If you ever wanted to explore the desert-cum-plateau of Ladakh and venture into its remotest parts, then this tour is perfect for you. The itinerary has been planned in such a way that you get to visit loads of Buddhist monasteries. As you visit these sites, you may also explore the villages or towns they are located in, and interact with locals. The road journey, part of this trip, will take you along rivers, atop mountains, in lush valleys and through high mountain passes. You will also enjoy camping at certain places, and this will give the tour an adventurous dimension.
The tour begins after your arrival in Leh – the largest city and the administrative, cultural and religious centre of Ladakh. Leh is located at an altitude of more than 11000 feet, and it is fast becoming a popular summer holiday destination. See Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa, and shop for souvenirs at local stores. The following morning, see the monasteries (locally known as gompas) of Shey, Thiksey and Hemis that are all located near the city. Also, relax on the banks of the Indus River, and take a tour of the school, featured in the movie 3 Idiots. After another overnight stay in the city, travel to the Sham Valley, and see more religious sites as well as the famous vehicle-pulling Magnetic Hill.
The following morning, travel to the town of Kargil, visiting Lamayuru gompa en route, and after a night stay here move towards the Zanskar region. Here, travel to the villages of Zangla, Padum and Rangdum; and explore the monasteries of Sani, Karsha, Bardan, Stongdey, Mulbekh and Alchi. After the expedition in the Zanskar region, trace your way back to Leh, with en route overnight stays at Rangdum and Kargil. From Leh, undertake a venture to Pangong Tso, crossing Chang La. Post camping near the lake, return to Leh and the next morning, drive over Khardung La. Upon returning to Leh, enjoy a night stay at a hotel, and in the morning board your onward flight.
Day 01: Arrival in Leh | Sightseeing in Leh
On landing at Leh Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport, meet our travel representative and transfer to the hotel. After check-in at the hotel, enjoy refreshments and then relax for some time. In the evening, go on a sightseeing tour of the city, and visit Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace.
Shanti Stupa consists of two concentric circular platforms, one above the other. The lower platform has a statue of the Dharmachakra or the wheel of law. Idols, portraying numerous events from the life of Lord Buddha, are installed on the upper circular pedestal, above which towers the golden spire-topped dome of the stupa. Leh Palace was constructed in the 17th century, and its structure is quite similar to that of Potala Palace in Lhasa. Though mostly in ruins, some wall-paintings are still available inside Leh Palace. Post the trip, shop for locally produced goods at the city market, and thereafter return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 02: Sightseeing around Leh
Following a nourishing breakfast, take trips to the Buddhist monasteries of Hemis, Thiksey and Shey. Hemis Monastery houses a giant copper statue of Lord Buddha, covered with gold; and numerous stupas and temples. The annual Tsechu Festival celebrated in its courtyard, honours Padmasambhava – a historical as well as mythical figure.
Thiksey gompa – administered by the Gelug school of Himalayan Buddhism – was established in the 15th century. It has a 49-feet tall sculpture of Maitreya – the Buddha of the future. Shey Palace was built by a Ladakhi king, named Deldan Namgyal in the 17th century. Its primary highlight is an idol of Lord Buddha that is about 40 feet high, and is completely gilded.
Post visiting these sites, travel to Sindhu Ghat which is located about 8 km from Leh. The site is essentially the bank of the Indus River, where you can sit in shaded pavilions to look at the flowing water and mountains in the distance. Also, visit the school, used for shooting the final scene of the hit Hindi film, 3 Idiots. Thereafter, return to the city and spend the rest of the evening at leisure. Later enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 03: Leh to Sham Valley
Relish breakfast at the hotel, and thereafter begin a road journey through the famous and scenic Leh-Manali Highway towards Sham Valley. En route, pay homage at Gurdwara Pathar Sahib – a revered Sikh site – owing to its association with Guru Nanak Dev. The gurdwara houses a huge rock, said to be hurled at the Sikh guru by a demon.
Upon continuing the drive, reach the Magnetic Hill, which apparently pulls metal objects like vehicles towards it. Further from here, journey past the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus Rivers. On reaching the town of Likir, visit Likir gompa, where a giant gilded copper statue of Maitreya towers above everything. Later, move on to Rizong Monastery, and see paintings and statues of Buddhist deities, such as Lord Buddha, Mahakala, Avalokitesvara and Maitreya. Thereafter, take a tour of the village of Tingmosgang before transferring to your lodging in the valley for an overnight stay.
Day 04: Sham Valley – Lamayuru Gompa – Kargil
Following breakfast, begin a picturesque drive through the Ladakh region towards the town of Kargil. On the way, explore Lamayuru Monastery, which was founded by Naropa – a Buddhist teacher – in the 11th century. The site, set atop a high cliff, has numerous stupas, topped by golden spires.
Further, on the excursion, travel through a barren, yet spellbinding landscape, often likened to that of the moon. Later, cross Fotu La – an approximately 13450-feet high mountain pass – on the way to Kargil. On reaching the town, transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 05: Kargil to Rangdum
Following breakfast, check-out from the hotel and travel to the small village of Rangdum. On arrival here, transfer to your lodging and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Later, stay overnight at your lodging.
Day 06: Rangdum to Padum | En Route Visit to Sani Monastery
In the morning, undertake a road journey to the Padum town, stopping at Sani gompa en route. The religious site has temples, stupas, wall paintings and ornate bas-reliefs. Post the visit, resume the trip and on reaching Padum, transfer to your lodging to stay overnight.
Day 07: Sightseeing in Padum
After breakfast, pay homage at Karsha gompa, where relics of some lamas, a huge collection of scroll paintings, and numerous temples and stupas are contained. Thereafter, visit Bardan Monastery and see statues of various Buddhist deities. After exploring these sites, return to your lodging for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 08: Padum – Stongdey – Zangla – Padum
Have an early breakfast and take a trip to Stongdey Monastery where pictorial depictions of several wrathful deities are of special interest. After the visit, drive to the village of Zangla, situated a little uphill from the banks of the Zanskar River. After exploring Zangla, return to your lodging in Padum for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 09: Padum to Rangdum
After breakfast, journey to Rangdum, and on arrival here, transfer to the camp for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 10: Rangdum to Kargil
Following breakfast, leave Rangdum and drive to the town of Kargli. On reaching the town, transfer to the hotel and relish dinner and then an overnight stay.
Day 11: Kargil to Leh
Post breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive towards Leh. En route, pay a visit to Mulbekh – famous for an about 30-feet high bas-relief of Maitreya on a mountain. Post seeing this sculpting masterpiece, move towards Alchi Monastery, which has a main assembly hall, a temple of Manjusri and another building, known as Sumtseg. All these buildings are abundant in ornate sculptures, and wall paintings of Buddhist deities and mythical figures.
Later, resume the journey, and pass the village of Basgo on the way, where the ruins of historical buildings are visible. On reaching Leh, transfer to the hotel and enjoy a relaxing overnight stay.
Day 12: Leh to Pangong Tso
Early in the morning, relish breakfast and then travel to the picturesque alpine lake of Pangong Tso. On the journey, stop at the summit of Chang La – a mountain pass at a height of about 17590 feet above sea level – to click photographs. After beginning the descent from the top, you may take a break in Tangtse village for tea and snacks. Upon recommencing the drive through the Changthang sub-region of Ladakh, we journey past numerous small villages. After arriving on the shores of the lake, explore the area and click lots of photos. Later, set up camps near the water body for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 13: Pangong Tso to Leh
Spend the morning as you want, and later drive back to Leh. Upon arrival here, transfer to the hotel to stay overnight.
Day 14: Leh to Khardung La | Khardung La to Leh
Relish a delicious breakfast, and thereafter begin a journey to one of the highest drivable roads on earth – Khardung La. The summit of the mountain pass commands magnificent views of snow-clad mountains in the north and south directions.
Post clicking pictures here, return to the hotel in Leh and enjoy lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure, and in the evening relish dinner and then an overnight stay.
Day 15: Departure from Leh
After check-out from the hotel, transfer to the city airport to board your onward flight.
Duration: 14 Nights/15 Days
Region: Leh Ladakh
Places Covered: Leh, Sham Valley, Lamayuru Gompa, Kargil, Rangdum, Padum, Sani Monastery, Stongdey, Zangla, Pangong Tso, Khardung La
Best Time to go: April to October
1. Assistance upon arrival at Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport
2. Traditional welcome in the Hotel with Welcome Drink (Hot Tea / Coffee / Kahwa) on arrival
3. 05 Nights' Accommodation in Leh on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary with Breakfast and Dinner
4. 01 Night Accommodation in Sham Valley on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary With Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
5. 02 Night Accommodation in Kargil on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary With Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
6. 03 Night Accommodation in Rangdum on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary With Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
7. 02 Night Accommodation in Padum on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary With Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
8. 01 Night Accommodation in Pangong on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary With Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
9. Morning Tea / Coffee with Biscuits on the day of departure
10. Return airport and round trip transfers along with all sightseeing tours by Non-Ac Vehicle (Scorpio | Tata Safari | Tavera | Tata Grande for Standard Category) and (Innova | Xylo for Delxe, Super Deluxe, Luxury and Premium) and (08 and Above Pax based on Maxi Cab or Tempo Traveler or Similar) as per the itinerary
11. Wild Life fees and Red Cross fee
1. Any Airfare or GST @ 5.0%
2. Any Kind of Personal Expenses or Optional Tours / Extra Meals Ordered
3. Anything not specifically mentioned under the Inclusions
4. The Services of Vehicle is not included on leisure days and after finishing the sightseeing tour as per the Itinerary
5. Guide fee, Camera fee and any monument Entrances
6. Medical and Travel insurance
7. Any changes you may choose to make during your tour
8. Additional costs due to flight cancellation, road blocks etc