong Lake, Camping Adventure on the Lake 

Camp along the shores of stunning Pangong Lake 

Today your family departs for gorgeous Pangong Lake, also known as Pangong Tso, one of Asia's largest lakes, with crystal clear waters that span the borders of India and China and create stunning vistas of water meeting sky. You'll be camping lakeside tonight at one of the several luxury camps here, most of which have modern facilities, meals, and fun optional excursions.

After you check in at your camp, the rest of the day is yours. While the lake is not considered swimmable (sorry, kids!) in part because of its cold temperatures, you can walk along the shores, take lots of photos, and let the youngsters run and play at their leisure on the vast, open expanses here. Tonight, relax at camp, where you can have bonfires, meet other travelers, and enjoy family-friendly group activities and games.

Day 6: Return to Leh via Hemis, Free Evening in Leh

Shop for souvenirs and gifts at Leh Market

Travel back to Leh for your final full day in India. Along the way, your driver will break up the drive with a stop at Hemis Monastery, a Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa lineage, re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal. The monastery is quite beautiful and also has a museum attached that the whole family will find interesting and informative. 

After arriving back in Leh and getting settled at your hotel, take advantage of your free time with a visit to Leh Market, a bustling, colorful space where you'll find all the gifts and souvenirs you might want—and maybe discover some you didn't know you needed! The market consists of small pathways and streets and has clothes, spices, food items, and handmade woolens, perfect for staying cozy in colder climates. The kids will love looking for some treasures to take back home, and there are also plenty of restaurants and food stalls, so this is a great place to have dinner before heading back to your hotel. 

Day 7: Fly to Delhi, Depart

Farewell to northern India! 

It's time to say goodbye to India today, as your driver transfers you from your hotel in Leh to the airport, where you'll catch a flight to Delhi and your onward connection. Safe travels! 

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