Monasteries, dunes and the lakes of Ladakh

From the monasteries of the Indus Valley, to the Nubra Dunes and the Changtang Lakes, this trip is an invitation to discover the essence of Ladakh in just 15 days. It is a balanced trip between encounters, culture, hiking and open spaces ... A complete and easy trip, ideal for a first discovery of India Himalayas! Located between the chain of the Himalaya and Karakorum, Ladakh was able to preserve its Buddhist culture thanks to the isolation of its highlands. It is indeed one of the Himalayan regions that contains the largest number of Buddhist monasteries, some dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries like that of Alchi. Our journey begins with the discovery of the monasteries of the Indus Valley, real architectural gems, located in the heart of Ladakh. We continue then to the Nubra Desert, an important stage of trade routes between Tibet and Central Asia. The green valleys contrast with the aridity of the dunes. Authentic villages dot the mountains all along the Nubra Valley. Then drive to the Changtang Plateau, to meet the changpas, nomadic pastoralists who come to graze their cattle in the pastures around lakes Tso Moriri and Tsokar. This is an easy trip in just 15 days to discover the many facets of Ladakh.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Domestic Flight Delhi - Leh

    Regular flight with stopover for Delhi. Arriving in Delhi, we continue with a magnificent domestic flight to Leh, the capital of Ladakh located at 3500 m above sea level, above the Himalayan range. Day of rest and acclimatization in Leh.

    - Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 2 Acclimatization - visit monasteries of Shey, Hemis and Thiksey

    Continuation of the acclimatization with visit of the high Indus valley and the great monasteries of Shey, Hemis and Thiksey. Shey was the kingdom's capital in the 13th century. We continue to Hemis, which is the most important monastery in Ladakh on a spiritual level. He groups under his authority more than 500 monks. Erected in 1605, its geographical location has preserved it from looting. We then visit the Thiksey Monastery, located on the right bank of the Indus, about twenty kilometers from Leh. This monastery rebuilt in the 15th century is dedicated to Maitreya, the Buddha of the future.

    - Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 3 Leh - Basgo - Alchi - Saspol Caves

    We take the road to walk along the Indus Valley: grandiose spectacle with a series of desert plateaus and deep gorges. In Nimu, the crystal clear waters of the Zanskar River mingle with the swirling flow of the Indus. Arrival in the afternoon in Alchi and climb to the village of Saspol to visit the caves of the twelfth century. Nice easy walk in the fields and the village. Back to Alchi.

    - Accommodation : Guest House

  • Day 4 Alchi monasteries - Lamayuru (3500 m).

    In the morning we visit the beautiful monastery of Alchi whose frescoes dating from the twelfth century are classified World Heritage by UNESCO. We then climb to Lamayuru by a beautiful winding road to visit a monastery with three important temples (11th century), perched on a rock overlooking the village. Many hiking opportunities around the village of Lamayuru.

    - Accommodation : Guest House
    - Walk: 2 to 3 hours

  • Day 5 Lamayuru (3 500 m) - Prinkiti la (3 750 m) - Wangla (3 200 m).

    A beautiful day of hiking in terms of landscapes. The color of the rocks changes according to the daylight and contrasts with the greenery of the village of Lamayuru. We climb to the Prinki La pass (3700 m). After a good rest we start our descent to Wangla. At the beginning of the evening we visit the monastery of Rinchen Zangpo perched on a hill overlooking the village of Wangla.

    - Accommodation: Homestay
    - Walk: 4 hours
    - Ascent/descent: + 350m / -550m

  • Day 6 Wangla - Phyang - Leh (3500 m).

    Back to Leh. On the way we visit the Phyang Monastery built in the early 16th century. The green village of Phyang is located 17 km from Leh. Free afternoon. For those who wish, possibility to make an excursion to the monastery of Namgyal Chemo, located on the heights of Leh.

    - Accommodation : Hotel
    - Walk; 2 hours

  • Day 7 Leh - Khardong La Pass - Nubra Valley - Hundar (3160 m)

    We leave towards the Nubra desert, via the highest road in the world and the Khardong La pass (5680 m). We make a stop at Khardong village and make an easy walk amidst breathtaking scenery. Khardong is a small paradise oasis, surrounded by impressive cliffs. We continue then to the Nubra Valley which was an important stage of the old trade routes between Tibet and Central Asia. We sleep in Hundar, from where we have a beautiful view of the mountains of the Naya Kangri massif.

    - Accommodation : Guest House
    - Walk: 2 hours

  • Day 8 Nubra Desert : Disket - Sumur - Hundar (3160 m)

    We spend our day discovering the Nubra desert. Early morning break for the visit of the Samsteling Monastery, a collection of 7 temples founded more than 150 years ago. Then departure for Disket Monastery, the oldest in the Nubra Valley. We then walk 2 hours towards Hundar, then in the evening for those who wish to have a ride on the back of a camel, to explore the surrounding dunes.

    - Accommodation : Same Guest House
    - Walk: 2 hours

  • Day 9 Hundur - Shyok Gorges - Thaktok (Dakthok 3810 m)

    We take a pretty, uncrowded road along the Shyok River. This wild road passes by the pass of Wuri La through magnificent gorges. Descent to Takthok Monastery, located in Sakti Village. Visit this monastery dating from the sixteenth century. It is the only monastery of the old Nyingma school in Ladakh.

    - Accommodation: Guest House

  • Day 10 Thaktok - Tsomoriri Lake (4540 m)

    We take the road towards the Changtang plateau located southeast of Leh just a few kilometers from Tibet. This region has only been open to tourism for a few years. We completely change the scenery. Lovers of open spaces will feast!In the summer, many nomads come to graze their flocks of goats, sheep, horses and yaks on the great meadows of this region. The Changtang Lakes also host many protected species of migratory birds every year.Arrival at Lake Tsomoriri, we will stroll along the lake. The sunset on the lake is simply splendid!During our three-day trip to Changtang, we will discover the daily life of Changpas, nomadic pastoralists of this region.

    Accommodation : Tent

  • Day 11 Tsomoriri Lake - Tsokar Lake (4530 m)

    Early in the morning we go out for a walk along the lake in the calm and serenity of Tsomoriri. The lake covers an area of almost 120 km2. It provides critical breeding grounds and basic staging areas for the flyways of more than 40 waterbird species. In the afternoon we leave to Tsokar Lake.

    - Accommodation: Camp
    - Walk: 3 hours

  • Day 12 Tsokar Lake - Leh

    Morning break for a hike around Lake Tsokar. The red ocher landscape of the mountains is reflected in the turquoise water of the lake. The large deposits of salt around the lake make us think of salars from the Andean countries. Back to Leh.

    - Accommodation: Hotel
    - Walk: 3 hours

  • Day 13 Leh - Delhi. Gastronomy Visit In Old Delhi

    Early in the morning, we take the domestic flight to the Indian capital. Arriving in Delhi, we are ready for a gourmet getaway in the alleys of old Delhi, to discover culinary specialties with tasting and demonstration. We then visit Old Delhi, dating from the seventeenth century and which was the ancient capital of the Mughal Empire. We notice its fortifications which were erected by the emperor Shâ Jahân, sponsor among others of the Taj Mahal. We visit the Jama Masjid Mosque and the lanes of Chandni Chowk. The traditional buildings and the history of the Mughal empire, Muslim, mingle with the religious and cultural diversity of the big cities and particularly exacerbated in Delhi.
    After this day of visit, you have two possibilities:
    - Free evening and night in Delhi, then continuation of Delhi tour on day 15.
    - Or, for an extra charge, possibility to finish your stay by visiting Agra and its famous monument the Taj Mahal (Price: 90 € per person, to book at the time of registration). For those who choose this option, at the end of the gourmet tour of Old Delhi (Day 14), you take the road to Agra (4 hours drive). Overnight in Agra.

    - Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 14 Visit Delhi ou the Taj Mahal. International return flight

    For those who choose the Delhi option: After breakfast, continue to visit the Indian capital. We visit Swaminarayan Akshardham, a temple and Hindu pilgrimage site. Depending on your flight schedules, we complete the visit by discovering other important sites such as Raj Ghat, Qutub Minar etc. Transfer to Delhi airport and return international flight.

    For those who choose the Agra option (Price: 90 € per person, to book at the time of registration): Visit the Taj Mahal early in the morning to enjoy the beautiful light that enhances this fabulous monument, built of white marble . Then continuation of the visits with the imposing palace and fort of Agra, built all in red sandstone by the Mughal emperors. This monument built in the late 16th century is classified in the UNESCO World Heritage.
    Depending on your international flight schedule, return to Delhi and transfer to the airport. International flight return.

    International return flight

The program has been drawn up according to the latest information available during its drafting. Imponderables are always possible and situations beyond our control can modify the process. Depending on the meteorological and operational conditions, your management team reserves the right to modify this itinerary in order to ensure the best version of the stay and your safety. Always,  for security reasons, the management and the organization reserve the right to interrupt your participation if your technical level and / or your physical form do not correspond to those required. In no case shall this interruption give rise to any reimbursement or payment of compensation

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: ILAD15-EN

Included

- Transport by private vehicle according to itinerary
- Accommodation in 3 * Hotel on BB  in Delhi
- Flights Delhi / Leh / Delhi
- Accommodation with full board except meals in Delhi and Leh
- English speaking guide for the entire stay for 2 and 3 participants
- French speaking guide for the entire stay from 4 participants
- Special permit for the Nubra Valley and Changtang Lakes
- Entrances to monuments
- A day of "greedy" visit of the "old" Delhi
- Local guides for visiting monasteries

Not included

- Indian Visa
- Single room supplement in hotel in Delhi and Leh (255 €)
- International flight
- Repatriation insurance
- Meals in Delhi and Leh (~ 5 to 15 € / meal) on days 1, 13 and 14 and dinner on day 12
- Your personal pharmacy- Gratuities, all expenses & personal equipment, drinks, sleeping bag and all that is not in "THE PRICE INCLUDES"

Notes

For many years, we put our know-how and our experience of Himalayan destinations to the service of travelers coming from different horizons. You will be able to find in your groups participants coming from our various partners.

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

By registering for one of our travel, the customer bindingly accepts the General Terms and Conditions of Sale. Each customer must complete a registration form. The booking is definitively recorded when the customer has settled the payment of a deposit of 30 % of the total travel price (subject to availability at the time of registration). In case of short-term bookings – within 30 days prior to the travel departure – the full travel price is due immediately. Payments can be settled via bank transfer (SWIFT code/IBAN number) or online, directly from our website (soon available). You will receive an email with a booking confirmation as quickly as possible.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, we send you an email with the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Altai Nepal reserves the right to cancel the booking free of charge.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: No cancellation fees. Unless you have given a written agreement to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, internal flights, activities…). In that case, you shall be charged the corresponding amount
  • Cancellation between the 30th and 21st day prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 30 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 70 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)

Any cancellation shall be notified in writing (email, letter or fax). Notice of cancellation will be effective upon receipt by us of your written communication. All the cancellation conditions will be specified on your booking confirmation. 

If it comes apparent at an earlier point in time that the minimum number of participants cannot be reached for a travel, Altaï Nepal is to exercise his right of withdrawal immediately. In such a situation, you will be informed of the cancellation of your travel no later than 21 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey. Altaï Nepal can also cancel a travel in case of circumstances amounting to "force majeure": volcanic eruption, civil disturbances, strikes, weather and climate conditions, and travellers’ security… In such cases, you are immediately refunded any payments on the travel price; however, you shall not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If a change to travel contract is made at the customer’s request, the customer shall pay any fee that might arise from this change. In any cases, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altaï Nepal might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will endeavor to advise you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Prices and price revision

All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer

In case of assignment of the contract by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply.

Insurance

We recommend that you take out personal insurance for your travel with Altaï Nepal, as soon as your booking is confirmed. We kindly request you to send us the information related to your insurance contract (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number) and to bring it along with you during the journey.

Practical info

Staff

This trip is led by a professional English-speaking Guide, who is part of the Altaï Team. 

Food

Indian cuisine is rich and noted for its varieties;  it is sure tasty but may also be a bit spicy. This region being in the border area. Hence, we will have also the opportunity to taste the delicacies of Tibet but also of Nepal and Bhutan. Simple but rich meals will be served during the trek.

Accommodation

Hotels & Guest Houses

Transportation

Private vehicle, plane

Budget & exchange

Indian Currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). Please refer to this site to know the exchange rate of the day: http://www.xe.com. You can easily change € or $ in Delhi or Leh.  Credit cards are accepted in all cities in India.

Tips

Tipping is still very present in Asia, hence in India  as well. Linked to the customer's satisfaction, it is an integral part of the “tourism” culture : independent of the salary level, the tip is taken as a sign of appreciation. Its amount depends on your appreciation of the services rendered and your generosity. Your guide can help you on this subject by making a collective envelope to ensure a just share for the staff. Plan a budget of 50 to 60 US$ per participant for a two-week trip for the whole team (English-speaking Altaï Guide, drivers, porters ...). In no way are these compulsory; the tip is not a due and is never a salary.

Vital equipment

Clothes, from head to toe:

- Trekking shoes. They must combine three qualities: strength, good grip of the foot and ankle (high stems) and impermeability. Choose shoes with non-slip soles, crampons and relatively rigid, they must have a grip on the ground. The "Vibram" type soles have a good reputation, pick them if you have a choice.
- Light shoes (tennis) or sandals for cities, villages or for evening after the day's walk
- Few pairs of walking & mountain socks
- 2 trekking trousers
- Underwear. This is the first insulation you will have, take care of it. Fine technical fibers, such as Carline or Polartec are very effective, warm, flexible, comfortable and lightweight. They dry very quickly
- 1 or 2 breathable T-shirts
- 1 fleece jacket. It has the advantage of being resistant, warm, light, and dries quickly, with a soft touch. The most adapted, well known among the mountain people, are the Polartec, Carline and Ulfrott fibers
- 1 mountain jacket. The most efficient jackets against wind and rain are made of Goretex, or Micropore, a "breathable" material that allows the rapid evacuation of perspiration.
- 1 down jacket is recommended
- 1 rain coat
- Gloves or mittens and hat
- Hat
- Good Sunglasses
- Warm Sleeping Bag
- Water purifiers (micropur, aguatabs ...) Sikkim & Darjeeling are in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures increase from January to May and decrease from September to December. From April until the end of October, provide lighter clothing.


Material

- A sleeping bag (essential for all trekking trips). Warm, comfortable, tailored to your size, shaped sarcophagus (closer to the body and has a closing hood), with side zipper closure for an opening at your convenience. To sleep in all seasons, it is necessary that your bag is powerful enough to fight temperatures of -5 ° C to -15 ° C (according to trips, altitude and periods, the coldest months December to February). Feel free to take a comfortable sleeping bag, indeed, " He who can do the most, can do the least!”
- A toiletry bag and bath towel
- Sunblock cream (face and lips)
- Headlamp, with batteries and spare bulbs
- Waterbottle of 2 liter minimum, light and isothermal
- Pocket knife, multi-purpose preferably
- Toilet paper + lighter



Helpful equipment

- Walking sticks
- Waterproof bags to protect your belongings
- Notebook or travel diary

Luggage

All of your luggage must be divided into 2 bags:
- Provide a flexible travel bag with side zipper giving easier access to its contents, bag type marine 80 L and about 13 Kg maximum (16 kilos for camp/tent trekking). No suitcase or trolley because it is untransportable by the porters. We use the porters’ service during the treks.
- A small backpack (capacity about 40l) for your belongings each day of trekking: sweater, spare t-shirt, water bottle, picnic-lunch, sunglasses, small things ...
To protect your travel bags, we will provide Altaï Bags too. They are solid and waterproof.

Passport

The information mentioned is only indicative. They may be subject to change without notice by the concerned authorities. It is therefore prudent to check with embassies and consulates in your country the month before you leave. Passport must be valid for 6 months after the return date.
Children must have an individual passport. They can no longer be registered on their parents' passports. ID card is not accepted

Visa

Il s'agit d'un visa individuel. L'obtention de votre visa est sous votre responsabilité. Suivant votre nationalité, il peut s'obtenir de 2 façons différentes et les tarifs sont les suivants:
- Visa électronique (e-tourist visa) : 48 USD (à payer par carte bancaire sur le site on-line)
Il s'agit d'un visa "simple entrée" valable 1 mois à compter de la date d'entrée dans le pays. Il s'obtient via le site https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/ et à votre arrivée en Inde, vous devez présenter aux autorités la confirmation de l'obtention de visa reçu par mail ainsi que votre billet d'avion retour. Ce visa doit être fait entre 4 et 30 jours avant votre date d'entrée sur le territoire indien.
- Visa classique : 60€ dans les centres agrées et 85€ par voie postale
Vous devez faire un pré-enregistrement sur le site https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/ et vous déplacer ensuite avec votre passeport et tous les documents demandés dans un des nombreux centres habilités à vous délivrer le visa. Vous pouvez également le faire par voie postale. Le délai d'obtention du visa varie de 3 à 10 jours.

Mandatory vaccines

Although no vaccine is required, be sure that vaccines commonly used in western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccines also recommended.

Health information & recommendations

Your Tour-leader has a pharmacy of first urgency. It is recommended to bring your personal medication (in sufficient number): aspirin, elastoplast, iodized alcohol, intestinal antiseptic, small scissors, tricosteril, face and lip sunscreen ... Also think about visiting your dentist, if you have some untreated caries, they have the annoying habit of waking up with altitude.
- Recommendations: Even if no vaccine is required for India, you will ensure that vaccines currently practiced in Western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccine also recommended. The risk of malaria is small, because we usually move more than 1500/1800 m, above the altitude of life of mosquitoes. The other areas crossed are hardly infested.
- Hygiene: water is not drinkable in India. On the tourist grounds, it is always possible to buy bottled water. However, in order to limit pollution and preserve natural areas, we strongly recommend that you drink purified water. For that, think to bring a water bottle of minimum 1.5 liters and purifying tablets of water (micropur, agua tabs ...). Some hygiene rules: wash your hands frequently, and before each meal (there are pharmacy antimicrobial solutions to use without rinsing, useful in case of excursions); ensure the maintenance of perfect body hygiene and careful care (disinfect) of skin wounds; do not consume tap water, not drinkable, drink only boiled water for 30 minutes then filtered, or preferably bottled water capsulated (avoid drinking natural drinks like pressed fruit juice); do not consume ice cream or "lassi" (milk-based beverage) bought on the street; meat and fish / shellfish should be cooked well before consumption.

Weather

From the eternal snows of high peaks to the tropical lowlands, India has a wide variety of climates.
- In autumn (October to mid-December): the days are very beautiful but can be fresh in altitude. At 3000 m altitude, temperatures can drop to -10 ° C at night.
- In winter (m-december to mid-february): The nights are generally cold, the climate is dry. If nighttime temperatures drop easily below 0 ° C to 3000 m, the days are often sunny. Treks below 4000 m are very pleasant. Few tourists at this time.
- In spring (March to end of May): at this season, Sikkim & Darjeeling are in full bloom and the rhododendrons are magnificent. The weather is nice and it's getting hot with some night storms. Temperatures vary between 10 ° C and 28 ° C, but can rise to over 30 ° C. Between 2000 and 3000 m, temperatures rarely drop below 0 ° C. On the other hand, a few rare frosts or snowfalls are possible in March from 4000 m.
- In summer: it's the monsoon season. It interrupts the majority of trekking from June to the end of September.

Electricity

In recent years, due to a lack of hydropower facilities, electricity and water outages are becoming more frequent in India, mainly in winter and spring. The hotels have generator but the electricity is limited. It is the same for the consumption of water.

Sustainable tourism

In a concern of respect for the environment, Altai engages for a minimum impact on the environment. Altai has always worked for a more responsible tourism and is part of a journey organization that respects equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonization of practices ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits and improved working conditions of local teams and their awareness of the protection of the environment Adopt, you too, simple actions during your travels and act in favor responsible tourism.

- Avoid leaving garbage behind: drop them in garbage cans or bring them back with you
- Use drinking water sparingly (prefer showers to baths and report leaks) and avoid wasting it (prefer biodegradable soaps for washing etc.)
- Avoid degrading cultural sites: do not touch the statues, do not move stones and objects etc.
- Prefer exchanges to donations (gifts too important given the standard of living of the country can destabilize the local economic balance)
- Take a walk, especially in some fragile ecosystems, observe the wildlife from a distance, do not leave the trails, limit trampling and do not bring back "memories": give up picking rare flowers, collecting fossils, etc.
- In some hotels, you will have individual air conditioning. It is strongly recommended to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to cut it systematically when you are not present in the room.
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Anup

My local agent
Anup

  • From Kathmandu
  • A trekking guide for over 20 years
  • Specialist of Annapurnas, Ladakh, Bhuthan and Tibet
  • Languages: English, French and a little Spanish
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Region
India: Rajasthan, Ladakh and Sikkim & Darjeeling
Activity
Hiking & culture Trekking
Duration
14 days
Group
2 to 15 people
Code
ILAD15-EN
Price
From €1,620
Level
2/5
Comfort
4/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

- Discovery of three different regions of Ladakh
- Balanced trip between cultural visits and wide open spaces.
- Tsomoriri and Tsokar lakes
- Passage through the most beautiful villages and monasteries of Ladakh
- An easy and accessible journey

Required level

This type of trip is of an easy standard and is accessible to all. It is perfect for people who like to hike easy and who are also interested in discovering historic sites, as well as the culture of the country. Walking is the best way to discover varied landscapes, the routes are easy, however it is requested to have good shoes and good hiking equipment.
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