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Touching the Roof of the World

Spring in Ladakh - Phyang Monastery in the Background.jpg

Home to a rugged and starkly beautiful landscape of high altitude desert dominated by towering mountains, deep turquoise lakes, fast flowing rivers and lush strands of green; Ladakh’s magnificent wilderness offers a perfect base for intrepid travellers to go completely off-the-beaten-track.

Aptly known as the “roof of the world”, Ladakh contains the largest concentration of high peaks on the planet, including the world’s second highest mountain K2. It is also serenely spiritual with one of the most intact Tantric Buddhist societies left on earth, which is why it is often called ‘Little Tibet’.

On this exclusive trip, you will explore some of the most untouched regions with opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, camping and white water rafting, staying in authentic village homes – all very carefully renovated to provide stylish and comfortable accommodation whilst keeping the traditional ethos of Ladakhi lifestyle and hospitality intact. Your travel to and from Ladakh will be arranged by a private executive jet.

Highlights

  • Experience spectacular views of the Himalaya whilst discovering untouched Buddhist culture and their unique way of life.
  • Enjoy invigorating adventures including rafting, mountain biking and trekking in regions far off-the-beaten-track.
  • Retrace the ancient Silk Route in the remote Nubra Valley.
  • Stay in beautifully restored exclusive village homes and enjoy authentic Ladakhi hospitality.  

The Explorations Company, where no two journeys have ever been the same

Day 1:            Delhi

Arrive in to Delhi and stay one night at The Imperial New Delhi on Bed and Breakfast Basis.  

Day 2:            Delhi to Nimoo

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport. Fly to Leh by private jet. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to Nimoo village by private vehicle. The journey will take about an hour.

Nimoo, located at an altitude of 3190 meters (10463 feet) is a large village situated along the Indus Valley at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. The village is characterized by impressive mountain scenery, and is considered exceptionally fertile in Ladakhi terms with lush green fields and apricot, apple and walnut orchards abound.

You will spend the next three nights at a beautifully restored and well-appointed traditional village house on Fully Inclusive Basis. The whole house is booked for exclusive use, so you won’t be sharing with anyone else.

As you will be acclimatizing today, we recommend that you spend the day taking it very easy, relaxing at your house. In the early evening, you will be given an introductory briefing of your tour by your guide.

Day 3:            Nimoo

This morning after breakfast, depending on how you are feeling, you will be taken on a two-hour walk around the village by your guide. You will get a fascinating insight into the rural Ladakhi life before returning to the village house for lunch.

After lunch, relax in the village house or be driven for about 10 minutes to Basgo Fort in the late afternoon. At Basgo (3295m/10808ft) there are three ‘Future Buddha’ monasteries completed in the 16th century and the remnants of the fort showcase a unique Islamic influence. You could also take a short walk around Basgo village, depending on how your energy level. 

This evening we will organise a cooking lesson with your private chef so that you get to try your hand at a few local dishes.

Day 4:            Nimoo

After a leisurely breakfast, you will be driven (about an hour) up the Zanskar canyon to the village of Chilling (3236m/10614ft), a settlement that is traditionally home to metal smiths and is the only village in Ladakh that has provided copper, bronze, tin, silver and iron works to Leh for centuries. Here, you will have an opportunity to see the local metalsmiths at work.

You will then have the option to raft for about two hours to the confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers before returning to your village house for lunch.

After lunch, you may like to visit the village of Phyang (45 minutes away). You could take a leisurely stroll around the village with your guide and if interested, walk further to Phyang Monastery, which houses a 900-year-old museum containing numerous sacred shrines and frescoes dating from the royal period.

Later, you could go cycling around Nimoo and beyond on scenic routes with your guide.

Day 5:            Nimoo to Likhir

After breakfast, you will be driven about an hour to Alchi (3120m/10233ft). Alchi is the only monastery in Ladakh built on flat ground. The temple was founded in the 11th century and is particularly interesting for its Indian and Kashmiri influences.

Enjoy a picnic lunch at the pretty village of Saspol. You may then explore the Saspol Caves- its walls adorned with 13th century paintings are noted for the fusion of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist art.  You will then be driven for an hour to the picturesque village of Likhir where you will spend the next two house in another exclusive village house on Fully Inclusive Basis. The house you will be staying in is a two-bedroom house with magnificent views of the valley and the snow-capped mountains beyond. The house is owned by a talented local woodworker and his elderly parents farm the land around the house.

Day 6:            Likhir

After breakfast, you will be driven about 2.5 hours to Lamayuru, known for its stunning and absolutely surreal moonscape. Lamayuru monastery is one of the most ancient monasteries of Ladakh, founded in the 10th century. A picnic lunch will be organised at a lovely spot close to the monastery.

After lunch, you could visit the interesting Rizong Monastery, also called “the paradise for meditation”. It is noted for its extremely strict rules and standards that all resident monks have to adhere to.

Alternatively, if you are keen on trekking, instead of visiting Lamayuru, you may set out on a hike towards the village of Yangthang for about 4 to 5 hours. This walk is a portion of the ‘Sham Valley’ trek named after the Sham region of lower Ladakh. It is a moderate trek passing through great scenery dotted with quaint villages and two high passes.

Day 7:            Likhir to Stok

After breakfast, you will be driven 1.5 hours to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. Enjoy a stroll around the city with your guide exploring some of the historical landmarks including the 17th century Leh Palace, Central Asian Museum, and Shanti Stupa from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the main market where you can find an amazing variety of cafes and shops.

In the afternoon, you will be driven about 30 minutes to Stok – home to Ladakh’s royal family. The village is located at the foot of Stok Kangri Mountain and the typical Tibetan style palace overlooks the village’s unspoilt vernacular architecture, apricot orchards and barley fields. You will stay, on Fully Inclusive Basis, in a restored village house located on the edge of the village with amazing views of the Himalaya. The whole house will be booked for exclusive use.

You can spend the evening at leisure of set out on a guided walk around the village.

Day 8:            Stok to Agyam (Nubra Valley)

After an early breakfast, you will be driven (about 5 hours) to Agyam in the Nubra Valley via Khardung La Pass (5359m), the highest motorable road in the world.

En route, you will visit Diskit Monastery, built in 14th Century and the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in this valley.

Nubra Valley was one of the traditional Silk Routes where traders would use rafts made of animal skins to cross the river. The scenery is dramatic as the river cuts through a wide valley between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges.

Enjoy lunch at the campsite and spend some time at leisure. If you are feeling active, you can take a hike in the area and return to your campsite for dinner. Enjoy your drinks, sitting around a cosy log of fire before a lovely dinner prepared by your private chef.

Accommodation will be basic in dome tents on Fully Inclusive Basis.

Day 9:            Agyam to Tirit (Nubra Valley)

After breakfast, you will be driven 1.5 hours to Ensa monastery, passing the villages of Summur and Panamik. The 250-year-old monastery is perched high above the valley and is accessed via a steep road with very tight hairpin bends and a walk of about half an hour through a steep yet amazing route.

On your return journey, enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at a lovely spot near Panamik hot spring. After lunch, depending on your inclination, you may enjoy yet another hike to a nearby village and monastery before driving on for about an hour to Tirit, where you will camp for the night.

Later, if interested, you could visit the sand dunes of Hunder that are far more reminiscent of the Sahara than the Tibetan plateau and come complete with a resident population of the double-humped Bactrian camels. The camels have remained here since the time when this region was part of a major trade route to Central Asia.

You will once again sleep in simple dome tents under the night sky, which on clear nights affords a superb view of the ‘Milky Way’.

Day 10:          Agyam to Ranbirpur

This morning, we recommend an early start for your 5-hour drive to the village of Ranbirpur. This quaint village is surrounded by the Stok Kangri range and offers spectacular views of the mountains and three monasteries – Stakna, Matho & Thiksey. Interestingly, a hillock located close to the village is believed to have once housed a castle of “Bon", an ancient religion that dominated Ladakh in the pre-Buddhist era.

You will spend the next two nights, on Fully Inclusive Basis, in a restored village house located on the banks of the Indus River. You will be staying in a four-bedroom house, which will be booked for exclusive use.

After resting for some time, you may like to take a walk to the interesting Stakna monastery located across the river from your house. The name Stakna, literally meaning 'tiger's nose' was given because it was built on a hill shaped like a tiger's nose. Founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar, the Stakna Monastery is the residence of about 30 Monks.

This evening, we will arrange for you to visit an oracle. Oracles in Ladakh are said to have healing powers and are fortune tellers as well.

Spend some time with the oracle and return to your village house for drinks and dinner.

Day 11:          Ranbirpur

You have the option to rise early, around 05:00, and visit Thiksey Monastery to experience the early morning Buddhist prayers.

Built around 600 years ago, Thiksey Monastery is one of the finest examples of Ladakhi religious architecture. It consists of twelve levels ascending the hillside crowned by the current lama’s private residence. Below the monastery are chapels and houses stretching down the hillside where one hundred monks of the Yellow Hat Buddhist sect reside.

You could then spend some time with the Amchi, who practices the Tibetan medicine, also known as the Amchi System of Medicine in Ladakh. It is the traditional medicine practiced in many parts of the Himalayas.

You will then be taken to Hemis Monastery (3500m) which is an hour away. You will have the option to either drive or you may cycle up till the Matho Monastery, from where you will be driven to Hemis. Belonging to the Red Hat sect, Hemis was built in 1630 and is Ladakh’s largest monastery. It is an impressive and intriguing experience. Your guide will show you around providing you with an insight into Buddhism and a glimpse into the monks’ way of life.

A picnic lunch will be arranged in a scenic spot and after lunch, you could return to your house and spend the remainder of the day at leisure or go on a further walk with your guide. A special farewell dinner will be arranged for you by your chef.

Day 12:          Leh to Delhi

After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in Leh (about an hour). Fly from Leh to Delhi by a privately chartered jet. You will be met on arrival and transferred to a hotel located near the international airport where a room will be arranged for you until departure.

Later today, in line with your international flight, you will be transferred to the international airport.

This extraordinary journey starts from US$27,485.00 per person based on a minimum group size of four travellers. This is merely a sample itinerary and it is entirely possible to customise it according to your specific requirements and interests. The indicative cost does not include the international flights. 

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- An amount from each holiday is donated to our selected conservation and humanitarian charities


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