A 15-day excursion to see some breathtaking landforms, explore old cultures and charming monuments. What more could anyone want? This expedition also takes you over three of the highest motorable roads in the world viz., Khardung La, Tanglang La and Chang La. After starting the experience from the city of Leh, visit Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa and the local market. Next day, travel to the Sham Valley to see some renowned attractions of the region. The list includes Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, Alchi Monastery and the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers. Stay overnight at Ule, and leave for Kargil in the morning. Before reaching the destination, visit Lamayuru village, which has a gompa; Moonland and Mulbekh. Following an overnight stay in Kargil, drive to Padum, visiting Karsekar village en route.
This itinerary also gives you an opportunity to enjoy the sight of the magnificent Drang-Drung Glacier, and Nun and Kun Mountain peaks. After an overnight stay in Padum, pay a visit to Karsha, Stongdey and Sani gompas. Visit Zangla Fort, and then reach Rangdum for an overnight stay. Post spending another night in Kargil, drive to Leh, visiting the en route Dha village. Following entirely different traditions, the people of this village are believed to be the descendants of the invasion force of Alexander, the Great. Stay the night in Leh, and then travel to Pangong Tso through Chang La, to camp. The charming lake has been featured in many popular movies like 3 Idiots and Dil Se. While returning from the lake, visit Thiksey gompa and Shey Palace, and later stay overnight in Leh.
Spend the tenth day of the trip in the Nubra Valley. Travelling to the destination is an experience in itself, as you journey over Khardung La, which is perhaps the highest motorable road in the world. Rides on the backs of double-humped Bactrian camels will also be offered to you in the valley.
Spend time, exploring Diskit and Sumur gompas and bathing in the therapeutic hot springs of Panamik. On the 13th and 14th days of the trip, enjoy the sights of Tso Moriri and Tso Kar, incredibly charming lakes at altitudes of over 14700 feet. Thereafter, passing through Tanglang La, reach Leh, from where you catch the flight for your onward journey.
Day 01: Arrival in Leh
On arrival at Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport, meet our representative and transfer to the hotel. After check-in, acclimatise as you prepare for the evening excursion. This trip will take you to Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa and the local market. Leh Palace was built in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal to accommodate the royal family of Ladakh. Sitting on a hilltop, the palace overlooks most parts of the city.
Shanti Stupa is a white-domed monument, built by Ladakhi and Japanese monks to encourage the idea of world peace. It features several images including one of a Dharmachakra and one depicting the birth of Lord Buddha. Later, stroll around in the market to admire the craftsmanship of local artists. Thereafter, return to the hotel for a relaxing sleep.
Day 02: Leh to Sham Valley
Post breakfast, start driving towards the Sham Valley, and on the way stop at Gurdwara Pathar Sahib. This place is dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev and supposedly houses a big rock thrown at him by a demon. After spending some time here, travel to Magnetic Hill which is not too far from here. The spot has become a major tourist attraction in the recent past owing to the belief that it pulls vehicles towards itself.
Thereafter, explore Alchi Monastery, built in the 11th century; and see the statues and paintings in its assembly hall, Sumtseg and Manjusri shrine. Next, travel to the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers. The site is hugely photogenic, and this presents a good opportunity to capture some incredible views in photographs. After sightseeing, transfer to Ule for an overnight stay.
Day 03: Sham Valley to Kargil
Post breakfast, drive towards Kargil, visiting Lamayuru Monastery of Lamayuru village en route. The gompa organises two festivals, one each in the 2nd and 5th months of Tibetan lunar calendar. Further on the tour, reach Mulbekh village, which has a giant image of Maitreya sculpted on a rock. Ahead on the venture, pass through the awe-inspiring Moon Landscape. Locally called Moonland, it is believed to resemble the surface of the moon. Reach Kargil in the evening, and transfer to your lodging for an overnight stay.
Day 04: Kargil to Padum
Early in the morning, drive to Padum, on the way visiting Karsekar village to witness a giant rock carving of Lord Buddha. Mesmerising sights of the Drang-Drung Glacier and Nun Kun massif can also be enjoyed along the way. Named after Padmasambhava, the town of Padum is the most populous in the Zanskar region. On reaching Padum, transfer to your lodging for an overnight stay.
Day 05: Padum to Rangdum
Post breakfast start driving towards Rangdum, and stop in Karsha village. Karsha Monastery, founded by Phagspa Shesrab, is the highlight of the place. The next stop is Stongdey Monastery, the second largest gompa in the Zanskar sub-district of Kargil. Later, visit Sani Monastery, believed to have been constructed in the 2nd century. Featuring a castle-like formation, it features the Kanika Stupa in its backyard. After a visit to Zangla Fort, continue the journey towards Rangdum. On reaching Rangdum, transfer to your lodging for a relaxing sleep.
Day 06: Rangdum to Kargil
Post breakfast, drive back to Kargil through the same route that brought you here. Reach Kargil in the afternoon, and transfer to your lodging for an overnight stay.
Day 07: Kargil – Dha – Leh
Post breakfast, start driving towards Leh, stopping in the en route Dha village. The local people of Dha are called Brokpa, and they are thought to be the descendants of the subjects of Alexander, the Great. After spending some time here, reach Leh and transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 08: Leh to Pangong Tso
Post breakfast, drive for Pangong Tso, crossing the mountain pass of Chang La. At an altitude of over 17500-feet, it is one of the highest motorable roads on earth. On reaching the lake, travel to the campsite, and spend the rest of the day as you desire. The landform has been featured in many popular movies including 3 Idiots and Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The brackish water of this lake appears to change colour depending on the position of the sun and the intensity of its light. Later, enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in tents at the campsite.
Day 09: Pangong Tso to Leh
Savour breakfast after seeing an enchanting sunrise over the area. Later, drive towards Leh and stop at the en route Thiksey Monastery. This gompa is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Following the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, it features an over 40-feet tall statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha. After paying homage to the deity, transfer to Shey Palace. Mostly in ruins now, this palace was built by King Deldan Namgyal in the 17th century as his summer retreat. After sightseeing, reach Leh and transfer to the hotel for a relaxing sleep.
Day 10: Leh to Nubra Valley
Post breakfast, drive towards the Nubra Valley, passing through Khardung La. With an altitude of over 17500 feet, this is another high mountain pass of Ladakh. It is widely believed that Khardung La is the highest motorable road in the world.
Have lunch and then enjoy a ride on the back of a Bactrian camel. This may be surprising to you, but these double-humped camels are a common sight near the town of Diskit and Hunder village. Following this unique experience, travel to your lodging and rest.
Day 11: Sightseeing around Nubra Valley
In this leg of the trip, go for sightseeing around the Nubra Valley. The first stop is Diskit Gompa – a 14th century Monastery featuring a beautiful statue of Maitreya. Also marvel at the sight of an over 100-feet tall statue of the deity, built on a hilltop below the monastery.
The next destination is Panamik village, famous for its therapeutic hot springs. Later, travel to Sumur gompa, frequently visited by tourists as it features some interesting wall paintings. After sightseeing, travel to the village of Sumur for an overnight stay.
Day 12: Nubra Valley to Leh
Post breakfast, another visit to Diskit Monastery is organised so you can enjoy one last panoramic view of the valley. Thereafter, drive towards Leh and catch the sight of snow-capped peaks from Khardung La. Upon arrival in Leh, transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 13: Leh to Tso Moriri
After breakfast, drive towards Tso Moriri, passing through Chumathang. The latter destination is quite famous for its hot springs, and hordes of travellers take time out to bathe in their sulphur-laden waters. Tso Moriri is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely within its borders. Colonies of various migratory birds can be seen here at appropriate times. Post walking around the lake and taking photos, transfer to the village of Korzok for an overnight stay.
Day 14: Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Leh
Enjoy breakfast with an awe-inspiring sunrise over the area before driving to your next destination. Passing through the Puga sulphur mine, reach Tso Kar. With many species of birds found in and around it, the lake has become a hotspot for animal lovers. After sightseeing, travel over Tanglang La – yet another high mountain pass – on the way to Leh. On reaching Leh, transfer to the hotel for a peaceful sleep.
Day 15: Departure from Leh
In the morning, transfer to Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport to catch the flight for your onward journey.
Duration: Duration: 14 Nights/15 Days
Region: Leh Ladakh
Places Covered: Leh, Sham Valley, Kargil, Padum, Rangdum, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, Korzok, Nubra Valley
Best Time to go: April to October